Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Fed-related market jitters, Manning’s sentencing, Egypt’s aid, the unexpected power of thought

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What to watch for today

Emerging markets nervously watch the Fed… The recent emerging market sell-off could intensify when minutes of the US central bank’s July meeting are released if they suggest that policy hawks who want a quicker end to the Fed’s $85-billion-a-month asset purchase program have the upper hand. Asian stocks started the day down.

…and their own economic data. South African inflation is likely rise to 6.2% in July, above the central bank’s comfort range of 3-6%. Malaysia’s GDP should show growth, but weak exports may push the current account towards a deficit. The rand has already fallen 17% this year against the dollar, while the ringgit has lost close to 7%.

Bradley Manning’s sentence. The 25-year-old army private may face a prison sentence of up to 90 years for passing classified US military files to the website Wikileaks. In July he was convicted on 20 counts, including espionage and theft.

The US housing recovery continues. A reported rise in sales of existing homes is expected on Wednesday, even though mortgage rates have also edged up. If data on Friday show that new housing starts are also up, overall US home sales could hit a three-year high.

Earnings roundup. Hewlett-Packard is likely to report muted earnings as PC sales continue to shrink. Heineken, the world’s number three brewer, is set to report improved performance (paywall) as people buy more high-end beer. China Telecom and US retailers Staples and Target will also report.

While you were sleeping

The US denied reports that aid to Egypt was cut. Washington said it would take a tougher stance on the country’s bloodstained interim government, but said there is unlikely to be any immediate decision on the $1.23 billion in military assistance it gives to Egypt and $241 million in economic aid. Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt’s interim vice-president before he resigned in protest, is being sued for “betrayal of trust” and a court will review a petition for the release of former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Japan raised Fukushima’s danger level. Recent leaks of contaminated water from Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant have forced officials to raise warning levels to three, a classification used for a “serious” radiation incident.

China set to show live feed of Bo’s trial to reporters. In an unusual move, former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai’s trial on Thursday will be shown to a small number of reporters in a hotel in Jinan, according to a Chinese newspaper that also said reporters would be allowed to use microblogging services. However, the disgraced Chinese politician could face a secret first hearing on more sensitive charges on Thursday.

Kodak made it out of bankruptcy. A US court approved the company’s move from bankruptcy (paywall) status, clearing the way for a reorganization plan but upsetting groups representing pensioners and shareholders who are likely to lose out.

US retailers had mixed results. Home Depot beat analyst expectations thanks to the US housing recovery. Best Buy had its best quarterly profits in two years as cost-cutting bore fruit. However, JC Penney’s losses widened in a quarter marked by management turmoil. And Barnes & Noble disappointed investors: earnings plunged, the chairman halted his plans to buy out the firm’s bookstores, and the company U-turned, saying it would continue making its Nook e-readers.

More details on UK dealings with the Guardian. Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the country’s top civil servant to contact the Guardian newspaper after initial revelations about US surveillance operations were published, eventually leading to the destruction of some computer equipment owned by the paper.

Quartz obsession interlude

Todd Woody on why California’s oil industry has shot itself in the foot. “The oil industry had seemed on the verge of defeating attempts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in California. But revelations that some oil companies were already using the technology (which involves injecting chemical-laced water under high pressure to break up rock formations containing oil and natural gas) off the coast of southern California have revived a campaign to impose strict controls on it.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US should back Egypt’s military. If the Muslim Brotherhood wins, say goodbye to the peace treaty with Israel (paywall) and stability in Sinai.

Supporting Egypt’s military is a false choice. The generals are making things worse and do not offer a choice between anarchy and order.

Emerging markets are not on the brink of collapse. The fallout of Federal Reserve’s tapering will only be a short-term bump (paywall).

Tunisia’s president could be the next to fall. Events in Egypt could push Tunisia’s already shaky government over the edge.

Surprising discoveries

There are seven confirmed cases of the CIA overthrowing governments. Here they are on a map.

The Chinese city of Shenzhen will fine inaccurate toilet users. Missing the urinal could cost men $16.

Going in and out of air conditioning all the time does cause colds. It lowers the immune system and makes people more vulnerable to viruses (paywall).

You can actually think yourself stronger. There’s evidence that raising your expectations can extend your cognitive and physical abilities.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, evidence of CIA-instigated coups and substitutes for air conditioning to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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