Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—GlaxoSmithKline sex tape, ISIL’s caliphate, Facebook research backlash, Auschwitz selfies

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Argentina’s debt deadline. The country may enter into technical default if it can’t figure out a way to settle with bondholders, after a US judge ruled that its attempt to pay off its restructured bondholders was illegal. The deadline may be extended another month to July 30th.

BNP settles over sanction violations. The bank will agree to pay a record $8.9 billion (paywall) for concealing some $30 billion in transactions for clients in US-sanctioned countries like Sudan, Iran, and Cuba, and won’t be allowed to clear US dollar transactions for up to a year.

The future of US public-sector labor. The US Supreme Court is set to rule on Harris vs. Quinn, and could overturn the requirement that public-sector workers must pay a “fair share” of union dues even if they are not members. That would greatly undercut unions’ power to engage in collective bargaining.

GM unveils a compensation scheme. Attorney Ken Feinberg will announce the details of a fund for the victims of a faulty ignition switch and their families. There will be no limit on the size of the fund, since the number of total victims is unknown.

Canada releases its GDP figures. A quiet week for financial data means Canada’s monthly economic expansion will receive a little more attention than usual. Expectations are that the economy grew between 0.1% and 0.4% in April.

World Cupdate. France v Nigeria is at 12pm EDT; Germany v Algeria is at 4pm.

Over the weekend

An ex-Procter & Gamble CEO was tapped to fix Veterans Affairs. Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate and longtime P&G executive, is the White House’s choice to clean up “significant and chronic system failures” in VA hospitals.

ISIL declared a “caliphate” in the Middle East. The Sunni extremist group declared the formation of an Islamic state stretching from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq, in an implicit challenge to Al Qaeda, its one-time ally.

GlaxoSmithKline’s bribery scandal started with a sex tape. The drugmaker said its China chief was secretly filmed in his own home for a video that was anonymously sent to Glaxo’s CEO and other top executives. Shortly afterwards, Glaxo was accused of making illicit payments to Chinese doctors and officials.

Euro zone inflation was unchanged at 0.5%. The European Central Bank’s newly aggressive monetary stimulus hasn’t had much time to take effect.

Facebook triggered a negative emotional response. A research study that exposed users to positive and negative emotional content and measured their responses was criticized as an abuse of the social networking company’s vast powers.

China’s state-owned news agency filed for an IPO. Xinhua released a preliminary prospectus (paywall) on its plans to offer shares in its digital arm on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The company plans to raise some $241.2 million.

Carlos Slim is buying out AT&Tpurchasing the 8.3% stake that AT&T has long held in his company, América Movil, for $5.57 billion. The deal was necessary because AT&T is acquiring DirectTV, which competes with América Movil for pay-TV customers in Latin America.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why the movie Frozen strikes a very lucrative chord in Japan. ”Undoubtedly, Japanese audiences are responding to the same qualities that have turned Frozen into a global phenomenon. Not only is the music catchy, but the story is morally nuanced enough that adults seem to enjoy it as well as children. And then there’s the fact that Frozen revolves around the relationship between strong, commanding female characters who defy the “Disney princess” stereotype (even though they technically are monarchs). That latter point is what makes Frozen’s unexpected popularity—particularly among Japanese women—so striking.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Slow growth is here to stay. Most global economies are advanced, and that means growth over 1.5% per year is just not that likely.

Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that. Some techno-optimists believe we’re in for a major boost in human productivity.

The American IPO is dying. Burdensome regulation and aggressive short-sellers have made it much harder to go public.

It’s no surprise that few CEOs are openly gay. Most are of a generation that grew up in an extremely anti-gay environment.

The conventional wisdom on conventions is wrong. Over-optimistic assumptions mean city-funded facilities usually fail to deliver.

Surprising discoveries

A Martian flying saucer landed off the coast of Hawaii. Yes, really: NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator is being tested for future Mars flights.

The UK is lobbying the US over haggis. The £15 million ($26 million) industry has been banned from exporting to the US since 1971.

Chinese dissidents are forced to take free “vacations.” They are escorted on holiday during important national events.

Auschwitz selfies are popular with Israeli teenagers. But not everyone thinks posing with your pals under an “Arbeit macht frei” sign is cool.

Sour drinks can cure garlic breath. Beverages with a pH level below 3.6 kill the enzymes that create odoriferous exhalations.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, garlic breath cures, and flying saucer sightings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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