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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—Bernanke’s fallout, China’s deepening woes, Google’s failed brainteasers

What to watch for today

Bernanke fallout. Asian and European stocks and bonds did some tapering of their own in response to the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative un-easing plans. The dollar strengthened against emerging market currencies, with the Indian rupee falling to an all-time low. How will US markets react?

Too big to fail? Eurozone ministers will meet to decide how their bailout fund will recapitalize struggling banks, on the theory that clarifying the mechanics will encourage struggling European banks and boost lending.

Salvaging the Afghan peace process. The US scrambled to revive peace talks after the Taliban scored a publicity coup with their newly opened “peace office” in Qatar. Thursday’s previously scheduled talks were cancelled.

Apple’s last chance to woo the judge. Lawyers for Apple and the Justice Department are scheduled to make closing arguments in the trial in Manhattan, where Apple is accused of price-fixing with e-book publishers.

Data deluge. US economic indicators include initial jobless claims, existing home sales, and purchasing managers’ index data.

Oracle’s cloudy future. The business-software giant is expected to post a meager 7% growth in earnings per share and a 2% increase in revenue as it continues to struggle with cloud computing.

While you were sleeping

Big trouble in China. Activity in China’s manufacturing sector slowed to a nine-month low, continuing a steady slump towards recession that has dismayed economists. The overnight interest rate that increasingly skittish Chinese banks charge each other skyrocketed as high as 25%, raising the risk of an economic tailspin.

Let Hong Kong handle Edward Snowden. China’s state-run People’s Daily said Beijing was “unwilling to get involved in other people’s messes,” and the Global Times, another party newspaper, said that extraditing Snowden would be “unwise.”

 

Euro zone improvement. The flash Purchasing Managers’ Index beat expectations to climb to 48.9 in June from 47.7 in May—tantalizingly close to the 50 mark that separates contraction from growth.

Frequent flyer crackdown. United joined its rivals in requiring customers to spend a minimum amount of money to obtain premium status, instead of merely racking up miles.

Sorry about those brainteasers. Google’s job interview questions like “How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?” turned out to be completely useless in screening prospective employees

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on how Amazon is staffing up for the CIA’s $600 million private cloud. “One thing that’s mysterious, and possibly telling, about Amazon’s job announcement for a “Systems Engineer—Government Cleared” is that the location of this job—Herndon, Virginia—may or may not coincide with the location of the CIA’s own cloud computing centers. CIA headquarters is in Langley, but Herndon, about 15 miles to the west, is also thought to be home to a CIA building.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

South Korea needs more failures. The government is trying to change the culture to encourage entrepreneurs.

The G8 pact to stop paying terrorist ransoms won’t work. It isn’t even a very good idea.

Bribery is changing shape in India. Corporate deals are the new conduits, instead of cash.

The most important part of 1984 is the appendix. Big Brother did not get the last word.

Surprising discoveries

Asian man bags are hot. Luxury retailers are betting that men around the world will follow their lead.

Anti-virus video goes viral. John McAfee mocks his old company, and himself.

Batteries as small as a grain of sand. Thanks to 3-D printing and nanotechnology.

HD rocks. NASA just took a billion-pixel photo of Mars.

Isle of the rich. Hong Kong now has more millionaires than Singapore.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, job interview brainteasers, and man purse samples to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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