Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Tesco CEO ousted, China fast-food scandal, Lego beach, dangerous thought experiments

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Peace talks in Cairo. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and US secretary of state John Kerry (paywall) travel to Cairo to discuss an end to fighting in Gaza that killed 87 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers on Sunday. The US and the UN security council both called for an immediate ceasefire.

Netflix reports a happy quarter. The US streaming video company is expected to report a jump in profits and subscribers. Other earnings reports are due from Chipotle, Halliburton, and Hasbro.

Detroit could settle its bankruptcy. The city will announce whether creditors have voted to approve its restructuring plan. A “yes” vote could bring in an additional $816 million in pension funding from the state of Michigan, foundations, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

US airline ”security fees” increase. Passengers will now pay $5.60 per flight. Congress approved the hike to reduce the US budget deficit by an estimated $16.9 billion.

Some green shoots in the US economy. No major macro-economic information is due, so the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index may get more attention than usual. It is likely to show a moderate expansion of business activity in June.

Over the weekend

The US laid out its case against Ukrainian rebels. John Kerry appeared on all five major US Sunday morning shows to argue that Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was downed by pro-Russia separatists, as hundreds of bodies from the crash site were bundled into refrigerated train cars by rebel forces.

Tesco ousted its CEO. The UK retailer replaced Philip Clarke with Unilever executive Dave Lewis. Tesco shares rose sharply on the news, despite a new profit warning.

A new fast-food safety scandal in China. The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration suspended a supplier for selling out-of-date meat to McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut. A Chinese investigative report found employees of the US-owned factory reprocessing old and discarded meat to extend its use-by date.

Britain’s property prices took a breather. Month-over-month asking prices fell 0.8% in July, but were still up 6.5% versus the year-ago period, according to data from property website Rightmove.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky proceeds may fund his Time Warner quest. 21st Century Fox’s sale of its Italian and German pay-TV networks may generate €10 billion ($13.5 billion) that could be used in Murdoch’s bid for the US media giant.

“NSA in da house” appeared on the US embassy in Berlin. German artist Oliver Bienkowski projected an image of Barack Obama in a backwards baseball cap onto the building. It lasted five minutes before police stopped the protest art show.

Quartz obsession interlude

Roya Wolverson on how American airlines are the world’s most profitable and least comfortable. “The poor American performance should be no surprise to the airlines themselves. There’s been a deliberate effort in recent years, especially by American carriers, to make life on an airplane as miserable as possible.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The world would be better if it was ruled by women. But only if they rule like Angela Merkel.

China’s shadow banking system is not as scary as it sounds. Its risky areas are just not that big (paywall).

Don’t bother with Kindle Unlimited. There are 600,000 books available, but Amazon hasn’t offered the best ones.

We should only work three days a week. “We would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” says billionaire Carlos Slim.

The fist bump is the new high-five. And it’s spreading around the world.

Surprising discoveries

Danish DNA is correlated with happiness. ”The greater a nation’s genetic distance from Denmark, the lower the reported wellbeing.”

Legos have been washing up on a UK beach for 17 years. Oceanographers don’t know why they turned up anywhere else.

Thought experiments are dangerous. Speculation about an evil artificial intelligence has some futurists freaked out.

Space beer might be delicious. A brewery shipped yeast out of the atmosphere, but unfortunately lost it on the way back.

Some bacteria feed on raw electricity. They scavenge free electrons from rocks and sand.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, space beer, and non-dangerous thought experiments 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.