Skip to navigationSkip to content
STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Greek banks reopen, Barclays staff cuts, Trump offends Republicans, Transylvania blood payments

By Quartz Staff

What to watch for today

Greek banks reopen. Greeks will be able to visit bank branches for the first time in three weeks, but capital controls and restrictions on withdrawals remain in place. A tax increase on restaurant food and public transport will also go into effect; German chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the country must move fast on implementing the new bailout terms.

Cuba and the US officially resume diplomatic relations. Their embassies will reopen for the first time since 1961, marking a new era of engagement for the long-time rivals. But tourists need not fear that “old” Cuba will disappear anytime soon: It’s worth visiting for the bustling art scene, even more than the cigars and classic cars.

David Cameron argues for action against ISIL. The British prime minister will call for airstrikes against the militants in Syria, as well as for an ideological campaign to promote British values against Islamic State propaganda.

PayPal begins trading on the Nasdaq. The online payments company will use the same ticker it traded under before it was acquired by the online auction site eBay in 2002: PYPL. It split from eBay on July 17.

A big week for earnings kicks off. Among the companies reporting today are Morgan Stanley, Halliburton, Hasbro, and IBM. Monetary policy decisions are also expected this week from central banks in Turkey, South Africa, New Zealand, Hungary, and Nigeria.

Over the weekend

Barclays may cut 25% of its staff. The British bank is on course to reduce its staff count to below 100,000, from 132,000 at the end of last year, according to Bloomberg. That figure was derived from previously discussed job cuts but more could still come, after CEO Antony Jenkins was ousted this month.

China slowed the decline of its property market. House prices fell in fewer than half the 70 cities monitored in June for the first time in over a year, as the government lowered borrowing costs and China’s stock market corrected. China’s top-tier cities saw the biggest price gains, while smaller cities struggled.

Racial clashes broke out in South Carolina. Five people were arrested as white supremacists and African-American groups held overlapping demonstrations outside the South Carolina State House, where the Confederate battle flag was removed last week. Amid the violence, however, a moment of humanity stood out.

A car bomb killed at least 90 in Iraq. The suicide attack on Saturday by the Islamic State coincided with Eid ul-Fitr, the celebration of the end of Ramadan. At least 15 children died, and a busy market north of Baghdad was left a crater. Meanwhile, more than 400 suspects were arrested in Saudi Arabia in a crackdown on ISIL.

Gold dropped to its lowest price in six years. The precious metal fell by 5.5% to $1,072.35 per ounce (paywall) after China revealed it is holding less gold than analysts previously believed. The prospect of higher US interest rates also acted against the gold price.

Donald Trump angered the Republican base. The billionaire presidential candidate mocked fellow Republican senator John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, drawing denunciation from his party’s leadership and his rivals. Trump had been riding high in Republican primary polls after his criticism of Mexican immigrants.

Quartz obsession interlude

Thu-Huong Ha on how America’s funniest women are getting raunchier while its funniest men are getting soft. “Comedy would be nothing without transgression, but who is allowed to make these violations is finally shifting. As women comics continue to enter the mainstream, there’s a new market for boundary-pushing jokes that can appeal to both genders, and increasingly it’s women who can do them well.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Black Americans may be dying faster because they sleep less. More than half sleep fewer than seven hours per night.

Capitalism is coming to an end. Technology has ushered in a postcapitalist era characterized by free time and collaborative networks.

Rome is on the verge of collapse. A weak economy, corruption, and neglect have left its monuments and public services in ruin.

Kids can’t be anything they want. Telling them they can be only sets them up to become dissatisfied adults.

Surprising discoveries

A festival in Transylvania is offering entry in return for blood. It hopes to encourage blood donation nationwide.

The Soviet military mapped the entire world in incredible detail. Some maps show features, such as individual streets and buildings, useful for planning an invasion.

Drones hindered efforts to fight a California wildfire. Five amateur drones delayed firefighters’ helicopters (and their large containers of water) for up to 20 minutes.

Researchers can use phone data to tell if you’re depressed. They have an 86% accuracy record.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Soviet maps, and raunchy jokes 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.