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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Russian sanction pain, Amazon disappoints, Algerie wreckage found, zero-G gecko peril

What to watch for today

Israel faces more Palestinian protests. Anger over the shelling of UN elementary school in Gaza could lead to new protests (paywall) in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Clashes between protesters and security forces began on Thursday night, after at least 15 were killed in the attack.

Signs of pain in Russia? Fitch and Moody’s will update their sovereign debt ratings for Russia, the state oil behemoth Rosneft reports earnings, and the Russian central bank issues an interest-rate decision, all of which could give clues as to whether Western sanctions having an effect.

An Indonesian election challenge. Prabowo Subianto, the former general who narrowly lost Indonesia’s presidential race to Joko Widodo, is expected to submit a court claim (paywall) seeking to overturn the outcome.

High hopes for the UK. The Office for National Statistics releases it second-quarter GDP estimate. Although the International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecast yesterday, it upgraded the UK’s outlook for the fourth time in nine months.

Shinzo Abe follows in Xi Jinping’s footsteps. Japan’s prime minister embarks on a five-country tour of Latin America and the Caribbean, following on the heels of China’s president as the two Asian powerhouses compete for clout.

While you were sleeping

The US accused Russia of firing on Ukraine. The US State Department said it has evidence that recent artillery fire came from Russian soil, and that Russia plans to deliver heavier and more powerful rocket launchers to Ukrainian rebels.

Amazon disappointed investors. The company’s second-quarter loss was double what analysts expected, and it warned that the third quarter would be much worse. The numbers suggest that Amazon’s price war with Google over cloud computing services is starting to hurt.

Japan’s inflation dipped slightly to 3.3% in June, from 3.4% in May, in unwelcome but unsurprising news for the country’s central bank, which is trying to hit a 2% inflation target.

The wreckage of Air Algerie flight 5017 was found in a village in Mali. The aircraft changed its route to avoid bad weather but the cause of its crash has not been determined; officials say Malian insurgents don’t have weapons that can bring down a cruising airliner.

BNP Paribas got fined again. The French bank is set to pay $80 million for defrauding the US Department of Agriculture. It helped US commodities exporters claim undeserved compensation.

A tie-up in British construction. Balfour Beatty and Carillion, two of the country’s largest building companies, are in talks over a potential £3 billion ($5.1 billion) merger.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Epstein on how American cable channels have become an indistinguishable swamp of reality TV. “TLC is not the only one abandoning its roots. Dozens of basic cable networks no longer adhere to any core identity or defined genre of programming. MTV (which stood at one time for “Music Television”) infamously airs very little music programming. Two of the most popular shows on The History Channel (now just called History) are Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers. Animal Planet’s most watched program last year was a pseudoscience “mocudrama” on mermaids.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US should expose Putin’s network of offshore accounts. Europe will hate it at first, but will thank America for it later.

India’s new populist leader could learn from Indonesia’s president-elect. India’s Arvind Kerjiwal is struggling to find his feet.

The FAA shouldn’t have banned flights to Israel. Closing down infrastructure in the face of terrorist threats is self-defeating, says Michael Bloomberg.

China’s top leader has too much power. Xi Jinping’s many roles pose a threat to stability in Asia.

Surprising discoveries

Russia’s zero-G sex geckos are in trouble. A satellite carrying the lizards (five female, one male) to study their reproductive habits is malfunctioning.

A South Korean baseball team has a robot cheering section. The Hanwa Eagles offer robotic surrogates for fans who can’t make the game.

Alibaba sells Jeff Koons knock-offs. Balloon dog sculptures on the Chinese e-commerce site the are only $500; the original sold for $58 million.

Surgeons removed 232 teeth from a teen in India. Think about this the next time you complain about a dentist visit.

Powerful people have a distorted perception of time. Their feelings of control make them think they have more time than they do.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, baseball robots, and space gecko rescue plans to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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