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Fresh off the New York primary, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are engaging in a war of words… over restrooms.

On Thursday morning Trump was asked on the “Today” show about a recent bill signed by North Carolina’s governor which restricts transgender people to using public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. Read more

Russia’s new nationalism
What are the origins of Eurasianism in Russia and how has it come to occupy a central place in Kremlin thinking today? Charles Clover, FT China correspondent and former Moscow bureau chief discusses his new book, Black Wind, White Snow: The Rise of Russia’s New Nationalism with Gideon Rachman.

The European Central Bank has kept rates and policy on hold in April after delivering a raft of cuts last month.

The key focus of president Mario Draghi’s press conference – which begins at 13.30 London time – will be the fraught relationship between the central bank and the eurozone’s largest economy. Germany politicians have been lining up to criticise the ECB’s easing policy, which have hurt German savers and smaller German banks that rely on interest income.

Key developments

  • Headline deposit rate held at -0.40%
  • More information on the corporate bond buying process will be released after the press conference
  • Statement from the council says that the focus is “is now on the implementation of the additional non-standard measures”
  • ECB has started to expand monthly purchases under the asset purchase programme to €80bn
  • The ECB will buy bonds from all non-banks with above an unspecified credit rating, including maturities up to 30 years.

By Emily Cadman and Chris Giles

 

Albania: A role model for Britain?

For several weeks, the “Leave” campaign seemed to be having the better of Britain’s debate on whether to stay in the EU. But the last few days have been much better for Remain. The arrival of President Obama on Thursday – who is expected to endorse British membership of the EU – will boost the pro-Europeans. The UK Treasury has just released a heavyweight report on the negative economic consequences of Brexit, which the Leave side has had difficulty refuting.

But, perhaps most important development of all has been a dangerous gaffe by Michael Gove, the pro-Brexit Justice Secretary – who, in a speech on Tuesday, appeared to suggest that Albania would be a suitable model for post-Brexit Britain. Read more

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The biggest political news of the day comes not from the campaign trail but from the US Treasury. After fierce debate in Washington, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced that Alexander Hamilton’s face will remain on the $10 bill, appeasing fans of the award-winning Broadway hip-hop musical Hamilton, while the abolitionist Harriet Tubman will grace the face of the $20. Read more

Campaign posters in Vienna for Freedom party presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer

Slowly but surely, the political tides are turning in favour of Austria’s rightwing populist Freedom party. Thanks to the impact of Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis, and thanks to declining public confidence in the two mainstream parties that have dominated Austrian politics since the second world war, the Freedom party is top of the opinion polls, consistently attracting more than 30 per cent of public support.

Now the Freedom party, unashamedly playing its anti-immigrant, anti-Islam cards, wants to upset the apple cart in Austria’s presidential election, to be held on Sunday. The top two candidates will go through to a second round on May 22. According to the latest polls, these will be Alexander Van der Bellen of the Greens and either Irmgard Griss, an independent, or Norbert Hofer of the Freedom party. Read more

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As the race for the White House candidates reaches a critical stage in the state of New York, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held onto their frontrunner status for their respective parties. This blog curates the results and reaction, with despatches from our DC bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo at the Trump party held – where else – at Trump Tower, while the Clinton party took place five blocks away at the Sheraton in Times Square. 

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Umpteen New York pizza slices, hot dogs and “Victory” ice cream sundaes later, the five remaining presidential candidates are bidding adieu to the Big Apple. And some are more anxious to leave town than others.

While polls don’t close in New York until 9pm today, three of the candidates — Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and John Kasich – had all fled town by midday, a telltale sign for how they expect tonight to play out. Read more

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Donald Trump is hoping for a big victory in the Republican primary in New York tomorrow to erase the painful memories of the past few weeks, which have included losses to Ted Cruz in Utah and Wisconsin. The Texan has also vacuumed up, and locked in, delegates in states in ways that will help him if the GOP presidential battle ends up in a contested convention. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

The way the press treats political leaders marks a crucial dividing line between free and authoritarian countries. In an authoritarian state, presidents and prime ministers demand and receive reverential treatment. In democratic countries, political leaders know that they will be subject to satire — and vicious and sometimes unfair criticism.

After a rough and tumble debate with Hillary Clinton on Thursday night in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders flew overnight to Rome for a conference on inequality where he was scheduled to meet Pope Francis. Unfortunately for Sanders, whose trip cost him two days of valuable campaigning time in New York: the pontiff had to cancel the meeting to travel to Greece.

Instead of a photo-op with one of the strongest voices for tackling inequality, Sanders ended up sitting beside Evo Morales, the leftist president of Bolivia, whose appearance in the same shot probably does not help Sanders an awful lot with American voters. Read more

Written by Samantha Pearson

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has not had a particularly easy life. As a Marxist guerrilla, she was captured, tortured and spent three years in jail. She’s gone through two divorces and was struck down by lymphoma in 2009. As president, she’s received death threats and was regularly humiliated during the World Cup when thousands of fans swore at her in unison in front of the world’s media. But even by Rousseff’s standards, this has been a week from hell. Read more

Donald Trump has had a tough few weeks. He was hammered in Utah and Wisconsin and failed to win any delegates in Colorado which has a complicated multi-tiered electoral process that the tycoon says shows that the system is “rigged” against outsiders like him. But he is heading into the New York primary on Tuesday with a commanding lead of more than 30 points over John Kasich and roughly 35 points over his main rival, Ted Cruz. Trump also learned today that Florida prosecutors have decided not to prosecute his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who had beencharged with “battery” for allegedly manhandling a female reporter at a rally.

Cruz appeared with his wife Heidi, a Goldman Sachs banker, and their two young daughters at a CNN town-hall debate last night. The presence of the children helped humanise Cruz who is sometimes compared to a vampire and has almost no friends in Washington. This is just one of the jokes about Cruz in the US capitol: “Why do people take an instant dislike to Ted Cruz? Because it saves time!” Read more

Welcome to the Scottish edition of #Trumpistan. Donald Trump is busy wooing the people of Scotland. The tycoon, whose mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, this week penned his inaugural column for The Press and Journal, a newspaper in Aberdeen, near where he built a controversial golf course.

“When I just arrived on the scene in Aberdeen, the people of Scotland were testing me to see just how serious I was – just like the citizens of the United States have done about my race for the White House,” writes Trump, before continuing with, “I had to win them over … Well, Scotland has already been won – and so will the United States.” Read more

Ukraine in turmoil
How bleak is the outlook for Ukraine? The Prime Minister has resigned, the President is implicated in the Panama papers and the Dutch have rejected an EU-Ukraine trade deal. Gideon Rachman puts the question to the FT Ukraine correspondent Roman Olearchyk and the FT’s Eastern Europe Editor, Neil Buckley.

Frauke Petry, AfD leader, suggested that it ought to be acceptable for police to shoot refugees to stop them entering Germany.

A new chapter was written this week in the long and often tortured relationship of Britain’s ruling Conservative party with the European Parliament. This chapter comes with a twist. For once, something positive and sensible happened, though admittedly on a fairly small scale.

On Tuesday, British Conservative members of the assembly severed formal ties with Germany’s rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland party. The two parties had been part of the same parliamentary group, the European Conservatives and Reformists, since the May 2014 elections to the EU legislature.

If you are in an unforgiving mood, you may think that the Conservatives in Strasbourg should have had nothing to do with AfD from the start. This was certainly the view of the Conservative party leadership in London. Prime Minister David Cameron and his advisers were well aware that Angela Merkel, the centre-right German chancellor, would take a dim view of Conservative flirting with AfD. Read more

Paul Ryan, the popular House Speaker, poured cold water on the idea that he would rescue his party from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the main rivals for the Republican nomination, at July’s convention in Cleveland. Trying to end speculation about his ambitions, he said he would not accept the nomination should the Republican race end up being decided by a contested convention in July.

“Let me be clear. I do not want, nor will I accept the nomination for our party,” the 46-year old Wisconsin congressman declared following a trip to the Middle East where he was repeatedly quizzed about the 2016 race. Read more

Donald Trump has a big poll lead in New York ahead of the April 19 primaries in the Empire State. But the mogul revealed on Monday that he has already lost the votes of two key supporters: his children Ivanka and Eric. The pair were not registered as Republicans and failed to meet the registration deadline. “They had a long time to register, and they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn’t register in time,” Trump told Fox News. “So they feel very, very guilty.” Watch the interview in which he also poured cold water on suggestions that he would pick Ivanka as his VP.

Trump lashed out at the GOP electoral process after Ted Cruz won most of the delegates in Colorado over the weekend. The Texas senator notched up 34 delegates in the state where voters are excluded from a process in which party members pick the representatives that will head to the Republican convention in Cleveland. “That is not the way that democracy is supposed to work,” Trump railed. “The system is rigged. It is crooked.” Read more

By Gideon Rachman

It is the morning of June 24th. Britain has just voted narrowly to leave the EU. Jubilant pro-Brexit campaigners wave Union Jacks in Trafalgar Square. Read more

We know that Pope Francis was unimpressed with Donald Trump after the pontiff accused the mogul of not being Christian because of his stance on immigration and wanting to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. But is the Pontiff leaning towards Bernie Sanders? The Vermont senator announced with pride on Friday that the Vatican has invited him to speak at a conference about social and economic issues – one of his signature subjects. But it turned out the invitation did not come from Pope Francis himself, so we might have to hold our breath a little longer. The Vatican story was a nice break for Sanders who has spent much of this week trying to explain why he was unable to explain one of his main goals – to break up the banks. Here is our story on what Sanders wants to do.

The Democrats and Republicans are focusing on New York, which holds its primary on April 19. Trump is back in force on Twitter after recovering from his disappointing loss to Ted Cruz in Wisconsin. He reminded people on Friday that running for president is not the only thing he does every day. “So great to be in New York. Catching up on many things (remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign) and loving it!” Read more