Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—A Vatican leak, Jeb Bush runs, Buffett in Asia, LEGO professor

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What to watch for today

The US Federal Reserve policy meeting. The agency’s Federal Open Market Committee discusses the timing of its first interest-rate hike since 2006, but investors don’t expect a rise just yet. The Fed will also check in on the state of the US economy.

The fate of the European bond-buying program. The European Court of Justice rules on whether the European Central Bank will be allowed to buy unlimited amounts of bonds from eurozone states, in a program that was announced in 2012 but has not yet been used.

Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi is sentenced. The country’s ousted president was originally sentenced to death along with 100 others last month for their involvement in riots and a prison break in 2011. Today’s sentence takes into consideration the opinion of Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority. The ruling was postponed from last week.

Earnings, earnings. Adobe, FactSet Research, and La-Z-Boy open their books.

While you were sleeping

The pope’s encyclical on climate change was leaked. The church leader called on all humans to prevent the destruction of Earth’s ecosystem, calling out climate change as a man-made phenomenon. Pope Francis’ 192-page draft was leaked (in Italian) ahead of a speech planned for Thursday.

Warren Buffett pushed into Asia. The American billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway announced it will pay A$500 million ($387.8 million) for a 3.7% stake in the Asia-focused Australian insurer IAG. The two companies will enter a 10-year agreement in which Berkshire Hathaway will receive 20% of IAG’s premiums and pay 20% of its claims.

More US health insurers attempted to consolidate. Anthem is seeking to purchase its smaller rival Cigna (valued at over $40 billion) while UnitedHealth has approached Aetna (worth about the same), reported the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The consolidation is coming in response to Obamacare, which has shaken up the industry.

GAP announced store closures. The fashion retailer will close 175 North American stores over the next few years, starting with 140 this fiscal year, after same-store sales fell 15% (paywall) in the year to April. It will also close some European stores, and cut around 250 staff at its US headquarters.

GitHub sought a $2 billion valuation. The San Francisco-based company that helps customers build software is raising $200 million, according to Bloomberg. GitHub has 8 million users and charges a monthly fee to store source code on the site.

Jeb Bush announced his presidential bid. The brother and son of past presidents, and a former Florida governor, launched his campaign for the 2016 presidential election at a multicultural college in Miami, speaking fluent Spanish at times. The Republican promised to “disrupt” Washington DC, attacked big government, and promised support for business.

Quartz obsession interlude

Svati Narula on why Palau burned foreign fishing boats at sea. “The president of Palau, a tiny island nation in Micronesia, decided in 2014 to ban commercial fishing as a matter of marine conservation. Palau has jurisdiction over 230,000 square miles of ocean, and its plan to kick the world’s fishermen out of this area—indefinitely—garnered praise, and also a good bit of skepticism.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

An open internet is the most important question of our time. Without that, we can’t hope to fight for any other important issue.

Magna Carta is still relevant. On its 800th anniversary, its democratic legacy lives on.

Parents shouldn’t be so quick to circumcise. Let the sons decide on their own.

Egypt is waging a war on its youth. More than 160 young people have disappeared since April (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

An Italian surgeon will perform the world’s first head transplant. The surgery, planned for 2017, will require 100 medical workers.

Jeb Bush’s website contains a summary of Die Hard. It was written into the source code (paywall).

The University of Cambridge seeks a LEGO professor. Creating a culture of learning through play will be among the responsibilities.

It isn’t sugar that makes fruit taste sweet. It’s all because of the smell.

Polar bears are killing dolphins in the Arctic. And resourcefully freezing them for later.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Vatican leaks, and secret source code to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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