Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Bernie Sanders takes Maine, EU tackles Balkan route, MFAs are worthless

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What to watch for today

EU leaders meet on the refugee crisis… An emergency summit takes place in Brussels to find ways to close the Balkan route that many migrants use to get into the European Union. The EU also wants Turkey to take back economic migrants. 

…and the spotlight is back on the finances of Greece and Cyprus. EU finance ministers will discuss the budgets for 2016 for these two heavily bailed-out countries. German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said the refugee crisis doesn’t mean Greece should have more time to deliver on its budget goals. 

Urban Outfitters reports earnings. The edgy clothing chain has been struggling to keep hipsters coming back, but solid showings from its Free People and Anthropologie brands could help the company post strong numbers—if a warm winter didn’t stop customers from buying jackets and knit caps.

Two sports stars are leaving us. Peyton Manning, the oldest quarterback ever to win the Super Bowl, leaves the field with the most career earnings of any NFL player, having amassed more than $248 million. Meanwhile, there’s speculation that Maria Sharapova, the former tennis women’s world no. 1, could announce her retirement.

Over the weekend

Nancy Reagan passed away. The former US first lady, the wife of Ronald Reagan, died at the age of 94 of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles. “Our former first lady redefined the role in her time here,” president Barack Obama said.

The neverending US primaries continued. Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in Maine. He won Kansas and Nebraska on Saturday, too, but Clinton maintained her lead after victory in Louisiana. In the Republican battle, Marco Rubio secured the Puerto Rican primary, but still lags far behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who won two states each on Saturday and want to duke it out mano a mano.

North Korea was as gentle as always with the rhetoric. The Hermit Kingdom said it would turn Washington and Seoul into “flames and ashes” with a “pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice.” The statement is a reaction to joint military drills by the US and South Korea, which started today and continue through April.

China cut its growth target for 2016. Beijing announced a new annual goal of 6.5-7%, down from around 7% last year and said it would open up state companies to private competition as part of an increase in public spending. The news prompted a rise in Chinese shares, with the Shanghai Composite up 0.3%.

The first tanker of Iranian oil arrived in Europe. After a four-year embargo was lifted as part of the end of sanctions in January, a tanker carrying one million barrels of Iranian crude docked in Spain. Another three ships are on their way as Iran aims to boost exports to Europe and get back up to the 3.6 million barrels it produced daily in 2011.

Turkey’s biggest newspaper was taken over by the state. Zaman printed one final Saturday edition—with a front-page headline reading “The constitution is suspended”—before its offices were raided by police. On Friday, a Turkish court ruled that state administrators should run the newspaper, with no explanation given.

Quartz obsession interlude

Amy Wang on a newly discovered method of preventing peanut allergies. “It’s fairly common, and increasingly so, to hear someone say they’re allergic to peanuts. The prevalence of the potentially life-threatening allergy in the US alone has risen more than 300%—from 0.4% in 1997 to 1.4% in 2010—and scientists, doctors, and parents are fumbling for ways to reverse that.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Republicans need to get behind Ted Cruz if they want to defeat Donald Trump. Cruz is also hated by the establishment, but the nomination clock is ticking.

Sexual harassment is weeding out women in the sciences. There’s a distinct and obvious pattern (paywall), but academia isn’t doing anything to stop it.

A creative-writing degree is a waste of time. There are no major differences in the language, themes, syntax, or characters of authors who hold a MFA and those who do not.

Surprising discoveries

Your mind really can heal you. The brain can drive physical changes that improve your health.

A college degree is worth less to poorer students. The proportional increase in salary compared to those with only a high school degree is far less.

Just seeing yourself as a creative type makes you more creative. Those who imagined themselves as an “eccentric poet” perform better on a divergent-thinking test.

Medical services are moving into mental health clinics. Providers are finally beginning to close the gap between physical and mental care.

Teardrops are as unique as fingerprints. A Dutch artist has collected hundreds of people’s tears to examine what affects their unique structures.   

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