#ESPN slows #Disney, #US nuclear emergency, sea salt with plastic

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

Snap releases its first quarterly earnings. Analysts expect the company to post a loss of $0.21 per share on $146.42 million in revenue, and investors will be looking to see if Facebook’s copycat features are eating into the company’s business.

Rodrigo Duterte goes on a road trip. The controversial Philippines president will make three stops: the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Cambodia, a meeting with the Filipino diaspora in Hong Kong, and the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing—China’s attempt at reviving the Silk Road trading route to link Asian markets with Europe.

Walmart settles a bribery case. The retailer is reportedly preparing to pay a fine of about $300 million to resolve a US investigation into bribes paid by employees in Mexico, China, and India. The amount won’t likely phase the world’s biggest retailer. The New York Timesbroke news of the scandal (paywall) in 2012.

SPONSOR CONTENT BY BARCLAYS

Can productivity help offset Brexit? Decisive monetary action helped allay market concerns in the wake of the Brexit vote, but bold economic policy can only go so far. Economists share their insights on countering Brexit with growth and productivity.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Trump’s pick to lead the FDA was confirmed by the US Senate.Scott Gottlieb will be the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, where he served as a director and deputy commissioner under former president George W. Bush. Critics worry about his financial ties (which he’s agreed to untangle) to the industries he’ll be charged with regulating.

Disney’s quarterly revenue fell short of expectations. Its ESPN division, long a cash cow, saw a decline in subscribers and higher programming costs, as viewers defect from traditional pay-TV services and embrace online alternatives. Shares dropped 2.4% in after-hours trading. The company is preparing an ESPN subscription streaming service.

A tunnel filled with nuclear waste collapsed in Washington state. The US Department of Energy declared an emergency after a tunnel collapsed at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, home to 53 million gallons (200 million liters) of radioactive waste. Officials said no workers were exposed or airborne emissions detected, but robots were deployed to take more air samples.

The US will arm a Kurdish militia in Syria over Turkey’s objections. The Trump administration said it will provide training and equipment to the YPG, which Ankara says has links to the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The YPG has become a prominent US ally in the battle to reclaim Raqqa from the Islamic State.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Allison Schrager on stock market’s ominous calm: “I recently asked a few traders if they believed lower volatility reflected less risk in the markets. They laughed nervously and said, in essence, ‘a correction is coming and it will be ugly.’” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

Can’t get to Europe? / Don’t worry. Your money is/ going in your place.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Energy consumption has been transformed by the humble lightbulb. Efficient LED bulbs have dramatically reduced electricity consumption.

US home ownership is driving income inequality… The tax system gives vast, hidden benefits to the rich.

….While home ownership in India is poised to drive economic growth. Government plans could unleash $1.3 trillion in investment.

QUARTZ ANNOUNCEMENT

It’s time to give up the social hierarchy game. While it may be natural for human beings to compare ourselves to one another, it’s ultimately futile. Explore a better solution for self-evaluation crafted from Stoicism, psychology, and Buddhist scholars, as well as other stories that examine our preoccupation with happiness in the Happiness Experiment.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Gas stations are using AI to set prices. The algorithms are testing textbook theories (paywall) of competition.

North Korea’s only private university is still hiring foreigners.The Kim regime has detained a number of its teachers.

China is explaining the new Silk Road to American kids. It’s unclear how excited they’ll be about the “Belt and Road Bedtime Stories” video series—but it should put them to sleep, at least.

Your sea salt is almost certainly contaminated with plastic. It’s “a testament to humanity’s filthy habits.”

An Irish beach that vanished 33 years ago reappeared overnight. The sand on Achill Island was restored by a “freakish” riptide.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, vanished beaches, and bedtime stories to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

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