Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Greece’s new austerity, China’s record debt, Netflix’s growth, cheerleader salaries

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What to watch for today

Janet Yellen’s congressional testimony continues. The US Federal Reserve chief heads to the Senate for round two of her semi-annual report on monetary policy. Yellen will reiterate her optimistic outlook for the economy and her plan to raise interest rates.

Low expectations for Google’s earnings. The internet company’s second-quarter results are expected to suffer from a strong dollar (around half its revenue is made overseas), the challenges presented by the shift to mobile, and from the investments Google is making to diversify. 

More earnings. Carrefour, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, América Móvil, eBay, Mattel, and Citigroup are among those reporting results.

While you were sleeping

Greek lawmakers passed austerity laws. Measures insisted upon by creditors were passed after a marathon session of parliament. Dozens of prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s party voted against the new laws, while some protestors hurled petrol bombs (paywall) at the parliament building. The measures will restrict pensions, among other items, but will ensure €86 billion ($94 billion) in bailout funds.

Netflix outpaced subscriber growth estimates. The streaming video firm added 2.4 million overseas and 900,000 US customers, both well ahead of analyst expectations, on the back of high-profile original shows like Orange Is the New Black. But those shows don’t come cheap: Second-quarter profit plunged 63% to $26.3 million on higher costs.

Intel beat estimates. The IT company reported a second-quarter net income of $2.7 billion, down from $2.8 billion a year ago but better than expected on earnings per share. Intel’s growing business offerings such as cloud services and analytics helped offset the falling global demand for PCs.

China’s debt levels reached a record high. Outstanding loans reached 207% of GDP in June, up from 125% in 2008. The figure, which covers business loans and household borrowing, rose 12% in June compared with a year earlier—far faster than China’s 7% rise in GDP.

NASA delivered more new pictures of Pluto. The spacecraft is now more than a million miles past the dwarf planet, but it managed to deliver the first high-resolution photos of Pluto’s surface. They show what appear to be icy mountains 11,000 feet (3,350 m) high.

Amazon’s “Prime Day” promotion failed to impress. The online retailer promised a host of discounts, but many consumers complained that the markdowns applied mostly to undesirable products. Amazon’s real motivation was to entice more people to join its highly profitable Amazon Prime membership program.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on China’s role in North Carolina’s odorous pork industry. “Drawn by the low cost of production there, WH Group finds it cheaper to raise pigs in North Carolina and export them to tables back home than to raise the animals in China. The irony is not lost on the residents of Duplin County.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The euro zone will fudge its way out of trouble. When it comes to the Greek debt crisis, don’t underestimate the endless capacity for compromise.

Success is a zero-sum game. Coming in second only makes you the first loser.

Nobody could clean up Reddit. The message board will always be dominated by a malignant, overwhelmingly male band of adolescents and adolescents-at-heart.

Motherhood is a lonelier undertaking than ever. Working women’s gains have made things even worse.

Surprising discoveries

Seaweed can stand in for bacon. Scientists have patented a protein-packed strain of algae that they say tastes great with eggs.

One Chinese company gives employees regular breaks from smiling. It allows people to wear a mask to work, supposedly to relieve social pressure.

Funeral homes are high-risk workplaces. Exposure to formaldehyde makes employees prone to a deadly neurodegenerative disease.

California cheerleaders can now receive minimum wage. A new law designates them as “employees” under labor regulations.

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