Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—HTC’s remarkable fall, remembering Michael Brown, space lettuce

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What to watch for today

Warren Buffett’s biggest deal ever. Berkshire Hathaway is expected to announce that it’s buying Precision Castparts (paywall), which makes airplane parts and other industrial components, for more than $30 billion. The deal checks off all the boxes for a classic Buffett acquisition.

The trial of a journalist held in Iran nears its end. The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian, who’s been detained for over a year on charges of espionage, may soon learn his fate. According to the Post, a final hearing is to take place today, but it’s not certain how long it will take the court to reach a verdict.

Hertz reports a tough quarter. The car rental giant is expected to detail a drop in second-quarter revenues, due to a fall in the number of tourists traveling to the US (many are turned off by the strong dollar). Analysts will be looking for whether the company alters its full-year forecast.

Earnings in the food industry. Kraft Heinz will announce its first earnings since the two companies completed their merger last month. Sysco, the world’s largest food services and distribution company, will also report, as well as Shake Shack.

Over the weekend

HTC landed in hot water. The Taiwanese smartphone maker’s market capitalization fell to NT$47 billion ($1.5 billion), less than the $NT47.2 billion cash it holds in its accounts. That suggests investors believe the company is essentially worthless, as competition from Samsung and Chinese brands squeeze the company out of the smartphone market.

Greece edged closer to a full bailout. Following late-night talks with creditors on Sunday, a Greek government official said it hopes to conclude discussions over a bailout by tomorrow morning at the latest, according to Reuters. Greece is pushing for an €86 billion ($94.3 billion) relief program and is requesting €20 billion for its first installment (paywall).

Ferguson remembered the killing of Michael Brown. Residents of the Missouri town held a silent march to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting of the African-American teenager. Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer, sparking nationwide protests and a debate on racism and police brutality.

A typhoon killed 14 in southeastern China. Typhoon Soudelor cut across the Fujian and Zhejiang provinces on Saturday, dropping over 50 cm (20 inches) in some areas. Xinhua reported that over 180,000 people were evacuated from their homes to avoid flash floods.

Britain warned Spain over a Gibraltar incursion. The UK’s Royal Navy escorted Spanish ships out of what the Foreign Office called British waters, after they entered the territory (paywall) in chase of a drug smuggler. Britain called the actions potentially dangerous; Spain has been trying to reclaim the British island in recent years.

More struggles for China’s manufacturing industry. China’s producer price index fell 5.4% in July from a year earlier, the biggest fall in six years and the 40th consecutive month of price declines. The drop followed an 8.3% fall in demand for exports, and will add yet more pressure to the central bank to increase stimulus measures.

The English Premier League returned. After $750 million in summer signings, the new season is underway. Chelsea opened their title defense with a less-than-stellar home draw to Swansea City. The other title hopefuls had better luck: Manchester United and Liverpool both won games.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on Germany’s ascendant economy. “German capitalism traditionally commingled elements that seem impossibly antithetical to outsiders: muscular unions and corporate efficiency; high-cost workers who can compete in global manufacturing; generous unemployment benefits and low levels of unemployment; and a fragmented base of independent small-and-medium manufacturers—the Mittelstand—able to compete on the highest levels of productivity and efficiency.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Vegemite sales should be limited. Australians are using the spread to make moonshine.

Stores should ditch “men’s” and “women’s” sections. Clothing should be genderless.

South Korea’s economy is a hostage to family feuds. President Park Geun Hye has failed to curb the influence of massive family-run conglomerates.

Long-term planning has its limits. Making decisions over a longer horizon just leads to stagnation, argues Larry Summers (paywall).

There’s simply too much television to watch. So says John Landgraf, head of FX Networks.

Surprising discoveries

Astronauts are about to eat the first food grown in space. On the menu: a type of red romaine lettuce, called “Outredgeous.”

Famous Instagrammers are using subliminal product placement in their photos. You can buy the items featured in their glamorous lives.

Baidu wants to build a medical robot. The Chinese search company hopes it will one day live in the doctor’s office.

Orange wine is the new rosé. It has the body of red wine but the refreshment of white.

Shakespeare may have been a fan of weed. Cannabis was found in tobacco pipes dug up from the playwright’s garden.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, space lettuce, and orange wine to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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