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Marketplace for Monday, March 17, 2014

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The Chinese company Alibaba is squaring up to sell its shares to the public here in the U.S. The IPO is expected to be the biggest since Facebook. But what is Alibaba? It’s a lot more (and a lot more profitable) than just a Chinese Amazon.  Plus: Crimeans have voted overwhelmingly for the territory to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. This is a big political victory for Russia’s leaders but some estimate that Russia will need to spend $10 billion each year for the next 5 years to build infrastructure, pay pensions and benefits to the 2 million residents. And finally: If you get the entire NCAA bracket right, you can win $1 billion from Quicken Loans. But the odds are hugely against you: 1 in 9 quintillion.