Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—The yuan appreciates, Greece votes, cook shortages

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What to watch for today

Japan marks the 70th anniversary of its World War II defeat. Prime minister Shinzo Abe is expected to make a speech, and suspense is mounting in South Korea and China over whether he will apologize for the war, as his predecessors have.

A hotly debated vote on the Greek bailout. The Greek parliament is expected approve a new package of economic reforms in exchange for €85 billion in new loans. That’s despite an anti-austerity faction threatening to leave prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party.

The euro zone’s economic update. GDP for the 19 countries in the bloc is expected to have increased by 0.4% in the second quarter, the same as in the first quarter, with growth limited by the Greek economic crisis.

The US reopens its embassy in Cuba. State secretary John Kerry will lead a flag-raising ceremony more than 50 years after the embassy was closed. The same three Marines who took the US flag down in 1961 will hoist it once again.

While you were sleeping

China increased the value of the yuan. The central bank raised the reference rate by 0.05% this morning, after letting it fall by at least 1.1% daily for the past three days. Some analysts called this the end of the rout, suggesting that the yuan had found its new market-defined value, but the currency will still be free to change daily.

The US luxury sector got a boost. Nordstrom, the Seattle-based upscale fashion retailer, reported a second-quarter net profit of $211 million, up from $183 million a year earlier and higher than expectations. The results followed a 4.6% rise in sales; Nordstrom also raised its forecast for the year ahead, sending shares higher.

Five more banks settled with US investors over forex trading. HSBC, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, and BNP Paribas agreed to to pay at least $1 billion between them to end charges of manipulating the foreign exchange currency market. The settlement also requires the banks to cooperate with prosecutors against seven remaining defending banks.

Goldman Sachs bought GE Capital’s online bank. No terms for the deal were disclosed, but the purchase gives the US’s largest investment bank $16 billion in deposits. That’s a small fraction of its $860 billion in assets, but the deal may please critics who want the investment bank to behave more like a universal bank, following the financial crisis. GE has been offloading several of its financial businesses of late.

The maker of “Candy Crush Saga” forecast lower earnings. King Digital reported a second-quarter net income of $119.3 million, down from $165.4 million a year earlier, on lower revenue. The smartphone and social media game maker forecast a further drop this quarter as its most popular title matures, and new releases are delayed.

Quartz obsession interlude

Max Nisen on how one undergrad lost his summer internship at Facebook. ”Arun Khanna found out the hard way that Facebook doesn’t particularly appreciate it when potential employees reveal embarrassing privacy gaps. The Harvard student was all set to be a summer intern at the tech firm until his exposure of a flaw in the company’s Messenger app went viral in a blog post on Medium in May.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The best person to fix a company is the one who created it. Companies in trouble habitually rehire their founding CEOs.

Prison inmates need newspapers. They are a crucial learning tool for people with low literacy skills.

Airbnb is bad for city residents. An increasing number of rental homes are owned by outside investors.

Don’t put Elon Musk on a pedestal. The great-man myth of innovation is hurting the tech industry.

The Paleo diet has carbs all wrong. Cavemen loved and needed carbohydrates just like us.

Surprising discoveries

A South Korean road charges electric vehicles as they drive. It only works with buses at present, but research into the technology is developing fast.

American restaurants are running out of cooks. Entry-level kitchen positions are going unfilled.

Yeast can make opioids. The fungus that gives us bread can be modified to produce prescription painkillers, too.

China’s air pollution kills 4,000 people a day. Particulate matter from coal burning causes heart attacks, cancer, and asthma. 

Donald Trump owns thousands of websites. He even purchased

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, entry-level cooks, and Trump websites to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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