Quartz Daily Brief—India’s air quality, the Obama doctrine, Rolling Stone’s failure, Norway’s Bond villain base

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What to watch for today

India moves to improve air quality. The environment ministry kicks off a two-day conference with a speech from prime minister Narendra Modi. The meeting will try to simplify environmental laws and launch a new national air quality index.

The UK starts a retirement savings free-for-all. The British tax year begins today, coinciding with new rules that do away with a requirement to convert pensions into annuities. Happy pension freedom day to those celebrating.

Inflation watch. Consumer price updates are due from Russia and Colombia.

Public holidays around the world. Most of Europe is taking a day off for Easter Monday, as is Australia, Canada, and large parts of Africa. Meanwhile, China is celebrating the Qingming festival. Everyone else will be working away as usual.

Over the weekend

Obama lobbied for engagement in Iran and Cuba. The US president called the prospect of a nuclear deal with Tehran a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to “take the nuclear issue off the table” in an interview with the New York Times (paywall). He also laid out the outlines of an “Obama Doctrine” for foreign policy that encourages engagement with isolated regimes, including Cuba.

Wall Street’s pay gap shrunk dramatically. Bank CEOs now make about 124 times as much as their average workers, down from 273 times in 2006, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The gap could fall even further when US regulators finalize a rule requiring all public companies to report their pay ratios—a move fiercely opposed by the banking industry.

Rolling Stone’s campus rape story was deemed a “journalistic failure.” review by the Columbia Journalism School found that the since-retracted article about an alleged fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia failed to follow “basic, even routine journalistic practice.” The story may have also “spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations,” the report found.

Sharp seeks money for its LCD business. The troubled Japanese electronics maker wants to spin off its unit that makes liquid crystal display panels for smartphones and tablets, and is hoping for investment from a public-private fund, according to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

Palestinian refugees fought the Islamic State in Damascus. A faction of Palestinians tied to Hamas, along with forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, are battling ISIL fighters in the Yarmouk Camp (paywall) in Damascus. The bloody fighting is threatening to worsen a humanitarian disaster for the estimated 15,000 residents of the camp, who have been living in Syria for decades.

David Lynch bowed out of the Twin Peaks revival. The director of the cult TV series, due to be resurrected at Showtime in 2016, said the channel refused to commit enough money “to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.” The project’s prospects are now looking as dark as Agent Dale Cooper’s coffee.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how TV would look very different without Mad Men. “The high cost of acquiring streaming rights to shows such as Mad Men was a key reason why Netflix started producing original content. And Netflix’s success with shows such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards has spurred the likes of Amazon and Yahoo to get into streaming.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Driverless cars will arrive gradually. Semi-autonomous features are already showing up in inexpensive models.

Nothing is exclusive once it hits the internet. Sorry, Beyoncé.

Hillary Clinton may be terrible at running for president. But should that even matter?

This Easter is the end of cheap chocolate. Cocoa prices are expected to double in the next five years.

Tech lust has created the worst place on earth. It’s a lake of black sludge in Inner Mongolia where rare earth minerals are processed.

Surprising discoveries

Oil company ads have changed since 1962. Exxon forerunner Humble Energy bragged about how many glaciers it could melt.

A Paris pharmacy rivals the Eiffel Tower with Korean tourists. Pharmacie de Monge is globalization in a nutshell.

Yoga is not sacrilegious. A California court ruled that the practice doesn’t promote Hinduism at the expense of Christianity.

Norway sold its $500 million Arctic base for almost nothing. The Bond villain-worthy facility is now being rented by the Russians.

Drug dealers shouldn’t use Venmo. The arrest of a social media-using kingpin is freaking out his exposed customers.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pharmacy tourist traps, and bargain-priced Arctic bases to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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