Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Church shooting suspect arrested, MERS in Thailand, Fitbit’s big leap, stress-relieving pickles

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What to watch for today

China shares are headed for their worst week in years. Fears of a bubble in China’s stock market have dragged shares down all week. The way things are headed, this week will be the worst performance for the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets in six years (paywall).

Office Depot prepares to attach itself to Staples. Shareholders of America’s second-largest office supply company will vote on a merger with its larger rival Staples. The merger, first announced in February, has been approved by regulators in China and New Zealand but is still under review in Australia, Europe, Canada and the United States.

An update on the world’s coffee supply. The US department of agriculture will release its semi-annual report on global production and demand for the beloved caffeine-bearing beans.

Canada shares inflation data. For May, inflation is expected to have held at an annual 0.8% rate.

Mexico releases figures on first-quarter private spending. It’s expected to have advanced 3.3% on an annualized basis, higher than during the same period a year earlier.

While you were sleeping

Police arrested a suspect in the South Carolina church shooting. Dylann Roof, 21, is the alleged perpetrator of a massacre that killed nine people, which the FBI is investigating as a hate crime. The shooter opened fire during a bible study class at a historic African-American church in Charleston on June 17.

Business confidence rose in China. The MNI China Business Indicator rose 7.6% in June to 53.5. A score above 50 suggests optimism. It’s the highest level since January. Companies surveyed said their access to credit was the highest since August 2014.

The Bank of Japan maintained its record monetary stimulus. At the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Tokyo, Japan’s central bank said it will continue to expand the monetary base at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($650 billion).

Fitbit took a huge leap. The  fitness-tracking wearables maker surged 48% on the NYSE following its IPO, raising $731.5 million, as investors shrugged off fears of competition from the Apple Watch. Now valued at more than $4 billion, the company said it may use the new funding to pay for acquisitions.

The deadly MERS virus spread to Thailand. The country’s health ministry confirmed that a traveler from Oman has been diagnosed in Bangkok. The virus is fatal for roughly one third of patients.

No deal for Greece. After a four-hour meeting in Luxembourg, Eurozone finance ministers were no closer to an agreement to resolve the Greek debt crisis. Representatives from Athens refused to budge during the negotiations.

Barack Obama’s trade deal may pass after all. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed a measure to give the US president expedited negotiating authority in trans-Pacific trade talks. The controversial measure passed over widespread opposition from the president’s own party.

Quartz obsession interlude

Akshat Rathi on his experiment with polyphasic sleep. “As Roger Ekirch notes in At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime, a segmented sleep pattern was common as recently as the 18th century. Back then people often slept for four hours, then woke up for an hour or two before going back to bed for another four hours. In the period they were awake at night, people smoked, had sex, and even visited neighbors. It was the advent of night-time lighting that allowed us to squeeze in more awake time doing things and made people adapt to what is today’s monophasic sleep.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Gun control in America is politically impossible. Mass shootings are so common now that they’re basically accepted.

Countries are supposed to spy on each other. This is why the US can’t blame China for hacking government files.

Fitbit is a fad. Don’t be fooled by the outsized IPO.

Beware the listening machines inside your child’s toys.  Systems like the one inside “Hello Barbie” are a nightmare of intrusive surveillance.

Asian tourism is too dependent on Chinese travelers. For their own good, Asian cities need to attract a more diverse crowd.

Surprising discoveries

To reduce stress, eat pickles. People who like foods fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are less prone to social anxiety.

Kangaroos are mostly left-handed (or actually left-pawed). The phenemonon may explain the origin of human handedness.

Google is teaching its computers to hallucinate. Feedback loops in image recognition software produce some trippy results.

A mere 1% of Swedes work more than 50 hours per week. The rate is even lower in the Netherlands and Russia.

The original Jurassic Park theme is finally a chart-topper. It’s the first time since its release 22 years ago.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Fitbits, and fermented foods to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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