Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Obama and Putin chat, Catalonian votes, supermoon waves

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What to watch for today

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin talk Syria at the UN. The Russian president will address the UN for the first time in a decade, following the publication of satellite images that suggest Russia is developing two additional military bases in Syria. Putin will also meet with US president Barack Obama and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, and is expected to discuss conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

The highest tides of 2015 follow the moon’s spectacular display. In the early hours this morning (BST), a supermoon and lunar eclipse coincided for the first time in 33 years. Meteorologists expect the supermoon, which is when the moon is closest to the Earth, to cause the high tides for up to two days.

The Zimbabwean hunter accused of killing Cecil the lion is back on trial. Theo Bronkhorst faces charges for failing to prevent an illegal hunt, in which a US tourist killed the well-known lion.

Over the weekend

Catalonia came closer to independence. Pro-separatist parties, which want Catalonia to become independent from Spain, won a majority in a regional election, after promising voters that such a win would lead to a separation within 18 months. Spain’s courts are aiming to block any potential secession; it is still unclear how such a split would take place.

Didi Kuaidi invested in its Indian counterpart. The Chinese ride-hailing service confirmed it has invested in Ola, joining the Indian company’s fundraising round of more than $500 million. The investment should help both companies fight Uber, which is expanding in Asia; neither company has confirmed the amount invested.

John Boehner attacked the Republican Party. The recently retired Republican speaker of the House of Representatives took to the radio to call right-wing members of his party “false prophets,” and called on others to avoid a budget-related government shutdown. Boehner’s Friday resignation surprised most in DC, and came largely after pressure from right-wing Republicans.

China announced $2 billion in aid for poorer countries. President Xi Jinping declared the establishment of a development fund that will offer the world’s poorest states aid money and debt relief, ahead of a historic speech to the UN today. Xi said China’s goal is to promote peace through development, and also offered $2 million to the World Health Organization.

France launched air strikes in Syria. French planes destroyed an Islamic State training camp, after previously restricting its attacks to Iraq. President François Hollande said the camp represented a danger to France.

The Pope completed his tour of the US. Pope Francis spoke in Spanish to an audience in Philadelphia on Saturday, and met with victims of sexual abuse on Sunday, where he expressed regret that some bishops had failed to protect young people, and offered an apology for those who had spoken up about abuse but were dismissed by the church.

Quartz obsession interlude

Wolfgang Fengler on why, if you like football, you should welcome migrants. “First, the football business is a perfect illustration of the ‘lump of labor fallacy.’ Many politicians often assume that the key parameters of an economy are fixed so that when migrants come, they necessarily take jobs away from natives. This thinking is wrong because immigrants who work also contribute to growing the ‘cake’ and the overall pool of employment opportunities. German football players are also benefitting from the internationalization of their business because they earn much higher salaries today at all levels.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Pope Francis is not progressive. He has the same socially conservative views as his predecessors.

Jeb Bush has positioned himself as the anti-internet candidate. He’s in favor of policies that would limit the public’s online rights.

Colleges need to reaffirm their commitment to free speech on campus. There have been too many examples of censorship in the academic community over the past year alone.

The US Republican party is alone in its stance on climate change. No other right-wing party agrees that nothing should be done.

Surprising discoveries

Empathy has a sinister side. Caring for one person can lead to unfounded aggression towards another.

Sushi conveyor belts are out. Japan’s chain Genki Sushi, with 130 branches, is phasing out the wasteful system in favor of quick-order tablets.

Millions of planets are more habitable than we realized. Plenty of Earth-like planets are not stuck with one side constantly facing their star, as was previously supposed.

Chipotle has a 39-point list for good management. The company’s co-CEO says that it leads to highly engaged teams.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sushi-ordering tips, and management checklists to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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