Brazil’s scandal, Microsoft’s weed venture, runaway robot

Good morning, Quartz readers!


World leaders make social calls… Thai junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha is in New Delhi to meet with Indian PM Narendra Modi. And Chinese president Xi Jinping lands in Serbia, as part of a trip that will also take him to Poland and Uzbekistan.

…As Saudi Arabia’s millennial prince visits the White House.Deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man in charge of overhauling the kingdom’s oil-reliant economy, will meet with US president Barack Obama. Relations have been strained by civilian deaths in Saudi-led military operations in Yemen.

A verdict on Russian eligibility for the Rio Olympics. In Vienna, the International Athletics Association Federation will announce its decision on whether Russia’s track and field athletes can return to international competition. The team was suspended after an extensive state-sponsored doping operation was revealed in November.


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Microsoft is entering the marijuana business. The companyannounced a partnership to offer software that helps governments track plants from “seed to sale.” That won’t put Microsoft anywhere near the business of actually selling pot, but it’s still an important baby step to validate the industry.

US state department officials revolted against Obama’s Syria policy. About 50 of them signed an internal document calling for US airstrikes on the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad. The Obama administration has resisted intervention for fear it may trigger direct conflict with Iran and Russia.

Sumner Redstone kicked five directors off Viacom’s board.The 93-year-old media mogul pulled off one of the greatestboardroom coups of his career. CEO Philippe Dauman, who is among the ousted directors, is expected to contest the move.

Brazil’s tourism minister resigned. The resignation comes less than two months before the nation hosts the Olympics. Henrique Alves was named in a plea bargain testimony by a former executive of state oil company Petrobras, in the nation’s largest corruption scandal ever.

Bernie Sanders addressed his supporters. The Vermont senator didn’t suspend his campaign or endorse rival Hillary Clinton, who has secured enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination. But he told supporters their next major task is making sure Donald Trump is “defeated and defeated badly” in November.


A modest rebound
Ends a five-day losing streak
Just a brief respite?


Jenny Anderson on the parenting happiness gap. “Regardless of what country you live in, and what stage of life you might be at, having kids makes you significantly less happy compared to people who don’t have kids… American parents are especially miserable on this front, posting the largest gap (13%) in a group of 22 developed countries. But the research also shows that it doesn’t have to be this way.” Read more here.


Venezuela is a casualty of climate change. Environmental stresscan topple a region’s social order, especially when a government is inept.

Don’t worry about Big Marijuana. Lawmakers should forget about size, and focus on curtailing bad business practices.

The US shouldn’t use a terror watch-list to curb gun violence.Not only is it poorly maintained, it’s also probably unconstitutional.


The Earth has a quasi-moon. Asteroid 2016 H03 is “caught in a little dance” with our planet as it orbits the sun.

Goldman Sachs scans employees’ emails for rude or unhappy comments. Phrases like “I’m not a happy camper” and “I will sue you” are automatically flagged.

It’s finally happening: A robot escaped from its lab. The runaway Russian bot caused a traffic jam after it bolted out into the world.

Even the company behind M&M’s thinks you’re eating too much sugar. It’s considering a halt to sugary dessert treats, including McDonald’s McFlurry.

Our brains may be wired to crave psychedelic drugs. They mimic the religious and transcendental experiences that are central to humanity.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, other quasi-moons, and low-sugar recipes to You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.



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