Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Greece on the rocks, biotech megabucks, leap seconds, Walmart’s ISIL cake

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Greece’s bailout deal expires. The country has already defaulted on its International Monetary Fund debt, and banks are closed at least until the July 5 referendum on whether to accept creditors’ conditions for another tranche of bail-out loans. The fate of the country’s economy matters far beyond its borders, as people begin to ask: Is Greece the problem, or is it the European Union?

Ukraine meets with its creditors. The International Monetary Fund joins the country’s envoy and creditors in Washington, DC. Ukraine has warned that it may suspend payments unless it can reach a deal to restructure its $23 billion debt.

An Iran deadline comes and goes. Negotiators, including US secretary of state John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, will probably continue talks over Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna despite missing a June 30 deadline for a comprehensive agreement.

Apple Music presses play. The iPhone maker’s streaming music service is debuting with a roster of 30 million songs, including Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. After a three-month trial period, Apple Music will cost $9.99 a month.

Uber offers free rides to a protest. The company is fighting a New York City council bill that would limit the number of livery cab drivers who work for Uber and other services. Proponents of the measure say that a surge in car-service drivers has made the city’s traffic much worse.

While you were sleeping

US stock markets took a wobble over Greece. The US benchmark S&P 500 Index fell 2.5%, and the Dow Jones gave up all of its gains for 2015, as investors grew increasingly nervous about fallout from the Greek financial crisis and China’s own stock market plunge.

Celgene invested $1 billion in a biotech partnership. The cell therapy giant’s 10-year tie-up with Juno Therapeutics will aim to harness the immune system to fight autoimmune diseases and cancer. The deal comes amid industry excitement over biotech solutions. Juno’s shares 40% higher in after-hours trading.

UK consumer confidence reached a 15-year high. The GfK survey jumped to +7 in June, from +1 in May, its biggest rise in over 12 months on consumers’ positive outlook for the year ahead. That suggests the British economy is picking up following a slow first half.

Microsoft quit the display-ad business. The computing giant’s ad unit will be handed over to AOL and AppNexus, for an unknown sum, according to Bloomberg. Its 1,200 jobs will be sent to AOL or other areas of Microsoft, or cut. The move is in line with CEO Satya Nadella’s streamlining of the company to focus on key areas.

Japanese wages entered a third year of declines. Real earnings fell 0.1% in May from a year earlier, their 25th consecutive fall and short of analyst expectations of a 0.2% increase. But recent data showing an increase in job openings and low unemployment suggests the decline may soon be reversed (paywall).

Two more companies severed ties with Donald Trump. US broadcaster NBC said it is “ending its business relationship” with the billionaire presidential candidate because of his recent derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants. Mexico’s Ora TV, founded by Carlos Slim, also canceled a joint TV project after calling Trump’s comments racist, and Trump close-minded.

Quartz obsession interlude

David Yanofsky on the origin of leap seconds. “Notionally, it’s a way to unify all our ways of measuring time. In reality, it’s just an attempt to preserve an old definition of time that has long since been superseded by newer methods. In the process, the leap second—through no fault of its own—puts at risk countless critical computer systems around the world.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Why I’m leaving London for LA. The city’s liveability is declining, in favor of soulless homes-as-investments.

Saying “Silicon Valley has a diversity problem” means nothing. That is, unless you understand the specific details of the problem.

The US should legalize polygamy. It’s the natural next step after gay marriage.

It’s time to disrupt philanthropy. And young tech barons are the ones to do it.

The humanities are more important than ever. They can save us from ourselves in the digital age.

Surprising discoveries

The world’s most populous vertebrate is a glow-in-the-dark hermaphrodite fish. There are quadrillions of bristlemouth in the sea.

Left-handed tennis players have lost their competitive advantage. Rafael Nadal is the only “leftie” in the sport’s top ranks.

An Indian minister claimed that drinking liquor is a “fundamental right.” Especially when alcohol taxes make up 20% of government revenue.

Walmart made a cake bearing the ISIL flag. A customer requested it after the store refused to make a Confederate flag cake.

The New York prison escapees may have used pepper to throw police dogs off their scent. The trick was used in the film Cool Hand Luke.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Indian whiskey, and bristlemouth recipes 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.