Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US jobs, Xiaomi’s sales boost, Sweden’s surprise cut, junk food evaluated

What to watch for today

The US jobs report leads into a holiday weekend. Analysts expect the Labor Department’s latest 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 (paywall).

Latin American leaders meet in Peru. The heads of government from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are at a summit to discuss their Pacific Alliance project to better integrate their economies.

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 says he hopes 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 June 30 deadline by a week.

While you were sleeping

Xiaomi announced a major sales boost. The Chinese smartphone maker sold 34.7 million handsets in the first half of 2015, up 33% from a year earlier. The high-spec, low-cost handsets have faced a challenge from Apple though, as sales growth has all but halted since the last half of 2014.

Air France-KLM cut its services to save money. The airline group’s Dutch unit will reduce its seat capacity by 2.8% this winter and speed up its cost-cutting plan. Air France-KLM has struggled after four consecutive years of losses, and has already announced a reduction in destinations and aircraft orders.

Sweden’s interest rate went further into negative territory. The Riksbank made a surprise cut to its base rate, putting it at -0.35%, from -0.25% earlier. The central bank also expanded its bond-buying program to avoid the risk of deflation.

Euro-zone leaders declined further talks with Greece. Finance ministers from euro zone countries will not meet with Greek representatives until after a referendum on Sunday that asks the Greek people to accept or reject cuts proposed by the country’s creditors. A “no” vote would bring the country closer to a Grexit, which could wipe 20% off its GDP (paywall).

A Philippines ferry crash killed at least 36. A passenger ferry carrying 173 capsized in rough waters in Ormoc, in the south of the country; 118 people have so far been rescued. Ferry services are crucial to the Philippines archipelago, but loose regulations have led to a poor safety record.

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

We should use a single global currency. Taking away the power of countries to devalue their currency could make them more responsible.

Removing the Confederate flag is meaningless if black churches are burning. Taking away a symbol doesn’t protect people from violence.

Addiction is not a disease. And maintaining that it is could be harmful.

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

Greece is a “demerging economy.” The country emerged from the aftermath of a dictatorship into the EU but it’s been downhill since then.

Surprising discoveries

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

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

…and then Twitter went crazy over a reporter’s byline. Sarah O’Connor, whose name is similar to a character in the original Terminator movie, reported the story for the Financial Times.

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, Facebook-transmitted thoughts, and where to hide during the imminent robot uprising to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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