Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Erdogan in China, Twitter results, Volkswagen pips Toyota, 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, democracy in Africa, and a push for a deal to end the civil war in South Sudan.

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. Dorsey’s other startup, Square, reportedly filed to go public last week.

Other earnings due. Results are also expected from Merck, Pfizer, Ford, UPS, Orange, Statoil, UBS Group, Gilead Sciences, and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

While you were sleeping

BP reported a $6 billion loss. The oil and gas company reported a second-quarter statutory loss of $6.3 billion (paywall), compared to a $3.2 billion profit a year earlier, after booking a $9.8 billion charge relating to the 2010 Deepwater oil spill. The halting of its Libyan operations and a low oil price also hurt the company’s earnings.

British GDP growth accelerated. The UK’s economy grew by 0.7% in the second quarter, and 2.6% over the year; a welcome figure after growth slowed to 0.4% in the first quarter. The government touted that GDP-per-capita has now returned to pre-crisis levels.

China’s stock market slipped again. The Shanghai stock exchange finished trading down 1.7% after falling as much as 5% during the day. That drop comes after the volatile market fell by 8.5% on Monday, its biggest drop in almost a decade, prompting yet more promises from Beijing that stocks will be propped up (paywall).

Toyota lost its global sales crown. The Japanese auto maker reported global sales of 5.02 million for the first half of the year, putting Volkswagen—which sold 5.04 million—at number one for the period. European demand for cars reached its highest in over five years, offsetting an overall slowdown in sales led by a slower-growing China.

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.

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.

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

The Swiss military “stole” water from France. Helicopters scooped water from a French lake to give to thirsty cows.

Americans are eating fewer calories. So much so that obesity rates are no longer rising.

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, half-beards, and past incursions of national sovereignty due to thirsty animals to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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