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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Britain’s budget day, Novartis drug approved, Alibaba’s Asian expansion, safer selfies

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The UK gets a new budget. Chancellor George Osborne is expected to cut welfare spending but reduce the tax burden for workers; this budget is the first in almost 20 years that the Conservatives have had total control over.

London Underground workers strike. Trains on all tube lines will stop running from 6:30pm local time and will not resume operations until Friday, following a dispute over evening and weekend shifts. Overland rail lines are bracing for extra travelers.

A trio of cyclones pummels Asia. Tropical Storm Linfa has already brought flooding to the Philippines; Typhoon Chan-Hom is headed toward Taiwan but may also hit the Chinese mainland; and Typhoon Nagka is a potential threat to Japan.

Do China’s stocks have further to fall? Investors are waiting to see if the government will unveil further efforts to halt the markets’ steep slide. More than half of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks have halted trading as they attempt to ride out the decline.

Vladimir Putin hosts a BRICS summit. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa hope to finalize the creation of a joint currency reserve and a development bank, which would counterbalance US- and Europe-dominated institutions in the global economy.

While you were sleeping

Novartis got a major boost from US regulators. The Swiss drugmaker received earlier-than-expected US approval for its new blockbuster heart failure drug Entresto, which is expected to earn $5 billion a year. Entresto is the first new drug in decades to tackle a problem in which the heart cannot pump blood efficiently around the body.

Alibaba expanded its international logistics reach. The Chinese internet conglomerate invested a further S$279 million ($206 million) into Singapore Post as well as a subsidiary that provides e-commerce logistics across the Asia-Pacific region. The deals will help Alibaba achieve international expansion.

UBS and Morgan Stanley passed wealth management milestones. The assets each of the companies manage for the world’s wealthy topped $2 trillion for the first time, according to a Scorpio Partnership report. The two banks are the market share leaders of a $20.6 trillion industry.

Didi Kuaidi raised $2 billion. China’s largest mobile car-hailing service said it may still add a “few” hundred million dollars to the figure. The company, Uber’s much bigger rival in China, now has a $3.5 billion cash pile.

Your daily dose of Iran negotiations: Talks were extended, again, and the news was only conveyed with a memo that hotel room reservations had been changed. A supposed “drop-dead deadline” of July 9 seems unlikely to be met.

Your daily dose of Greek drama: New finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos arrived in Brussels without a new proposal (paywall) to resolve the country’s debt crisis. The European Council warned that real progress must be made this week; this time, they appear to mean it.

Quartz obsession interlude

Annalisa Merelli on former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’s most memorable moments. “In a post on his blog, titled ‘Minister No More!’ Varoufakis announced his decision in his classically no-nonsense tone. His parting line: ‘I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride,’ is already a hit. After resigning, Varoufakis got on his motorcycle and rode away with his wife into the Greek summer.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Europe doesn’t have a debt crisis. It has a democracy crisis.

Stop treating workers like children. For a happy workplace, give staff more authority and strengthen boundaries between work and rest.

“Broken windows” policing should apply to Wall Street. Regulators should crack down on small but obvious transgressions.

Athletic brands are under-utilizing the power of female athletes. Only Nike seems to understand their value.

Smartphones are not ruining children. They are just exasperating their grandparents.

Surprising discoveries

Denver’s marijuana growers are killing the electric grid. They account for 2% of all power consumed in the Colorado city.

The BBC is getting back into the computer business. It’s giving out 1 million “Micro Bits” to teach kids about programming.

Muslim non-profits are raising money to rebuild black churches. They say “all houses of worship are sanctuaries.”

Russian police have published a guide to safe selfies. Too many citizens were attempting foolhardy stunts.

Some iPhone owners are carrying their devices in fake handgun cases. US police think this is a terrible idea.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ballistic iPhone cases, and safe selfie guidelines to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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