Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Facebook’s spending, Nintendo’s profits, Samsung’s miss, bacon lasers

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What to watch for today

India carries out a controversial execution. Yakub Memon, a convicted terrorist involved in the 1993 bombings that killed 257 people in Mumbai, is slated to be hanged in a jail in the city of Nagpur. The looming execution has sparked a national discussion about the death penalty.

Is the US economy rebounding? The Commerce Department releases an estimate of second-quarter GDP, which is expected to have bounced back after a harsh winter and a West Coast port slowdown. The first-quarter GDP figure is also expected to be revised up slightly.

The earnings season continues. Quarterly results are due from—take a deep breath—Colgate Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal, AstraZeneca, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens, Nokia, Lufthansa, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, Anheuser-Busch, Renault, Fiat Chrysler, Rolls-Royce, LinkedIn, ConocoPhillips, Cigna, Royal Dutch Shell, and more.

While you were sleeping

Samsung missed expectations. Second-quarter operating profit fell to 6.9 trillion won ($5.9 billion), down 4% from a year earlier. That fall came largely from difficulties maintaining the supply of its latest handset; the mobile division’s operating profit fell to 2.8 trillion won, from 4.4 trillion won a year earlier.

Facebook reported mounting expenses. Its net income attributable to stock holders fell to $715 million in the second quarter, from $788 million a year earlier on increased spending on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus Rift. Facebook said it expects costs to remain high this year, sending the share price down slightly, despite strong revenue.

Nintendo powered up. The Japanese console maker reported a second-quarter net profit of 8.3 billion yen ($67 million), up from a loss of 9.9 billion yen a year earlier. Nintendo is still trying to drum up sales for its Wii console; the success of a new game—Splatoon—has helped in recent months.

The Fed hinted on interest rates. The US central bank very slightly upgraded its economic forecast, saying that the “underutilization of labor resources has diminished.” That will be received by some analysts as a hint that it will soon raise the cost of borrowing, as the US economy improves.

Japan’s economy got a boost. Industrial production rose 0.8% in June, beating an expected 0.3% rise and putting production 2% higher than a year earlier. A strong summer forecast was also announced—good news for the central bank, which is tasked with raising inflation to around 2%.

Investigators searched Reunion Island for the missing MH370. A wing component believed to be unique to Boeing 777 aircraft—the same as that used by Malaysia Airlines on the flight that mysteriously went missing last year—has been found washed up near Africa. Investigators are working to assess whether it belongs to the missing plane, but authorities urged caution.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Epstein on Google’s program to provide free internet access using balloons. ”After test runs in New Zealand, Brazil, and the US, Project Loon is finally ready to… balloon. In 2016, Google will deploy balloons all over Sri Lanka, filling in its coverage gaps and effectively blanketing the entire island nation with broadband internet.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Amnesty International is wrong on prostitution. It says prostitution is a right, but it’s not ready to support women.

Killing the leader of the Taliban helps ISIL. There are fence-sitters in the Taliban who can now defect freely.

Don’t underestimate evil people. The dastardly know exactly what they’re doing.

Japan has to face its Enron-style demons. Corporate governance does not mean running a company like a personal fiefdom.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists have turned fat cells into lasers. Glowing squares of pig flesh could one day help track human cancer cells.

Charleston shooter Dylan Roof has an unlikely public defender. David Bruck is a longtime critic of injustice against African Americans.

A London skyscraper is knocking people over. The building known for a reflected “death ray” also creates a dangerous wind tunnel.

You can hack a “smart” sniper rifle. The weapon, equipped with Wi-Fi, can be tricked into firing at an unintended target.

Frequent flier miles can be used to pay for university. In Canada, at least.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bacon lasers, and internet balloons to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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