Budget night: when Australia’s political class pretends it controls the economy | Tim Lyons

This year’s budget was all about having a go, ‘Tony’s Tradies’ and signalling to the base – oh, and maintaining a useful conceit

“Cut anything into tiny pieces,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca, “and it all becomes a mass of confusion.”

The federal budget is a bit like that. Budgets are reported on and analysed exhaustively, with more commentary than an Ashes series and more statistics than Wisden. But it’s a thing cut into a confusing mass of tiny pieces, an event about naked politics and rubbery numbers.

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Senate decides to vote on Obama’s trade agreements in three separate measures

The compromise includes voting on ‘fast-track’ bill that would give president authority to sign landmark trade deal without congressional approval

The US Senate reached a compromise on Wednesday to advance Barack Obama’s sweeping trade agenda, one day after a failed vote dealt an early blow to the White House’s pursuit of new free trade agreements with Asia and Europe.

Related: Obama’s plans for trade deals with Asia and Europe in tatters after Senate vote

Related: You down with TPP? An explainer on Obama’s ‘secret’ trade pact

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Growing pains: how eurozone economies are faring

The latest figures show a mixed bag for European trading partners as France leads the way in growth and Greece plunges back into recession

Eurozone growth leapt ahead of the UK and US during the first three months of the year after cheap oil, a weak currency and a huge injection of funds by the European Central Bank pushed economic growth to 0.4%.

With only four countries slipping backwards, the 19-member eurozone’s recovery outstripped the 0.3% growth rate recorded by the UK and 0.2% by the US in the same period.

Related: Greece back in recession; Bank of England cuts growth forecast – live updates

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