Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—US-China talks, Greek progress, Rwanda’s spy chief arrested, flying cats

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What to watch for today

A US-China confab. US secretary of state John Kerry and treasury secretary Jacob Lew will discuss issues including trade, development, and hacking with Chinese officials, at the seventh round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, DC.

Frosty talks on the Ukraine conflict. An acrimonious pre-summit phone call means few smiles are expected at the meeting of foreign ministers from France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia, who will discuss the ceasefire between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. The EU voted Monday to extend sanctions against Russia.

A probe into those annoying airline fees. A US Department of Transportation committee will address the growing list of fees airlines charge their customers. The department faces mounting pressure from consumer groups, especially on change and cancellation fees.

Takata airbags come under review. The company’s defective airbags, linked to at least eight deaths and hundreds of injuries, eventually led to millions of recalls globally. The US Senate Commerce Committee will ask regulators and car industry chiefs about the US recall investigation, as well as how companies are conducting remediation.

Earnings: BlackBerry, Carnival, Darden Restaurants, and IHS all report their results.

While you were sleeping

A glimmer of hope in the Greek bailout talks. Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said nice things about the Greek government’s latest reform proposals, sparking a late-day rally in Greek markets. European leaders met Monday evening in Brussels, but few thought a concrete deal would be achieved.

China’s economy got some good news… Resurgent retail and property markets are leading a broad second-quarter economic stabilization, according to the China Beige Book survey. Deflationary risks may have peaked, it said; companies’ cash flows look healthy, as does the job market. That comes after months of concern surrounding China’s waning GDP growth.

…and some bad. HSBC’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index for the manufacturing sector was 49.6 in June, below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction for the fourth consecutive month. Still, the figure was above expectations of 49.4, and up from a final 49.2 in May.

Japan’s manufacturing sector slipped into contraction. Markit/JMMA’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index dropped to 49.9 in June, from a final 50.9 in May, on a fall in new orders. That may not concern the government—currently fighting to raise inflation—too much this time; many analysts expect a slower second quarter following a bumper first.

Rwanda’s intelligence chief was arrested in London. The BBC has reported that Karenzi Karake was detained at Heathrow airport on Saturday. Karake has been wanted in Spain for war crimes since a judge there indicted him and 39 others for allegedly ordering massacres during the country’s 1994 genocide.

Quartz obsession interlude

Anne Quito on the legacy of Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, famed for his cardboard buildings. ”Perhaps more than any architect in his generation, Ban, 57, best exemplifies the maxim, ‘it’s not what you use that matters, but how you use it.’ From churches made of paper tubes, to a nomadic museum constructed from shipping containers, Ban is a bricoleur, and a Macgyver-level improviser with building materials.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Brexit wouldn’t be a disaster for Britain’s economy. Those who think the UK should stay in Europe need a better argument.

High CEO pay is bad for the economy. It encourages company bosses to focus on short-term gains over long-term growth.

China is not a global military power. But its army could be a match for US forces in its own backyard.

There should be no shame in a double mastectomy. On life without breasts after a cancer diagnosis.

Taylor Swift is the music industry’s savior. Let’s hope she maintains the clout that forced Apple to make an about-face.

Surprising discoveries

A light aircraft pilot found an unexpected stowaway. Remember to check for cats before flying off.

There’s a diet that mimics fasting. All the health benefits of going without food, without going without food.

There are some 8 million mummified dogs in Egyptian catacombs. These are some very old pooches.

Napoleon loved chicken. He demanded it at all hours of the day.

Germany will ban sales of adult e-books between 6am and 10pm. It thinks that will prevent teens from getting hold of them.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, flying cat pictures, and French chicken recipes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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