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Barack Obama has named Merrick Garland as his Supreme Court nominee, setting off a fierce election-year battle with Republicans. The appeals court judge has been praised by Republicans, who nonetheless vowed not to even hold hearings on his nomination.
Judge Garland’s moderate record and history of drawing Republican support may be why he has been chosen in an election year with the Senate under Republican control. The president’s choice is not likely to mobilise Democratic voters, but Mr Obama decided that it would be difficult for Senate Republicans to deny a hearing and vote for a man who has won effusive bipartisan accolades. (FT, NYT, BBC, WaPo)
In the news
Who runs Brazil? Protests swept across Brazil after explosive phone recordings fuelled accusations that President Dilma Rousseff had appointed her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as a minister to protect him from arrest. In his new role, Mr Lula da Silva will hold a key position that plays to his reputation as an irresistibly convincing negotiator and all-round political whizz. But it also threatens, in effect, to end Ms Rousseff’s presidency. (FT)
US steps up North Korea sanctions Barack Obama has imposed sweeping new sanctions on North Korea after January’s test of a nuclear bomb, in a step that raises the pressure on China to follow suit. The measures target Pyongyang’s external earnings from industries such as coal (which generates $1bn a year in revenues), transportation, financial services, energy and mining. China said it was opposed to unilateral sanctions because they risked raising tensions further. (FT, Reuters)
Shell and Aramco unwind US joint venture The deal will give the state-owned Saudi group full ownership of the largest refinery in North America, which has proved a reliable customer for Saudi crude, taking about a quarter of its exports to the US. It is in line with Shell's strategy of creating more highly integrated businesses to improve returns. The Anglo-Dutch group plans to raise $30bn from asset sales as it seeks to offset the cost of its £35bn acquisition of BG Group.(FT)
Honduras murders prompt dam funds freeze Dutch development bank FMO is one of two international backers to freeze their involvement in Honduras's Agua Zarca dam project after Nelson García, a member of the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras, was shot dead on Tuesday. It was the second killing in less than two weeks of a member of indigenous group fighting the dam. (FT)
‘I predict a riot’ Donald Trump has warned that “bad things would happen” at the Republican convention in July if the party establishment tried to deny him the presidential nomination. “If we’re 20 votes short, or if we’re 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 . . . I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically,” Mr Trump said. “I think you’d have riots.” Sign up for our daily US politics newsletter here. (FT)
Fed dials back forecasts The US Federal Reserve has scaled back its interest rate forecasts to two quarter-point rises this year, coming closer into line with market expectations as it flagged up risks to the US outlook from global financial and economic developments. (FT)
It's a big day for
Europe’s migrant strategy EU and Turkish leaders will meet to discuss a plan for stemming the flow of refugees. But it faces great challenges, not least that Greece — one of the bloc’s weakest states — is being asked to play a central role. (FT)
Food for thought
Osborne's fiscal gimmicks The UK chancellor is looking increasingly like Gordon Brown, his Labour predecessor but one: both the master of the government’s domestic policies and a purveyor of catchy gimmicks, writes Martin Wolf. Nothing that he announced in the Budget is of great relevance to the economic or fiscal health of the country. On balance, the UK would have been just as well off without it. (FT)
Italy falls out of love with the EU EU-mandated austerity and the ongoing refugee crisis have shaken Italians’ faith in European unity. Now, amid shifting public opinion, the government of centre-left prime minister Matteo Renzi is being forced to adopt a much more confrontational tone in its dealings with Brussels. (FT)
Rotten? No. Denmark wins happiness stakes If you want to enjoy the highest quality of life, you may want to consider a move to Scandinavia. A new report on worldwide happiness names Denmark as the happiest country on Earth, beating the other European nation that previously held that title: Switzerland. The report looks at variables such as GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social freedom, absence of corruption and how inequality affects national levels of well-being.(Quartz)
World's first dollar coin? A US silver dollar worth more than $10m has gone on display in London. The price-tag reflects its rarity, condition and cultural value. But perhaps the greatest selling point is who handled it. Many experts believe it could be the first dollar ever to be struck, which means that President George Washington himself would have personally inspected it. (BBC)
Online shopping reshapes India logistics The rise of e-commerce in Asia is shaking up distribution networks. The Asia-Pacific region is now the world's largest market for online shopping. The global economy may be slowing but faster internet connections and the spread of mobile phones translate to more growth for online sellers. (NAR)
Video of the day
UK Budget highs and lows Economics editor Chris Giles and political commentator Janan Ganesh provide their take on UK chancellor George Osborne’s 2016 Budget. (FT)