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Quartz Daily Brief—Boston bomber found guilty, Greece makes a friend in Moscow, Iran uses her Navy, FBI fitness tests

By Stefan Constantinescu
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

India’s prime minister arrives in Paris. Narendra Modi begins a lengthy trip that starts in France, crosses the border into Germany, and then continues to Canada. The French visit—his first since taking power—will be focused on accelerating India’s adoption of nuclear energy.

Greece repays the IMF. There has been speculation that the country wouldn’t be able to fulfill its debt obligation to the International Monetary Fund, but the head of the IMF says she has received confirmation from Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis that it will pay the 458 million euros ($496 million) it owes today.

Barack Obama meets Raul Castro. The US president is in Panama to attend the Summit of the Americas, and he may meet with Cuban president Raul Castro, though that meeting hasn’t been scheduled just yet (paywall). The New York Times says the US is close to taking Cuba off its list of states that sponsor terrorism.

A second day of grounded flights in France. As many as half the flights scheduled to go in and out of Europe’s second largest economy have been cancelled because of a strike by air traffic controllers. They’re upset that a proposal has been put forth to raise the retirement age.

While you were sleeping

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty in the Boston Marathon bombing. The 21-year-old was found guilty of all 30 counts levied against him. With his brother, Tsarnaev set up the explosives that killed three people and injured hundreds at the 2013 Boston marathon. He faces the death penalty or life in prison when the penalty phase of his trial begins next week.

Iran sent its navy to Yemen’s coast. Two Iranian warships are now in the Gulf of Aden, where they say they will protect against piracy. Meanwhile, the US has expedited weapons deliveries and intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia, which is carrying out strikes in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

An Afghan soldier opened fire on NATO troops. A soldier in Jalalabad killed one soldier and injured at least seven before he was killed. A US official told the Associated Press that the soldiers attacked were American. The last time a “green-on-blue” attack took place was in January, when three Americans were killed by an Afghan soldier.

Greece discussed a “new start” with Russia. That’s what Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras told reporters during his first visit to Moscow (paywall) for a sit-down with Russian president Vladimir Putin to talk about a requested discount on natural gas and a possible exemption from a ban on European imports of fruits and vegetables to Russia.

US oil stockpiles shot up. Analysts were expecting to see the US add roughly 3.25 million barrels to its stores last week, but the real number was more than triple that—10.95 million barrels. It’s the biggest bump in inventory since early 2001. The news sent oil prices down in multiple markets.

Quartz obsession interlude

Brian Kahn on why climate scientists should take the train. “While a few thousand scientists ditching their frequent flyer cards is a drop in the carbon emissions bucket, [Corinne] Le Quéré argues that those scientists carry a greater burden than the general public to consider their own emissions. That’s because they’re acutely aware of the risks climate change poses as well as the solutions needed.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The Iran nuclear deal is far from sealed. The tightrope Obama is walking on means he also has to worry about America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

The US bungled its response to China’s version of the World Bank. The best course now is to make the best of the situation and encourage the competition.

No one is going to win the war in Yemen. With Iran backing one side and Saudi Arabia the other, the country is just tearing itself apart.

Israel is being unreasonable on the Iran nuclear deal framework. After 18 months of multilateral negotiations, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s list of demands (paywall) are a non-starter.

Small and mid-sized cities are the worst emissions offenders. Sure, per-capita emissions decline in the densest urban areas, but those benefits don’t really kick in until above 1,250 people per square kilometer.

Surprising discoveries

Some fat-burning supplements contain speed. A study found that several supplements contain a compound that’s nearly chemically identical to amphetamine.

Sheep-herding dogs are losing their jobs. Drones are taking their place. Among the advantages: “You don’t have to feed it—just give it more batteries” (paywall).

Money buys you a lot of things. Including a good night’s sleep, according to a 2013 study that found people who earn more are better rested.

By 2050, there will be as many Muslims as Christians worldwide. And Western countries clearly aren’t ready for the demographic shift already underway.

FBI agents have gained weight as they log long desk hours doing cybersecurity and intelligence work. Agents will now be required to pass a physical fitness test.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sheep-herding drones, and desk workout tips to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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