Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Dell in court, Japanese GDP, Sanofi and Novartis under fire, Martian spinach

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What to watch for today

Egyptian escalation. Police are expected to start breaking up camps set up in Cairo by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Western and Arab mediators have asked the army to avoid further bloodshed by refraining from using force against the protesters.

US economy’s magic eight ball.  Deficit projections in the treasury’s budget Monday will give the markets a clear sense of how much the US government will have to borrow to keep working. The government’s tax receipts will also give investors insight into the state of the economy.

Dell duel heads to court. A Delaware corporate-law tribunal is set to fast-track Carl Icahn’s legal challenge (paywall) to Michael Dell’s $24.8 billion buyout offer. The activist investor argues that recent changes to Dell’s voting rules have robbed shareholders of the right to choose between two competing offers.

Beaching the London Whale. US authorities are planning to arrest two former JP Morgan employees suspected of masking $6.2 billion in trading losses. The employees, Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, could be extradited under an agreement with British authorities.

Over the weekend

Mediocre Japanese growth. The world’s third largest economy grew an annualized 2.6% between April and June, the third straight quarter of growth, although slower than hoped. The pace may be lackluster enough to deter Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from fulfilling a pledge to increase sales taxes.

GM threw in the towel in South Korea. The car-making giant is scaling down production efforts as rising wage costs and unionism cut into profits. South Korea currently accounts for around 20% of GM’s production.

Pharmaceutical giants under fire in Asia. China is reportedly investigating French drug-maker Sanofi for allegedly bribing more than 500 doctors with about 1.7 million yuan ($277,600) in late 2007. Meanwhile in Japan, investigations into Novartis’s research have uncovered attempts to alter data (paywall) in order to produce positive results.

Brazil may go it alone with the EU. After failing to reach a trade deal with the European Union alongside its neighbors—Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay—Brazil will consider negotiating a separate agreement (paywall) for itself. The deal would cover $80 billion of bilateral trade between EU and Brazil.

Israel raises temperature ahead of peace talks. Israel is pushing ahead with plans to build over 1,000 housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and several large West Bank settlements, to Palestinian condemnation, while publishing a list of 26 Palestinian prisoners due to be set free as a condition for talks due to start on Wednesday.

Edward Snowden’s Dad to head to Russia. Lon Snowden and the family’s lawyer will encourage the former intelligence contractor to return to the US to face federal charges for revealing secret American surveillance programs to journalists, if acceptable trial conditions can be negotiated.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the coming deluge of digital currencies and the people who control them. ”Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin or Litecoin are drastically different from social currencies like Ven or the now deceased Facebook Credits. The first kind promise anonymity, have no central exchange mechanism, and their mining requires technical skill and cryptography. The second class are transparent and centralized, and can be created in various ways.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

India’s path to prosperity doesn’t run through cities. Forget grand political proclamations about shifting people from farming; India’s cities can’t cope.

In Washington they come for the politics, but stay for the money. The US capitol transforms idealists into members of the get-rich club.

Is the lab-grown burger kosher? Believers of many faiths wonder whether they can try one.

Spain’s labor reform is starting to yield results. Fewer jobs are being destroyed, but that doesn’t actually mean things are getting better.

Surprising discoveries

Crowd-sourcing a cure for AIDS. Smartphone users can now donate the processing power of their handheld gadgets to the pursuit of scientific discoveries.

The resurgence of developed markets. For the first time since 2007 developed markets contributed more growth to the world economy (paywall) than developing nations.

Who wants to live forever? Most people in the US want to live a little longer than average, but not very much.

Unhappiness can be blamed on society; happiness is your own creation. Demography has an outsize influence on negativity, while joy is self-made.

Popeye on Mars. A team of Greek students have designed a fully automated system to grow spinach on the red planet.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments and thoughts on the morality of lab-grown burgers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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