Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Hiroshima victims honored, Tesla’s bad news, Ireland’s Minion nuisance

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What to watch for today

Egypt unveils a huge Suez Canal expansion. An upgrade of the man-made waterway that links Asia and Europe will feature a new 35 km (22 mile) extension, which cost $8.5 billion and was built in less than a year, part of president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s plan to reinvigorate the country’s economy. But the canal will not be big enough to accommodate the world’s largest tankers and container ships.

The Bank of England’s “Super Thursday.” The central bank is expected to leave its benchmark rate at 0.5%. More importantly, it will simultaneously release the minutes of its monetary policy meeting for the first time, in an effort to make the process more transparent.

A major court challenge for Uber. A California judge’s ruling on a class-action lawsuit will hinge on whether drivers are employees of the ridesharing giant, or self-employed freelancers. Some 160,000 drivers are trying to force the company to reimburse them for mileage.

The earnings season continues: Novo Nordisk, Allergan, Rio Tinto, Duke Energy, Petrobras, Viacom, AMC, Paramount, and the New York Times report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Japan honored Hiroshima’s atomic bomb victims. It’s been 70 years since the world saw the first use of an atomic bomb in warfare. Prime minister Shinzo Abe attended a ceremony and called for global nuclear disarmament, a message heard by representatives from 100-plus countries in attendance, including US envoy Caroline Kennedy.

Tesla lowered its forecasts… The electric car manufacturer reported a second-quarter loss of $182.4 million, from a loss of $61.9 million a year earlier, on higher costs despite a 24% increase in revenue. The shares fell on CEO Elon Musk’s suggestion that the company may raise more cash, and his downgrading of its sales forecast for the year.

…As did 21st Century Fox. The media company said earnings before tax and other costs for the year ending June 2016 will be only slightly higher than last year’s $6.5 billion, compared with earlier forecasts of well over $7 billion. CEO James Murdoch said its older channels such as Fox News will lose subscribers, but that growth will come from new channels; shares fell by as much as 5% on after-hours trading.

An activist investor took a major stake in the maker of Oreos. Bill Ackman has acquired a $5.5 billion stake in Mondelez, in a bet that the company will become a major target in the rapidly consolidating food industry, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Ackman, who is believed to now own a 7.5% stake in Mondelez, is expected to call for better profitability or a sale to a rival.

Australian unemployment took a turn for the worse. The jobless rate rose to 6.3% in July (paywall) from 6.1% in June, confounding expectations that it would remain stationary. The number of full-time jobs added was also lower than in the past two months, adding questions to the strength of Australia’s labor market.

Malaysia’s prime minister claimed the Boeing 777 piece was from MH370. Najib Razak said the wing fragment that washed up on Reunion Island was from the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing 17 months ago. But French investigators said only that there were “very strong indications” that this was the case; further tests continue today.

France and Russia made up over a cancelled warship deal. French president Fraçois Hollande agreed with Russian president Vladimir Putin that France would reimburse Russia for two Mistral helicopter carriers that it failed to deliver. The order was part of a $1.3 billion deal that was scuttled due to Western sanctions against Russia.

Quartz obsession interlude

Shelly Banjo on the new US rule that requires companies to disclose their CEO-employee pay gaps. ”As an investor, you could see whether pay differences among, say, retail workers at Walmart, Costco, and Target have led to better sales over time. And as a consumer, it would be great to buy goods and services equipped with information on how much companies are paying their workers.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Google’s search results need not be scientifically correct. It’s fine that creationist answers pop up among scientific and historical questions.

Let’s just give poor countries cash. The “teach a man to fish” mentality does not work when fighting poverty.

China is gambling by “internationalizing” the yuan. It’s ambitious but also risky.

American exceptionalism is over. Presidential candidates from both parties are praising Scandinavian ideas.

In Zimbabwe, lions are hated, not loved. Cecil who?

Surprising discoveries

Russia wants to ban foreign condoms. One former official says it could boost the country’s birth rate.

The Earth may have its own groupies. Mini-moon asteroids could make great space mission targets.

A street lamp destroyed by pee nearly killed a driver in San Francisco. Corrosion from urine caused it to snap.

A real-life giant Minion attacked Dublin. The massive inflatable rolled itself down a road.

The gene responsible for liking coriander also applies to wheat beer. Like one, and you’ll probably like the other.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, killer Minions, and cilantro-garnished wheat beer to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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