Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Hiroshima victims honored, Uber’s court challenge, dangerous street lamps

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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 35km (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. Data is released from 7am ET.

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.

Earnings season continues. Allergan, 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.

Adidas missed expectations and considered a golf sale. The German sportswear maker’s adjusted second-quarter net income rose to €146 million ($159 million), compared with expectations of €148 million. Adidas also announced it is mulling a sale of its golf unit to prevent the business from dragging down group profits; it has seen revenue fall 26% this year already.

Rio Tinto’s profit sank. The Anglo-Australian mining giant reported first-half underlying earnings of $2.9 billion, down 43% from a year earlier on plummeting profits at its iron ore division. The results were in line with analyst expectations, and CEO Sam Walsh called the earnings “robust,” given the low price of raw materials.

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.

Germany’s economy got a boost. Factory orders rose by 2% in July, far higher than expectations and better than a 0.3% fall in June; annually, orders are up 7.2%. That’s a reassuring figure to accompany record-low unemployment rates in Germany and a reinvigorated euro.

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.

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 don’t need to deliver the “truth.” So says the search engine’s in-house philosopher.

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.

People in Zimbabwe actually hate lions, so why do we care so much? Let Cecil go.

Surprising discoveries

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

The Earth has its own “mini-moons.” And these 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.

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, cilantro-flavored wheat beer, and pregnancy-inducing Russian condoms to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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