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David Cameron, UK prime minister, warned that peace in Europe would be put at risk if Britain left the EU.

“Britain has a fundamental national interest in maintaining common purpose in Europe to avoid future conflict between European countries. And that requires British leadership, and for Britain to remain a member,” he said.

In the opposing camp, Michael Gove, the Leave campaign’s most senior figure, confirmed that Britain would quit Europe’s single market if the country voted to leave the EU — a move most economists warn would be the most disruptive option for the UK if it left the bloc. The comment was seized on by pro-EU campaigners, who warn of the long-term damage such a move would bring.

Meanwhile, Britain’s referendum is widely expected to trigger a domino effect of similar votes on EU membership, with a significant majority of French and Italian voters wanting to take the issue to the ballot box, regardless of the outcome in the UK. (FT)

In the news

PwC turns to drones The professional services firm is joining the ranks of companies turning to drones and other new technologies to upgrade their business models. The group’s Poland division began testing in April last year and is to launch commercial surveyor drones this week. It estimates that the market for drone use in construction and infrastructure alone is worth at least $45bn. (FT)

Oil prices climb as Canada wildfires rage Brent crude oil prices climbed more than 2 per cent in Asia as traders weighed the impact of wildfires continuing to rage in Canada’s top oil-producing province. The Alberta fires have prompted oil companies to halt production, reducing the country’s daily output by about a fifth. Officials have warned that they could be fighting the blaze “for months”. Boom town in ashes. (FT, NYT)

GOP rift widens The rift in the Republican party grew deeper after Donald Trump refused to rule out blocking Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, from serving as chairman of the party’s July convention. Mr Trump’s warning, which followed Mr Ryan’s refusal to back his nomination as the party’s presidential candidate, was his latest affront to Republicans who have urged him to adopt a more unifying tone. (FT)

Saudi oil policy uncertainty The new administration under construction by Mohammed bin Salman, deputy crown prince, has jettisoned ministers deemed inefficient or out of line with a prevailing reformist tone. Prince Mohammed’s rise has also raised questions about future oil policy. He has already indicated he is prepared to wield oil as a political tool, hinting that the kingdom could easily accelerate output to more than 11m barrels a day as its regional rival Iran tries to recoup market share after years of sanctions. (FT)

Tax evasion appeal A group of 300 prominent economists is calling for new global rules forcing companies to report taxable activities country-by-country. In a letter to world leaders, the group urges the UK to “take a lead” in the push for more tax transparency, claiming that poor countries are the biggest losers from tax havens. The signatories, co-ordinated by charity Oxfam, include best-selling author Thomas Piketty and 2015 Nobel Prize economics winner Angus Deaton. (BBC)

Facebook wins China trademark case The social networking site won a case against a company that registered the brand name “face book”, in a sign that Beijing’s attitudes are softening towards the world’s largest social networking site, which is blocked to China’s 700m internet users. (FT)

Japan eyes Iran infrastructure Tokyo hopes to team up with India to play a role in the development of a regional logistics hub in southeastern Iran, becoming the latest country hoping to build stronger ties with Tehran as it emerges from sanctions. (NAR)

It's a big day for

The Philippines Filipinos head to the polls. Rodrigo Duterte, the crime-busting mayor of Davao City whom human rights groups accuse of using brutal death squads to eliminate suspected criminals, is tipped to win. (FT)

Greece Alexis Tsipras, Greek prime minister, has defended controversial new pension and tax reforms approved by parliament on the eve of a eurozone finance ministers meeting. The measures are needed to unlock further international bailout money, to be discussed at the meeting. Mr Tsipras said Monday was “a very important day” as debt relief for Greece was on the agenda after “six long years” of austerity discussions. (BBC)

Mercury, which crosses in front of the sun in a rare “transit” that happens about 13 times every 100 years. Watch the livestream (Vox)

Food for thought

The end of American meritocracy A meritocrat owes his success to effort and talent. Luck has nothing to do with it — or so he tells himself. But what if between a half and two-thirds of Americans, depending on how the question is framed, disagree and believe the system’s divisions are self-perpetuating, asks Ed Luce. “Sooner or later something will give.” (FT)

South Dakota tax haven South Dakota is best known for its vast stretches of flat land and the Mount Rushmore monument. Yet despite its small town feel, Sioux Falls has become a magnet for the ultra-wealthy who set up trusts to protect their fortunes from taxes and future ex-spouses. Assets held in South Dakotan trusts have grown from $32.8bn in 2006 to more than $226bn in 2014, according to the state’s division of banking. The number of trust companies has jumped from 20 in 2006 to 86 this year. (FT)

Syria’s energy mogul and Isis In Syria, George Haswani sees himself as a patriot. US officials, however, allege that the Syrian-Russian businessman is the middleman between Isis and its biggest energy customer, the Syrian government. Mr Haswani denies this, and points the finger instead at Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the smuggling of Isis oil. (WSJ)

Our parents were Russian spies For years Donald Heathfield, Tracey Foley and their two children lived the American dream. Then an FBI raid revealed the truth: they were agents of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Their sons tell their story. (Guardian)

The woman who senses earthquakes Moon Ribas, a 30-year-old Spanish artist, is a self-described cyborg. A seismograph-connected magnet in her arm allows her to feel tremors in real time, with stronger quakes producing more intense vibrations. (Quartz)

Nasa technology release The US space agency has launched an enormous public domain database of expired and newer patents as part of a project to make “government-developed technologies freely available for unrestricted commercial use”. The technologies range from rocket nozzles and propellants to methods of culturing tissue in microgravity environments, as well as technological spin-offs in less obviously space-science oriented fields. (Nasa, Engadget)

Video of the day

North Korea congress stays behind closed doors Pyongyang may have invited the world’s media to cover the once-in-a-generation event, but it doesn’t want them to actually see anything. Jamil Anderlini reports from outside the seventh Workers’ Party of Korea Congress. (FT)

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