Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Germany on the uptick, unrest in Bahrain and Egypt, the benefits of being left-handed

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What to watch for today

Obama rolls through New York and Pennsylvania. The US president will speak at two schools to drum up support for his proposed overhaul of federal student aid.

Bahrain braces for protests. Inspired by the Egyptians, the main Bahraini opposition groups including Islamists, liberals and nationalists have called for day of pro-democracy protests. The police used tear gas and birdshot to disperse similar protests last week.

So does Egypt. Muslim Brotherhood supporters called for a “Friday of Martyrs,” a week after a heavy-handed crackdown from Egypt’s military killed hundreds, and a day after the country’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was freed from prison pending house arrest.

Brazil’s currency intervention. The central bank will auction $1 billion of dollar loans every Friday, starting today, and offer $500 million of currency swaps per day on the other four days of the week to support its currency.

While you were sleeping

Tepco was slammed by Japan’s regulator. The operator of the leaking Fukushima nuclear power plant was criticized for failing to properly monitor tanks storing contaminated water used to cool the plant’s reactors, a day after more leaks prompted an advisory panel to say it had warned the company weeks before.

Fonterra packed in its Sri Lanka business. The New Zealand dairy company was the target of protests in Sri Lanka after the country reported finding contaminated milk supplies, a charge that Fonterra disputes. Its products have already been removed from nine countries after it said some batches may contain botulism-causing bacteria.

Bo Xilai remained defiant. The trial of China’s fallen Chongqing party chief entered its second day, after a slew of surprises yesterday. Bo, disputing evidence brought by his wife Gu Kailai, said she was mentally ill and pressured by authorities.

Encouraging data from Germany. Europe’s manufacturing center said that consumption and investment improved in the first quarter of this year, with capital investment up 1.9%—the first growth in three quarters—and consumption up 0.5%. GDP grew 0.7% and 0.9% in the first and second quarters respectively. Meanwhile UK Q2 growth was revised upwards to 0.7% from 0.6%.

Israel and Lebanon clashed again. The Israeli air force bombed a militant target inside Lebanon, a day after rockets fired by Islamic radicals were launched at a border city.

The UN intervened in Congo violence. Peacekeeping troops were ordered to protect civilians and prevent a rebel advance at the Rwandan-Congolese border city of Goma, as fighting between M23 rebels and the Congolese military ended on Thursday with shells hitting the city.

Another gang rape in India. A 22-year-old journalist was raped by five men (paywall) in central Mumbai on Thursday, according to Indian police, as the trial of suspects in a similar case that caused nationwide protests draws to a close.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zachary M. Seward, Gina Chon, and Kevin J. Delaney on how Apple plans to bypass cable providers and realize its grand vision for TV. “Apple is negotiating with production studios and networks to provide content for a television set that would emphasize apps over cable TV, according to people familiar with those discussions. Among the companies that have talked to Apple are Disney’s ESPN, Time Warner’s HBO, and Viacom, which owns MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central… Sources say Apple’s strategy could include forming its own pay TV service, essentially becoming a cable company itself, except with content delivered entirely over the internet.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Beginning gender change in prison is a long shot. Chelsea, formerly Bradley, Manning faces a difficult, if not impossible, task.

China’s wine exchange is crashing because 110-proof grain alcohol all tastes the same. An anti-corruption drive and too much speculation killed it.

Data crashes are inevitable and mostly harmless. Information processors like the Nasdaq are lucky they don’t crash more often, and there was little real impact from the  flatline.

Give the people the content they want and they’ll pay for it. Kevin Spacey explains why TV, film and web media need to throw the labels out.

Surprising discoveries

Left-handed people may have more new ideas. Divergent thinking could accompany left-handedness.

Low-tech anti-cheating techniques in Bangkok that work. You’ve heard of CCTV, but what about paper blinkers and cardboard box hats?

Nightmares can actually be caused by the things you eat. Eating spicy or junk food just before bed can prolong the dream state.

The secret to immortality. The reason honey never goes bad—a perfect chemical makeup and a lot of hard work from bees.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cardboard box hats and honey samples to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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