Quartz Daily Brief—Morsi defies ultimatum, Snowden rejects Putin, Russian rocket explodes

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What to watch for today

New deadline for Greece. The country has three days to reassure the EU and IMF that it can reform its public sector under the terms of the international bailout in order to receive the next tranche of aid.

US auto sales. Carmakers are projected to finish the first half of 2013 on a strong note, selling more cars last month than any previous June since 2007. Factory orders for May will also be released.

America’s biggest alcohol company reports. Constellation Brands is expected to post a 1% rise in per-share earnings and a 6% increase in revenue. A $4.5 billion deal with Grupo Modelo, which took Constellation to number one, was closed at the very end of the quarter.

Mozilla out-Googles Google. The first smartphones running on Mozilla’s new mobile operating system, based on the Firefox web browser, are on sale in Spain. It’s a step ahead of what Google’s doing, but Google probably doesn’t care.

While you were sleeping

Edward Snowden can stay in Russia—but he won’t. President Vladimir Putin said the NSA whistleblower’s asylum request would be granted if he would “stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners. In response, Snowden withdrew his asylum application, though 20 others are still pending.

Morsi defies ultimatum from Egypt’s generals. Tensions are high after the army issued a 48-hour deadline for Egypt’s president to reconcile with protesters but Morsi refused, saying he would adhere to his own schedule.

Russian rocket crashes at takeoff. An unmanned Proton-M booster rocket carrying three navigation satellites into orbit crashed in a fiery explosion shortly after takeoff. There were no injuries.

Australian central bank signals. The Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates at a record low of 2.75%, but said there may be room for a future cut given the outlook for inflation—which would put the bank right in the middle of an upcoming election.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why seven of the ten least affordable cities in the world are in China. ”Policies to curb housing inflation aren’t working. That’s worrying news for the government; housing prices are a major source of public resentment. The danger isn’t just the threat of popular unrest, though: It’s that soaring property prices make people feel less wealthy and less inclined to consume. And that’s exactly what the government needs them to do in order to wean the economy off its dependency on exports and credit-driven investment. Read more here.

Matters of debate

We aren’t growing enough food to feed the world. Expect big problems by 2050.

The biggest threat to Hong Kong’s AAA rating is China. It is becoming increasingly exposed to the mainland’s ill health.

Big data is overrated. Correlations and statistics are great, but sometimes gut instinct is too.

The losing battle to keep the internet free and open. It’s becoming more accountable to corporate shareholders than citizens.

Apple needs the iWatch more than you do. The gadget could help Apple arrest its stock’s fall.

Surprising discoveries

Human head transplants are now possible, thanks to advances in reconnecting severed spinal cords.

Babies know when a cuddle is coming. They tense up to prepare.

A mere 75 people dominate Bitcoin. Most owners barely trade at all.

Ecuador’s florists get Snowden’d. The US delayed eliminating tariffs on imports of roses worth about $250 million a year after Ecuador toyed with offering the NSA leaker asylum.

The forthcoming cheap iPhone is hideous. Or lovely, if you like candy-colored smartphones.

Hitler had 15 food tasters. One recalls how good the food was and how terrified they all were.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cuddle alerts and transplant donor cards to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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