Skip to navigationSkip to content
STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Greece default due, China stocks rebound, legalizing polygamy, leap seconds

By Quartz Staff

What to watch for today

Greece’s bailout deal expires… As no deal has been agreed with its creditors, the country is due to default on some of its International Monetary Fund debt later today. Banks remain closed until at least the hastily-called July 5 referendum. But reports suggest that the Greek government may now be reconsidering a last-minute Monday night proposal from the Eurogroup.

…and debt issues brew in Ukraine. The IMF meets with Ukraine’s envoy and creditors in Washington. 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

China plugged its sinking stock market. The Shanghai Composite Index rose by 5.6%, reversing declines earlier in the day. Stocks were boosted after the government announced Chinese pensions would be able to invest 30% of their assets in stocks, and its securities commission issued a statement (paywall) urging investors not to listen to negative “rumors.”

Euro-zone unemployment held steady. The bloc’s jobless rate was 11.1% in June (paywall), unchanged from May’s three-year low. But there are still wild variations: Italy and Germany’s individual rates were 12.4% and 6.4%, respectively; youth unemployment in Spain remains at 50%.

Sony announced a $3.6-billion share sale. The Japanese electronics maker plans to raise 440 billion yen to finance the production of image sensors used in smartphones, a key part of Sony’s revival plan. The company’s share price fell by more than 8% on the news, which was described by some analysts as displaying a “mismatch with market expectations.”

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.

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

Carlos Slim cut ties with Donald Trump. Mexico’s Ora TV, founded by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, canceled a planned joint TV project with the US billionaire and presidential hopeful after his recent derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants. Ora is the third TV company to sever ties with the controversial candidate following his remarks.

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

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.

The travel industry gives us a false sense of security. Countries on the tourist trail can have real and dangerous issues connected to them.

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.

A gorilla in Japan has become a celebrity for being handsome. Crowds are flocking to the Higashiyama Zoo to see the alpha male.

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, bristlemouth, and real-life crimes inspired by classic films to hi@qz.com. 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.