Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Greek summit redux, Afghan parliament attacked, Apple’s Swift retreat, QR codes gone wild

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today 

The EU makes another last-ditch attempt to keep Greece afloat. European government leaders and finance ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss Greece’s latest proposals for tax and pension reforms in return for loans. Athens and its creditors are reportedly—finally—close to agreeing an extension of the country’s bailout program, which is due to expire at the end of this month.

Europe addresses its migrant problem. Meanwhile, European foreign ministers and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon are in Luxembourg to discuss the rising number of immigrants making treacherous Mediterranean crossings to reach Europe. Asylum applications have roughly doubled over the past year.

Big decisions from the US Supreme Court. Rulings on 11 cases, including the fate of gay marriage and the future of 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.

Germany decides on a journalist’s extradition to Egypt. A court will rule whether Ahmed Mansour, a British-Egyptian reporter for Al Jazeera, should be sent to Egypt, where he has been convicted in absentia of “torturing a lawyer”—a claim he rejects. Mansour was detained in Germany as he tried to fly to Qatar over the weekend.

Oracle takes the stage. Larry Ellison, CEO of the enterprise software company, will field questions from analysts and customers when he appears at a company event. Last week’s earnings miss and share price decline will likely get the crowd talking.

Over the weekend

The Taliban bombed the Afghan parliament. Attackers detonated a “huge” suicide bomb before gunmen tried to storm the parliament building ahead of a vote to endorse the country’s new defense minister. Eighteen people have been wounded so far and fights have erupted between Taliban fighters and security teams.

Cigna rejected health insurance consolidation… Anthem, America’s second-largest health insurer, proposed a package worth $54 billion for its smaller rival, ending weeks of speculation over a potential deal. But Cigna quickly dismissed the offer, which it said undervalued the company.

…as Williams Companies held off pipeline consolidation. The US natural gas pipeline giant turned down an unsolicited offer worth $53 billion from billionaire Kelcy Warren’s Energy Transfer Equity. ETE offered Williams an all-equity deal valued at a 32% premium (paywall) over Friday’s closing price; Williams said that still isn’t enough.

Apple yielded to Taylor Swift over artist payments. The computer company said artists would receive royalties for tracks played via its soon-to-be-launched Apple Music even during the three-month free trial period. That followed arguments from the singer that all artists should be paid regardless of what Apple charges its customers.

Worshippers returned to Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “No evildoer, no demon… can close the doors of God’s church,” Reverend Norvel Goff told the first service since last week’s deadly shooting. On Friday, family members of those killed publicly forgave Dylann Roof, who was arrested and confessed 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.

No, Africa’s size on our maps isn’t a problem. People who complain that the continent is depicted as “too small” should ask themselves: Do they think Canada is important because it’s big?

It was a mistake to bail out Greece in 2010. That decision was driven by cowardice, confusion, and hubris; little has changed since then.

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

People should stop pretending to be native American. A blood tie doesn’t cut it unless you have community ties too.

Surprising discoveries

The QR code on your ketchup bottle might be a bit too saucy. Heinz let one of its promotional web domains expire, which now redirects to a porn site.

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 100-meter record on three continents. It’s 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 online claims.

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

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, QR code snafus, and horror movie clichés to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.