Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—China’s dismal trade data, European bailout wrangling, death of a Fukushima hero

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What to watch for today

Who gets to control European bailouts? An EU commissioner will propose that Brussels should have sole control of bank bailouts (paywall) and restructuring in the euro zone. Germany is against the “Single Resolution Mechanism,” arguing it would violate member country treaties.

Ben Bernanke’s tea leaves scrutinized. Given the US Federal Reserve’s recent hints about tapering its asset purchases, all eyes will be on the chairman’s speech at the National Bureau of Economic Research conference. And also on minutes of the June 18-19 Fed meeting, released today.

Another rate hike in Brazil? The central bank is expected to raise benchmark rates by 50 basis points to 8.5% as part of its efforts to rein in inflation.

Smithfield’s CEO to face lawmakers. Larry Pope will appear before the Senate Agricultural Committee to answer questions about intellectual property and product safety in Smithfield’s $4.7 billion sale to the Chinese pork producer Shuanghui.

Yum! Brands’ problems in China. The fast-food behemoth is likely to report a 19% drop in earnings and a 7.6% fall in sales in the second quarter. The key question is how badly the owner of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut has been hit in China by bird flu and quality problems with its chicken suppliers.

While you were sleeping

Burberry’s bling. The luxury retailer posted better-than-expected first-quarter sales, up 18% thanks to double-digit growth in Hong Kong, China, and the Americas.

China’s atrocious trade figures. Exports fell 3.1% in June and imports were down by 0.7%, falling far short of analyst predictions. The data don’t bode well for next week’s Q2 GDP figures, which could fall short of the government’s 7.5% target.

The man who led Fukushima’s meltdown battle has died. Masao Yoshida, who selflessly stayed to direct staff at the Japanese nuclear facility in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, succumbed to cancer at age 58. Fukushima’s operator claimed that radiation was not the cause.

Greenwald says Snowden is Venezuela-bound. The Guardian journalist talked again with NSA leaker Edward Snowden and said he will likely accept asylum in Venuzuela because it’s best suited to protect him.

Thailand’s rate cuts are over. The Thai central bank held rates steady after four cuts in the last two years, in part because the hot money that fueled the recent rise in the baht has ebbed, as in many emerging markets.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how carbon emissions are falling, but not because of worries about climate change. “In the US, CO2 emissions have fallen to 1994 levels, and president Barack Obama vows to cut them even further. But the main cause of the fall thus far has not been climate policy, but more efficient vehicles, less driving, and a shift to cheap natural gas in power plants… In both China and India, the main reason is financial—neither the governments nor companies can afford to keep subsidizing natural gas consumption.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Egypt’s aid should not be cut. If the US declares a coup took place and slashes billions in funding, it will only make things worse.

Strict regulations get the credit for Asiana’s low death toll. But that approach needs protecting.

The US is in a no-win position in Syria. Maybe it’s time to learn a few lessons from Russia.

China will create jobs in the US. Thanks to its surging import demand over the next five years.

In the office, ego is the enemy. Executives throw good money after bad because they don’t want to be seen as failures.

Surprising discoveries

Putin runs federally-guarded safe houses so his cronies can avoid the plebs. Apartments are $50 million each.

Painting junk food makes you happy. And it’s healthier than eating it.

Most rap musicians lie about their wealth. At least in their rap lyrics.

Legos by UNICEF. A proposal to package relief supplies inside giant stackable bricks.

Why toothpaste makes orange juice taste bad. A chemical in toothpaste makes taste buds more sensitive to bitter flavors.

Indians get the world’s highest pay rises. But most of them are eaten up by inflation.

What fun it is being in the Chinese military police! They train by playing video games and improve morale using “smile walls.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Lego emergency shelters and favorite wealthy rap lies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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