Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—More American spying, D-Day for Greece, Yahoo’s Alibaba update, rock star investors

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What to watch for today

Europe and Greece prepare for a long night as Britain talks EU membership. The head of the Eurogroup reportedly told Europe’s leaders to get Greece’s bailout sorted by today, “even if it takes all night.” Separately, the UK’s David Cameron meets Germany’s Angela Merkel in Berlin to discuss some of his EU reforms ahead of a 2017 referendum on British membership to the bloc.

Yahoo’s Alibaba spin-off update. Marissa Mayer faces more questions from shareholders about the creation of a new company to house Yahoo’s $33-billion stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. The US government plans to change how it taxes such transactions, though Mayer claims Yahoo’s spin-off will not be affected.

Fiat Chrysler launches a new Alfa Romeo range. The debt-laden automaker is counting on its century-old Alfa Romeo brand to compete against German rivals BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. It’s also pursuing a possible merger with General Motors.

NATO gets together. Defense secretaries meet in Brussels to discuss Russian threats in eastern Europe. The US plans to send heavy weapons to the area to deter aggression by Vladimir Putin.

Monsanto reports earnings. Analysts are forecasting a 27%-increase in quarterly earnings-per-share for the US seed and chemical company, which is doggedly pursuing a takeover of Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta. Monsanto executives say they are also considering going after Germany’s Bayer.

While you were sleeping

The US’s French espionage was exposed. Whistleblower website Wikileaks has reported that the US National Security Agency tapped French presidential communications between 2006 and 2012, as well as that of senior ministers and the French ambassador to the US. Current president Francois Hollande said France “will not tolerate” acts threatening its security.

German consumer confidence missed expectations. The Ifo Institute’s index fell to 107.4 in June, lower than an expected 108.1. The second consecutive monthly fall raised concerns that a failure to negotiate a deal with Greece could impact Europe’s growth engine.

Ikea raised its US minimum wage again. The Sweden-based furniture retailer will increase its base pay by $1.11 to $11.87, effective January 2016, to reduce turnover and to remain competitive as the job market tightens. Ikea raised its average minimum wage by 17% last year.

Chinese consumer sentiment ticked up. The Westpac index rose 1.1% in June to 112.3 (paywall), after not moving for two months. That’s a sign that consumers are adjusting to lower growth and that central bank stimulus measures are working; the figure for June is only marginally lower than the 12-month average of 112.4.

Japanese small-business confidence fell. The Shoko Chukin Bank’s survey dropped to 46.9 in June, from 48.1 in May and well below the 50 mark that separates general optimism from pessimism. The weak yen isn’t expected to help most small businesses either, which typically serve domestic consumers (paywall).

China issued a milk powder recall. High nitrate levels were detected in baby formula made by three producers in Shaanxi province. Milk powder safety has been a sensitive issue in China since a 2008 safety scandal left six children dead and 300,000 injured.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zach Seward introduces Atlas, Quartz’s new platform for charts. “We’re calling this Atlas because, while once atlases were used to figure out where everything was, the way we understand the world now is with data… You can now download the data behind our charts, embed our charts elsewhere on the web, grab an image of our charts, and of course share our charts on social media.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t fear the eradication of work. If robots mean jobs become scarce, we may actually find ourselves training for jobs we like.

Amazon could be changing the way authors write books. Paying writers by the page read could lead to plenty of padding.

The Confederate flag should not come down because it’s offensive. It should come down because it is embarrassing to all Americans.

Cities should just say “no” to the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee leaves a mess wherever it goes.

Slack’s days of fun are nearly over. The office chat software needs to meet strict reporting requirements to serve financial services clients.

Surprising discoveries

China arrested smugglers selling frozen meat from the 1970s. Gangs were operating across the country.

The US Navy is really attached to Windows XP. It’s paying Microsoft millions per year to support the obsolete operating system.

For sale: the world’s largest plot of land. An Australian cattle dynasty is seeking $325 million for 23,000 square km (8,880 square miles).

A passenger’s demand for snacks forced a massive travel delay. The United Airlines passenger wanted unlimited nuts and crackers.

Linkin Park runs a venture capital fund. The band created a diversification strategy with the help of Harvard Business School.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, your favorite Atlas chart, and appointments at Wu Tang Financial to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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