Explosions in Thailand, Germany’s GDP, Obama’s summer playlist

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND

China’s foreign minister heads to India. Wang Yi arrives for a three-day visit in Goa and Delhi, where he will meet with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj. Key issues will be upcoming multilateral meetings (including the G20 and BRICS summits) and India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Germany releases its GDP numbers. Economists expect a dip in growth in the second quarter, amid unsteadiness in emerging economies and in the wake of Brexit. A slowdown in Germany’s export-driven economy, by far the EU’s largest, would affect the rest of the region.

Day two of the Perseids meteor shower. The celestial fireworks from the comet Swift-Tuttle have already begun, but the best viewings continue through Aug. 12. They’re visible from anywhere on Earth, so get outside and watch the sky.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Thailand was hit by a series of explosions in tourist areas. A blast in Hua Hin Thursday night (Aug. 11) local time killed a street vendor and injured 19, including seven foreigners. Another blast on Thursday in Trang killed one and injured five. This morning (Aug. 12) more blasts occurred, one in Phuket and another in Hua Hin. It’s unclear who is behind the attacks.

China’s July economic data provided more evidence of a slowdown. Investment grew at its slowest pace in more than 16 years in the January-July period. Retail sales in July increased 10.2%, versus a forecast 10.5% and down from 10.6% in June. Industrial output for the month rose 6% from a year earlier, slowing from 6.2% in June and missing the forecast of 6.1%.

Nordstrom topped estimates in a positive sign for department stores. The biggest luxury department store chain in the US reported earnings per share of 67 cents, compared to expectations of 57 cents. The news followed upbeat earnings reports from Macy’s and Kohl’s, which like Nordstrom have been busy cutting expenses. Nordstrom shares jumped 13% in late trading.

Russia-Ukraine relations got even more tense. Russian president Vladimir Putin made a show of (paywall) activating counter-terrorism measures, including naval training exercises off the coast of Crimea. Ukraine, which has denied Putin’s accusations of a Ukrainian plot against Russia, responded by putting its border troops on high alert.

QUARTZ MARKETS HAIKU

Stocks soar to new highs
Retailers gain; Our best sport
is still buying stuff

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Allison Schrager on the diminishing returns of a college-educated workforce. “[G]iven the current state of technology and invested capital, turning the unskilled into skilled workers won’t do much for growth because the US economy already has all the educated workers it needs.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Driverless cars may not be a boon for our cities. Without careful planning, they’ll cause more congestion, mass unemployment, and a huge infrastructure deficit.

Brazil is still in the running to be the country of the future.Dynamic diversity and improving accountability could help itovercome short-term challenges.

Donald Trump is a learning algorithm. He constantly experiments to see what makes his supporters agitated—but his sample is flawed.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Barack Obama has a steamy summer mixtape. The “day” playlist is for fun—but the night playlist is for romance.

The world’s oldest vertebrate was born during the reign of James I. Greenland sharks live for an estimated 400 years.

Looking to repair your torn clothing? The teeth on a squid’s tentacles could help.

It’s a really good time to buy a helicopter. Thanks to lower demand from oil and gas companies, $1.7 million goes a long way.

India’s forests are worth $1.7 trillion. According to an expert government panel, they’re more valuable than the individual GDPs of Russia, Korea, Canada, and Mexico.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, squid tentacles, and helicopter catalogs to hi@qz.comYou can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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