Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Hong Kong’s protest, BNP’s guilty bounce, Sarkozy’s detention, donkey internet

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Factory day in the USA. The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index will shed light on the health of US factories in June. As in May, it’s expected to be a strong showing, belying a 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 rise of euro-skeptic parties across the continent.

Brazil gets a manufacturing/jobs check-up. Taxes, labor costs, and poor infrastructure are likely to continue to drag on the HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index for June. Unemployment figures, which have remained bafflingly low, will also be released.

Putin’s gambit and GDP. The final reading on Russia’s first-quarter economic growth will show the impact of the upheaval in Ukraine. Officials have been talking up the country’s prospects, hinting at growth upgrades later in the year.

World Cupdate. Argentina v Switzerland is at 12pm (EDT), while Belgium v USA is at 4pm.

While you were sleeping

Hong Kong’s anti-Beijing march kicked off. Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to mainland China. They are protesting Beijing’s tightening grip on the semi-autonomous city, as well as economic changes that have increased wealth inequality.

Israel bombed Hamas sites in Gaza after finding the corpses of three young men who were kidnapped last month in the West Bank. The assault on targets associated with Hamas, which Israel blames for the kidnapping, was also a response to a new barrage of missiles launched from Gaza.

Investors cheered BNP’s guilty plea. The French bank’s shares rose 3.4% after it accepted an $8.97 billion fine for its involvement in transferring money to groups sanctioned by the US.

The euro zone cooled and the UK sizzled. The euro zone purchasing managers’ index for June slipped to 51.8, from 52.2 in May. The UK PMI unexpectedly rose to 57.5 in June from 57.0 in May, an eight-month high; sterling is now trading at a five-year high against the dollar.

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, in an expansion from May’s 50.8. The Markit/HSBC PMI, which measures smaller and medium-sized firms, was 50.7.

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

Nicolas Sarkozy was detained by French police, who are investigating whether the former president offered a high-ranking judge a prestigious role in return for information about an investigation into alleged misconduct.

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

If Facebook was a country, it would be a dictatorship. That means it’s time for its users to hold it accountable.

The US has become an exasperating ally. Even friendly countries are now hedging against it.

Income inequality isn’t the problem—it’s undeserved wealth obtained by deceit.

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 would mean 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 up its stock.

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.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.