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One day after the worst mass shooting in modern US history, American officials both on and off the campaign trail are still struggling to find reason in the event’s aftermath.

On Monday, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gave speeches about Sunday’s attack at an Orlando gay club that left 49 people dead and more than 50 people injured – but with very different messages. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Donald Trump’s reaction to the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando was revealing. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamist terrorism”, tweeted the Republican party candidate for the US presidency.

Over the years, I’ve followed stories of English football hooliganism around the world with a certain grim fascination. Last night, unfortunately, I got to witness it first hand – at the England-Russia game at Euro 2016 in Marseilles.

During the day it is not hard to avoid the trouble. Just avoid city-centre bars full of singing, chanting drunkards. Nearer the ground things got nastier. Read more

As Elizabeth Warren, the progressive Democratic senator, dropped in for a chat with Hillary Clinton at the latter’s colonial brick residence on Whitehaven Street in Washington DC on Friday, it was easy to forget how rapidly the political mood has shifted in the capital this week.

Last weekend, Clinton was contemplating the possibility of an embarrassing defeat by Bernie Sanders in California, one of the Democrats’ stronghold states, and the socialist senator from Vermont was growling menacingly about a “contested convention” in Philadelphia this summer. Read more

Croatia: culturally and geographically, central European.

Even before the 1991-95 war of independence which liberated them from the old Yugoslavia, the people of Croatia bristled if outsiders labelled their country part of the Balkans.

These days they are no less insistent that Croatia is, culturally and geographically, central European. The broader implication behind this otherwise not unreasonable claim is that civilisation in Mitteleuropa is more advanced than in the benighted backwaters of the Balkans.

However, with the rise of “illiberal democracy” in nearby countries such as Hungary, Poland and to a lesser extent Slovakia, and after Austria almost elected a far-right politician as its president, one might ask if Croatia would be well-advised to play down its central European credentials. Or are there, in fact, signs that illiberal democracy is spreading into Croatia? Read more

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The party host has confirmed it was a great night, thanked everyone for coming, and wished you all a safe journey home. But one guest is still clinging to the drinks table and opening himself a new bottle of beer. That guy is Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday the Vermont senator took his refusal to officially admit that the good times were over to a poignant new venue: the White House. Read more

Apart from the likely economic damage, a British vote to leave the EU in the June 23 “Brexit” referendum would throw up troublesome political and constitutional questions. A period of profound uncertainty could be in store for Britain and, by extension, the EU as a whole.

Let us imagine that the Leave camp wins the referendum. David Cameron would surely resign as prime minister and give up the leadership of the Conservative party. Whoever his successor in both posts might be, it is obvious that he or she would have to honour the electorate’s verdict and start preparing legislation to extract Britain from the EU.

But what would be the substance of this legislation? The Leave camp is a mixed bag of anti-EU campaigners. It is not united behind a specific plan for redefining Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU. Read more

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Last night, eight years after her failed 2008 presidential bid, Hillary Clinton declared herself this year’s Democratic presidential nominee and the first woman to claim her party’s nomination.

On Wednesday, she did something almost as momentous: she took the day off. Read more

Tensions rise in the South China Sea
China and the US clashed over the South China Sea at a defence forum last weekend, amid island-building by Beijing and increased naval and air patrols by the US. Gideon Rachman discusses the escalating tensions with Geoff Dyer, the FT’s Washington correspondent and former Beijing bureau chief, and James Crabtree, contributing editor.

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If Hillary Clinton were able to handpick an evening to claim the Democratic nomination, she could hardly have picked a better moment than tonight.

With polls soon to close in New Jersey, California, Montana, New Mexico and the Dakotas, Clinton is at long last in spitting distance of the Democratic nomination, an achievement that will make her the first woman in US history to secure her party’s nomination. Read more

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Another day, another Donald Trump scandal.

While winning the Republican primary was meant to herald the beginning of an easier campaigning period for the New York billionaire, today Trump is facing almost as many daily controversies as he was in February. As usual, his biggest obstacle tends to be himself.

For days now, Trump has been trying to defend comments he made last week about the judge presiding over a case against Trump University, a now defunct educational group which purported to teach students how to invest in real estate like Trump. (Gina Chon and I wrote about the history of Trump University and its potential legal ramifications for Trump back in January.) Read more

By Gideon Rachman

In the referendum campaign on Britain’s membership of the EU, each side has one trump card that they will play repeatedly until voting day on June 23. The Remain camp will talk about the economy. The Leavers will talk about immigration. Read more

The three remaining candidates in the race – Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders – are all out in California today – and for good reason.

New polls show that Clinton and Sanders are locked in a tightening Democratic primary there, while Trump has declared plans to put California in play come November. (The deeply blue state has voted Democratic in every presidential election since George H W Bush ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988.) Read more

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Okay, Hillary, you’re giving it a shot.

In yesterday’s newsletter I said Hillary Clinton had not found an effective line of attack on Donald Trump. Today she was a different person, throwing everything at him in her first all-out assault on the Republican presidential nominee.

We’ll still have to see whether the mud sticks, but it was fierce stuff as she assailed him for being “temperamentally unfit” and pushing a “dangerously incoherent” foreign policy, as Demetri Sevastopulo reportsRead more

Europe’s central bankers are gathering in Vienna to deliver their latest monetary policy decisions and unveil the ECB’s new set of quarterly economic forecasts. Last month, ECB president Mario Draghi used the post-meeting press conference for some verbal sparring with some of his fiercest German critics.

Key things to watch

  • Respite for Greece – will the ECB reward Greece by resuming lending operations to its banks?

  • Rosier economic forecasts – analysts expect higher inflation forecasts on the back of the rising oil.

  • A more hawkish Mario Draghi? Investors will be focused on the president’s press conference tone.

 

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With Hillary Clinton casting around for an effective attack line on Teflon Donald Trump, Barack Obama had another shot at the task for her on Wednesday.

The president went for the “false consciousness” approach, telling the middle-class they were deluding themselves if they thought Trump’s economic policies would help them rather than the mega-rich. Read more

Is Venezuela becoming a failed state?
Life in Venezuela is becoming increasingly difficult, with soaring crime, widespread food shortages, rampant corruption and a political stalemate that thwarts all attempts at change. Gideon Rachman discusses whether the country is becoming a failed state with the FT’s Latin America editor John Paul Rathbone and Andes correspondent, Andres Schipani.

Politicians all over the world are struggling to cope with the new world of social media. Donald Trump has proved particularly adept at abusing his opponents on Twitter. But there are also gentler ways of attracting attention. One increasingly popular stratagem for politicians is to post photos of their cats – which are far more likely to attract likes and retweets than any number of dull policy documents.

Two prominent cat-lovers who have risen to power over the last year are the new president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party. Both leaders are single, but are noted for their devotion to their cats. President Tsai has kept a low profile about her relationships with humans – but has posted frequent updates and videos about her cats. Her aides admit that these are considerably more popular than her policy pronouncements. A recent FT profile of Kaczynski noted that he “prefers to spend his evenings at home with his cat”. Photos of the Polish leader with his ginger moggy have tended to soften his rather authoritarian image. Read more

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Among all of Donald Trump’s punching bags, few top the media, at once Trump’s sworn foe and his greatest ally.

Today, the emphasis was on foe, as Trump faced off against his press corps at Trump Tower in a news conference that was ostensibly about the media’s coverage of a Trump fundraiser for veterans in January, yet ended up being more about Trump’s relationship with the media. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Politics in the west are so dramatic at the moment that China can look relatively staid and stable by comparison. But that impression is deceptive. Xi Jinping is taking his country in radical and risky new directions.