Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Toshiba resignations, IBM’s results, Amazon’s new competition, Queen Elizabeth’s driving

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What to watch for today

Toshiba’s top executives resign amid an accounting scandal. CEO Hisao Tanaka and his predecessor Norio Sasaki, now the electronics manufacturer’s vice chairman, are expected to announce they are stepping down after an independent panel found that Toshiba inflated its earnings by more than $1.2 billion over the past seven years.

Burundi holds a controversial election. President Pierre Nkurunziza is trying to win a third term, in a vote that opposition groups are boycotting because they say it is unconstitutional. Protests after Nkurunziza’s decision to run left at least 77 people dead.

Hermès gives an update on the Chinese luxury market. The French firm’s second-quarter results will provide a checkup on global luxury, especially the Chinese market that now spells the difference between success or failure (paywall) for the world’s fanciest retailers.

A challenger takes on Amazon. Online retailer is making a well-capitalized attempt to take on the reigning e-commerce champion. In a flashback to the original dotcom boom, the company is planning to incur massive losses as it competes with Amazon for customers.

A big day for earnings: Lockheed Martin, Verizon, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Chipotle, United Technologies, and Bank of New York Mellon are due to report results.

While you were sleeping

IBM missed estimates. The business computing company’s second-quarter consolidated net income fell to $3.5 billion, from $4.1 billion a year earlier, as its revenues declined for the 13th consecutive quarter. IBM is undergoing massive restructuring costs as it switches from providing servers to offering cloud-based services. A strong dollar also hurt revenue.

HSBC found a potential buyer for its Brazil unit. The London-based bank is in exclusive talks with Brazil’s second-largest private-sector bank Bradesco over a sale of the unit for 12 billion reals ($3.8 billion), according to Reuters. The sale comes as Brazil’s economy deteriorates and local banking competition increases.

Three executives were convicted in the Petrobras scandal. The three, who all worked at Brazil’s Camargo Correa Group, were given jail terms for money laundering and corruption, among other crimes. Camargo was described as overcharging state-owned oil company Petrobras for contracts, and passing back some of the cash to Petrobras executives.

Japan’s business mood soured. Confidence among manufacturers and service-sector companies took a dip in July and isn’t expected to increase much in the next three months, according to a Reuters Tankan survey. Respondents pointed to slowing demand from China, as well as insufficient demand at home.

China’s graft crackdown nabbed another top aide. Ling Jihua, a former top aide to ex-president Hu Jintao, has been arrested on charges of taking bribes and “conducting sexual misconduct.” Ling has been under the spotlight since his son crashed a Ferrari in Beijing in 2012, but there are suspicions his arrest may also be politically motivated.

Turkey vowed to improve its border security. Prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised to ramp up border security, after a suicide bombing killed 30 people in Suruc. A female Islamic State suicide bomber is believed to have crossed the Syria border into Turkey, which has long been criticized for ignoring the threat from ISIL.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on why Elon Musk’s latest rocket exploded. “Fixing the problem will delay the SpaceX’s launch schedule by at least a month, with no new flights until at least September. The company had previously scheduled its next flight in early August. Musk says the delays will mean hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The biggest mistake of Ashley Madison users was to use their own credit card. Want to maintain your privacy? Use a prepaid debit card and encrypted email.

The European Union is based on fantasy economics. Leaders are paying a steep price for their impossible dream.

Samsung’s sham restructuring is a big problem for South Korea. It exposes faults in the country’s rigid economic system.

Radical transparency can combat gender inequality. Five percent of Google employees joined an unauthorized salary-sharing spreadsheet.

Surprising discoveries

Queen Elizabeth is a royally impatient driver. The 89-year-old British monarch veered onto the grass to avoid a young family near Windsor Castle.

A deadly fungus is eating the scales off North American snakes. It feeds on keratin, also present in fingernails and rhino horns.

The World Bank broadcasts scared-bird noises. The fake distress calls from its Washington headquarters are supposed to deter pigeons.

A Kazakhstan “sleeping sickness” mystery has been solved. Carbon monoxide from an old uranium mine was blamed for a village’s malaise.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bird distress calls, and royal driving tips to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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