Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Egypt protests, Dell’s drop, Singapore’s exports, accidental NSA spying

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What to watch for today

Egyptian turmoil. With over 600 dead in Cairo and thousands more injured, Muslim Brotherhood leaders called on Egyptians to take to the streets after noon prayers on Friday to oppose the violence. The UN urged the government to show “maximum restraint” during the march, which could attract millions.

Promising signs for the US housing market. The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index is expected to hit a six-year high in August.  That, along with historically low interest rates, is expected to push construction of new homes higher in July.

Steve Jobs biopic hits US theaters. A much anticipated movie about the Apple founder has been panned by critics, but that shouldn’t stop legions of Apple fans from thronging to see it.

China to probe US IT giants: China’s Ministry of Public Security will investigate IBM, Oracle and EMC after allegations that the US’s National Security Agency spied on Chinese universities.

While you were sleeping

US data could may lead the Fed to tighten monetary policy. New unemployment benefit claims fell to a near six-year low, while consumer price inflation showed the largest bump since February, which could encourage the Federal Reserve to taper bond buying.

L’Oreal does a China deal. The world’s largest cosmetics maker will buy Chinese facial mask producer Magic Holdings International for HK$6.54 billion ($843 million), part of planned expansion in Asia.

A double-whammy for Dell. Second-quarter earnings tumbled 72%, but beat expectations. Sales at the PC division fell 5%, bolstering founder Michael Dell’s argument that the company would be better off in private hands. Separately, Reuters reports that NSA leaker Edward Snowden downloaded classified information while working for Dell.

Syrian hackers hit media websites. The Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for cyber-attacks on the Washington Post, CNN and Time sites. It found a way in by hacking Outbrain, a service web publishers use to recommend content from other websites.

Singapore’s exports fell. The city state’s non-oil exports declined 0.7% in July, with electronics taking the brunt of losses, down 7.6% compared to the same period a year earlier. Excluding electronics, exports rose 3%.

Conrad Black settled, banned from US boards. The former press baron and head of Hollinger International will pay $4.1 million and is barred from acting as a director in a US company after being convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007.

An explosion in Beirut. In another sign that violence is Syria is spreading across the region, a bomb exploded in a busy Hezbollah-dominated district of Beirut, killing at least 16 and injuring over 200.

Quartz obsession interlude

Roberto A. Ferdman on why Mexico’s president may quietly be planning to surrender more of the oil industry than his countrymen think. “Not allowing foreign companies to own the oil means Peña Nieto can still tell nationalists, for whom oil is sacrosanct, that the country hasn’t relinquished its precious reserves… Except there seems to be a catch. Peña Nieto appears to have said one thing, but written another. ’If you actually look at the wording of the constitutional reform, it leaves the possibility of production-sharing open,’ director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, Duncan Wood, told Quartz.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Alternative investments are “like giving a six-year-old a circular saw.” Billions of dollars are once again pouring into complex products that not everyone understands.

The White House’s response to Egypt’s massacre was “feckless.” All it does is confirm to young jihadists that America revels in hypocrisy.

The age of 3D piracy is almost here. Thanks to a rise in cheap 3D printers, there are even start-ups with names like Pirate3D.

Austerity didn’t help Europe’s recovery. The credit should go to the ECB for becoming the lender of last resort.

Surprising discoveries

The consequence of a typo. The NSA accidentally intercepted a “large number” of calls from Washington, D.C. in 2008 because they mistook the 202 calling code with 20 for Egypt.

Birth order can influence who you are. From personality to health and sexuality, your place in line helps shape you.

Meet the newest carnivore in the Americas. The newly-discovered olinguito looks like a mix between a cat and a teddy bear and lives in the high cloud forest of the Andes mountains.

Reading France’s economy in the flea markets. To learn where things are headed, ignore economists and ask people who sell old junk.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, 3D pirate jokes and olinguito sightings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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