Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Obama in Europe, Syria peace talks, sea-traveling monkeys

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What to watch for today

Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and David Cameron convene in Germany. The meeting between the leaders of the US, Germany, and the UK is expected to focus on the Islamic State, the new government in Libya, and the rising numbers of refugees. There’s speculation that the UK could be preparing to deploy troops to Libya.

Syrian peace talks resume without the main opposition group. The talks are due to go ahead even though the main armed opposition group is boycotting proceedings, claiming that the ceasefire has been violated. The UN has called on the United States and Russia to “act quickly” to save the fragile negotiations.

The EU and US begin yet another round of trade negotiations. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is designed to cut tariffs between the US and EU, with supporters claiming it will add billions to the UK, US, and EU economies. But protestors claim the deal would drive down wages and weaken environmental protections and labor rights.

Over the weekend 

Syrian government air strikes killed dozens. Dozens of people—mostly civilians—are dead, according to the Associated Press, after air strikes targeted opposition groups in Aleppo. The attacks jeopardize the ceasefire between the government and rebels, which began Feb. 27.

Barack Obama pushed for the UK to stay in the European Union. After a weekend of mingling with British royalty, the US president ended his trip with a final warning about a possible “Brexit.” Before flying on to Germany, Obama said that it could take the UK 10 years to negotiate a trade deal with the US, if the country voted to leave the EU.

Beyoncé dropped a surprise “visual” concept album. Lemonade, the star’s sixth solo album, debuted on HBO (paywall). Despite lyrics hinting at the infidelity of the pop star’s husband, rapper, and music mogul Jay Z, the album is now available exclusively on his streaming service Tidal, causing downloads of the related app to surge.

North Korea and the US sparred over nuclear tests. On Saturday, North Korean foreign minister Ri Su-yong said the country would stop its testing, provided the US discontinue its yearly military exercises with South Korea. On Sunday, US president Barack Obama declined the deal, saying that that Pyongyang would “have to do better than that.”

The world continued to mourn Prince. Artists including Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, and the cast of Hamilton all gave tribute performances, while movie theaters announced plans to show Prince’s musical “Purple Rain.” It also emerged that 26 albums’ worth of unpublished music were stored in the artist’s home.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how monkeys managed to cross the sea long, long ago. “Take the monkey whose fossilized teeth were just discovered etched into a hunk of ancient rock in Panama. The monkey (or its forebears) had to have arrived there in Central America from South America, which at the time was separated from it by a stretch of sea at least 100 miles wide—the equivalent of about five English Channels.” Read more here.

Matters of Debate

Prince showed that rock music has always been black music. Claiming that black artists who play rock music are “crossing over” ignores the rich history of the genre.

The United States should embrace “right to roam” laws. Europeans are free to wander their countries’ forests and fields, whereas Americans must trespass (paywall) if they want to travel scenic routes on foot.

US football players should not wear helmets during practice. Going unprotected will prevent injuries, as players will be feel less invincible and learn safer tackling techniques.

Surprising discoveries

You’re probably washing your hands wrong. The World Health Organization released new instructions on the proper technique, but they’re so complicated people may not use them.

Christians are celebrating the Jewish festival of Passover. Increasing numbers of Christians celebrate the holiday, and some churches even offer “Christian Seders.”

The original rules of baseball are worth $3.26 million. The documents were sold by a California-based auction company to an anonymous buyer early Sunday morning.

There may be a scientific reason that going for a run clears your head. Aerobic activity actually leads to the growth of new neurons.

Russia’s military just bought five dolphins. Moscow’s Utrish Dolphinarium has promised to supply the military with five bottlenose dolphins by Aug. 1, but there’s no word on the reason for this purchase.

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