Facebook changes UK tax structure, the land no country, wants and the changing London skyline

Major UK ad sales will no longer be booked in Ireland

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Facebook is changing its UK tax structure and is expected to pay millions of pounds more in corporation tax, in response to pressure over the aggressive avoidance regimes by leading US technology companies and multinationals.

In an internal memo to staff on Friday the social networking company said it will begin booking major advertising sales made by its UK team in the country, instead of routing these revenues through Ireland as it currently does. In 2014, the Irish arrangement meant that Facebook paid just £4,327 ($6,120) in UK corporation tax. (FT)

In the news

EU close to migrant deal The EU is close to a breakthrough deal with Ankara that would see all non-Syrian migrants reaching Greek islands returned to Turkey, marking a crucial step in the bloc’s hardening stance against the flow of people into its territories. Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister, privately signalled in negotiations that Ankara would accept the systematic returns of non-Syrians and step up action against smugglers. (FT)

Trump untroubled A bombastic Donald Trump sustained a barrage of attacks in Thursday’s Republican debate, on everything from his defunct education programme Trump University to his preparedness to be commander-in-chief. Yet the night appeared to end much as it had started, with Mr Trump as the party’s undisputed frontrunner and his rivals powerless to stop him. (FT)

Apple tech support The US’s largest technology companies have joined Apple’s fight against the government over data protection and security. More than a dozen motions, from companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon, have been filed siding with Apple. The company has been resisting a demand to write software that would help the FBI unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. (FT)

China poised for subprime-type sale It looks like subprime derivatives on steroids: China hopes to bundle together billions of dollars’ worth of non-performing loans and eventually sell them to global investors. Such a huge securitisation programme would represent the latest tactic in China’s campaign to lift one of the biggest shadows cast over its slowing economy — a debt pile that is as big as 230 per cent of GDP. (FT)

Regional power games The US, India and Japan are set to conduct joint naval exercises in the northern waters of the Philippine Sea, an area close to the East and South China Seas where Beijing is locked in an increasingly tense stand-off with Washington. (WSJ)

Breakthrough in cancer fight British researchers have found a new way to identify immune cells capable of detecting tumours — opening a path to treatments that could trigger the body’s natural defences to wipe out cancer. (FT)

Brazil’s economy shrinks 3.8% The 2015 figures put what was one of the world’s fastest-growing large emerging markets on track to suffer its worst recession since official records began. (FT)

It's a big day for

China, which is holding its annual parliamentary session amid a sombre mood that recalls the late 1990s: an era of economic ructions, rising debt, currency jitters and talk of mass lay-offs. (FT)

US jobs February non-farm payrolls are expected to come in with a rise of 195,000, following January's disappointing 151,000 number. The unemployment rate should stay at 4.9 per cent.

Food for thought

Our fraught financial future The recent episode of global financial market turmoil is likely to be more serious than any period of volatility since 2009, writes Nouriel Roubini. There are now at least seven sources of global risk, as opposed to the single factors — the eurozone crisis, the Federal Reserve “taper tantrum,” a possible Greek exit from the eurozone and a hard economic landing in China — that have fuelled volatility in recent years. (NAR)

The land that no country wants Bir Tawil is the last truly unclaimed land on earth: a tiny sliver of Africa ruled by no state, inhabited by no permanent residents and governed by no laws. (The Guardian)

Syria's most-hugged refugee Firas Alshater could be on the way to becoming Germany’s most famous refugee. He is already a YouTube sensation: his first short video went viral, attracting 2.5m views. He has been profiled in heavyweight German newspapers and asked his views on the latest Macedonian border closures on TV talkshows. Several female YouTubers have even proposed marriage. (FT)

So you want to get your money out of China? Fear not, the FT’s David Keohane has you covered with some very informative charts about “how to turn a small fortune in China into a (slightly) smaller fortune elsewhere”. (FT)

The prospect of pilotless planes Automated controls already do a lot of the work of flying a plane. Could they someday take off without anyone in the cockpit? (The Atlantic)

London skyline 1616 v 2016 Juxtaposed images sketched 400 years apart show the change in the city’s skyline from the banks of the Thames. (The Guardian)

Video of the day

Testing Japan’s new wave of robots A robot hand that always wins at rock-paper-scissors could provide the basis for driverless cars, super fast sports cameras as well as missile defence and battlefield droids. The FT’s Leo Lewis looks at the latest robotic technology under development in Japan. (FT)

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