Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Shell’s surprise CEO, B-school fire sale, China food inflation

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What to watch for today

Emerging markets drag the world down. The International Monetary Fund is likely to cut its global growth forecast for 2013 because of a slowdown in the emerging markets.

BlackBerry faces irate shareholders. Executives will face tough questions about the company’s future at its annual meeting in Ontario.  Some investors have called for a sale of the company or its individual parts after disappointing sales last week.

South Sudan turns two. But the economy of the world’s youngest country is still in critical condition.

While you were sleeping

Shell’s surprise CEO. Relatively unknown refining chief Ben van Beurden will replace outgoing chief executive Peter Voser.

Britain’s unexpectedly poor manufacturing data.  Output dropped in pharmaceuticals and metals, calling the strength of the UK recovery into question.

An A-list B-school sold itself. Stung by diminished demand for two-year MBA degrees, the Thunderbird School of Global Management sold its campus to a for-profit college operator for $52 million. The school’s alumni, which include a number of Fortune 500 CEOs, are “firmly against” the move.

Egypt set out a plan for parliamentary elections. Elections will be held within seven months, but that’s unlikely to appease Islamist parties after 51 protesters were killed and hundreds wounded.

Chinese inflation. Consumer prices increased more than expected in June, up 2.7% from a year earlier, making it unlikely that China’s central bank will introduce further economic stimulus. Food prices led the increases, pointing to China’s structural problems with feeding its people.

Barnes & Noble’s CEO resigned. William Lynch is a casualty in the company’s unsuccessful bid to compete in the e-reader and tablet markets. B&N’s Nook digital division may soon be split from the company’s physical book stores.

Shanghai invited in foreign banks. Beijing has reportedly sanctioned the establishment of foreign-owned bank subsidiaries into Shanghai’s free trade zone, which China’s leaders hope to turn into a commercial and trade hub to rival Hong Kong.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is unbowed. Despite international outrage over the Rana Plaza factory collapse, garment exports rose 16% to $2.7 billion in June from a year earlier.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on what China’s probe into dairy price-fixing really means for foreign firms. “Though the government’s complaint is that milk powder has gone up 30% in price since 2008, when tainted formula killed six babies, this probably isn’t just about price […] What the government is really after is ‘industry consolidation.’ This is Chinese Communist Party-speak for squeezing out hard-to-regulate smaller players, while underwriting acquisitions by ‘national champion’ state-owned enterprises.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Universities shouldn’t be tax exemptIf governments want to subsidize education—and they should—then why not actually spend the money on education.

Snowden deserves an immediate presidential pardon. History will probably be kinder to the American than to his pursuers

Why Brazil’s middle classes are protesting.  They’re still struggling to make ends meet.

Be loved first, then be feared. What research shows managers should know about Machiavelli’s famous conundrum.

Eliot Spitzer could keep Wall Street in check by turning the city’s pension funds into the country’s angriest activist investor. Put another way, “having a mouthy, obnoxious, pushy jerk for Comptroller is going to be important.”

Surprising discoveries

Mitt Romney is huge in Kenya. Or at least his old campaign T-shirts are.

Smogosphere. Air pollution in northern China has lowered life expectancy by an average of 5.5 years.

Osama bin Laden was stopped for speeding in Pakistan. His driver managed to smooth it over.

Scorched earth IT policy. The US Department of Commerce destroyed $170,000 of computer equipment, including mice, to root out a piece of malware.

Life beneath a glacier. A buried lake supports a thriving ecosystem two miles beneath the surface of Antarctica.

Russia’s fleet of floating nuclear plants. The reactors will provide electricity to remote areas by 2016.

For the calendar

3D Printing: beyond the hype. What is it actually good for?
Wednesday, July 16 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Presented by General Assembly and Quartz, 902 Broadway, New York

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, torched IT equipment and China smog pictures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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