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Quartz Daily Brief—Greece goes begging, Shell goes shopping, Emanuel wins Chicago, Snowden’s hologram

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Greece goes begging in Moscow. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras meets Vladimir Putin amid widespread speculation that he’ll ask for aid. Greece has promised to make a €450 million ($490 million) IMF loan repayment this week, but on Tuesday it suddenly asked Germany for €279 billion in World War II reparations.

Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP. The company will stop fixing bugs and patching vulnerabilities for the antique operating system that still powers most of the world’s automatic teller machines. Security researchers fear a massive cyber attack could take place (paywall); upgrades could cost as much as $3,500 per ATM.

The Fed publishes its March meeting minutes. Investors will try to gauge how long the US central bank will keep interest rates at record lows (paywall). Warren Buffett doesn’t think rates should rise, and neither does former US treasury secretary Larry Summers.

Chanel handbag prices get shuffled. The French fashion brand is cutting prices in China (paywall) while raising them in Europe to prevent gray-marketeer arbitrageurs from taking advantage of the weak euro. The price swings, which could be as much as 21% for some products, are likely to be copied by other luxury brands.

While you were sleeping

Royal Dutch Shell pursued the biggest energy deal this year. Europe’s largest oil producer is in talks to buy BG Group, the UK’s third-largest natural gas producer, which is currently worth about $46 billion. It may be the opening shot of an oil industry consolidation war spurred by collapse of global oil prices.

A video showed a US police officer shooting an unarmed black man in the back. South Carolina charged a police officer with murder after a bystander filmed him on a cameraphone shooting the man eight times. The fatal incident follows a string of recent incidents in the United States in which police have killed unarmed black men.

Rahm Emanuel won a second term as Chicago’s mayor. The former Obama and Clinton aide handily defeated progressive challenger Jesus Garcia despite a difficult first term plagued by violent crime and a severe financial crisis.

UK consumer prices fell sharply. The British Retail Consortium said shop prices fell 2.1% in March—the steepest drop since records began in 2006. The biggest decline was in non-food items, as electronics and clothing retailers tried to boost sales.

The US started tracking phone calls long before 9/11. The Drug Enforcement Administration logged millions of Americans’ international phone calls between 1992 and 2013, according to officials responsible for running the program. The dragnet logged every call made from the US to up to 116 countries, creating a blueprint for post-9/11 National Security Agency surveillance.

Quartz obsession interlude

Sonali Kohli grabs a crayon and a coloring book to relax. “There are entire coloring books just for grown ups, and they’re gaining popularity, with two adult coloring books currently topping Amazon’s bestseller lists … [B]y engaging multiple parts of the brain, coloring allows us to focus on the lines, movements, and colors in front of us, use our imaginations and be creative, and de-stress.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Free-trade agreements cause obesity. Western companies have flooded developing markets with sugary drinks.

Robots need democracy. Teaching them communal norms is the best way to make robots helpful to humanity. 

Mass transit alone doesn’t cut a city’s carbon emissions. It’s the sprawling suburbs that need to go.

The US should lift its oil export ban. The best way to minimize volatility is for the US to become a major oil seller.

“No, totally” means “yes.” It suggests “a startled, joyful discovery of common ground.”

Surprising discoveries

The brontosaurus is back. After years of insisting the popular dinosaur was actually an apatosaurus, paleontologists concluded that they are actually two separate species.

A hologram of Edward Snowden appeared in a New York park. It popped up after police removed an illicit bust of the NSA leaker.

“Power poses” may not work. Assertive stances, which allegedly increase testosterone and cause behavioral changes, fell flat in a follow-up study.

Indian police are putting pepper-spray on drones. They will be used to control “an unruly mob in case of trouble.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dinosaur revivals, and functional power poses to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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