Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear deal grind on. Talks will be held today between Iran and six world powers with the hope that an agreement can be reached by the end of this month. Meanwhile, the US Congress wants to have a say in any deal before it’s made.
The board of Petrobras meets. Brazil’s state-owned oil company, dogged by an ongoing corruption scandal, had delayed the meeting because it was scrambling to prepare its 2014 full-year financial results and pick new members before the meeting, a source told Reuters.
Some North Koreans may get to watch The Interview. Activists in South Korea plan to launch balloons with 10,000 copies of the satirical Sony film, in which the leader of North Korea is assassinated by a US television talk-show host. North Korea says it’ll retaliate if it sees a single balloon in the sky.
Britain’s Prime Minister takes on his foes. The Conservative Party’s David Cameron and the leaders of six other parties will debate each other before the May 7 general election. Organizing this debate took months, mostly because no one could agree on the timing and the format—and it doesn’t help that Cameron thinks the 2010 TV debate “sucked the life” out of his campaign.
Indonesia’s president visits China. Once Joko Widodo finishes a visit to Japan, where he has been seeking investment in his country and defense cooperation, he’ll be headed to China to meet president Xi Jinping.
While you were sleeping
Heinz purchased Kraft. The US packaged foods giant agreed to be bought by HJ Heinz—owned by Brazil’s ”buyout kings“ 3G Capital Partners and Warren Buffett—to create the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world (pdf). Kraft will have 49% of the new Kraft Heinz, and Berkshire and 3G Capital will invest an additional $10 billion.
Yemen slid toward sectarian war. Two months after Shia Houthi rebels stormed the palace in Sanaa, reports say president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is once more on the run. Houthi fighters advanced on the southern city of Aden, and Yemen’s defense minister has been captured. The government has pleaded for outside help.
Nigeria closed its borders ahead of Saturday’s election. All land and sea borders have been ordered shut to maintain peace and prevent foreigners crossing over to vote. Vehicles have also been banned from the road on election day. The election was delayed by six weeks because of a Boko Haram insurgency in the north.
Jeremy Clarkson is out. The host of the BBC program Top Gear—said to have an audience of 350 million people—will not have his contract renewed. He was suspended earlier this month after reportedly punching a colleague in the face because hot food wasn’t available after a long day of shooting.
Facebook brought apps to Messenger. As predicted, the social networking giant announced at F8, its developer conference, that its chat app, Messenger, now lets users add additional services from third parties. Facebook also introduced ”Messenger for Business,” which will allow companies to set up direct connections to customers via a chat-like interface.
Quartz obsession interlude
Jack Aldwinckle on the search for a superbean to feed the world. “Four hundred million people in the developing world rely on beans for food, according to Cgiar. Rwandans, for instance, each consume an average of 60 kg (132 lb) of the legume each year, a key source of their protein. But that security is under threat. CIAT’s scientists warn that rising temperatures are likely to disrupt production in African countries such as Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and the DRC. Across the Atlantic, Nicaragua, Haiti, Brazil and Honduras are also likely to be affected.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Keep an eye on Iran. It’s looking to build an empire in the region, and now it has the means to actually do so.
Globalization destroyed the middle class in the US. But that’s OK because wages are rising in China and India, making the US a more attractive investment option.
America needs to send soldiers into Tikrit. US airstrikes are underway as Iraqi forces try to dislodge Islamic State fighters from Saddam Hussain’s hometown, but American boots on the ground are the only real hope.
Ukraine could go the way of Crimea. Thugs are going to take over and ruin the country, beginning in the periphery, unless the West does something (paywall).
Eating meat doesn’t have to destroy the environment. Animals can be raised in such a way that they won’t increase the affects of climate change.
Waiting for your ramen noodles to cook is no longer a lonely experience. You can now go on a virtual date instead of just staring into the depths of that cup.
Be careful who you boast to about your Twitter followers. One woman was institutionalized for a week for saying Barack Obama follows her on Twitter—which he does.
Rich North Koreans love baguettes. Many North Koreans go to sleep hungry, but well-to-do residents of the country’s capital have fancy bread.
Berlin needs a brothel tester. A social network dedicated to the sex industry is looking for someone to rate the city’s legal brothels for service, cleanliness, and compliance with safe sex practices.
Nevada wants to let you get your dog high. The US state is about to pass a bill allowing pet owners to give sick pets a dose of marijuana.
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