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Dutch voters have given a resounding “no” to the rightwing populism of Geert Wilders. Incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte is on track to form the next government, despite losing a quarter of his seats. Moderates across Europe heaved a sigh of relief at a result that was widely seen as a litmus test on whether the wave of populism that helped bring about Donald Trump’s election victory in the US and the UK’s vote to leave the EU would wash over the continent.

But is the poll proof that populism has peaked? Here is an argument on why the result does not necessarily spell disaster for far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. And the foreign minister of Turkey, referring to the country’s increasingly bitter diplomatic spat with the Netherlands, said the result made no difference: “There is no difference between the social democrats and the fascist Wilders, they are all the same head.” (Guardian, FT, Politico,)

In the news

Spotify closes in on licensing deal The music streaming company is hoping to clear a hurdle in its path towards an initial public offering after months of tough negotiations. Under new proposals, music companies have agreed to trim the royalty fees that Spotify pays for their songs, and in exchange Spotify would restrict the biggest album releases to its paid tier for a period of time — a substantial concession after years of friction with pop stars. (FT)

BP under the microscope Regulators in the US are investigating an Angolan oil deal in which BP and a Texan partner, Cobalt International Energy, agreed to pay $350m to fund a research centre that has yet to materialise. Anti-corruption activists have raised questions about the cost of the research centre. (FT)

Courts block Trump — again Donald Trump lashed out after his second attempt at a travel ban was blocked — by a federal judge in Hawaii — hours before it could take effect. “This ruling makes us look weak, which by the way we no longer are,” he said. “We’re going to fight this terrible ruling,” the president said at a rally in Tennessee, vowing to take the case to the Supreme Court. He’s also a bit upset about this Snoop Dogg video. (FT, NYT)

Anglo American’s new shareholder Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal launched an audacious raid to buy as much as 12 per cent of the London-listed miner. While Mr Agarwal is portraying the investment as a vote of confidence in Anglo’s management and strategy, rather than a prelude to an attempted takeover bid, observers are not convinced. (FT)

Lowering the age bar A proposal by lawmakers in the Philippines to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9 has been met with dismay at home and abroad; the UN recommends that the threshold never be set below 12. Human rights groups say there is no evidence that lowering the age reduces crime. (Economist)

Fed raises rates The US central bank raised short-term interest rates for the third time since the crisis. Here’s what you need to know after the Fed meeting, here’s the March statement annotated and here’s a visual history of the Fed’s hawks and doves. (FT)

It’s a big day for

US-Irish relations Prime Minister Enda Kenny will meet Donald Trump in Washington in an annual tradition. Many expect the Irishman to give Mr Trump a piece of his mind: is the president ready for some Irish straight talk? (Politico)

US economy Donald Trump will unveil his “America First” budget. The White House is expected to propose deep spending cuts for the State Department and a boost in military funding. (FT)

Food for thought

Turkey’s citizen informers After a violent coup last summer and as many as 267 separate terrorist attacks last year, Turkish citizens can be forgiven for feeling threatened. This fear, coupled with an increasingly polarised political climate has spawned a wave of ordinary citizens taking it upon themselves to become informers — sometimes with chilling consequences. (FT)

The EU’s fight to prove the union has staying power Sixty years after the Treaty of Rome, there is still a case for integration even as the UK prepares to leave the union, writes Philip Stephens. (FT)

Barack Obama and the monk When the former US president visited a town in Laos last September, 18-year-old Sengdao Oudomsinh stood outside his temple hoping to catch a glimpse of a man who had profoundly inspired him. A reporter wrote about him and last week, Mr Sengdao received a personal letter from the former president. This is what it said. (WaPo)

Japan’s love of experimental homes The country has the highest number of architects per capita in the world — about five times as many as the UK and more than seven times as many as the US. It needs them. The average lifespan of a Japanese house is only 26 years. And homebuyers are shifting to lower priced single-family houses. (FT, NAR)

Alone in the wilderness for 27 years At the age of 20, Christopher Knight parked his car on a remote trail in Maine and walked away with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to opt out of civilisation and live in complete isolation. It did not turn out quite as he expected. This is his story — told from his jail cell. (Guardian)

Fateful triangle in the Middle East With Moscow shifting to diplomacy on Syria it finds itself stuck between regional adversaries Iran and Israel, both of whom are crucial to finding peace. (Carnegie Middle East Center)

Video of the day

When Fed doves raise rates John Authers reports on sharp market reactions to the Fed’s decision to raise rates at a steadier pace than anticipated. Bond yields and the dollar fell, stocks rallied — and gold enjoyed its best day since the Brexit referendum. (FT)

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