Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—China’s GDP addiction, UK unemployment, Yahoo’s Alibaba stake, US sunscreen gap

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What to watch for today

Banks and tech firms vie for the earnings spotlight. Bank of America will try to continue the winning streak begun by Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, which all beat expectations this week, but a hefty mortgage securities settlement looms. Meanwhile, eBay earnings could reflect the cost of a security breach and a spat with Google over SEO tactics.

EU officials shuffle the deck. When member states meet in Brussels to discuss expanding Russian sanctions, they’ll also sort out who to appoint next (paywall) to various management posts.

UK unemployment goes lower? Jobless rates are already at their lowest point since 2009; analysts expect encouraging numbers but not a dramatic drop.

Beige is boring. The US central bank releases its periodic Beige Book business survey of its 12 regional banks, which are expected to reflect moderate economic growth—in other words, a bit of a snoozer.

While you were sleeping

China’s GDP stayed on target. The economy expanded by 7.5% in the second quarter, precisely in line with the government’s target, thanks to a hefty stimulus. As Quartz’s Gwynn Guildford explains, China knows it has a problem, but it just can’t kick the investment habit.

The BRICS nations created their own bank. The countries agreed to fund a $50 billion development bank and a $100 billion currency exchange reserve as a counterweight to the US-dominated IMF and World Bank. The New Development Bank (NDB) will be headquartered in Shanghai, but its first president will be Indian.

Yahoo! will keep more of Alibaba. Yahoo! has reduced the amount of the Chinese e-commerce group it will be forced to sell (paywall) when Alibaba holds its IPO—good news given that’s all Yahoo investors seem to care about. Meanwhile, lackluster earnings showed that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is stumbling in her pursuit of growth.

Standard and Poor’s tried to settle with US regulators. The ratings agency is willing to pay up to $1 billion (paywall) to resolve a  $5 billion government lawsuit that accused the company of inflating the ratings of mortgage bonds, according to the Wall Street Journal.

America’s most famous undocumented immigrant got arrested. Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who once worked for the Washington Post and New York Times, was detained by border officials in a Texas town. He was holding an event to highlight the plight of children escaping gang violence in Central America.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on Alibaba striving to be the Netflix of China. “Alibaba’s strategy thus far has been somewhat different from Netflix’s: Like Amazon, it is selling set-top boxes. But the new service with Lionsgate looks like the most Netflix-style thing it has done. It will feature the production company’s biggest hits and be available exclusively in mainland China.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hong Kong will be free one day. But it might be a long, long time from now, says the city’s last governor.

Humanity could go the way of the honeybee. Bee colony collapses are a cautionary tale for avoiding extinction.

The future of passwords is no passwords. Tired of the letter-number combo game, people want other ways to log in. 

Working moms are less stressed out. The challenge of balancing work and home may be easier than dealing with your kids all day.

Surprising discoveries

It’s a hoppy, golden age for beer. There haven’t been this many American breweries since the 1870s.

American sunscreen sucks. Regulators have been withholding powerful ingredients that are safely used in Europe and Asia.

Google/Novartis contact lenses could help with diabetes. They measure blood sugar levels by analyzing your tears.

Germany is going retro with its national security. It may use manual typewriters for sensitive documents due to a US spy scandal.

An amateurish experiment nearly deprived the world of Sriracha. Air quality fears prompted a questionable hot sauce science project.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, NSA-proof typewriters, and IPA sixpacks to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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