What to watch for today
Xiaomi unveils a new Mi TV. The Chinese smartphone company also makes televisions and is unveiling its latest today. Last year’s Mi TV 2 came in at 49 inches, had 4K resolution, and cost 3,999 yuan ($640). No word as to what this new set will feature.
Afghanistan’s leaders visit the White House. Both president Ashraf Ghani and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah will sit down with Barack Obama to discuss security, the economy, and humanitarian support. Tomorrow, Ghani will make a statement to the US Congress. It’s expected he’ll have complicated demands (paywall).
Netflix comes to Australia. An estimated 200,000 Aussies have been using the movie and TV streaming service in the country illegally with networking software that obscured their location. That’s no longer going to be necessary. Those without credit cards will even be able to buy Netflix gift cards at convenience stores.
Becoming Steve Jobs lands on bookshelves. Paradoxically, while Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of the Apple founder, published shortly after his death, displeased Apple’s current chiefs, this unauthorized one by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli is earning their praise (paywall). The publisher has already more than doubled the planned print run.
While you were sleeping
The US presidential campaign formally began. Ted Cruz became the first major candidate to announce his intention to run. The Texas senator wants to undo many of Obama’s policies, including the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, and same-sex marriage; he’s also a climate-change denier. But he’s probably too conservative to win.
Paris banned every second car from entering the city. Last week the city briefly had the world’s dirtiest air. In response, authorities decreed that only cars with odd-numbered license plates would be allowed into Paris; those driving cars with even number-plates were fined. The scheme ends today.
Merkel and Tsipras shared warm words, and not much else. The German and Greek leaders put on a good show of friendliness at their first face-t0-face meeting in Berlin, after weeks of recriminations over Greece’s bailout program. However, their positions on how to keep Greece solvent remained far apart.
Pakistan showed off its army and its first homemade drone. The unmanned aircraft was flown during the country’s National Day parade—an extravaganza of pomp that the country had not held in seven years because of fears about terrorist attacks. A new report by Pakistani lawmakers says that US drones have killed almost 2,200 people in the country.
Ebola was given an expiration date. The virus has killed over 10,000 people—and just last weekend, the government of Sierra Leone ordered a three-day curfew across the country, to halt the spread of infections. But the head of the UN mission to West Africa says the outbreak will be “gone by the summer.”
Ukraine will stop taking Russia’s gas—for now. Due to Moscow’s high prices and the increasing availability of natural gas from nearby European countries, Kyiv decided to temporarily stop buying from its longtime supplier on April 1, when their current deal expires. Negotiators are due to meet in two weeks, however, and may reach a new deal. This has been a long-running saga.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on the music industry’s march to a different beat. “Should music ever be free? That was the inescapable topic of discussion among the hordes of recording-industry middlemen and hangers-on gathered for the music section of the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference last week. It’s a schism that has emerged just when it looked like subscription streaming services, such as Spotify, were bringing an end to the music industry’s years of economic pain.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Greece is going to default. The faster everyone realizes this, the faster both Greece and the euro zone can move on.
Yemen is heading towards war. It could be the country’s worst conflict in two decades.
We need a new theory of capitalism. Booms and busts are becoming more violent and the system we have in place now is too complex.
An Iranian nuclear deal is too important for closed-door meetings. The US side of the deal should be debated by Congress, says a former head of the CIA.
If you’re murdered, it could be by a robot. Human beings have never had more creative ways to kill one another.
Smartphone addiction is serious. A 12-year-old girl in America stands accused of poisoning her mother—twice—for taking away her iPhone.
The Popemobile takes deliveries. When the pope went on a tour of Naples, a man jumped over the barricades to deliver a pizza—and the Holy Father took it.
Australia got hit by the world’s biggest meteorite. The 400-kilometer (250-mile) rock, which broke into two, could have caused a mass extinction—but scientists don’t yet know when it fell.
Extinction can be a good thing. Would you really want to have been alive when nine-foot-long crocodiles walked on their hind legs?