What to watch for today
The Iran talks deadline—third time lucky? After six world powers and Iran missed their March 31 deadline to reach a framework agreement about the future of Iran’s nuclear program, it got pushed to April 1. Now talks are extended by another day, to April 2, and people are starting to wonder what will happen if a deal proves yet again to be unattainable.
British prime ministerial wannabes debate. David Cameron and six other candidates, including Labour’s Ed Miliband, will face off ahead of the May 7 general election in the second of four scheduled debates. Polls say incumbent prime minister Cameron won the first contest last week.
Delphi discusses the self-driving future. The car parts maker will probably use its annual investor meeting to talk about its latest publicity stunt: adding self-driving technology to an Audi SQ5 and driving it across the United States. The SUV arrived this week for the New York Auto Show.
US factory orders continue their slump. Weakness in Europe and Asia is expected to translate to a 0.5% decline in US factory orders in February—the seventh consecutive monthly fall.
While you were sleeping
Gunmen stormed a university in Kenya. Five masked men attacked Garissa University College, about 90 miles (145 km) from the Somali border, killing at least four people, though many more casualties are feared amid extensive gunfire and explosions. Suspicion fell on Somalia’s al-Shabab militants, who killed 67 people in a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013.
The EU prepared antitrust charges against Google. The European Commission has asked several companies for permission to publish their confidential complaints against the US search giant, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), suggesting that it is preparing formal antitrust charges. The EU’s executive body is also looking into Apple’s forthcoming music streaming service (paywall).
Ukraine signed a deal for Russian gas. Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state gas company, has signed a deal with Russia’s Gazprom to secure gas deliveries through the end of June. Ukraine will pay $248 per thousand cubic meters, lower than the previous quarter’s $329; the deal was hailed as economic progress amid animosity between the two countries.
Vietnam settled a sneaker strike. The government agreed to change retirement payouts for thousands of workers at a Taiwanese-owned factory that makes shoes for Adidas and Nike, after a six-day work stoppage. Unusually for Vietnam, the protests also challenged the Communist government over policy issues.
Marks & Spencer ended a losing streak. The British retailer’s non-food same-stores sales rose 0.7% in its fiscal fourth quarter, ending three straight years of decline.
Kraft was accused of fixing the wheat market. The food giant and its former subsidiary Mondelez were accused of manipulating wheat prices in a lawsuit by the US commodities regulator. Kraft is a heavy consumer of wheat for products including Oreo cookies and Wheat Thins crackers.
Quartz obsession interlude
Matt Phillips on South America’s stunning financial performance. “It’s not an April Fool’s joke. Amid economic disorder and collapsing confidence, stock markets in Venezuela and Argentina are soaring. They were up 32% and 26% respectively during the first quarter, making them some of the best-performing stock markets on the planet.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
McDonald’s doesn’t believe in social justice. The chain only gave workers a raise because the labor market is finally tightening.
Trevor Noah’s bad jokes should get a pass. The new Daily Show host, like all comedians, has to push the boundaries of good taste.
Walmart has made a remarkable journey on gay rights. The retailer is opposing an Arkansas “religious freedom” bill.
Note-taking should be done by hand. Using a computer to take notes turns students into stenographers.
Farms aren’t very green. Modern farming generates a huge amount of plastic trash, and just 10% is recycled.
April Fool’s Day used to be much more cruel. In the 19th century, one man almost blew up his cook.
Chinese politicians are learning to drive. Government austerity measures have forced officials to fire their chauffeurs.
An apple a day doesn’t do much. The 10% of Americans who consume the fruit daily are just as likely to be hospitalized as those who don’t.
A Kim Jong-un impersonator scored at a Hong Kong rugby tournament. He “made out with ’30 to 40′ girls” (paywall) at the booze-soaked event.
Indian police are collecting cow mugshots. Maharashtra state cops asked farmers for photos to help enforce a ban on beef sales.
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