Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Gaza Eid ceasefire, Russia’s $50B verdict, McDonald’s goes meatless, zero-G geckos saved

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What to watch for today

A tense ceasefire in Gaza. The Israeli army eased its attacks and says it will only fire in response to rockets from Gaza, which have declined sharply as Palestinians began Eid al-Fitr celebrations. US secretary of state John Kerry is struggling to create a more lasting truce.

Data from major economies. The US releases pending home sales figures for June, with conflicting signs over whether it’s business as usual. Japan’s jobless rate and household spending data (due Monday night ET) will give insight into the nation’s recovery.

Shinzo Abe visits Latin America. The Japanese prime minister made a brief stop in Trini­dad and Toba­go this weekend on his way to Mexico, Colom­bia, Chile and Brazil, in an attempt to match the diplomatic maneuvers of Chinese president Xi Jinping.

The First World War began a hundred years ago. Nations across Europe will mark the centenary of Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. Britain is spending £50 million ($85 million) for four years of events and ceremonies.

Over the weekend

Russia was hit with an enormous legal bill. The international arbitration court in The Hague ruled that Russia is liable for a whopping $50 billion in damages to former shareholders of Yukos, an oil company seized in a ”devious and calculated expropriation” in 2004. Russia is almost certain to appeal, so the fight over compensation could take another 10 years at least.

21st Century Fox sweetened its Time Warner bid a smidgen. Rupert Murdoch’s media giant is prepared to offer Time Warner shareholders a seat on the board of the combined company, a source told the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Time Warner dismissed the offer as “cosmetic.”

McDonald’s meat supplier in China issued a total recall. The US-based owner of Shanghai Husi, the processor that sold expired meat, recalled all of its meat products, which also went to chains like KFC and Starbucks. Some McDonald’s outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities are only serving fries and drinks until new suppliers can be found.

Nissan beat estimates thanks to US and China sales. The automaker’s operating profit rose by a higher-than-expected 13.4% to 122.6 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in its first quarter. Better US and China sales were offset by Japan’s April tax rise, which hurt domestic sales.

Boko Haram abducted the Cameroonian deputy prime minister’s wife. A local religious leader and the mayor were also abducted from a border town. The terrorist group has increased attacks in Cameroon in recent weeks, after its army was deployed to fight the Nigeria-based militants.

GlaxoSmithKline is mulling a breakup. The UK’s biggest drugmaker might split its consumer healthcare business, which is relaunching next year as a joint venture with Novartis, from its main pharmaceutical unit (paywall)—the latest move in an ongoing reshuffle of the drug industry.

Ebola killed a top Liberian doctor. Samuel Brisbane was one of the most prominent victims of the outbreak that has killed some 600 people in three countries; two US volunteer doctors have also been infected. The disease reached Nigeria on Friday via a sick airline passenger.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on why Western tech giants shouldn’t worry about Chinese copycatting, but about what happens when it stops. “China’s near neighbor, South Korea, set the precedent for Chinese tech companies’ evolution. ‘In a region of fast growth, since the 1960s Korea has increased its per-capita-GDP more quickly than any of its neighbors,’ the consultancy firm McKinsey notes. That’s also the period during which the country started to move from manufacturing high-end components for Western gadget makers to competing with them.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Germany is the new land of opportunity. It’s laying down the red carpet for immigrants.

If corporations are people, why can’t people be corporations? Rights harmonization should flow in both directions.

The Sixth Extinction is upon us. During the Fifth Extinction, the dinosaurs died out.

The US should legalize marijuana. So says the New York Times editorial board.

Croatia is the next EU crisis country. Growth is stagnating (paywall) and reforms are going too slowly.

Surprising discoveries

Americans lost a third of their net worth in the last decade. The average family was worth $87,992 in 2003 and just $56,335 in 2013.

Squid protein could make better prosthetic limbs, by connecting human nerve tissue with computers.

Russia fixed its gecko sex satellite. Control has been restored and the geckos should be able to return to Earth safely.

Golf courses are banned in China. To get one built, developers have to label it a “resort.”

A robot is hitchhiking across Canada. Made from leftover junk, it takes selfies with anyone who gives it a ride.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, vagrant robot selfies, and zero-G gecko fan fiction to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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