Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Gulf states bomb Yemen, Germanwings pilot absent, Britain debates, baguettes in Pyongyang

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What to watch for today

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear deal grind on. Talks will be held today between Iran and six world powers, in 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 previously delayed the meeting because it was scrambling to prepare its 2014 full-year financial results and pick new members.

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 ahead of the May 7 general election. Organizing this debate took months, mostly because no one could agree on the timing and the format—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 is headed to China to meet president Xi Jinping.

While you were sleeping

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched airstrikes in Yemen. The Saudi ambassador to the US said 10 countries have launched military operations against Houthi Shia rebels to “defend the legitimate government” of president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Hadi fled the capital after attacks by Iranian-backed Shia rebels; US president Barack Obama said the US will provide ”logistical and intelligence support.”

A pilot on Germanwings flight 9525 was locked out of the cockpit. An official investigating this week’s fatal crash told The New York Times that the flight’s audio recorder indicates that one pilot was locked out, and trying to break the door down. Airbus, like other plane manufacturers, made cockpits harder to enter after Sept. 11, 2001.

Oil well maker Schlumberger pleaded guilty. The US company will pay a $237 million fine for violating US sanctions on Iran and Sudan. Schlumberger will also hire an independent consultant to review its policy towards sanctions for three years.

Etihad supported an Aer Lingus sale. The Middle Eastern airline said it would sell its stake in the Irish airline, if the Irish government agreed to a sale to IAG, British Airways’ parent. Etihad has nearly an 8% stake in Aer Lingus; IAG is trying to buy the Irish airline for €1.34 billion ($1.5 billion).

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 Boko Haram insurgency in the north.

Facebook brought apps to Messenger. As predicted, the social networking giant announced at its developer conference that its chat app, Messenger, now lets users add additional services from third parties. Facebook also introduced ”Messenger for Business,” which lets companies 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 it has the means to actually do so.

Globalization destroyed the middle class in the US. But now that wages are rising in China and India, the US is once again an attractive investment option.

America needs to send soldiers into Tikrit. American boots on the ground in Iraq are the only way to destroy ISIL there.

Ukraine could go the way of Crimea. Thugs are going to take over, and ruin the country, 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 effects of climate change.

Surprising discoveries

Waiting for your instant ramen 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.

A woman is suing New York police for institutionalizing her. She was locked up for saying Barack Obama follows her on Twitter, even though he does.

Rich North Koreans love baguettes. Well-to-do residents of the country’s capital are importing fancy bread.

Berlin is hiring 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.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dazed and confused puppies, and North Korean baguettes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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