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Britons headed to the polls for the UK's long-awaited referendum on its membership in the European Union. Banks activated their Brexit response units to prepare for any possible outcome, while lawyers tackled the complex, and unresolved, legal issues involved.

Global markets were braced for turmoil as voting got underway, while "risk-on" remained the battle cry. Meanwhile, some of the world's largest hedge funds and asset managers are preparing for large trading opportunities in the immediate hours after the vote, and their traders have stockpiled cash to take advantage of any market dislocation.

Ladbrokes said it had its busiest day ever of political betting, with punters placing up to £30,000 each on Remain or Leave. Remain odds were as short as 1/10 in the morning, but lengthened to 1/6 during the day, while odds on Leave were cut to 4/1 — or a 19 per cent chance of the UK voting for Brexit — from 6/1 earlier in the day.

We should know by about 3.30am GMT who ended up in the money. (FT, NYT)

In the news

Supreme Court deals immigration blow to Obama The top court maintained a freeze on the White House's efforts to protect millions of people from deportation. The result imperils what the president hoped would be a central part of his legacy, a plan to shield nearly 4m unauthorised immigrants. (FT)

Congressional Democrats end gun control sit-in More than 200 Democrats, led by civil rights icon Representative John Lewis, had occupied the floor of the House since Wednesday in a dramatic protest over Republicans' refusal to hold a vote on a bill limiting access to firearms for those on no-fly lists. (FT)

VW to pay over $10bn for US emissions scandal The German carmaker will pay nearly $10.3bn to settle claims by US regulators stemming from the diesel emissions cheating scandal, according to an unnamed source. Meanwhile, investor advisory bodies are planning to ask a German court to appoint an independent expert to lead an investigation into whether Volkswagen’s top managers and directors played any role in the scandal. (Reuters, FT)

The tune will come to you at last Led Zeppelin won a lawsuit that claimed the band had stolen the iconic guitar riff from “Stairway to Heaven” from a lesser-known group called Spirit. (FT)

Gunman shot dead after storming German cinema The incident took place in the small town of Viernheim, south of Frankfurt. The attacker had appeared "confused and was overpowered by police special forces. (FT)

Farmed tuna going global Japan's Maruha Nichiro has been selling fully farmed bluefin tuna since last year - now it aims to boost sales by exporting. The farmed approach addresses growing public concern that overfishing is driving bluefin tuna into extinction. (NAR)

Test your knowledge with the week in news quiz. What conspiracy theory circulated in the runup to Thursday's Brexit referendum?

It's a big day for

Britain We should get a clearer picture of the country's place in Europe — or lack thereof — by 3.30am GMT, with results expected to be announced around breakfast in the UK. (FT)

Food for thought

Martin Wolf: legalise it, man Our chief economics commentator is a bit more sober and nuanced about the whole thing, but he argues that the war on drugs is a fatuous idea. “Criminalisation is a dreadful mistake. This is not because drugs are harmless but rather because they are harmful. Containing harm and promoting health are indeed the only sane approach.” (FT)

Fly at the front for a fraction of the cost Insider tips on how to play the frequent flier game with aplomb, from the people who fly first class to five-star hotels for free. (FT)

A bromance that came unstuck Before his sudden resignation this week, Nikesh Arora, the Indian tech titan, talked about the challenges of being an outsider in Japan, gambling with his own money and his love for his now former SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son. When asked this week if the love affair between the two was over, Mr Arora demurred, “I am still in love. He is the nicest person I know”. But it seems clear that “the two men’s very modern internet bromance ultimately came unstuck against the backdrop of those rather more old-fashioned business issues: ambition and control, and ego”, writes James Crabtree. (FT)

Dutch test ocean clean-up barrier Boyan Slat was just 18 when he founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013, with his vision of creating long floating barriers that would use the ocean’s current to collect the plastics that blight the Great Pacific garbage patch, an area thought to contain a third of the world’s oceanic plastic. Now, his first prototype oceanic barrier is ready to be installed and will be deployed for a year in the North Sea, 23 kilometres off the Dutch coast. (Resource)

Video of the day

UK votes in an historic referendum Polling stations are open across the UK, as voters decide whether their country should remain in the European Union. Vanessa Kortekaas reports on the historic vote. (FT)

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