Good Morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Pessimism in Japan? The government Economy Watchers Survey for June, a key indicator of short-term economic sentiment in Japan, will be published. The survey showed a drop in confidence in the last two months.
Greece’s latest last-ditch bailout deal. Euro-zone finance ministers decide whether to release a €6.3 billion ($8.1 billion) installment of rescue funds. Greece’s finance minister said he was “optimistic” about reaching a deal with the troika of European lenders; EU commissioner Olli Rehn gave it a slightly more lukewarm “reasonable chance.”
Trade and surveillance talks. US-EU discussions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership begin, though divisions remain on issues like regulation of financial services firms (paywall). European officials will also want to bring up recent revelations that the US has been spying on them.
US earnings season kicks off. Alcoa’s second-quarter revenues are expected to decline to $5.92 billion, but earnings per share are forecast to improve slightly. Though it’s no longer considered a bellwether, details of Alcoa’s sales in the many industries that use aluminium could still prove interesting.
US Congress returns from recess. The immigration reform passed last month by the Senate is unlikely to get through the House of Representatives in its current form. Other contentious issues include student loan interest rates and the farm bill, which includes $800 billion in food aid for poor Americans.
Over the weekend
And Egypt’s new prime minister is… Not liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei, says the president’s office, backtracking on an earlier statement, although he will be nominated as a vice prime minister. Islamists and secularists (paywall) have reached a tentative agreement to put forward the Social Democratic Party’s Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, a London-trained economist.
Portugal patched up its political crisis. Paulo Portas, the leader of the junior party in the governing coalition, was bumped up to deputy prime minister and given the job of coordinating economic policies and the relationship with the troika. Portas’ resignation as foreign minister last week spooked European markets.
Two Chinese teens killed in San Francisco plane crash. A South Korean jetliner burst into flames upon landing on Saturday, killing two—including one possible run over by emergency services crews—and injuring 180. Public flight data shows that the Boeing 777 was flying lower than normal before touchdown.
Music to Carlos Slim’s ears. The Mexican telecoms tycoon invested $40 million in music-recognition app Shazam, reportedly valuing (paywall) the UK-based company at $400 million. Slim’s América Móvil will pre-install the app in the smartphones it sells in Latin America.
North and South Korea made headway, reacahing a tentative agreement to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Park about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of the border. Work at the factory, which is a major source of income for the North, was halted by Kim Jong-un’s regime earlier this year.
China corruption verdict. An ex-rail minister was given a suspended death sentence—usually commuted to life in prison—for bribery and abuse of power. Liu Zhijun was found guilty of handing out promotions and government contracts in exchange for $10.5 million in bribes.
Quartz obsession interlude
Christopher Mims on why every major consumer-electronics firm is working on a smart watch. “Analysts are declaring 2013 the year of the smart watch, and seem sure that an entirely new product category is about to be born. Watches are already a $60-billion-a-year business worldwide, so perhaps the Rolexes and Seikos of the world could see new competition from a motley crew of manufacturers usually associated with PCs, smartphones and televisions.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Priests should not drive fancy cars. Pope Francis says to “choose a more humble one.”
American consumers are under too much pressure. They shoulder a heavy economic burden for the rest of the world, and may not be up to the task (paywall).
Fascism is on the rise in Greece. But Athens is a long way yet from 1930s Berlin.
Free-trade charade. The two regional trade agreements that US is working on will only serve the special interests in the West.
DIY: Drone it yourself. Anything can be turned into a drone if you have the right kit.
Bullets in America are so scarce that people are making their own. They call it “reloading.”
The secret to making meetings more productive: more discussions and fewer presentations.
The “buzz” that makes things go viral. Scientists discover the regions of the brain that help ideas spread.
All those cheap tables add up. IKEA uses a staggering 1% of the world’s wood every year.
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