Hello friends and Fortune readers.
U.S. stock futures are pointing lower this morning, as investors get their first chance to react to Friday’s weaker-than-expected jobs report for March, which showed the slowest rate of job additions in more than a year. Most European markets are closed today for the Easter holiday, as are Australia, Canada and large parts of Africa. Asian markets closed the day mostly higher.
Here’s what else you need to know about today.
1. Comcast is lobbying hard to win approval for its Time Warner Cable merger.
Comcast (CMCSA) is rallying its supporters and beneficiaries to voice their support of the cable provider’s merger with rival Time Warner Cable (TWC). Letters of support have flooded into lawmakers’ offices saying that the combined company will not hinder competition and instead will bring improved technology to customers. Many of these statements have come from entities that have either received charitable donations or political contributions from Comcast in recent years, reported the New York Times. The move shows how Comcast is using its vast reserves to recruit allies as it looks to close the deal on the $45 billion transaction.
2 Sharp plans to spinoff its LCD unit.
Japan-based Sharp is recruiting monetary help in order to spinoff its liquid-crystal display business. The company is talking with Innovation Network Corp. of Japan about an investment that would give Sharp the cash to be able to spinoff the smaller unit. Sharp supplies screens for big tech companies like Apple (AAPL), but it has struggled recently as it heads for a third loss in four years. The electronics maker is considering “drastic” reforms and is prepping to release a management plan in May, reported Bloomberg.
3. Greece says it’s good for its next payment.
Greek Finance Minster Yanis Varoufakis has been trying to calm rising fears that the debt-laden country won’t be able to make its upcoming loan payments. Varoufakis said Sunday that Greece “intends to meet all obligations to all its creditors, ad infinitum.” Greece is coming up on a 458 million euro ($503 million) loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund due this Thursday. Many worried that the country, which has been seeking additional funds from creditors over months of negotiations, would prioritize wages and pensions over the debt repayment.
4. Furious 7 breaks box office records over opening weekend.
Furious 7, the latest installment of the 14-year-old Fast and Furious franchise, brought in $384 million in worldwide ticket sales over its opening weekend, making it the biggest April opening weekend for any movie and the ninth biggest opening weekend of all time. The movie’s domestic launch was the biggest since 2013’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which earned $158 million in its first weekend compared to Furious 7’s $143.6 million US sales. The movie stars Vin Diesel, The Rock, Michelle Rodriguez, and the recently-deceased Paul Walker amid skydiving cars and other jaw-dropping stunts.
5. India is finally monitoring its air quality.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will launch its first air quality index to provide real-time data about pollution levels in 10 major cities. A World Health Organization study of air pollution in top cities around the globe found that 13 of the 20 most polluted urban areas were in India. The nation’s capital, Delhi, topped the list as the most polluted city in the world. “The world thinks India doesn’t care about the environment, we must change that,” said Modi. The index will initially cover Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. It will eventually be extended to more than 60 cities.