Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—German aid to Greece, earnings deluge, a Russian takedown, wooden batteries

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What to watch for today

India’s big food aid plan. The school food program that led to the poisoning death of 21 children serves 110 million people. How will the tragedy affect a planned rollout of a much more ambitious initiative that aims to feed 800 million?

Germany to offer Greece support. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble is expected to offer €100 million ($131 million) in aid, after the Greek parliament narrowly approved new austerity measures in a late night vote.

The Dell saga drags on. A shareholder vote on the $24.4 billion buyout offer by a group including company founder Michael Dell is scheduled to take place today but may be delayed to give him more time to win support. Billionaire shareholder Carl Icahn, who opposes the buyout, argued against the delay.

Earnings deluge. Google and Microsoft are forecast to release healthy second-quarter numbers, thanks to online ad revenue at Google and enterprise software at Microsoft. Other corporate earnings due out include Morgan Stanley, Nokia and Verizon Communications.

South Africa: to hike or not to hike? Economists expect the central bank, battling anemic growth and high inflation, to leave its benchmark rate unchanged for now at 5%, a four-decade low.

While you were sleeping

The downfall of Alexei Navalny. The prominent Russian opposition politician and activist was convicted of stealing 10,000 tonnes of timber on Thursday, and handed a five year prison sentence. Navalny and his supporters insist that the charges were fabricated to prevent him from running for Moscow mayor, as a guilty verdict will preclude him from holding any political office.

A troika of earnings misses. Ericsson, the Stockholm-based maker of wireless equipment, lost out to Chinese competitor Huawei in the second quarter of 2013, posting fairly flat sales of $8.4 billion, below analyst estimates. Meanwhile, business management software maker SAP reported its first sales decline in over three years and Dutch paint and chemical manufacturer AkzoNobel NV, owner of Dulux, lowered its forecasts to reflect deteriorating economic growth in key markets. Stocks in all three companies fell.

Supremo bribe scandal. Formula One boss Ernie Ecclestone, known as “Supremo” in racing circles, was indicted by a German court for bribery. Prosecutors say he paid a German banker $50 million for facilitating the sale of a stake in Formula One to a specific company and ignoring other potential options.

Panama sought UN help. It will open a seized North Korean ship to UN inspectors to establish whether the ship was breaching international sanctions when its crew attempted to sail the Panama Canal with a secret cargo of missile parts and two MiG-21 jet fighters, surrounded by bags of sugar. North Korea urged Panama to return its ship, even as the latter charged the ship’s crew.

Bumi agrees to split with Indonesia’s Bakrie Group. The London-based coal producer has had a long ownership dispute with the Bakries, and will put forward a proposed $501 million sale of its 29.2% stake in Bumi Resources to shareholders in the autumn.

India will add 50,000 troops to its border with China. The move is a sign of India’s increased perception of military threat from China, particularly over a disputed mountainous border area where a standoff occurred earlier this year. Actual deployment is unlikely to take place soon, however, due to funding constraints.

Nelson Mandela turned 95 in hospital. The ailing former South African leader and anti-Apartheid icon is still in a serious condition, but appears to be stable.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gina Chon and Simone Foxman on Morgan Stanley’s identity crisis: “It has long been known as an investment banking powerhouse, often going head to head with Goldman Sachs in several areas such as mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings. But Morgan Stanley’s investment banking operations have faded a bit from the spotlight and its trading arm had been disappointing though is staging a comeback, while its wealth management arm is getting more attention—and seeing more success. Overall, Morgan Stanley hasn’t completely adjusted to the world after the financial crisis. In Wall Street’s map of the world, the bank is in something of a no-man’s land.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The choice of America’s next central bank boss is marred by sexism. The debate around Janet Yellen is proof.

We need partisan journalism. We should care less about where Glenn Greenwald has come from and more about where he, and others, could lead us.

India’s free school lunch program should be saved, despitethe deaths of 21 children this week.

Surprising discoveries

The British Empire had a PRISM-like program once. No telegram too mundane.

Engineers have created a battery made of wood. It’s surprisingly high-tech.

Talking about yourself stimulates the same part of the brain as sex and cocaine. No wonder 60% of conversations are about ourselves.

Lessons from babies in go-carts. It turns out a fear of heights is learned by moving ourselves around (though the babies weren’t driving).

The CIA wants to know how to control the climate. It is funding a study into geo-engineering—perhaps so it can send a lightning storm into Edward Snowden’s hotel room.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, organic batteries and favorite things to discuss about yourself to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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