Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—America’s jobs tally, Greek bank reopenings, the US-Cuba rapprochement, guacamole rage

What to watch for today

The US jobs report leads into a holiday weekend. Analysts expect that the Labor Department’s monthly figures, out a day early due to the country’s Independence Day holiday, will show a 0.1% drop in the unemployment rate in June to 5.4%, and the addition of 230,000 jobs. Adding to a strong jobs report in May, June’s numbers may give the Federal Reserve more reason to hike interest rates in September.

Greek banks reopen for pensioners. Following the closure of Greek banks due to panic sparked by its deepening debt crisis, 850 of the country’s bank branches expect to reopen to pay out pensions. On July 1, EU creditors reacted coolly to prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s plan for compromise.

Libya toils over its protracted conflict. Abdullah al-Thinni, the internationally-recognized Libyan prime minister, meets with his opponents in Malta during UN-sponsored peace talks. He said he hoped to reach a power-sharing agreement with the armed alliance that took over the western part of the country last year.

The Iran nuclear talks drag on. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, will meet with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to help reach an accord between Iran and six global powers, after negotiators extended their deadline on June 30 by one week.

While you were sleeping

A Toyota executive resigned after being arrested for smuggling painkillers into Japan. Julie Hamp, the public relations chief of Toyota and the company’s first senior female executive, has resigned after being detained for illegally importing prescription painkillers into Japan. Hamp, who has denied culpability, has not yet been charged. She has been in custody in Japan—where it’s legal to hold suspects for up to 23 days—since June 18.

The United States is investigating airfare price collusion. The US Department of Justice is investigating the pricing practices of airlines as part of an antitrust investigation, the Associated Press reports. According to the AP the investigation is trying to determine whether airlines have colluded to slow their rate of expansion as part of a scheme to keep airfares high.

Europe’s migrant crisis hit a new record, as 137,000 people cross the Mediterranean. The migrant crisis in Europe has reached a dire new milestone: in the first six months of 2015, 137,000 people crossed the Mediterranean searching for refuge from war, persecution and poverty, according to a new United Nations report—that’s an astounding 83% increase from the same period last year.

The US and Cuba restored diplomatic ties after 54 years… President Obama announced that the US and Cuba will open embassies in their respective countries later this month in a historic step to restore relations between the two countries after 54 years.

… and Cuba became the first country to officially eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission. The World Health Organization announced on June 30 that Cuba has become the first country in the world to stamp out the transmission of HIV and syphilis from a mother to her child. The country provides basic healthcare to its citizens free of charge.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer on Apple’s new music streaming service. “What makes Apple Music interesting is the “humanities” aspect. And the best, most memorable example so far is Apple’s experiment with radio. In the age of sterile, algorithmic automation, Apple has launched a high-profile, global radio station—Beats 1—powered by humans with personalities, led by former BBC jock Zane Lowe.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Greece is a “demerging economy.” With its entry into the EU, the country emerged from a poor dictatorship and then declined by abusing cheap borrowing.

Addiction is not a disease. And maintaining that it is could be harmful, according to one neuroscientist.

Airheads and Lunchables are the worst-tasting foods in the world. An Italian tastes and promptly rejects the taste of American junk food.

The London Pride ISIL dildo flag was meant to be a political statement, not a joke. Contrary to media reports, it was neither an actual ISIL banner, nor a laughing matter.

Peas and guacamole don’t mix. That’s the overwhelming response to a New York Times recipe that dared to suggest the pairing.

Surprising discoveries

Mark Zuckerberg’s dream is for Facebook to read and send your thoughts. And its mysterious algorithms are laying the groundwork.

A robot killed a Volkswagen worker in Germany. The company said the incident was not due to a technical defect.

Donald Trump is going strong in presidential polls. Thanks to old and conservative Americans.

There are shockingly few impact craters on the surface of the Earth. The planet has 126 of them, which pales in comparison to other bodies in our solar system.

Eye color could be linked to alcohol dependence. People with blue eyes may be particularly vulnerable.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, scathing critiques of Lunchables, and Facebook-transmitted thoughts to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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