Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Obama in Kenya, Puma catching up, FT’s pink explained, Finnish parsnips

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What to watch for today

Barack Obama travels to Kenya. The US president’s trip to his father’s home country includes a private meeting with his extended family and a global entrepreneurship summit in Nairobi. Obama will address the Kenyan public over the weekend.

Discussions over the trans-Pacific trade pact start up again. Chief negotiators from 12 countries are scheduled for four days of talks in Hawaii, ahead of a meeting of senior trade ministers. US officials hope they are nearing the end of negotiations on the controversial deal, which would be the most ambitious trade pact in a generation.

The UN refines its climate change agreement. An international deal to combat global warming is supposed to be sealed in December, but a preliminary document is still being whittled down from 85 pages of options. Today’s new draft may be shorter and more concise.

While you were sleeping

Puma paid a high price for sales. The German sportswear maker reported a second-quarter loss of €3.3 million ($3.6 million), way below estimates of a €920,000 profit, largely thanks to an expensive marketing campaign to draw customers back from rival Nike. But the campaign delivered a 7.6% rise in sales for the period; enough to satisfy investors, which sent the share price up.

Vodafone’s earnings offered confidence. The world’s second-largest mobile carrier’s organic service revenue grew 0.8% in its fiscal first quarter, better than the previous three months and higher than expectations. CEO Vittorio Colao said that was due to Vodafone’s emerging markets maintaining “strong momentum” as Europe is returning to growth.

The FT owner’s profit dipped. Pearson, the UK-based publisher that yesterday negotiated a sale of the Financial Times to Nikkei, reported a first-half operating profit of £72 million ($111.5 million), 4% lower than a year earlier. The company didn’t quantify the FT sale, but left its profit outlook unchanged.

China’s manufacturing sector tumbled… The Caixin/Markit preliminary purchasing managers’ index fell to 48.2 in July, from 49.4 in June and below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. The 15-month low suggests a bad start to the third quarter, and could put pressure on the government’s target of achieving 7% GDP growth this year.

…as Japan’s sped ahead. The Nikkei/Markit preliminary PMI rose to 51.4 in July from 50.1 in June, showing accelerating expansion in the manufacturing sector. The highest reading since February and the third consecutive monthly rise is good news for Japan’s central bank, charged with raising inflation to 2%.

Turkey carried out air strikes against ISIL. The Turkish air force targeted sites in Syria for the first time while its police carried out raids at home, arresting more than 250 people suspected of having links with the Islamic State militant group. The attack comes within a week after a suicide bomber killed at least 30 people in Turkey.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zach Seward on why the Financial Times is published on pink paper. “Some, including the newspaper itself, prefer to call the current version ‘salmon pink.’ Asked to weigh in on the matter a few years ago, the Pantone Color Institute suggested ‘bisque’ was a more appropriate descriptor.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Blame climate change for Syria’s civil war. The region’s severe drought sparked the bloody conflict.

Robots will fight our future wars. The decision to use deadly force will be monitored but not directly authorized by humans.

The next technology boom will be in space. Putting devices into orbit is enabling businesses that would have once been impossible.

Scientists are on the cusp of cutting and pasting human genes. Drug companies are excited, but the rest of us should be wary.

The Philippines can’t win against China. A South China Sea arbitration case will cause Manila more harm than good.

Surprising discoveries

The largest sauna on Earth has opened in Norway. The massive structure is built on an Arctic beach.

Rebellious children grow up to earn more money. The business world seems to reward rule-breakers.

There’s a push against London’s “anti-homeless” architecture. Activists have put out mattresses on the spikes.

The world’s best treehouse architect has built his masterpiece. Takashi Kobayashi used a 3D scanner and a 300-year-old camphor tree.

Finland’s president knows his parsnips. Sauli Niinistö called in to a radio show to discuss invasive wild vegetables.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, epic saunas, and parsnip recipes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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