Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Hong Kong’s protest, BNP’s guilty plea, farewell Orkut, donkey internet

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What to watch for today

A big protest march in Hong Kong. Organizers of the handover anniversary event expect a record turnout (paywall) of half a million Hong Kongers, many of whom are upset at signs that China is tightening the screws on the historically autonomous city.

It’s jobs day in Europe. Unemployment appears to be stabilizing, albeit at ghastly levels. The new numbers will provide an update for May.

And it’s factory day in the US. The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index will shed light on the state of US manufacturing operations in June. As in May, it’s expected to be a strong showing, belying the weak first-quarter GDP figure.

Italy takes hold of Europe’s reins. Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi assumes the six-month revolving EU presidency, promising to use his term to push for a “United States of Europe.” He will have his work cut out for him, given the recent surge in right wing and nationalist sentiment.

Putin’s gambit and GDP. The final reading on Russia’s first-quarter economic growth will show the impact of the upheaval in Ukraine.

While you were sleeping

China’s manufacturing sector hit a six-month high. The government’s official purchasing manager’s index for June was 51.0, in line with expectations, signaling a further expansion from May’s 50.8. The Markit/HSBC PMI, which measures smaller and medium-sized firms, was 50.7.

BNP pleaded guilty. The French bank accepted an $8.97 billion fine for its involvement in transferring money to groups sanctioned by the US. France’s largest bank was also forced to purge 13 executives, and it will suspend its dollar-clearing operations for all of 2015.

Ukraine ended its truce with rebels. President Petro Poroshenko vowed to attack pro-Russian forces, after refusing to extend the ceasefire because of the “criminal acts of the militants.”

Feuding businessmen caused the run on Bulgaria’s banks. A fight between two former business partners—who have each accused the other of an assassination plotwere behind the run on banks in Bulgaria last week.

Google bid goodbye to Orkut. The company announced it will shut down its first foray into social networking on September 30th. Orkut was once huge in markets like Brazil and India, but Google’s other platforms have outpaced it since.

Israel found the bodies of its missing teens. The corpses of three young men kidnapped in June in the West Bank were found, presaging a likely escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas, which Israel accuses of killing them.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani goes inside the strange world of auctions for internet domain names. “The man with paddle number 68 wasn’t shy about it. He wanted an adult website, and he wasn’t going to let a few hundred dollars stand in his way.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Telepresence will never replace business travel. And it’s not just because executives love going first class.

Mutual funds tourists in Silicon Valley are inflating the bubble. Funds almost bowed out this spring, and stock prices plunged, so watch out if they get antsy again.

Income inequality isn’t the problem. It’s undeserved wealth obtained by deceit, avarice, and other dubious methods.

Cash is the best form of charity. Needy people who are given money instead of food usually don’t waste it.

American right-wingers should fear soccer. Its growing popularity reflects the rise of a globally-minded, left-leaning electorate.

Surprising discoveries

99% of the plastic in our oceans is missing. Sea creatures may be eating it—and that means we are too.

The most effective form of birth control is the kind Americans don’t use. The IUD has a perception problem.

Ukraine wants its military dolphins back. They’ve been under Russia’s control since the Crimea takeover, but Ukraine is demanding their return.

BlackBerry has a future, at least according to investors who have been bidding its stock up this year.

How to get the internet in remote parts of the earth. No need for drones; solar panel-toting donkeys are connecting Turkish shepherds.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, military dolphin sightings, and animal-based internet solutions to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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