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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—GM’s misery, China and Japan manufacturing, Facebook liked, royal horse doping

By Quartz Staff

What to watch for today

A look at the size of GM’s wounds. The US auto giant announces results from a miserable quarter in which it recalled millions of vehicles and revealed flaws in its corporate culture. Only yesterday it recalled another 718,000 vehicles, bringing the year’s total to some 29 million worldwide.

More fat-free growth from Amazon. Analysts expect the retailer to make a small loss on a 23% increase in revenue, continuing its tradition of favoring growth over profit. It’ll be too early to see the effects of its first smartphone, the Fire Phone, which hits shelves in the US this week, or last week’s release of Kindle Unlimited, but there are high hopes for both.

A euro zone without a German engine? Markit’s purchasing managers’ index will show how member countries are dealing with recent weakness in German manufacturing.

Signs of weakness in South Korea… The central bank is expected to report slower GDP growth in the second quarter, after a 0.9% expansion three months earlier. The government plans to implement stimulus measures to boost public spending and the property market.

…And in the world at large. The International Monetary Fund gives an updated outlook for the global economy, and might trim its 2014 global growth forecast of 3.6% due to weak investment.

While you were sleeping

China had good manufacturing news… The preliminary HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index hit an 18-month high of 52.0 in July, from 50.7 in June. China’s mini-stimulus appears to have done the trick, and the country looks to be on track to reach its annual GDP growth target of 7.5%.

…But Japan did not. The flash Markit/JMMA purchasing managers’ index dropped to 50.8 in July, from 51.1 in June—a level that just barely indicates expansion. Separately, exports fell 2% and imports rose 8.4%, widening the trade deficit to a larger-than-expected 822.2 billion yen ($8.1 billion).

Facebook stock hit a record high. The social media giant’s earnings and revenue easily beat estimates, sending its shares soaring. Its mobile business now generates 62% of ad sales, up 41% from a year ago, but much of the company’s user growth came in countries where it has trouble making much money from them.

The US ban on flights to Israel entered a second day. Critics said the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision is a political tool to pressure Israel to stop military action, and that it rewards Hamas. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire negotiations were hampered by regional rifts.

Evidence built against Ukraine’s separatists. A Ukrainian rebel leader confirmed rebels had a Russian missile system of the type suspected in bringing down a Malaysian airliner. Earlier, two Ukrainian fighter jets were also shot down (paywall) not far from the crash site.

Bombardier announced 1,800 job cuts. The Montreal-based engineering company will split its airline division in three, and its aerospace president and COO Guy Hachey will retire. The job cuts come as it tries to fix issues with its mid-sized CSeries jets.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on the forthcoming epic battle in the music industry. “Online streaming is about the only part of the recorded music business that is growing at the moment. … However, streaming music is about to become a pawn in a high-stakes chess match involving the true titans of the tech world. For these firms, the music business isn’t an end in itself, but just one piece in their battle to control the future of the internet.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Russia shouldn’t host the World Cup in 2018, unless Putin offers some answers on MH17.

The US exported a gang epidemic to Central America. The child refugees on its border are its own legacy.

Indonesia is not proof that “Muslim democracy” can work. The country’s thriving democracy has nothing to do with its faith.

The World Bank needs to update itself. It needs to start complementing the private sector, not competing with it.

Malaysia Airlines has a path to redemption. But it will need to earn the forgiveness of victims’ families to save itself.

Surprising discoveries

You can make cheese from your feet. Swab between your toes for art and science.

Men with wide faces are better at negotiating. They tend to be more competitive (paywall).

Is that a thunderstorm? No, it’s mayflies. Mating swarms are so dense they can show up on weather radar.

The Queen’s horse is on drugs. The prize-winning racehorse tested positive for morphine, probably from contaminated feed.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, foot cheese, and mayfly radar maps to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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