Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Obama’s bargain, Manning’s verdict, Zimbabwe’s vote

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What to watch for today

The Fed minds its language. At its policy meeting the US central bank is expected to keep its bond-buying program going, but may tweak its statement to quash rumors of imminent interest-rate rises. Recent Fed pronouncements have confused economy-watchers, businesses, and even robots.

The US economy grows overnight. While second-quarter GDP is expected to have grown at just 0.9% year-on-year, a set of revisions to GDP going back to 1929 will make overall output look about 3% higher. It’s all about whether you count “Seinfeld” as economic activity, apparently.

Management consultants unite? Accenture is in talks to acquire smaller rival Booz & Co., the Wall Street Journal reports.

Zimbabwe goes to the polls. Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai will challenge Robert Mugabe for the presidency for the third time. Mugabe, who has been president since 1980, has vowed to step down if defeated, but Zimbabwe-watchers are not optimistic.

Will Facebook break its IPO share price? The company’s stock has surged in the past week since it reported strong results and progress in developing a mobile ad business. The share price hit $37.96 on Tuesday, just shy of the $38 it debuted at in a May 2012 IPO that was seen as vastly overpriced.

Spotlight on earnings. Comcast, the largest pay-TV company in the US, should show strong numbers on the back of price hikes that helped offset a drop in video subscribers. CBS, in a standoff over fees with Time Warner Cable, expects less impressive earnings due to the slowdown in ad spending. Other big firms reporting include Anheuser-Busch, BNP Paribas, Honda, Diageo, and Bharti Airtel.

While you were sleeping

Obama proposed a grand bargain… The US president offered Republicans a deal: reduced corporate tax rates in exchange for more spending on programs that would create jobs. It probably won’t go through.

…and prepared an Egypt detachment. President Obama asked Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to travel to Egypt next week and negotiate with the country’s leadership. They are expected to put pressure on interim prime minister Adly Mansour to scale back the army’s violent response to protests, and they have leverage: US aid to Egypt amounts to roughly $1.55 billion a year.

Taiwan is more resilient. Its economy beat estimates to grow 2.27% last quarter, even as China’s slowdown reduces demand for Taiwan’s exports.

Bradley Manning’s mixed verdict. The US soldier who sent more than 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks was found not guilty of the most serious charge he faced, aiding the enemy. But he could still get up to 136 years in prison on 20 other counts.

The UN gave an ultimatum to DR Congo rebels. The militarized UN force has been given authorization to use lethal force if the M23 rebel group—accused of killing civilians in and around the city of Goma—does not disarm by 2000 GMT on Thursday.

More North Korean toys discovered. Panamanian officials have found 12 MiG-21 fighter jet engines and five military vehicles in a detained ship that was originally bound for North Korea. The latest find is in addition to two fighter jets and missile radar systems discovered previously.

Quartz obsession interlude

David Yanofsky on why traffic jams are a sign of a healthy economy. “Traffic is used as a proxy for economic activity because it measures people going to work and deliveries being made, according to INRIX. While the capacity of a road changes infrequently, the commerce that transits them fluctuates. Congestion on US roads was up 8.3% from last June, according to data released today.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Israelis need to be shaken out of their escapism. People believe it doesn’t matter if the current peace talks fail.

Generation Y has a heart. Youth support for benefit cuts is not as great as some would have you believe.

The Manning verdict is bad news for Edward Snowden. The US will show no mercy if it gets its hands on the former NSA contractor.

Japan’s conservatives should get over the war. Dogmatic posturing will only spur angry nationalism in East Asia.

The US should suspend aid to Egypt now, not let American military contractors set its foreign policy.

Surprising discoveries

An unexpected fan club for “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The erotic novels are favorites with prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

Free food doesn’t buy you loyalty. Despite having some of the best perks, Google’s staff are quitting at high rates.

The Bank of England helped sell Nazi gold. The central bank admitted that it helped Nazis sell gold plundered from Czechoslovakia just months before the Second World War.

Milking the “cronut” craze. It took less than two months for Dunkin’ Donuts to mass produce the lovechild of the croissant and the donut.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and Dunkin’ Cronuts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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