Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—BMW’s China troubles, Californian evacuations, lunar travel receipts

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What to watch for today

India and Pakistan find common ground at sea. More than 150 Indian fishermen who were held in Pakistan’s custody after crossing a controversial border are due to return home. Their release comes after Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Russia.

Disney reports its earnings. The entertainment giant is expected to post strong fiscal third-quarter results, following the blockbuster release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Disney’s stock is up 29% this year, and hopes are high for the upcoming Star Wars sequels.

More earnings: CVS, Liberty Global, Aetna, Kellogg, Charter Communications, Sprint, Scripps, Hyatt, and a number of energy companies report their results.

While you were sleeping

The UK government sold some of RBS at a loss. It lost £1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) after selling a 5.4% stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland, which was bailed out in 2008. The UK now owns a mere 73% of the bank. Chancellor George Osborne was criticized for not selling while share prices were higher.

Toyota booked another record profit… The Japanese auto maker reported a 9.1% jump in fiscal first-quarter operating profit to 756 billion yen ($6.1 billion), handily beating expectations. Sales growth remained halted due to a self-imposed cap on production, and purchases in China were down slightly; revenue rose by more than 9% thanks to the weak yen.

…as China dented BMW’s earnings. The German luxury car maker’s second-quarter earnings before interest and tax fell 3% from a year earlier to €2.5 billion ($2.7 billion). BMW pointed to increasing competition and rising costs in China, the world’s largest auto market, where BMW had its first sales decline in a decade this year.

AXA’s profit rose on individual insurance. The France-based insurer reported a first-half net income of €3.1 billion ($3.4 billion), up from €3 billion a year earlier. Strong sales increases in the US and France boosted AXA’s life and savings division.

Thousands were evacuated away from California wildfires. Orders to evacuate were given to 13,000 residents whose homes are in the path of some 20 fires that are sweeping the countryside. The fires tripled in size over the weekend, and authorities are struggling to contain the spread.

India resisted a cut to its interest rate. Central bank chief Raghuram Rajan declined to lower the cost of borrowing from 7.25% to 7%, despite pressure from the finance ministry. That leaves the rate at among the highest in Asia, as Rajan aims to keep inflation to 6%.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jean-Louis Gassée on how ad-blocking software will change the web content industry. ”Losing trust is bad for the bottom line—no economy can function well without it. When you lose the consumer’s trust, you’re condemned to a chase for the next wave of suckers. Even sites that get us to pay for access to their content play questionable advertising and tracking games.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Men are literally freezing women out of the workplace. Standard office temperatures are designed for men.

Technology will soon allow us to live any life we want. We won’t need to work for money—but we could choose to.

We should be hacking our own cities. The only way to beat cyber attacks is to pre-empt them.

Facebook’s video business is built on lies. The social network’s most popular videos are “freebooted” from rival services like YouTube.

Elon Musk’s lesser-known business could be the most important. SolarCity’s innovations could enable mass adoption of solar power.

Surprising discoveries

Harvard prefers college essays that reference “mother” and “father.” Stanford, on the other hand, likes “mom” and “dad.”

There is now a smartwatch for the blind. It has a Braille display that can show four characters at a time.

There is an Indonesian chicken that is black inside and out. The “Ayam Cemani” even has black internal organs. 

Medical devices aren’t safe from hackers. US regulators warned hospitals to remove vulnerable intravenous drug pumps.

Buzz Aldrin had to file an expense report after flying to the moon. He received a $33 payment—most likely to drive himself to Ellington Air Force Base.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, lunar expense reports, and goth fried chicken recipes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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