STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Egypt journos jailed, Kerry in Baghdad, China-Japan turnaround, hangover helpers

What to watch for today

A peek into US manufacturing. The Markit purchasing managers’ index is expected to provide some positive news, after jobless rates fell slightly and the Philadelphia Fed Index hinted at increased manufacturing activity last week.

A rebound in US housing. The National Association of Realtors is expected to report that home re-sales rose in May to 4.73 million transactions, up from 4.65 million a month earlier. Home sales, like much of the US economy, had a slow start to the year, but recent figures have indicated the market is strengthening.

A confab on internet governance. ICANN’s 50th global summit kicks off in London amid French calls to reform the group’s structure. The ongoing expansion of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) is also likely to be high on the agenda.

Outrage over Egypt’s journalist jail sentences. An Egyptian court sentenced three Al Jazeera reporters to seven-to-10 year prison terms for aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and reporting false news. Prosecutors presented non-sensical evidence including a TV show about horse welfare and a music video by Gotye.

World Cupdate. Cameroon v Brazil and Croatia v Mexico are both at 4pm EDT.

Over the weekend

Oracle will buy Micros for $5 billion. Larry Ellison’s acquisitive software firm will purchase Micros, a manufacturer of internet-connected cash registers (paywall), for $5 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. If confirmed, the deal would be Oracle’s largest acquisition since its 2010 purchase of Sun Microsystems.

John Kerry arrived in Baghdad… The secretary of state urged Iraqis to bridge the sectarian divide and form a new government. The US has insisted it is not in the business of picking Iraq’s leaders but its support for prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is dwindling (paywall).

…while Iraqi Kurdistan held an oil sale. A million barrels of oil from the autonomous region were delivered to Israel, in defiance of the government in Baghdad. Iraq is suing Turkey, which is the conduit for the oil sales.

Alstom went to GE (and France). The board of Alstom voted to accept a $17 billion offer from General Electric to acquire its gas turbine business and to set up other energy joint ventures. The French state will get a 20% stake in Alstom as part of the deal.

China and Japan ended their factory slowdowns… HSBC’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index for June says China’s factory activity expanded to 50.8 in the month, from 49.4 a month earlier in a strong sign that government stimulus is working. In Japan, the Markit Economics flash PMI rose from 49.9 in May to 51.1 in June, suggesting a transition from contraction to expansion.

…but the euro zone continued to stumble. Poor factory performance in France dragged the euro area’s composite PMI—which includes manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors—down to a six-month low of 52.8 in June. This figure still represents an overall expansion in activity, but was far below expectations.

BNP neared a mega-settlement. US prosecutors and the bank have reportedly agreed on an $8-9 billion fine (paywall) as well as other punishments to settle charges that the bank hid $30 billion of transactions with Iran and other countries that were under US sanctions.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on how Disney is reshaping “Star Wars” to be more like Marvel. “The stories that unite the universe, such as The Avengers, become must-see global blockbusters that bring together these different fan-bases once every few years. The Marvel method has upended the blockbuster formula, which, ironically, was created by the original Star Wars film in 1977.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China is the biggest winner in Thailand’s coup. Thai royalists feel abandoned by the United States, their longtime ally.

Barbie leaned in too far. Mattel’s “Career of the Year” doll is too little, too late.

The UK needs more unions. Otherwise it will soon resemble the US, where workers have lower wages and little power.

The US should tax carbon emissions. So says none other than George W. Bush’s Treasury secretary, Hank Paulson.

Hipsterism is so yesterday. The fashion trend has become so mainstream that “real” hipsters are moving on.

Surprising discoveries

The world’s largest trampoline is in an abandoned Welsh slate mine. Visitors can bounce and slide around at heights of up to 180 feet.

Techno-archaeologists hijacked a zombie spacecraft. NASA’s abandoned International Sun-Earth Explorer appears to be in good working order.

There are almost no proven cures for a hangover. Except one: a fried breakfast.

France sold Louisiana for $236 million in today’s money. If it hadn’t, the US might have returned to British rule.

Hinduism is the second biggest religion in Arizona and Delaware. And in South Carolina, it’s the Baha’i faith.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hangover cures, and zombie spaceship manuals to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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