Quartz Daily Brief—US-EU trade talks, pot day, migrant boat sinking, pigeon towers

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

New US-EU free-trade talks. The ninth round of negotiations over a free-trade pact between the world’s two biggest economic blocs begins in New York. The talks are scheduled to run to Friday.

Europe’s foreign ministers gather. Foreign affairs ministers for the 28 EU countries meet in Luxembourg to discuss partnerships between Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The latest migrant ship sinking near Italy will likely feature as well, as Libya’s collapse is also on the agenda.

Economic data. Germany will reveal its latest producer-price inflation data, as will Poland. Central bank officials will also speak; the European Central Bank member at the European Parliament, and a Bank of Canada official and a Reserve Bank of Australia official both in New York.

Pass the dutchie. Today—as expressed in the US dateline of 4/20—is a celebration of marijuana for American enthusiasts of the drug, which is fast losing its stigma. Thousands will be celebrating in Colorado where pot is legal.

Over the weekend

A shipwreck off Libya may have left 700 dead. A fishing boat smuggling migrants to Europe went down over night in the Mediterranean. So far 49 survivors have been rescued and 20 bodies retrieved. If the number of deaths are as high as expected, this will mean that 1,500 migrants have died en route to Europe so far in 2015.

Two Cuban dissidents contested local elections. An independent journalist and lawyer will face a member of the outlawed political party in pursuit of spots on the local council in Havana. Their election would be the first of its kind under Cuba’s single-party system.

Demand for new Lily Pulitzer collection shut down Target website. The site was down for nearly 20 minutes after a throng of online shoppers scrambled to purchase items from the 250-piece collection. The cache of discounted Lily Pulitzer gear sold out within three hours.

A terror attack in Afghanistan killed 35. The suicide bombing targeted a bank in Jalalabad, where government officials collected their salaries. The Taliban denied responsibility for the explosion, and President Ashraf Ghani blamed groups linked to ISIL for the attack.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on the next generation of global sports royalty. “The oldest son of soccer star David Beckham has been swiftly trying to follow in his father’s footsteps. The younger Beckham, who plays on the right of midfield, was a part of Arsenal’s youth academy in North London, but the 15-year-old is being released at the end of the season after failing to make the grade.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Marrying out of your social class is difficult but not impossible. Couples have to work very hard to make it work.

Stop vilifying almonds. There are much worse uses of water.

Successful people work less and get more done. For starters, they refuse to work on the weekend.

Our kids are not in constant danger. We shouldn’t treat them with kid gloves.

Surprising discoveries

Solar power will soon be as cheap as coal. Wind energy is already there.

Men will give bigger charity donations if the sponsor page is for an attractive woman. Who’d have thought?

We can now spot trolls after just five horrible comments. Up to 80% accuracy.

California is turning to saltwater to cure its drought. But desalination has its own problems.

A former Canadian defense minister says UFOs are as common as airplanes. And he wants governments to stop hiding it.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, desalination plants, and congratulatory flowers for the new Quartz pigeon tower to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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