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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Sweet-talking Europe, Texas shooters identified, Carly for president, cocaine bananas

By Richard Macauley
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Greece keeps sweet-talking Europe… Government ministers are meeting European officials in Frankfurt and Brussels to continue discussing an interim deal between the country and its creditors. Things are apparently going much better since Greece demoted its combative finance minister, Yannis Varoufakis, from the leadership of its negotiating team last week.

…and so does China. The EU’s foreign-policy chief, Federica Mogherini visits Beijing to begin a diplomatic push to bolster China-EU ties. China’s been pretty successful at drawing in European countries to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a World Bank rival designed to undercut US influence.

Forecasts for the European spring. The European Commission’s projections, an important indicator of the bloc’s economic health,  will include all 28 EU members as well as candidate countries and trading partners. Everyone is looking good, except perhaps Greece.

Kellogg and Disney earnings. Analysts expect the cereal maker to post a year-over-year drop in revenue and earnings. Disney’s earnings report was moved to Tuesday so that employees could attend the Monday funeral of SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, whose wife Sheryl Sandberg is on Disney’s board.

John Kerry in Djibouti. He will be the first US secretary of state to visit the east African country, where he will visit a military base and discuss evacuating civilians from Yemen. Kerry was in Kenya on Monday, where he pledged new aid for the country and support in its fight against terrorism.

While you were sleeping

Another major earthquakes hit near Papua New Guinea. A tsunami warning has been issued after a magnitude 7.5 quake struck 140 km (87 miles) from the island nation. The tremor is the latest in a series of quakes to hit PNG in the last week, including a magnitude 5.6 quake 155 km (96 miles) off the coast yesterday.

Carly Fiorina is running for president. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO, who has never held public office, is officially seeking the Republican nomination. A long-shot White House candidate, she is positioning herself as someone who understands how to create jobs and can also play the gender card against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Dave Goldberg’s tragic cause of death was disclosed. The Silicon Valley executive and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg suffered a fatal accident on vacation in Mexico last weekend. According to a spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office, the 47-year-old Goldberg “fell off the treadmill and cracked his head open” while exercising, and died of head trauma and blood loss.

One of the Texas gunmen was a terror suspect. Elton Simpson, a convert to Islam, had been under FBI surveillance since 2006, and was convicted in 2011 of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia. Simpson and another man, Nadir Soofi, were killed by police on Monday after they shot a guard at a contest to caricature the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a Dallas suburb.

Senegal pledged troops to support Saudi Arabi’s Yemen campaign. Foreign minister Mankeur Ndiaye said the country would send 2,100 troops to secure the Saudi border with Yemen, as Saudi Arabia leads a coalition of forces against Houthi rebels that have seized the Yemeni capital. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said the country is considering temporary truces with the rebels to allow for humanitarian aid.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani asks whether Europe hates America—or just hates Google. “There is no doubt, whether in Brussels, Washington D.C., or Mountain View, California, that the Google antitrust case has taken on a political hue. But accusations of anti-Americanism in the context of this case would appear to be unfounded.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s migrant miracle is coming to an end. The country is at a crucial tipping point (paywall) that will lead to much higher wages.

Stop comparing Pamela Geller to Charlie Hebdo. Unlike the satirical French magazine, Geller deals in hate, not critique.

The “smart” gadget bubble is about to burst. There’s simply no need for smart forks, frying pans, and fart detectors (paywall).

Budget cuts may be Putin’s undoing. Russia is cutting the social spending that made its president popular.

Israel has a racism problem. Its discrimination not just against Arab-Israelis, but also against Ethiopian Jews, is systematic.

Surprising discoveries

Boring old vans are selling like hotcakes. Ford and other US manufacturers are benefitting from higher small-business confidence.

There’s a lake of bubbling lava on one of Jupiter’s moons. That makes Io the most active volcanic body in our solar system.

Cocaine bananas, anyone? Staff in Berlin supermarkets found $17 million worth of cocaine in boxes of bananas from Colombia.

Microsoft has introduced a middle-finger emoji. It is the only company brave enough to support the symbol.

An extremely nice bank robber was nabbed in Israel. He apologized and promised not to hurt anyone.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, drug-laced bananas, and friendly bank-robbing techniques to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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