Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Wal-Mart’s raised wages, Ukraine’s failing ceasefire, Greece’s extension plea, Kim Jong-un’s haircut

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What to watch for today

Finance ministers mull Greece’s fate. Greece is asking euro zone creditors for a six-month extension to its €240 billion ($272 billion) bailout. The proposed deal would be a big stretch for Greece, but it’s not enough for Germany, which dismissed the proposal as a “Trojan Horse.”

The US and Iran resume nuclear talks. Iranian officials have said that US secretary of state John Kerry will join the negotiations this weekend, though the US has not yet confirmed his participation. The talks come as a UN watchdog warns that Iran still hasn’t answered crucial questions about its nuclear weapon research.

The UK’s retail report card. The update on January sales comes after a cluster of positive economic indicators for the British economy.

While you were sleeping

Wal-Mart raised wages for 500,000 US workers. The company said it would hand out raises in April to ensure that hourly workers will get at least $9.00 per hour—$1.75 above the US federal minimum wage. By Feb. 1, 2016, Wal-Mart will raise wages even further, to $10 an hour.

The US hacked the world’s biggest SIM card provider. New documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden to the Intercept shows that US intelligence agencies stole encryption keys that enable them to snoop on mobile phone conversations around the world. Gemalto, the company that was targeted, produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year.

Apple is pushing for a car by 2020. The company is pursuing an aggressive timeline to bring an electric car to market, Bloomberg reports, as it faces the prospect of new all-electric models from Tesla and General Motors that are also in the works.

Ukraine’s ceasefire fell apart, again. Fighting has spread in eastern Ukraine despite a truce, with shelling reported around Donetsk and Mariupol. Leaders of the four countries that negotiated the ceasefire are trying to salvage the peace process, and Ukraine’s president called for UN peacekeepers—a proposal rejected by pro-Russia rebels.

Dutch hooligans rampaged through Rome. Nearly two dozen supporters of the Dutch football team Feyenoord were arrested after a drunken brawl with police near Rome’s historic Spanish Steps. The violence, which triggered protests by Italy’s prime minister, took place before Feyenoord’s match against Roma.

Quartz obsession interlude

Annalisa Merelli on the dream home Jackie O designed for JFK. ”According to one of his wife’s letters, president Kennedy was skeptical about the house but ended up “loving it.” She confided in her friend Bill Waxton that Wexford was a sign of success in her marriage: “I think we’re going to make it. I think we’re going to be a couple. I’ve won,” she told him during a dinner. Sadly, the family only spent a couple of weekends there in 1963—the last reportedly on Nov. 10, shortly before the president was assassinated.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

You’re not drinking enough coffee. A US government panel says drinking three to five cups daily has health benefits and few risks.

The Ukraine ceasefire is flawed. The truce isn’t enforceable, and suffers from Russia’s outsized influence in Europe.

Sony should ditch everything except for Playstation 4. Because that’s what it’s good at.

Siblings are the worst bullies. Bullying is more common in families than on the playground.

Surprising discoveries

TV stations are speeding up reruns. All the better to show you more advertising, of course.

Three out of four Americans wouldn’t take a free trip to space. Even if there’s a return trip included.

Arctic owls are camping out in New York. They’ve migrated south in an attempt to escape the cold.

Scientists are making a Google Maps for the brain. So that surgeons can explore your mind in 3D.

Kim Jong-un has a new haircut. And it’s a show-stopper.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, speedy reruns, and free space trips to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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