Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Cairo clashes, European GDP, China’s foreign auto crackdown, healthy boozing

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What to watch for today

Bloodshed in Egypt. Security forces began a violent crackdown on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, killing dozens in a camp in Cairo and arresting several leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bahrain warns protesters. The government said it will “forcefully confront” democracy activists planning to take to the streets on the anniversary of the failed “Pearl Revolution” of 2011 and tightened security in several towns and villages to deter potential protesters.

Israel and Palestine talk, but keep expectations low. Negotiations resumed and prisoners were released, but Israel’s decision to expand settlements in East Jerusalem may hinder any real progress.

Power games in the Pacific. The Philippines will hold talks with the US about bolstering military cooperation and increasing American troop presence on the islands. The move may help both countries strengthen their influence in the region’s contested waters, but China is expected to protest.

Mixed earnings. US retail giant Macy’s should report higher earnings and offer some clues about how Americans will spend this fall. Networking giant Cisco is set to report strong numbers, thanks to North American markets. Farm equipment maker John Deere’s earnings are likely to take a hit thanks to dropping crop prices.

While you were sleeping

Europe’s longest recession since World War II ended. The 17-country euro area grew 0.3% in the April to June period. France and Germany set the tone earlier in the day, both reporting better than expected economic growth—0.7% in Germany and 0.5% in France.

UK unemployment fell, barely. Second quarter figures showed that there were 4,000 fewer jobless Britons in the three months to June, slow progress in an economy where 2.51 million people remain out of work.

China set its sights on foreign car makers. The country’s top economic planner instructed an auto industry body to begin collecting data on car sales (paywall) by foreign companies in China, in the latest extension of a multiple-industry probe into unfair pricing practices.

Tencent’s marketing costs cut profit. China’s internet giant reported an 18.4% rise in second quarter profit, to 3.7 billion yuan ($604 million), but missed estimates as advertising costs for its messaging service WeChat hit earnings.

An explosion in India. A naval submarine blew up while docked in a Mumbai port (paywall) early Wednesday morning, trapping at least 18 sailors. It is not yet clear what caused the blast or whether the sailors have survived.

Cathay Pacific’s big miss. The airline eked out a $HK24 million ($3.1 million) profit for the first half of the year, but fell way short of expectations due to decreased cargo volume and low business-class demand.

Tata Steel stock surged. Shares in India’s top steel producer jumped the most in four years as profit for the three months to June nearly doubled, thanks to recovering demand in Europe.

SingTel beat the odds. Southeast Asia’s biggest phone company reported a rise in quarterly profit to S$1.01 billion ($797 million) but a 5.3% fall in sales as the Singaporean company expands into regional markets.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on why a proposed Indonesian ban on exporting maids to the rest of the world won’t put an end to the practice. “The government wants to set up a formal work scheme where foreign employers hire workers for specific tasks like cooking and babysitting rather than to be a household’s catch-all servant. Given that over one in ten Indonesians live in poverty, it’s likely that many will go through informal, as well as formal, channels to keep finding work abroad.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Japan must press ahead with tax reform. The temptation to hold off on a sales tax increase is a mistake (paywall).

There is a coming wave of privatization in China. However difficult the transition, it is necessary to fix China’s bloated state finances .

It is a good time to re-think presidential politics. With ludicrously long campaigns and distorted primary voting, there is a lot that can be done to improve the system.

Internet tycoons herald a new era of innovation. Whether you call them vain or visionary, people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are driving futuristic tech.

Surprising discoveries

The unsocial network. Spending time posting and sharing on Facebook decreases the amount of meaningful real-life interactions people have.

Facial recognition. Google Glass could help facilitate emotional understanding in people with autism.

Miniature globetrotters. Large numbers of ants are being accidentally shipped around the world, establishing new colonies that could terrorize people and ecosystems.

Calorie math. Moderate alcohol drinkers gain less weight over time than people who abstain entirely (paywall).

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

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