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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Euro zone malaise, Islamabad protests, SeaWorld soaked, salmon cannons

By Quartz Staff

What to watch for today

Euro zone growth won’t be pretty. Economists expect the 18-nation currency bloc’s second-quarter GDP to expand by just 0.1% due to weakness in Germany and France, exacerbated by the effect of Russian sanctions. The first quarter’s growth rate was a measly 0.2%.

Can Israel and Hamas hold their fire? The two sides reached a deal on Wednesday for a new five-day truce, but rockets were launched from Gaza shortly before the previous ceasefire expired, and Israel retaliated with air strikes.

Walmart and China Mobile release earnings. The US mega-retailer has suffered five straight quarters of same-store sales declines, but its in-store medical clinics should benefit from the rollout of Obamacare. China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, is expecting better results after its profit declined in the previous quarter due to increasing competition.

Pakistan’s capital is on lockdown. Opposition leaders Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri are leading a million-person march on Islamabad to demand the resignation of the prime minister Nawaz Sharif. They claim the May 2013 elections were rigged.

The pope shows Asia he cares. Pope Francis will begin the first papal trip to East Asia in 25 years to participate in Asian Youth Day in Seoul. He’s expected to warn against consumerism and growing social inequality; the Catholic Church clearly sees Asia as a growth opportunity.

While you were sleeping

Audi is paying up in China. An influential Chinese newspaper reported that the German automaker will be fined $40 million for violating anti-monopoly laws, part of Beijing’s crackdown on foreign companies.

The world’s biggest PC maker got bigger. China’s Lenovo Group beat estimates to report a 23% rise in first quarter net income.

A rate cut in South Korea. The central bank cut its benchmark rate to 2.25% from 2.50%, lowering borrowing costs to lend a hand to the government’s stimulus policies.

The US said a Yazidi rescue mission probably won’t be necessary. The Pentagon was considering an operation to evacuate refugees stranded on Mount Sinjar, but US airstrikes and Kurdish fighters have broken the ISIL siege. Separately, France said it would start arming Kurdish forces.

Cisco wielded the axe. Though its earnings were slightly better than expected, the networking equipment giant said it would cut another 6,000 jobs, or 8% of its workforce, for a total of 18,000 jobs jettisoned in the last three years. Demand for Cisco’s hardware has slowed as telcos are increasingly able to replace it with software.

Bill Ackman wants to tap the stock market for funding. The hedge-fund investor known for his persistent attacks on Herbalife plans to take his $15 billion Pershing Square fund public, so he can place bets against even bigger  companies.

SeaWorld got soaked. The amusement park company’s shares plunged as much as 35% after it posted weak second-quarter earnings and slashed revenue expectations, largely due to the animal rights activists protesting its use of captive killer whales.

Quartz obsession interlude

Bobby Ghosh provides a short history of the terrorists who call themselves the “Islamic State.” “The group began over two decades ago as a fervid fantasy in the mind of a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. A onetime street thug, he arrived in Afghanistan as a mujahideen wannabe in 1989, a year too late to fight the Soviet Union. He went back home to Jordan, and remained a fringe figure in the international violent ‘jihad’ for much of the following decade. He returned to Afghanistan to set up a training camp for terrorists, and met Osama bin Laden in 1999, but chose not to join al-Qaeda.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

All the myths are fit to print. Front page stories fit into seven archetypes to help readers understand complex topics.

For Israelis, this Gaza war is different. It will leave the country much more rattled than previous conflicts.

Secure buildings don’t have to be ugly. US embassies could have both high security and good design.

Only Muslims can defeat ISIL. The US and Europe can’t do it alone.

Surprising discoveries

A salmon cannon can eject 40 fish a minute. It helps them circumvent dams as they migrate upstream.

Your selfies have been commoditized. New software tries to sell you products based on what’s in the background.

The last of Madonna’s “Vogue” icons is dead. Lauren Bacall was the sole survivor among the song’s 16 legends; she wanted to be reincarnated as fellow icon Fred Astaire.

Want to be an Olympian? Start holding your breath. Free-diving athletes are learning to control their respiration and stay calm under pressure (paywall).

Dance-happy millennials are saving the music industry. Drugs are often involved.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, salmon cannons, and EDM that sounds good even if you’re sober to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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