Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Greece teeters, Cigna rejects Anthem, Taylor Swift slams Apple, QR codes gone wild

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What to watch for today

The EU makes a last-ditch attempt to keep Greece solvent… European finance ministers are expected to attend an emergency meeting in Brussels to continue talks on Greece’s future in the euro zone, with hopes that a six-month extension of the country’s bailout loans and a debt relief plan could forestall a sudden exit.

…and tries to solve its migrant problem. European foreign ministers and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon are in Luxembourg to discuss the rising number of immigrants flocking across the Mediterranean and into Europe.

Controversial decisions from the US Supreme Court. Rulings on 11 cases, including the fate of gay marriage and the future of the US health care reform, could be released as early as today, as the highest court in the US approaches the end of its spring term.

Oracle takes to the stage. Larry Ellison, CEO of the enterprise software company, will field questions from both analysts and customers as he launches the Oracle Cloud Platform. Last week’s earnings miss and share price drop will likely come up.

Acrimony at South African gold mines. The head of the country’s largest union of miners criticized the industry’s “apartheid” wage system ahead of today’s contract negotiations between the union and the mining companies.

Over the weekend

Anthem gave Cigna a buy-out offer. The US’s second-largest health insurer proposed a package worth $54 billion for its smaller rival, ending weeks of speculation over a potential deal size. But Cigna quickly rejected the proposal, which it called highly conditional and an undervaluation of the company.

A consolidation attempt in the French telecom industry. Numericable, a unit of the telecom giant Altice, made an all-cash offer of more than €10 billion ($11.4 billion) for Bouygues Telecom, France’s third-largest mobile provider, according to the Financial Times (paywall). While the companies seem happy to discuss dealmaking, the French government voiced concern over any consolidation.

Germany seized a journalist on Egypt’s behalf. German authorities detained Ahmed Mansour, a British-Egyptian Al Jazeera reporter, as he tried to fly to Qatar. Last year an Egyptian court convicted Mansour in absentia of “torturing a lawyer”—a claim he dismisses as ”character assassination.”

Taylor Swift upstaged Apple. The singer refused to make her most recent album, 1989, available to stream via the computer company’s newly announced Apple Music, citing issues over its three-month trial period. Apple will not pay artists for tracks listened to during those trials; Swift says that is unfair.

Worshippers returned to Charleston’s Emanuel AME church. Reverend Norvel Goff told the first congregation since a shooting that killed nine last week: “No evildoer, no demon… can close the doors of God’s church.” On Friday, family members of those killed publicly forgave Dylann Roof, who was arrested for (and has admitted to) the mass killing.

US-Israeli relations were complicated by a tweet. Judy Nir Mozes, the wife of Israel’s interior minister, criticized Barack Obama in a tweet some have called racist. She has since apologized and the offending tweet has been deleted.

Quartz obsession interlude

Sonali Kohli on how enterprising developers not only ride the wave of gentrification, but spur it. “As much as gentrification is an organic process, fueled by opportunity seekers and bargain hunters, it’s developers and financiers who have become the savvy midwives of change. Once they detect the early signs of gentrification, they bring on the serious money.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Anti-intellectualism is killing the US. From ignoring science to opposition of rational policy, America’s fate is linked to the nation’s culture of ignorance.

It was a mistake to bail out Greece in 2011. Better to default on debt held by private creditors than leave European governments in the lurch.

Jaws has ruined horror films. Its success made studios think of horror movies as blockbusters, making them more boring.

The illegal activity of the “dark web” is overstated. There is just as much nefarious activity on the everyday web.

Surprising discoveries

The QR code on your ketchup bottle might link to porn. Heinz let one of its web domains expire, with unfortunate results.

Kids would rather console a victim than punish a perpetrator. The toddlers studied also reacted nearly the same when they were “victim.”

Nigerian-born athletes hold the 100m record on three continents. A result of corruption and mismanagement of top-level athletics.

Robot fact-checkers are coming. Researchers created an algorithm that could determine the truthfulness of apparent facts.

Samsung made a “transparent” big truck. A screen on the back allows drivers to see what’s ahead of it, to make overtaking safer.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, redirected QR codes, and transparent trucks to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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