Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Banco Espirito bailout, Iraq dam seized, Aeroflot subsidiary grounded, airlifting rhinos

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What to watch for today

A unilaterally-applied Gaza ceasefire. Israel said a seven-hour break from fighting to allow humanitarian aid will begin at 10am local time (8am BST), apart from in the Gaza Strip’s southern town of Rafah. Israel is facing a high level of criticism over the rising civilian death toll in Gaza.

Ghana requests a bailout from the IMF. The cedi has dropped 40% (paywall) against the dollar this year, making it the worst-performing currency in the world. Ghana was once seen as a model economy in sub-Saharan Africa, but has suffered rising deficits since it began oil production three years ago.

The Ebola virus continues to spread. The head of the World Health Organization says Ebola is spreading faster than efforts to control it. The epidemic has claimed more than 700 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

HSBC announces its results. Half-year revenue is expected to fall 9% from same period last year due to a slowdown in emerging markets and pressure from regulators. The bank may also provide an update on its exposure to a widening Chinese metal fraud scandal.

Over the weekend

Portugal will split up Banco Espirito Santo. Lisbon will spend €4.9 billion ($6.6 billion) dividing the country’s largest listed bank into a recapitalized good bank, Novo Banco, and a bad bank that will contain the financial exposure to the troubled Espirito Santo group.

The Islamic State won new territory in Iraq. The group took three towns from Kurdish security forces (paywall) in northern Iraq, increasing their ability to transport goods and weapons between Syria and Iraq. The group also seized control of Iraq’s biggest dam, giving it the ability to flood major cities.

EU sanctions grounded Aeroflot’s low-cost subsidiary. European companies have withdrawn aircraft insurance for Dobrolet and have refused to fulfil leasing, repair, and maintenance agreements. The carrier only began flying this year; its route to Crimea made it a target for sanctions.

An earthquake killed 367 in southwest China. Some 1,800 people were injured and five are still missing. Earthquakes are not uncommon in the region—the largest in recent history killed nearly 70,000 in 2008.

Warren Buffett became a bit richer. His firm, Berkshire Hathaway, earned $6.4 billion in the second quarter, the most money it has ever made in a single three-month reporting period.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how climate change will affect the wines we drink. ”By mid-century, more than four-fifths of the land in France, Italy and Spain that’s now used for vineyards will be producing grapes unsuited for wine, according to a 2013 study. Australia stands to lose up to three-quarters of its currently viable vineyard land; California’s looking at a 70% decline.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” Tesla founder Elon Musk is investing in AI just to be safe. 

Ebola is not a global threat. It’s not even that easy to get infected.

US engineering schools are a lot like Hogwarts. For example, Stanford is Gryffindor.

Libraries should be full of toys and games. More free play leads to better developed kids.

Topless sunbathing is over. Is skin cancer, social media, or feminism the culprit?

Surprising discoveries

South Africa is airlifting its rhinos to Botswana. They should be safer from poachers there.

Robot bees will pollenate our food in the future. They will replace the rapidly disappearing honeybee.

Children’s chemistry sets used to contain uranium. Along with other highly dangerous chemicals.

People are actually buying the Amazon Fire phone. Reviews aren’t great, though.

An Ohio electrician invented the dog biscuit. He was in London selling lightning rods.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, antique chemistry sets, and obsolete vintage wines to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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