Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Amazon’s cloud reveal, China’s genetic modification, Facebook’s slowing growth, China’s GM humans, the future of avocados

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What to watch for today

Amazon reveals the size of its cloud. The company will finally break out the revenue and profitability of its Amazon Web Services unit, which offers companies web hosting and server space, when it releases its quarterly results.

Tsipras chats with Merkel. The Greek and German leaders will meet in Brussels (paywall) in an attempt to reach a deal on Greece’s debt. It has a €770 million payment due to the IMF next month, and a €3.5 billion ($3.8 billion) payment due to the EU in July.

Deutsche Bank pays the pipers. British and US regulators are reportedly set to announce fines of at least $1.5 billion against the German bank for rigging the benchmark Libor interest rate. It settled with European officials in 2013 over the same issue.

Europe addresses a humanitarian disaster on its shores. An emergency summit on migrants will call for funding commitments to fight human trafficking, boost rescue services, and help refugees before they try to cross the Mediterranean. Some 800 people died in last weekend’s shipwreck, and more than 1,500 have died so far this year.

A bumper crop of earnings. Here’s just a small sample of the firms reporting today: Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Brands, General Motors, Google, Microsoft, Novartis, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Starbucks.

While you were sleeping

Facebook’s earnings disappointed. The social network’s first-quarter income fell 20% to $509 million due to heavy R&D spending and slower revenue growth. CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined a plan to develop Facebook’s Messenger app, but said its sister WhatsApp platform will remain a “utilitarian” tool to replace text-messaging.

Petrobras put a $2.1 billion price tag on its massive corruption scandal. Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant reported its long-delayed quarterly and annual results, which have been stalled by a corruption investigation. The costs of the scandal, which included millions of dollars smuggled using plastic wrap and Spanx, contributed to a 26.6 billion-real ($8.8 billion) loss in the fourth quarter.

Chinese scientists genetically modified a human embryo. The pioneering research, though conducted on a non-viable embryo, is still controversial. Many scientists contend that the methods need to be studied further in animals before risking unpredictable human mutations.

China’s manufacturing hit a 12-month low. The HSBC/Markit preliminary purchasing managers’ index for April was 49.2, lower than an expected 49.6 and well below the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction. The disappointing figure comes despite recent government efforts to keep economic growth from slowing below its target of 7%.

South Korea’s GDP growth impressed. Private consumption and construction contributed to first-quarter GDP growth of 2.4%, which beat expectations. That should please the central bank, which has cut its base rate three times since August.

Google started selling mobile phone service. The company will offer to connect Nexus 6 smartphone users via two US wireless networks, Sprint and T-Mobile, with pricing scheme that will charge customers only for the data they use. The Google Fi service is invite-only for now.

Quartz obsession interlude

Deena Shanker on the world’s favorite canned meat. “In times of economic trouble, Spam flies off the shelves. But now, as the economy improves, Hormel Foods’ canned pre-cooked pork is looking for a new, higher-brow market. The product has played a bit part in ‘haute’ cuisine since at least 2009, when Vinny Dotolo of the LA eatery Animal paired it with foie gras. In 2011, chef Hooni Kim put it in a stew at his New York restaurant Danji. ” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Stop drinking bottled water. Unless your tap water is unsafe to drink, the bottle will end up polluting the ocean.

Avocados are in danger of disappearing… Growing the water-hungry plants in drought-stricken California is not sustainable.

…Actually, no, they’re not. Imports are booming, and California plans to harvest more avocados this year than last.

Massive Chinese defaults are a good thing. They will instill fiscal responsibility in firms too used to easy money.

How to understand Vladimir Putin. The Russian president is neither a fanatic nor a lunatic, but a believer in a cause.

Surprising discoveries

Immigrants will account for almost all US population growth. Non-native residents could reach 51 million within eight years.

There used to be cat-sized rats in the Caribbean. European settlers exterminated them.

This is the most accurate clock ever. It can sense a change in gravity when it is lifted by just 2cm (0.8 in).

A man was fined for shooting eight bullets into his malfunctioning computer. He said it felt “glorious.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ballistic computer repairs, and oversized rats to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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