Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Samsung’s profit decline, Australia’s rate decision, Canada sells GM, Obama vs. bees

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What to watch for today

A verdict on the Boston bomber. Jurors will start deliberating whether 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty for his role in a 2013 bomb attack that killed three and injured hundreds at the Boston Marathon. Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted his involvement, but argued his older brother was the driving force behind the atrocity.

The Bank of Australia assesses interest rates. The country’s central bank cut its benchmark rate from 2.25% to 2% (paywall), its lowest ever, due to concerns over a housing bubble, a weak domestic currency, and plummeting iron ore prices.

China’s foreign minister meets his Russian counterpart. Wang Yi will sit down with Sergei Lavrov ahead of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow next month to commemorate the end of World War II. Some have suggested that Wang’s visit is actually due to the ongoing crisis in Yemen, where Russia is accused of supplying weapons to the Houthi rebels.

Rand Paul launches his bid for the US presidency. The senator from Kentucky will be the second major Republican to officially enter the race, after his Texan colleague Ted Cruz.

Markets in Hong Kong are closed. The Ching Ming (tomb sweeping) festival gives investors in Hong Kong a break today. Trading will resume in Europe after a four-day Easter weekend.

While you were sleeping

Samsung’s precipitous profit decline slowed. The South Korean electronics manufacturer said first-quarter operating profit fell by 31% to 5.9 trillion won ($5.4 billion), which was significantly better than analysts had expected. The company’s shares rose on the suggestion that its strategy of selling components to other smartphone makers is working, ahead of the crucial launch of its flagship Galaxy 6 smartphone on Friday.

Australia chased miners for billions in tax revenue. The Australian Taxation Bureau is pursuing multibillion-dollar claims against BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto for allegedly routing iron ore profits through a Singaporean entity, according to the Australian Financial Review. The companies deny the allegations.

Canada sold its remaining stake in GM. The Canadian government is selling $2.7 billion in GM shares to Goldman Sachs, to help meet prime minister Stephen Harper’s goal of balancing the budget. Low oil prices are squeezing a crucial source of government revenue, but Harper promised to enact tax cuts without borrowing.

Turkey blocked social media again. It shut down access to Twitter and YouTube, as well as to several stories on Turkish news websites that featured photos of Mehmet Selim Kiraz, a prosecutor who died after being taken hostage in Istanbul last week. Twitter was unblocked after agreeing to take down the images.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine tries to crack the Iran nuclear deal. “Disputes have broken out over just what each side agreed to in the nuclear deal between six leading nations and Iran, with one of the chief topics when exactly sanctions will be lifted: Iran has said the restrictions on its sale of oil and its banking system will terminate as soon as the deal is signed in June; the so-called P5+1 group says the sanctions will come off in stages.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Let’s face it; the climate has already changed. Thirty years of “above average” temperatures call for a new definition of average.

America is no longer an economic powerhouse… China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank proves that, says Larry Summers.

…And it needs to join the AIIB. The US can’t ignore multilateralism, but can still have influence if it gets involved.

Stop forcing kids to learn math. After basic arithmetic, invest more time in reading and complex problem-solving.

Your porn is watching you. Even cautious browsers leave enough fingerprints for someone to discover their entire viewing history.

Surprising discoveries

NASA developed a non-stick coating for airplanes. Dead bugs stuck to a fuselage can cut fuel efficiency by up to 6%.

Facebook can be used to serve divorce papers. A New York judge authorized the move for a hard-to-reach spouse.

Obama failed to reassure children that bees are not scary. The US president was trying to read them a story on the White House lawn.

Jeb Bush is not Hispanic. Despite the ethnicity he listed on a 2009 voter registration form.

Monkeys are ruining India’s internet. Sacred macaques are snacking on fiber-optic cables in Varanasi.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, primate-proof infrastructure, and Facebook-delivered legal documents to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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