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Turkey and the EU are on the verge of a deal to turn back all migrants reaching Greek islands in exchange for a number of sweeteners for Ankara, including an extra €3bn in funding and access to European visas.

Alex Barker and Duncan Robinson dissect the pact that “may rank as the most ambitious and politically explosive”.

The EU is being pushed into an alliance with leaders who hold its values in contempt, warns David Gardner. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s courts this week effectively closed one of the last media groups outside government control. “Freedom of assembly is as constricted as freedom of expression in Mr Erdogan’s Turkey, and he seems happy to exhibit it.”(FT)

In the news

Sharapova loses sponsors Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer has joined Nike in ending its association with Maria Sharapova. The tennis star’s failed drugs test is a “game-changer for life, not just for tennis”, says Nick Bollettieri, her former coach. Ms Sharapova has been taking meldonium, a substance banned at the start of 2016, since 2006. She faces a four-year ban after testing positive at the Australian Open in January. (FastFT, BBC)

Bloomberg won’t run The media magnate has decided against launching a bid for the US presidency, citing fears that he would end up helping Donald Trump or Ted Cruz win the White House. “This is not a risk I can take in good conscience,” he wrote in an editorial. (FT, Bloomberg)

Banker bonuses hit The average bonus paid on Wall Street slipped 9 per cent last year to $146,200 as banks hired more staff and tried to cap pay amid a surge in compliance costs and volatile trading activity. (FT)

Poor China data revive growth fears Stocks and commodities faltered after Beijing said exports fell 25.4 per cent in February from a year earlier in dollar terms, the worst one-month decline since early 2009. Imports contracted 13.8 per cent. (FT)

Few gains for women in work There have been only “marginal improvements” in the world of work for women in the past 20 years, according to a study by the International Labour Organisation. It found the difference in the employment rate between men and women had decreased by 0.6 per cent since 1995 and that in countries where women access work more easily, the quality of their jobs remained “a matter of concern”. (BBC)

Microsoft looks beyond Windows The US tech group is taking its biggest step beyond the Windows operating system since chief executive Satya Nadella started a rethink of its core software strategy two years ago. The company announced on Monday that it would put one of its main products on Linux for the first time. (FT)

It’s a big day for

US-Israel ties Joe Biden, the US vice-president, arrives in Israel on Tuesday to patch up, again, relations between the White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a very public and deeply partisan spat over the Iran nuclear deal last year. (WaPo)

Brexit Bank of England governor Mark Carney backed Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU deal ahead of a June referendum on membership, saying the agreement allowed the central bank to do its job. A new poll shows that British voters feel poorly informed about the consequences of Brexit and want to hear from businesses. (Reuters, FT)

Donald Trump The property magnate’s march towards the Republican presidential nomination faces new tests in Michigan and Mississippi, states where rivals John Kasich and Ted Cruz are betting their regional appeal will serve as an antidote to his outsider campaign. Gideon Rachman sets out the case for Mr Trump’s defence. (WSJ, FT)

Food for thought

Understanding Tim Cook The Apple CEO’s experiences growing up as a gay youth in the tiny town of Robertsdale, Alabama, are key to understanding how a once-quiet tech executive became one of the world’s most outspoken corporate leaders. Apple has long emphasised the privacy of its products, but today Mr Cook talks about privacy not as an attribute of a device, but as a right — a view coloured by his own history. (WaPo)

How to stop North Korea There are ways of causing Pyongyang enough pain to bring it to the negotiating table, says Robert Manning. The US should look at how sanctions against Iran worked. “It should consider ending North Korea’s use of the Swift payments system that would ban international financial transactions, in effect taking away Kim Jong Un’s credit cards.” (FT)

Syria’s atheist poet In early 2013, Islamist militants in north-west Syria decapitated a statue of the 11th century poet Abu al-Alaa al-Maarri. The statue, cast in bronze by a young Syrian sculptor in the 1940s, was not of great artistic value but the man it depicted was a remarkable figure. “Abu al-Alaa al-Maarri is regarded as one of the three foremost atheists in Islamic history,” says Syrian art historian Nasser Rabbat. “The majority of Muslims would shun him.” (BBC)

US exchanges: the ‘speed bump’ battle War has broken out in the US stock market. On one side is the establishment, led by the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. On the other is IEX, an upstart trading venue with a tiny sliver of the business but outsized ambitions to disrupt the world’s largest equity market by becoming an exchange itself. (FT)

Video of the day

A popular oil rise John Authers analyses an ongoing recovery for risk assets, even as oil prices rally to more than $40 a barrel for the first time this year. (FT)

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