Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—China’s GDP addiction, UK unemployment falls, typhoon Rammasun, 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’s 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 appointees (paywall) to various management posts.

Will Israel send in ground troops? The chances of a Gaza invasion rose after Israel and Hamas continued their bombardments. An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that was accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas has lapsed—though some observers think it was designed to fail in the first place.

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, important but a bit of a snooze.

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 Guilford explains, China knows it has a problem, but it just can’t kick the investment habit.

As its controversial oil rig left contested waters. The provocative placement of the rig near islands claimed by Vietnam triggered deadly riots, and may ultimately reshape regional security alliances.

France delivered an anti-trust probe to FedEx, TNT, and Royal Mail. Authorities are investigating alleged anticompetitive behavior during trade association meetings. Regulators could impose fines of up to 10% of each company’s global revenue.

A typhoon hit the Philippines. At least 11 have died and 370,000 evacuated as typhoon Rammasun skirted Manila and caused massive power outages. Some of the country is still recovering from November’s typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,000.

Britain vowed to pressure China over Hong Kong. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg told a Hong Kong think tank the UK “will not shy away from defending the principle of ‘one country, two systems’,” and that universal suffrage would be best for the city.

UK unemployment fell. The jobless rate edged down to 6.5% in the three months to May, its lowest level since 2008. Unfortunately for jobholders, wage growth also slowed down, up a mere 0.3% from the same period last year, and UK households are increasingly gloomy about their finances.

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.

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

Foreign aid masks the looting of Africa. Smug donor nations do nothing about their companies plundering the continent.

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

The other checkout line is probably moving faster than yours. It’s simple mathematics.

Climate change causes kidney stones. Higher temperatures mean more dehydration.

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.

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

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

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