Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Apple Watch insights, Toshiba resignations, elections in Burundi, Queen Elizabeth’s driving

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What to watch for today

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 following Nkurunziza’s decision to run left at least 77 people dead.

A challenger takes on Amazon. Online retailer Jet 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.

Apple reports quarterly earnings… Investors expect healthy profits from the technology company thanks to sales of its flagship iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But analysts will be examining company numbers for any clues over the success of the much-discussed Apple Watch.

…and so do the rest: Lockheed Martin, Verizon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Chipotle, United Technologies, and Bank of New York Mellon are also due to report results.

While you were sleeping

Toshiba executives quit over an accounting scandal. Hisao Tanaka, president of the Japanese electronics manufacturer, and two other senior executives resigned following an investigation that found the company overstated its earnings by $1.2 billion over a six-year period. Toshiba said it will restate its earnings accordingly; the stock rose 6.1%.

Japan rescued Hermès’ second quarter. The French luxury bag maker reported revenue of €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) for the period, up 9.7% from a year earlier and higher than expectations. It joined Burberry and other luxury goods makers’ claims that sales growth in Hong Kong is slowing, signaling a weaker Chinese economy, but tourists to Japan boosted sales there by 22%.

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 reais ($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.

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

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

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

In criticizing Donald Trump, the GOP offended Hispanics. Rounding on the presidential hopeful over his prisoner-of-war remarks only highlights Republicans’ silence over earlier bigotry.

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.

Pluto is only of interest every 200 years. A hundred years from now, it will be so far from the sun its atmosphere may collapse (paywall).

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 Kazakhstani “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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