Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Indonesia’s executions, Samsung’s mixed results, iPad plane delays, China’s vast vineyards

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What to watch for today

Japan’s prime minister addresses US lawmakers. Shinzō Abe will speak to Congress about a big trans-Pacific trade deal, changes to the US-Japan defense alliance, and China’s growing military strength.

The US Federal Reserve drops hints on interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee will release a statement following its last day of closed door meetings. Investors hope to glean clues about the the timing of the Fed’s rate hike.

The US releases first-quarter GDP data. Goldman Sachs predicts growth will be just 1.2%, with a stronger second quarter on the way.

Microsoft unveils Windows 10. The software giant is expected to introduce the new operating system at the start of its annual developers conference.

Another round of earnings. Companies reporting their quarterly results include: Barclays, Fiat Chrysler, Garmin, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, MasterCard, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Time Warner, and Volkswagen.

While you were sleeping

Indonesia executed eight people over drug charges. Convicts from Australia, Brazil, and Nigeria, and Indonesia were executed by police firing squads off the coast of Java—but a Filipina convict was spared at the last moment. Australia has recalled its ambassador to Indonesia in protest.

Investors ditched Twitter. The social networking company’s stock plunged by more than 18% after it missed first-quarter revenue expectations and lowered its full-year forecast. The quarterly results were inadvertently released several hours early on the company’s investor relations site, and were quickly posted to Twitter.

The Saudi king picked a new heir. King Salman bin Abdulaziz named his nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as crown prince and heir apparent (paywall), replacing the king’s half brother, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz. Veteran foreign minister Prince Saud Al Faisal was also removed from the post of foreign minister, replaced by the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir.

Samsung’s earnings fell. The South Korean electronics company reported first-quarter operating profit of 6 trillion won ($5.6 billion), down 30% from a year earlier but in line with expectations. The company’s decision to boost its supply of components to other smartphone makers led to a 50% increase in profit at its chipmaking unit.

GoPro recorded bumper earnings. The wearable camera maker’s first-quarter net income almost doubled from a year earlier to $16.8 million, after strong demand and growth in China led to a 54% increase in revenue. Separately, GoPro said it would acquire virtual reality software maker Kolor, possibly to develop 360-degree filming techniques.

An iPad bug grounded several dozen airplanes. American Airlines flights experienced serious delays after pilots’ iPads abruptly crashed. The airline uses Apple’s tablet computers to distribute flight plans and other information to its crew.

Walmart announced a China expansion. The US retail giant will open 115 new stores in China by 2017, expanding its presence there by a third, despite slowing growth. Walmart also plans to close some underperforming Chinese stores and build up its online grocery website.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on Brazil’s problems that are bigger than Petrobras. “As the nation’s attention continues to be riveted by the Petrobras scandal, Brazil’s economy is decelerating rapidly. Numbers out this morning show that unemployment rose to 6.2% in March, up from 5.9% in February and the highest since March 2012. The latest numbers highlight the soft patch that Brazil—once a cornerstone of the so-called BRICs bloc of fast-growing developing markets—is currently going through.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

White people are terrible at talking about racism. Society first needs to discuss “whiteness.”

We are all suckers for credit cards. You may think you’re rational, but your monthly statement tells a different story.

Barack Obama is betraying progressives. The US president is siding with enemy to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

There’s more to Iran than nukes. The West needs to stop restricting (paywall) its dialogue with Iran to just one issue.

Surprising discoveries

A New York pastor asked his congregation to buy him a new private jet. Creflo Dollar’s current jet is too old, he says.

The US has created a steerable bullet. Smart bullets can adjust their path mid-flight to ensure they hit their targets.

Airplanes may someday be nearly silent. A new material claims to reduce cabin noise by 100-fold while adding minimal weight.

China has more vineyards than France. A thirst for red wine has vaulted the country’s wine-growing acreage into second place, behind Spain.

Say goodbye to cracked smartphone screens. The US Navy has developed a material that’s transparent and bulletproof.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, private jet donations, and Chinese pinots to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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