Merkel’s migrant trap, Trump and the white supremacists and lessons in debt

German chancellor admits refugee crisis is worst of her 10 years in office

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had no “Plan B” for solving the refugee crisis and insisted there was nothing that would make her change course during an interview on Sunday.

Ms Merkel said she could understand a recent poll that showed 81 per cent believed her government had lost control of the migrant crisis, but rejected the proposal backed by many in Germany to introduce an upper limit on migration. However, she admitted that the refugee crisis was the worst she had faced in her 10 years as chancellor, dwarfing even the eurozone debt problem. (FT)

In the news

Iran votes in centrists over hardliners Moderates close to centrist President Hassan Rouhani have gained crucial seats in parliamentary elections, dealing a blow to hardliners desperate to stymie efforts to open the country to foreign investment. (FT)

Trump unfazed by KKK, mob allegations Donald Trump had three chances to distance himself from white supremacists during an interview on CNN on Sunday morning and he refused to do it, claiming he needed to do more research. Someone with his father’s name was arrested at a Klan rally, and The Donald did reportedly meet with a gangster Ted Cruz accused him of dealing with — not that Trump is bothered. The construction magnate seems unfazed by any of the ghosts of his past as he continues to scare so many on the way to Super Tuesday. (Slate, Daily Beast)

Eurozone deflation returns Inflation in the eurozone has fallen back into negative territory, raising the chances of a more aggressive easing package by the European Central Bank. Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics bureau, said on Monday that prices fell 0.2 per cent in the year to February, down from inflation of 0.3 per cent in the year to January and the first negative print since September 2015. (FT)

US warns on Iraq dam risk Mosul Dam is at risk of “catastrophic failure”, the US is warning. The dam, located on the Tigris River, is the largest in Iraq and is structurally flawed. If it were to burst, a huge wave would roll down the river, potentially killing hundreds of thousands of people. The US embassy public warning comes after weeks of private notices calling on the international community and the government in Iraq to be prepared for such a disaster. (Voice of America)

Rising Australia stock market star The star of the Australian Stock Exchange’s benchmark ASX200 index last year was not a mining company, a financial services group or the hottest tech start-up, but a health supplement supplier, Blackmore’s, whose share price soared 620 per cent on Chinese demand. (NAR)

Bill Gates warns on unicorns The billionaire said investors should be more discriminating when investing in private companies valued at more than $1bn, but acknowledged that venture capital is particularly attractive now given low interest rates. (FT)

It’s a big day for

The Republican establishment, which is rapidly rallying behind Marco Rubio in an eleventh-hour attempt to derail Donald Trump, amid fears that this week’s Super Tuesday primaries could tighten the outspoken billionaire’s grip on the party’s nomination. (FT)

Food for thought

Booby-trapped meals a bad way to hire When Walt Bettinger, chief executive of Charles Schwab, is thinking about hiring someone, he invites them out to breakfast. He arrives early, takes the waiter to one side, hands over a large tip and tells him to mess up his guest’s order. He then sits back and watches the candidate’s response. Not only is his trick in bad faith, it is at odds with Charles Schwab’s business model — based on honesty and transparency. To practise it is a bit off, but to boast about it is insane, says Lucy Kellaway. (FT)

Another US water scandal A public health emergency is playing out in Hoosick Falls, a quiet river-bend village near the New York-Vermont border that has been upended by disclosures that the public water supply was tainted with a toxic chemical used to make Teflon products. After the Flint lead contamination scandal, nearly half of Americans are concerned about their water supply. (NYT)

Birthdays every four years February 29 comes every four years. Those born on the day face bureaucratic problems and questions over how they celebrate. (Quartz)

Lessons in debt Growing numbers are finding that the burdens of borrowing outweigh the benefits of their education. Rising student loan defaults are triggering concerns that many will be held back from starting a business or buying a house. The biggest financial problems are faced by poorer Americans who took smaller loans to pay for courses at less prestigious universities. (FT)

The age of disintegration Europe is at risk of four fractures, argues the FT’s Wolfgang Munchau, and is about to face one of the most difficult moments in its history: member states have lost the will to find joint solutions to problems they could solve at the level of the EU but not on their own. (FT)

Swag bag Each year every actor nominated for an Oscar goes home with a gift bag. In 1999, it was worth $16,000. This year it totals $230,000, and features a luxury holiday to Israel. (Slate)

Video of the day

Iranian elections pave way for investment The FT’s Najmeh Bozorgmehr reports from Tehran about the results of crucial elections that could help open the door to foreign investments after the landmark nuclear agreement with world powers. (FT)

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