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The fatal shooting of a Labour politician has shocked the British political establishment, bringing an abrupt halt to an increasingly heated campaign for next week’s referendum on UK membership of the EU.

Jo Cox, aged 41, a supporter of the Remain campaign, was shot and stabbed in her constituency town of Birstall in northern England, where she had been meeting local residents.

Her killing was condemned by politicians, with both the Remain and Leave sides immediately suspending campaigning. A former head of policy at Oxfam, Cox spent her career as an aid worker and charity campaigner, including in war zones. Police were considering giving her extra security protection after she was subjected to three months of abusive messages, according to The Times, although no link has been established between the messages and yesterday’s attack by a 52-year-old man. (FT, Times)

In the news

US Syrian strategy criticised Dozens of US diplomats have signed an internal document that sharply criticises US policy in Syria. They urge the Obama administration to take military action against the Assad regime. The memo is written by more than 50 officials at the US State department and calls for air strikes to force a negotiated settlement. (FT)

EgyptAir black box found Air crash investigators in Egypt have retrieved the cockpit voice recorder of flight MS804, which plunged into the Mediterranean last month, killing all 66 people on board. (FT)

Hong Kong bookseller speaks on Chinese detention One of five Hong Kong booksellers who disappeared last year has made harrowing allegations about how he was abducted by Chinese security agents and held incommunicado for eight months, before being released on Tuesday. (FT)

Fed eyes lasting impediments to growth Policymakers may have left their predictions of economic growth and inflation largely unchanged on Wednesday but they now believe the central bank will have to keep rates even lower to sustain that outlook. (FT)

Canada eyes digital dollar Canada is exploring the creation of a digital version of its currency as central banks examine whether modern technology can create a new medium of exchange. (FT)

HSBC settles for $1.6bn The bank has drawn a line under a long legal battle in the US by agreeing to pay a record $1.6bn to resolve a class action case stemming from its acquisition of Household International, the subprime group. According to the suit, Household and three of its senior executives made a series of misleading statements about lending practices and the state of the company’s books. (FT)

Pimco cuts 3% of staff Pimco has laid off 3 per cent of its global workforce and has asked for more staff to volunteer to leave, as it continues to deal with the fallout from founder Bill Gross’s damaging exit in 2014. (FT)

It’s a big day for

The International Association of Athletics Federations The world athletics’ governing body is poised to determine whether Russian athletes can compete in this summer’s Olympic Games. (FT)

Food for thought

The dubious lure of taking on the elite The dirty little secret of EU membership is that it has been an economic success story, writes Philip Stephens. Britain joined in 1973 as the sick man of Europe and in the subsequent 43 years it has flourished. (FT)

Asia’s forgotten ‘comfort women’ Hundreds of thousands of women and girls across Asia were raped and forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during the second world war. The last survivors in the Philippines want their suffering finally to be acknowledged. (BBC Magazine)

Ditch Plan B Backup plans can have strange and unexpected influences on our motivation and behaviour, argues one psychologist. Choosing if and when to use one can distract you, and perversely, cause you to fail. (Aeon)

The soda tax sweetener Philadelphia became the first large city to pass a soda tax this week. Its advocates learnt from earlier failures, winning support by making the case that the tax would bring resources to poor communities, rather than take them away. (The New Yorker)

Lunch with Adair Turner Martin Wolf sits down with the former head of the FSA for his thoughts on Brexit and why George Osborne is “a bit of a gambler”. (FT)

Video of the day

John Authers examines whether a sharp shift in global markets was driven by tragic events on the streets of Britain. (FT)

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