Tesla results, Olympic soccer kicks off, the great flossing fraud

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

South Africa holds pivotal elections. The ruling ANC party is likely to suffer setbacks in more than 250 municipal contests, after a campaign season marred by violent protests. Mounting dissatisfaction by the country’s poor could mean major gains for the opposition Democratic Alliance.

Tesla’s losses mount. The electric-car maker is expected to post another quarterly loss due to heavy spending on its massive “gigafactory” and its high-stakes Model 3 for the mass market. Shareholders will have questions about the $2.6 billion SolarCity acquisition, and delivery targets for its growing product line.

Rio 2016 hasn’t started, but the soccer has. Sweden’s women take on South Africa in the first event of the Rio Olympics, which doesn’t officially begin until Friday (Aug. 5). Then, superstar Marta leads Brazil out to play the Chinese women’s team at the Olympic Stadium.

While you were sleeping

You won’t be seeing Donald Trump testify anytime soon. US district judge Gonzalo Curiel—whose integrity has been questioned by the Republican presidential candidate—denied a media request to see footage of Trump’s deposition in the lawsuit over the demise of Trump University. Meanwhile, Trump called Barack Obama ”the worst president, maybe, in the history of our country.”

Taiwan wants to kick Uber out. The country’s Investment Commission accused the ride-hailing giant of claiming to be an IT platform rather than a transportation service, and is planning to order it to leave. Not good news for Uber after it had to concede defeat to its rival Didi Chuxing in mainland China earlier this week.

HSBC’s first-half profit fell 29%. Slowing economic growth in its key markets of Britain and Hong Kong led to a difficult six months for the bank—and this was before the UK’s vote to leave the EU. It now plans to spend $2.5 billion in the second half of the year to buy back shares after the sale of its Brazil arm last month.  

Axel Springer’s results were dreary.  The owner of Bild, Europe’s largest daily, reported flat second-quarter earnings of $165 million and sales growth of just 0.7% as it struggled with shrinking circulation. The Berlin-based publisher, which also owns Business Insider website, said digital products now contribute over 70% of its core profit. 

Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega named his wife as his running mate. Heading into elections the former guerrilla leader has chosen first lady Rosario Murillo to be his vice president. Critics accuse the couple of running the country as their own personal fiefdom.

A North Korean missile landed in Japanese waters. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said the launch represented a “grave threat“ to his nation. Pyongyang has been conducting such launches in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions in retaliation to the US and South Korea’s joint anti-missile defense system.

Quartz obsession interlude

Cassie Werber on the Brompton folding bike phenomenon. “The bikes are built for lives lived in tiny apartments with little storage–they fold up small enough to fit under a table or on a shelf. They speak of autonomy, but instead of expressing the need for escape to open fields and mountains—as sports bikes might—they’re knit-up with city life.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hillary Clinton should learn from the Brexit vote. The war against populism is best waged with values, not just facts.

Harry Potter, the boy who lived, needs to die. The collective reluctance to move on is proof of “early onset nostalgia.”

Travel can be less dangerous than staying at home. People tend to misconstrue the risks of going abroad.

Surprising discoveries

One of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges lost $65 million in a hack. Bitfinex has shut down trading for the moment.

There is little proof that flossing actually works. Your dentist and the US government are wrong about the benefits of dental floss.

Alaska’s main road is melting. Rising temperatures are melting the permafrost beneath the Alaska Highway.

An electronic tattoo can track your blood alcohol content. The device tells your phone if you’ve had too much to drink.

Sleeping with your lights on could make you age faster. Lab mice exposed to artificial light had weaker bones and muscles.

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