Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Violence in France, Amazon amazes, robot monks

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What to watch for today and over the weekend

Berkshire Hathaway convenes its annual shareholders’ meeting. Warren Buffett will hold his “Woodstock for Capitalists” in Omaha, Nebraska. Yahoo will stream the weekend event live for the first time.

South Korean president Park Geun-hye visits Tehran. Her two-day state visit starting Sunday (May 1) is intended to deepen ties with post-sanctions Iran, as leaders discuss issues such as energy and engineering. It will be the first such visit since the nations established diplomatic relations in 1962.

Exxon Mobile reports first-quarter results. The world’s largest publicly traded oil producer is expected to post a significant decline in profit due to low crude prices. Chevron is expected to post a loss.

While you were sleeping

Protests in France turned violent. Dozens of police were injured and over 120 people were arrested in cities across the nation as demonstrators held nighttime rallies against a controversial labor reform bill they fear could deepen job insecurity. Rally organizers distanced themselves from those who turned violent.

Italy and Austria reached a border-crossing deal. Austria had planned to stop migrants at a key border crossing with Italy—Brenner Pass in the Alps—by erecting a fence. At a meeting of interior ministers in Rome it agreed not to, but said Italy must block large numbers of migrants from reaching the border.

Amazon reported a stellar first quarter. The online giant handily beat analysts’ expectations with a net income of $513 million, after posting a loss the previous year, sending its shares up more than 10%. Revenue from cloud computing grew 64% to $2.6 billion.

Carl Icahn broke up with Apple. The billionaire, once one of the company’s biggest stakeholders, said he sold his shares because he was worried about Apple’s relationship with China’s government. The company’s second-largest market is facing a potential crackdown by the Chinese government.

The top executive of the New York Times was hit by a discrimination lawsuit. The multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit—filed on behalf of two black female employees in their sixties—alleges that CEO Mark Thompson introduced a culture of discrimination based on age, race, and gender at the newspaper.

Quartz markets haiku

When Carl Icahn speaks
The market tends to listen
Apple is dead weight

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Epstein on how the NFL draft became one of the biggest nights in American sports. “The draft, perhaps more than any actual live game, benefits from the advent of internet-connected screens… It’s designed to be consumed in nuggets, on any device, in any room of your house. It’s a series, not an episode, and each season of this hit show offers viewers its own unique twists and turns.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Thirteen years after its creation, iTunes is terrible. Apple’s media software is bloated, confusing, and ugly.

History’s greatest philosophers weren’t that great. They just happened to be born early.

Our failures are more telling than our successes. A Princeton professor posted a CV listing all the prestigious programs that rejected him.

Surprising discoveries

Half of all western European men share a single ancestor. A new genetic study traces the lineage of one bronze age king.

One Chinese monk has been mummified in gold… It’s a local Buddhist practice reserved for the most dedicated holy men.

…And another is a robot. “Xian’er” was created by the country’s most tech- and social media-savvy temple.

Facebook has spent $16 million on Mark Zuckerberg’s security since 2011. That’s about 10 times more than his CEO peers have required.

Finland’s mail carriers will start mowing lawns on Tuesdays. The postal service is short on funds, and it’s a slow day for mail.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, robot monks, and lawn-mowing Finns to And download our new iPhone app for news throughout the day.qz_email_list_425047646_post_message