Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Puerto Rico default, live tweeting Osama, the youthful gene

By Quartz

What to watch for today

US presidential candidates culminate their campaign. It is the last day of campaigning for the May 3 primary in Indiana, which could prove the inflection point for both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. If Trump wins decisively—as seems likely, according to polls—he will effectively win the Republican nomination. 

Fashionistas descend on New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met Gala, an annual fundraising event, is also one of the biggest nights in the fashion world. Expect plenty of snark from the fashion police.

Puerto Rico defaults. The US territory will miss a major debt payment due today to bondholders of the Government Development Bank, which acts as the island’s primary fiscal agent and lender of last resort.

Over the weekend

Vodafone took steps toward an IPO for its Indian unit. The UK telecom operator picked Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Kotak Investment Banking, and UBS to handle the IPO, according to Reuters. The IPO is expected to happen early next year and raise between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, for further expansion in a market with over a billion mobile subscribers.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes called off their merger. The $28 billion deal, which critics said would have created a duopoly in the oil services industry, was scrapped because EU and US antitrust regulators objected.

Live tweeting Osama bin Laden. To mark the fifth anniversary of the Osama bin Laden operation, the CIA started ‘live’ tweeting the raid as if it were happening on Sunday. With the spelling ‘Usama Bin Ladin’ it used the hashtag #UBLraid.

The Syrian government launched fresh attacks on the city of Aleppo. On Sunday morning its forces conducted at least six air strikes on residential areas in the historic city, which was left out of a temporary US-Russian brokered truce. The attacks were part of its ongoing offensive against local rebel groups there.

Protestors stormed into Baghdad’s Green Zone. Hundreds of protestors—incited by Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr—breached the walls of heavily fortified area on Saturday and invaded the Iraqi parliament building, challenging what they described as the corrupt and incompetent regime of prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

Quartz obsession interlude

Thu-Huong Ha on how the US took a gamble on Vietnamese refugees 41 years ago. “It was March 1975, and my father had been in the US for 10 months… The war at home in Vietnam was getting worse, and his wife and 10-month-old daughter—my older sister—risked being stranded in Saigon. My father knew that, barring some miracle, he would be separated from them, maybe for years, possibly forever.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The White House Correspondents’ Association doesn’t practice the transparency it preaches. The charity behind the annual dinner fails to adhere to standard nonprofit practices, and its focus is clouded by glitz and glamor.

Saying “I feel like” is nothing more than linguistic hedging. It presents opinions as vague emotions and, in so doing, stops debate dead.

Marijuana does not count as medicine. Dispensary marijuana has no prescribing information, no exact dosage levels for specific medicines, and not enough safety studies or widely available scientific evidence.

Surprising discoveries

Radiohead left the internet. The influential band’s website,, now displays a single blank page. Its social media accounts also became empty.

A British soccer team flies in Buddhist monks from Thailand to bless the players. The team receives their blessing before each home game, and the monks can then spend the match meditating in a designated room at the stadium.

The ginger gene contains the key to youthful looks. People judged to look younger than they really are often have the MC1R gene—which affects skin pigmentation and can cause red hair.

Scientology wouldn’t be what it is today without asthma. The father of the church’s current leader says he first took his son, David Miscavige, to a Scientology session age nine in a bid to help his asthma attacks. When Miscavige’s asthma subsided, he became devoted to the religion.

Physics can be used to explain human behavior. Humans face the same design problems that confront the natural world, and it seems we come up with solutions that can be explained by the same physics laws.

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