Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—China’s stock rollercoaster, Twitter results, Puerto Rico’s cash flow, “half beards”

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What to watch for today

Barack Obama addresses the African Union. He will be the first sitting US president to address the organization, located in a Chinese-built headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Likely topics include the fight against terrorism and democracy in Africa, along with Obama’s push for a deal to end the civil war in South Sudan.

The health of the UK economy. Analysts expect the central bank to announce second-quarter GDP growth of about 0.7%, boosted by the service sector and oil and gas production, after a slowdown in growth in the first quarter.

Turkey’s president visits China. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first visit to China comes as thousands of ethnic Uighurs make a home in Turkey, fleeing mistreatment in China and angering Beijing. Erdogan is also hoping to purchase a missile system from the Chinese, raising hackles among Turkey’s NATO allies.

Twitter’s quarterly results. The company’s interim CEO, Jack Dorsey, will try to calm investors who have sent Twitter’s stock down 31% in the past three months. Results are also expected from Merck, Pfizer, Ford, UPS, Orange, BP, Statoil, UBS Group, Gilead Sciences, and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

While you were sleeping

Baidu’s earnings fell short of expectations. The Chinese search engine reported a second-quarter net income of 3.7 billion yuan ($600 million), 3.3% higher than a year earlier but lower than expected. The results come as Baidu is investing in retail technology and mobile search to better compete against rivals Alibaba and Tencent.

China’s stock market took another tumble. The Shanghai stock exchange finished the morning down 1% after falling as much as 5% earlier. That fall comes a day after the volatile market fell by 8.5%, its biggest drop in almost a decade, prompting yet more promises from Beijing that stocks will be propped up (paywall).

Puerto Rico warned it could run out of money next month. The US territory said it couldn’t be sure it will have enough cash to make a $58 million payment on bonds. Puerto Rico is already trying to restructure $72 billion in debt, but may need to take out short-term loans.

South Korea declared an “end to MERS.” The government claimed the country can be free from concerns about the disease after recording 23 days without any new infections. The World Health Organization said the country would need to wait for a 28-day period before claiming that the respiratory disease is completely gone.

Greece’s creditors asked for more reforms. Bailout negotiations finally began, as creditors try to push Greece to enact further changes to its economy in exchange for debt relief. Separately, new revelations emerged about former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’s plan to secretly launch a parallel banking system.

Quartz obsession interlude

Marc Bain on Amazon’s bold strut into fashion. ”Amazon has made no secret of wanting to become a major fashion retailer in the coming years, investing heavily in promoting itself as a destination for clothing shoppers, and the push seems to be paying off. According to a recent report by financial firm Cowen and Company, Amazon is on course to become the largest clothing retailer in the US by 2017, surpassing Macy’s.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Keep artificial intelligence out of weapons systems. Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak all think it is a bad idea.

Women should not have to act like guys at work. Why are we still promoting alpha male behavior?

Indoor climbing is the next big American sport. It is most popular in flat parts of the country.

Your email font is making your life hell. Helvetica and Arial, the defaults in many programs, are terrible for reading big blocks of text.

Surprising discoveries

Satanists unveiled a huge sculpture in Detroit. It depicts Baphomet, a winged deity with a goat’s head.

An Italian athlete is pioneering the “half beard.” An asymmetrical trend in the making?

Eye movement therapy may cure PTSD. It can rewire the brain to make troubling memories less powerful. 

A smart mirror can tell if you have heart disease. It looks for stress and weight gain—and also samples your breath.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, smart mirrors, and facial hair trends to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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