What to watch for today
America strengthens its push against Putin. One dozen US fighter jets will take part in military drills in Bulgaria for the next three months, in an effort to show NATO allies America’s resolve in addressing Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
Day one of the Summit of the Americas. The two-day conference held in Panama will gather most of the heads of state in the Western Hemisphere, including US president Barack Obama and Cuban president Raúl Castro. It will be the first time leaders from both countries will be in attendance.
Toyota is testing out its three-wheel concept car. Tokyo is hosting a trial run of Toyota’s i-Road concept vehicle, the company’s three-wheeled electric car-motorbike aimed at reducing traffic and pollution. A test drive will run you 412 yen ($3) per 15 minutes.
Go go gadgets. Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, go on sale in 20 countries. Meanwhile, preorders kick off for Apple’s smart watch, though customers won’t have the product in-hand until April 24.
Star Wars goes digital. Disney and 20th Century Fox said the six films (paywall) in the beloved sci-fi series will be available to buy through digital outlets including iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon, with “never-before-seen” bonus features.
While you were sleeping
France opened a criminal investigation against HSBC over taxes. The British bank said it is under formal criminal investigation by French magistrates over allegations that its Swiss private bank aided wealthy clients in avoiding taxes in 2006 and 2007 (paywall). HSBC is facing similar charges in Belgium.
Hackers claiming allegiance to ISIL took down a French TV channel. France’s culture minister called together media groups to discuss their hacking risks following a takeover of television network TV5Monde’s 11 channels, its websites, and its Facebook page by individuals claiming allegiance to the Islamic State.
Greece paid its €460 million bill to the IMF. The roughly €460 million ($494 million) installment it owed to the international lender has been paid (paywall), as protestors gathered in Athens to object. The country still has to contend with IMF loans of roughly €770 million ($827 million) that come due on May 12.
LinkedIn bought online learning company Lynda.com. Pending shareholder approval, the $1.5 billion deal will allow LinkedIn to make Lynda.com’s 6,300 online skill-building courses and 267,000 video tutorials a part of its social network for professionals.
America ordered a $200 million supercomputer from Intel. The US energy department has chosen Intel, in collaboration with supercomputer supplier Cray, to build what could be the world’s fastest supercomputer, to be delivered in 2018 (paywall). The US commerce department also barred four (paywall) Chinese supercomputer labs from receiving Intel chips for conflicting with national interests.
Quartz obsession interlude
Manu Balachandran on how India’s biggest corporate fraud unfolded. “The case, which is also called the Enron of India, dates back to 2009. Six years ago, Raju wrote a letter to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and his company’s shareholders, admitting that he had manipulated the company’s earnings, and fooled investors. Nearly $1 billion—or 94% of the cash—on the books was fictitious.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Virtual Reality will never replace the thrill of real travel. The novelty of newfangled goggles don’t offer the unpredictable adventures that make travel memorable.
Iran must meet with the Arab states. A summit involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey would prove extremely useful to defuse regional tensions at this critical juncture.
Latin America needs to confront its debt spiral. Growth is slowing, debts are skyrocketing, and yet the issue won’t be center stage at the Summit of the Americas.
Owning an Apple Watch will make you happier. Once you start staring at your smartphone less (paywall), you’ll interact with the real world more.
There’s a sexual offender gene. If a man’s brother commits a sex crime, he’s five times more likely than the general population to commit one himself.
Short people are more prone to heart disease. A study of 200,000 individuals showed that every 2.5 inches of height reduced the risk of coronary disease by 13.5%.
New HIV drugs could ease life with the virus. Researchers injected HIV-positive people with a single dose of antibodies that reduced the virus’s presence for 28 days, which could one day greatly reduce the frequency of HIV drug intake.
A rundown Nazi resort complex is being made over. The Prora project, part of the Third Reich’s program to promote working-class vacations on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen, is being converted into hotels and apartments.