Uncertainty over the British question, ads blocking and why leftists move to the right

France resists UK settlement on EU

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France was on Friday morning still resisting the UK’s proposed EU deal, on concerns over an opt-out for London on financial regulation. François Hollande said his country was determined “to make sure financial regulation applied everywhere in Europe, without vetoes or impediments”.

After overnight discussions in Brussels at which the UK was seeking reforms ahead of a referendum in June, Donald Tusk, European Council president, said there had been “some progress” but that “a lot still remains to be done”. Here’s what’s at stake. (FT, NYT)

In the news

Ads blocking comes to Europe Three, the mobile operator with 30m subscribers, will spark conflict with the media and marketing industries with plans to stop “irrelevant and excessive mobile ads” that it says irritate customers. (FT)

‘Helicopter money’ on the horizon Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio has argued that central banks’ ability to invigorate economic growth has atrophied and predicts a new era of radical monetary policy possibly involving “helicopter money”. (FT)

Citi chief to get 27% pay rise Chief executive Michael Corbat has become the latest Wall Street executive to get a pay rise after the US bank handed him a package worth as much as $16.5m — 27 per cent more than a year ago. (FT)

Walmart reports worst sales in 35 years The world’s largest retailer said sales had declined last year for the first time since 1980, underlining the stiff challenges it faces competing against Amazon in ecommerce while coping with the impact of the strong dollar. (FT)

The world’s worst airline Air Koryo, North Korea’s national carrier, has long been poorly rated, but adventurous travellers can sample mystery meat burgers, congestion-free departure lounges and endless propaganda broadcasts. (Bloomberg)

It's a big day for

Syria A ceasefire takes effect as the US struggles to rein in allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia from military action. Both are angry at what they see as US failure to take a more muscular stance against Moscow’s campaign to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad. (FT)

US presidential hopefuls Republicans are making their final push in South Carolina, where Donald Trump remains in the lead, while Democrats campaign in Nevada, where Bernie Sanders has narrowed the gap with Hillary Clinton, the day before primary voters in those states go to the polls. Sign up for our daily US politics email here. (FT)

Food for thought

Hedge fund ‘secret sauce’ under threat Financial engineers are unpicking the factors that drive returns for the alternative asset management industry. Now some say they have reverse-engineered many popular high-octane hedge fund strategies, and can replicate them more cheaply. (FT)

Meet the internet’s top hoax buster On the web, a tragedy usually starts with requests for prayers, and often leads to a crowdfunded donation site — but often they turn out to be about as serious as a deposed Nigerian prince. Enter Taryn Wright, who exposed an elaborate fake tragedy on Facebook and soon found herself leading a squad of online detectives — but on the internet, it doesn’t take long for a crowd to become a mob. (The Guardian)

The face recogniser Eliot Porritt works for the police as a specialist who can identify 80 per cent of people from CCTV images or often blurry photographs. He puts it down to watching many films in his youth. (FT)

Let China’s cities grow Officials seek to restrict population growth in the country’s megacities. They should instead ease controls to encourage free movement of labour and capital. (NAR)

Why leftists move to the right In the course of a lifetime, the prevailing political winds are westerly — they blow from left to right, writes George Packer. “The move rightward is thus a sign of the hard wisdom that comes with age and experience — or, perhaps, the callousness and curdled dreams that accompany stability and success. (The New Yorker)

Video of the day

Turkey reacts to terror attack Turkey points to the Kurdistan Workers’ party after Wednesday’s bombing in Ankara. The FT’s Mehul Srivastava in Istanbul explains how the attack and its aftermath mark a change in the war in Syria. (FT)

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