April Fools! These aren’t your real candidates. Oh, wait.

For every 2016-themed April Fools meme dominating the internet, there is yet another reminder that this campaign is very much for real. Read more

Within eight days, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has delivered verdicts in two of its most important cases since its foundation 23 years ago. They could not be more different. The decisions risk damaging both the court’s reputation and even the development of international law.

On March 24, one court chamber convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide, for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, and nine other charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Read more

Ted Cruz is famous for having almost zero friends in Washington. But the Texas senator seems happy with that situation and is not about to add Donald Trump to his circle even after the New York property mogul visited the US capital to attempt to build bridges with the Republican Party. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday night, Cruz was asked whether he preferred President Barack Obama or Trump more. Here was his response:

“I dislike Obama’s policies more, but Donald is a unique individual,” Cruz told the comedian. “If I were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw Donald in the backup camera, I’m not confident which pedal I would push.” Read more

It’s the first week since the Iowa Caucus where there has not been a single Republican caucus or primary. And the news cycle has not been kind to Donald Trump.

Just one day after defending his campaign manager against battery charges, Trump has landed himself in fresh controversy after declaring that “there has to be some sort of punishment” for women who have abortions. Read more

The Isis threat to European security
Last week’s attacks in the Belgian capital have raised fresh questions about the extent of Isis operations in Europe and whether security services and law enforcement agencies are capable of containing the threat. Ben Hall discusses the attacks and their ramifications with Peter Spiegel, the FT’s Brussels bureau chief and Sam Jones. defence and security editor.

The Easter Bunny has been unkind to Donald Trump. On Tuesday his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with “battery” after a reporter alleged that the former state trooper had yanked, and bruised, her arm at a campaign event. Trump defiantly dismissed the claims and urged people to watch the video of the incident, which police in Florida police released after charging Lewandowski.

In a campaign that has made House of Cards seem tame, it transpired that one of the lawyers representing Lewandowski resigned as a top prosecutor in Florida in 1996 after being accused of biting a stripper. Speaking to reporters on his plane, Trump said he had urged Lewandowski to fight the charges. Texas senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich, the other Republican contenders, slammed Trump over the case. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

What is the link between the following political scandals? The Petrobras case in Brazil, the 1MDB affair in Malaysia, the unravelling of Fifa, the prosecution of a French minister and a party funding row in Spain. The answer is Swiss bank accounts.

This is the latest edition of LatAm Viva, our weekly newsletter on the continent. To receive it every Friday by email, sign up here.

Most everyone is down on Barack Obama’s foreign policy at the moment. A recent essay on the “Obama Doctrine” in The Atlantic is one reason. The ISIS attacks in Brussels another. But this week, Cuba showed at least one fruit of Obama’s approach. The president was flawless in Havana. Se puso la pelota en China – he hit the ball to China, as the saying goes. Read more

Sign up to receive White House countdown, our daily US politics email, here.

Donald Trump escalated his ugly feud with Ted Cruz over the two Republican candidates’ wives on Thursday, retweeting a composite photo of Melania Trump, a former model, and an unflattering image of Heidi Cruz.

The Texas senator replied by calling Trump a coward: “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.” Speaking on television later, Cruz continued: “It’s not acceptable for a big loud New York bully to attack my wife … It is an action of a small and petty man who is intimated by strong women”. Read more

Sign up to receive White House countdown, our daily US politics email, here.

Jeb Bush emerged from oblivion on Wednesday to hit Donald Trump by endorsing Ted Cruz. The anti-establishment Cruz has now lined up support from three establishment pillars: Bush, Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham – yes, the South Carolina senator who previously said nobody would shed a tear if Cruz were murdered. “I’ve never had an event hosted by someone who three weeks earlier called for my murder,” Cruz joked. Read more

Can Brazil’s Rousseff stave off impeachment?
A political crisis is threatening to cut short the presidency of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. Gideon Rachman is joined by John Paul Rathbone and Samantha Pearson to discuss the Petrobras scandal, the impeachment process and the economic meltdown that have all contributed to the crisis.

Wanted: A global public relations firm to rescue the reputation of a European government accused of breaking its country’s constitution, undermining democracy and scaring away foreign investment.

Poland’s embattled government is turning to western spin doctors for advice on how to win friends and influence people, as the new administration faces mass public protests, nervous foreign investors and criticism from international allies. Read more

While the US election campaign has provided plenty of fodder for the entertainment shows, the horrendous attacks in Belgium have again ​underscored why the policies of the candidates should be scrutinised. But first, we ​would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the families ​and friends ​of the victims of the massacre. Read more

Isis has claimed responsibility for a series of explosions this morning.

The seemingly co-ordinated attacks come only a day after the Belgian government warned that jihadis could respond to the arrest of Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam last week.

Key developments:

  • Two explosions at Zaventem airport, one at Maalbeek metro station.
  • At least 30 reported killed, many more injured.
  • Isis claims responsibility via the A’maq news agency.
  • All flights cancelled until Wednesday.
  • Terror threat raised to highest level, multiple controlled explosions across the city.

You can follow our reporters on the ground via, this Twitter list.  

Sign up to receive White House countdown, our daily US politics email, here.

Another day, another stroll in Trumpistan. Donald Trump started by telling the Washington Post that the US should play a lesser role in Nato – the 28-member military alliance that has formed the bedrock of the transatlantic security relationship since the second world war. He then met a group of Republican lawmakers in an effort to convince the party to back his anti-establishment populist campaign – coming days after he warned about “riots” if the party stole the nomination from him.

Pivoting from politics and geopolitics to geotourism, he held a press conference at the Old Post Office in Washington – a historic building that will soon reopen as Trump International Hotel. The property mogul began with a description of the 300 luxury rooms – everything from bathroom fixtures to the marble – before turning the event into a reverse version of The Apprentice.

 Read more

By Gideon Rachman

The British debate about Brexit, at the moment, reminds me of the discussions I heard in the US, late last year, about Donald Trump. Back then the opinion polls said that Mr Trump was well ahead in the race. But the conventional wisdom in Washington was that he would never win the Republican presidential nomination. Everybody told me that, once voters focused on the race, Mr Trump’s lead would crumble.

Do Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ever think of each other and wonder “That might have been me”?

These are torrid times in both men’s countries – two titans of the emerging market world – as current events make clear. Read more

Sign up to receive White House countdown, our daily US politics email, here.

With Republican elders’ anti-Trump battle shifting into desperation mode, party operatives are debating ways of torpedoing the tycoon’s candidacy at the GOP convention this summer.

One former candidate who has been on the wrong end of the establishment’s machinations is ex-congressman Ron Paul, who on Friday took to the airwaves to predict senior party figures would use any means necessary to block a Trump nomination. Read more

Sign up to receive White House countdown, our daily US politics email, here.

As an Irishman, let me wish everyone Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. A US diplomat once asked if I knew the definition of Irish Alzheimer’s. When I confessed not, he said: “You forget everything except for the grudge.” Read more

Under what circumstances might Russia cut off gas deliveries to Europe for a prolonged period of time, and what might be the consequences? Such a scenario may seem too absurd to contemplate. Russia depends heavily on energy exports to Europe and likes to be known as a reliable supplier. Even in the gas crises of 2006 and 2009, the Russians did not go so far. Why would Moscow do something that, on the face of things, would harm its own interests more than it would advance them? Read more