Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Ramadi’s humanitarian crisis, Greek expectations, China’s bank bloat, Twitter’s celebrity shark

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What to watch for today

Singapore hosts a mega defense fair. Asia’s largest-ever naval warfare exhibition kicks off amid a regional naval arms race. The exhibition’s focus will be unmanned vehicles and submarines, organizers say.

Wal-Mart reports its results. The world’s largest retailer by sales is expected to report a drop in profit, and was possibly stung by a long winter and tightening job market (paywall). The earnings report follows a $1 billion plan to raise wages for low-paid workers, which has pushed other large employers in that direction.

Other earnings report cards: Home Depot, TJX, Vodafone, and Etsy.

Quartz: Next Billion London. Quartz is hosting a conference of global industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly connected world. The online stream of the event is available here.

While you were sleeping

25,000 people fled Ramadi. Many of the city’s residents headed for Baghdad after Islamic State (ISIL) militants captured the Iraq city. The Iraqi government has enlisted the help of Shia militias to fight ISIL troops, and the UN has established aid camps, but warned its resources for Iraq could soon run out.

Thailand’s former prime minister pled “not guilty.” Yingluck Shinawatra is on trial over allegations of negligence, related to a costly rice subsidy program. Yingluck’s government was deposed one year ago in a military coup, and she could face 10 years in jail.

Greece sounded confident about a deal with creditors. Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis told Greek media that a deal to unlock new bailout funds could be struck within “a matter of one week.” There was little sign of such a sentiment from European officials though; EU economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici told media hours earlier that the two parties were “not there yet.”

Urban Outfitters missed expectations. The fashion company reported first-quarter net income of $32.8 million, down 12.5% from a year earlier and below expectations. Increasing competition from fast-fashion brands H&M and Zara were blamed for slowing sales at the company’s Anthropologie brand.

Starbucks announced a Spotify tie-up. The global coffee chain said its baristas will choose the music for each store instead of relying on music from headquarters, and that Spotify premium members will also be able to earn points to be redeemed for coffee. The deal comes after Starbucks ended its CD sales in March this year.

A fatal landslide in Colombia. The death toll from a landslide that tore through a ravine in the northwest of the country rose to 61, with 37 reported injured. President Juan Manuel Santos and ex-president Alvaro Uribe both visited the area, which is without electricity, water, or gas.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how China’s banks are dangerously close to repeating the earlier mistakes of Japan. “China’s bank bloat comes from the same investment-driven, industry-focused growth model once championed by Japan. As the Chinese government attempts to ditch this model, it faces many of the same challenges Japan did in the late 1980s.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Spotify has a secret “social network.” If you keep hitting the “related artists” feature you’ll discover 4 million tracks nobody has played yet, linked by Spotify’s music algorithm.

The tech industry is into a M&A frenzy. ’Big Tech’ is reaching the end of its first growth cycle, and will soon need to buy to grow.

Let’s stop talking about a reformation of Islam. It is a simplistic and ignorant argument.

Don’t be fooled by wearing a Fitbit. The fitness gadget industry thrives because we ignore the fact that diet, not fitness, drives obesity.

The global economy is crippled by fear. Governments mustn’t perpetuate growth anxiety by holding back investment.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists may have discovered what causes volcanoes to erupt. The finding could help forecasting and save lives.

The final scene of the Mad Men finale isn’t that mysterious. Here’s one big visual clue that not everyone noticed.

Misogyny lost at the box office this weekend. Ladies kicked butt in Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road.

President Obama finally got his own Twitter account… His first tweet: “Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really!”

…and a great white shark became a Twitter star. She goes by @MaryLeeShark and is cruising America’s east coast.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Fitbit takedowns, and celebrity shark sightings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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