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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Britain’s parliament returns, ISIL captures Ramadi, China’s house prices, the case for whole milk

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

What to watch for today

Europe discusses migrants and Greece. EU foreign ministers are expected to approve a naval mission off the coast of Libya, the source of thousands of migrants making their way across the Mediterranean. Talks also continue with Greece over a deal to unlock another tranche of aid, with hopes of wrapping up a deal by Friday.

Clothing and game companies report. Urban Outfitters is expected to show a second consecutive quarter of rising sales after a year of declines, thanks to a brand revamp. Take-Two Interactive Software, responsible for the Grand Theft Auto franchise, will also report earnings.

India and China’s leaders on a world tour. After meeting each other last week, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi starts a two-day visit to South Korea, and Chinese premier Li Keqiang heads to Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Chile after stopping in Ireland.

Britain’s parliament reconvenes. The House of Commons meets with its first Conservative majority in parliament since 1992, following the May 7 election. It’s a new world: the official Labour opposition has no leader and the Scottish nationalists are now the third-largest party.

Fighting resumes in Yemen. A five-day ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians came to an end on Sunday night (paywall), after neither side of the conflict suggested an extension. An Iranian aid ship and naval boats are currently en route to Yemen, which could represent an escalation in the conflict against the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

Over the weekend

ISIL captured Ramadi. The Iraqi government said officials in the capital of Iraq’s largest province fled their posts after running low on ammunition following several days of fighting. Baghdad has since requested support from Shia militias, but that move could be opposed by the region’s Sunni tribes.

China’s house prices fell for the eighth consecutive month. New home prices in 70 major cities fell 6.1% in April from a year earlier. On a monthly basis, though, they were flat, and some cities are showing signs of growth.

Thailand’s GDP missed estimates. The Southeast Asian economy grew 3% in the first quarter  from a year earlier, its fastest pace in two years, but lower than expectations of 3.4%. Thai officials downgraded their forecast for growth this full year.

Nine people died in a Texas biker gang shootout. A brawl between several biker gangs escalated into gunfire between the gangs and police, leaving at least 17 people injured and nine dead. One witness said up to 30 guns were fired and police recovered 100 weapons at the scene.

Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death. The country’s first freely-elected president and more than 100 other people face execution for their roles in a mass prison break in January 2011. The decision will be referred to Egypt’s highest religious authority and a final decision will be announced next month.

Two 19th century Palestinian nuns were canonized as saints. Pope Francis celebrated the women at a ceremony in Rome attended by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Days earlier, the Vatican formally recognized the state of Palestine.

Another Russian rocket malfunction cost Mexico a satellite. A Proton-M rocket carrying a Mexican satellite burned up in the atmosphere over Siberia a few minutes after its launch from Kazakhstan, according to Russian media. Last month, an unmanned Russian supply ship failed to dock with the International Space Station, spinning wildly out of control before burning up in the atmosphere.

Quartz obsession interlude

Akshat Rathi on how most children start out happy no matter what, but materialism catches up eventually. “There is also a noteworthy difference in the nature of of kids’ carefree attitudes in rich and poor countries. Despite being generally happy, children in developed countries were relatively less satisfied with their body, appearance, and self-confidence.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US presidency is an elected monarchy. Executive overreach goes back centuries.

We should drink more whole milk. Dairy fat actually helps stave off obesity.

Jay Z’s artist-led social network could revive the value of music. His weekend event brought the music fans care most about back into the picture.

We are in an age of fast TV. Script writers are packing more plots into each episode to try to surprise increasingly jaded viewers.

Surprising discoveries

Taylor Swift has her own emoji. Tweet #BadBloodMusicVideo and you’ll get Twitter’s first custom celebrity emoji.

Some Manhattan women get “wife bonuses” from their rich husbands. They are rewarded for how well they manage the household.

You can make timelapse videos out of online photos. Millions of shared photos show how different sites change over time.

Sweden is fighting to preserve a lost forest language. It’s called Elfdalian.

There’s a social network strictly for discussing the weather. Though it sounds quite British, it is actually Japanese.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, whole milk, and custom emojis to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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