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Quartz Daily Brief—Bin Laden’s bookshelf, seal hunting bans, Russian bike gangs, duck lanes

By Hanna Kozlowska
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The Eastern Partnership Summit convenes in Riga. European Union leaders will meet in the Latvian capital with their counterparts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine, where they will discuss energy and regional security. Moscow’s presence will loom heavily on the initiative, designed to bring the region into Europe’s orbit.

The Greek leader tries to pressure the EU. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to hold talks with his European counterparts on the sidelines of the Riga summit, pressing them to resolve the deadlock in talks on his country’s debt. Greece said it would not be able to make a loan payment that is coming due on June 6.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to Earth. The spacecraft delivered two tons of supplies to the International Space Station and will be bringing back some research samples. It is to splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

Hewlett-Packard announces its earnings. The computer hardware and software company’s profit is expected to slip, as it struggles to find its way in an industry that is shifting to mobile and the cloud. CEO Meg Whitman plans to split Hewlett-Packard into two companies—one that sells larger technologies such as servers, and the other for printers and personal computers.

Who else will open their books? Best Buy, Gap, Aeropostale, Dollar Tree, Lenovo, National Grid.

While you were sleeping

Five global banks were fined $5.6 billion in a foreign exchange probe. After a US investigation, J.P. Morgan Chase, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and Citigroup will plead guilty to criminal charges that they colluded to manipulate foreign currency rates (paywall). UBS, the fifth bank, received immunity in the antitrust case, but will pay pay US regulators $545 million to settle other charges.

What was on Bin Laden’s bookshelf? The US government released what officials called a “treasure trove” of documents from Osama Bin Laden’s compound. They include correspondence with his inner circle and communications with other terrorist groups as well as a list of English-language books, magazines, and reports. They indicate that Bin Laden remained obsessed with attacking the US.

Israel called off a controversial plan to segregate West Bank buses. The country’s defense ministry wanted to trial a system where Palestinian workers returning to the West Bank from Israel would effectively be banned from sharing buses with Jewish passengers. Following widespread accusations of racism, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called off the project, saying it was “unacceptable.”

North Korea cancelled Ban Ki Moon’s visit. A day after the UN secretary general—and former South Korean foreign minister—announced a planned visit to a factory park run jointly by both Koreas, North Korea cancelled its invitation, offering no reason for the decision. Relations between the two states, which the visit was meant to improve, have worsened in recent weeks.

An outsized force in bank regulation is stepping down. Benjamin Lawsky will leave New York’s Department of Financial Services in June after four years as its superintendent, the agency said. Lawsky redefined the reach of a state regulator, aggressively going after big, global banks (see his action against Barclays). He also heralded the nation’s first state regulation of Bitcoin.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jake Flanigan on the detrimental effects of Europe’s ban on seal hunting. “Exports of seal pelts have dropped 90% in the years since the ban was implemented. The impact on Greenland’s coastal economy has been disastrous. Though the ban included an exemption for indigenous peoples in order to protect distinctive cultures and traditions, “the market seems to be negatively affected by the EU initiative,” a 2012 report compiled by the European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD) states.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

More than 62 laborers will die during construction for each game played during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Where will FIFA draw the line?

Russia’s outlaw bikers are actually tools of the state. The Night Wolves are enforcers and emblems of president Vladimir Putin’s macho brand of politics.

The American cable industry is about to get a taste of some progressive French business models. And that’s a good thing.

Stop gorging on chicken. Breeding the birds is done with intolerable cruelty, in disastrous conditions.

Surprising discoveries

There’s life in the driest place on Earth. And this discovery has implications that are truly out of this world.

The AIDS epidemic isn’t over. It’s still a problem of epic proportions in Russia.

Your stuffed animals are best kept at home. If you drive around with a lifelike stuffed predator on your roof, someone will think it’s real and call the cops.

London’s canal paths have special duck lanes. It’s a lesson in courtesy for us humans.

A fake ring can have a real effect. A “diamond” ring helped save Jews from the Nazi Holocaust.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, duck road rules, and stuffed tigers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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