Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Greek talks resume, WeWork’s mega valuation, satellite internet race, goldfish takeovers

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What to watch for today

Greece goes another round with its creditors. A late-night session on Wednesday failed to produce a solution to Greece’s looming default. The country’s creditors are set to reconvene talks with Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras around midday in Brussels.

A Petrobras lawsuit hearing kicks off. The Brazilian state-run oil giant faces a class-action lawsuit from investors, including US pension funds, who are seeking damages in the wake of a massive bribery scheme that erased $60 billion from the company’s market capitalization. The case will be heard in New York.

North Korea and South Korea mark 65 years since the outbreak of war. The exact death toll from the Korean War remains uncertain, but it is well into the millions. While fighting ended after three years, the countries are technically at war, with tensions perpetually running high.

Corporate earnings on tap. Nike, Accenture, Barnes & Noble, and Micron Technology are among the companies releasing their quarterly numbers.

While you were sleeping

WeWork earned a $10 billion valuation. The office sublet company raised $400 million from Fidelity Management & Research and existing investors at double its December valuation, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). CEO Adam Neumann said that the company has no other plans to raise funds, as it is profitable already.

South Korea cut its GDP forecast. Economic growth will be 3.1% this year (paywall), lower than a previous estimate of 3.8%, the finance ministry said. The lower forecast, which matches the central bank’s existing estimate, is part of the ongoing fallout from the MERS outbreak, which has seen tourists and business avoiding South Korea.

Carl Icahn sold out of Netflix. The activist investor sold his roughly 1.4 million remaining shares in the video-streaming company and said that Apple represents the kind of growth now that Netflix did several years ago. Icahn Enterprises acquired its shares in Netflix for an average of $58; yesterday’s sale price was $692.

Unilever bought Dermalogica. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant purchased the upmarket LA-based skincare brand for an undisclosed sum, as it continues to expand (paywall) in the personal-care-goods market. Unilever has been selling off many of its slower-moving food brands to make way for the pivot.

The US economy isn’t doing as badly as some feared. The US economy contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, according to the government’s final estimate. That’s better than a previously expected drop of 0.7%; separately, retail sales and employment are up, the housing market is doing better, and manufacturing is stabilizing.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ended his long silence. The convicted Boston Marathon bomber made a brief statement at a sentencing, where he was officially given the death penalty: “I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors. I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering I have caused, and for the terrible damage I have done.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on the race to create the next generation of satellite internet: “Is the sky big enough for two multi-billion-dollar satellite internet projects? … Greg Wyler’s OneWeb and Elon Musk’s SpaceX both say that within the next three years they will build, launch, and operate hundreds, if not thousands, of satellites flying in a low orbit around Earth.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Russia isn’t actually that important to China. It was only the country’s ninth-biggest trading partner last year.

Taylor Swift is a hypocrite. She requires photographers at her events to give her their images for use for free, forever.

Companies are like feudal states, and that should change. So says Holacracy advocate Brian Robertson.

The White House has failed American hostages. An advisor to hostages’ families (paywall) claims the government mismanaged kidnappings.

People should treat the Confederate flag more like the swastika. Neither symbol deserves to be honored in today’s world.

Surprising discoveries

Italy has a 3rd-century statue devoted to snark. For centuries it has been a message board for people who want to say nasty things about someone else.

Vitamin B12 may have caused your acne. Scientists discovered a link, which might lead to a cure.

The Kremlin dreams of an independent Texas. American secessionists and the Russian right have formed an unlikely coalition.

Canada wants people to stop flushing goldfish down the toilet. Ponds in Alberta are growing crowded with the invasive carp.

Chechnya’s leader accused the West of violating ”horse rights.” His racehorse winnings have been seized under anti-Russia sanctions.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, invasive goldfish, and horserace winnings to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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