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The EconomistThe Economist

The Economist April 27, 2019

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Economist Newspaper Limited
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51 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time8 min.
the world this week

Politics Jihadists in Sri Lanka suicide-bombed three churches and three hotels on Easter Sunday, killing more than 350 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility. The Sri Lankan authorities blamed a little-known local group, which they say may have had external help. The government received several detailed warnings, but does not seem to have acted on them. The president asked his chief of staff and the head of the police to resign. It emerged that the president had been excluding the prime minister and his allies from national security meetings. Joko Widodo won re-election as president of Indonesia, beating Prabowo Subianto, a former general who also ran against him in 2014. Now as then, Mr Prabowo has refused to concede defeat, saying the election was rigged. Kazakhstan’s ruling party named the acting president, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev,…

access_time5 min.
south africa’s best bet

SINCE THE days of Nelson Mandela, one of the most effective slogans of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, has been “a better life for all”. The contrast with the old apartheid regime, which promised a good life only for whites, has never needed spelling out. As the party that helped liberate black South Africans from votelessness and segregation, the ANC has ruled uninterrupted since apartheid ended in 1994, always winning national elections by wide margins. The trouble is, when one party has nearly all the power, the kind of people who seek power in order to abuse it and grow rich flock to join that party. Corruption, always a problem, became so widespread under Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s atrocious president from 2009 to 2018, that a…

access_time3 min.
the right call on huawei

ON APRIL 24TH the news broke that Britain’s government had decided to permit parts of the country’s 5G mobile networks to be built by Huawei, a Chinese firm. Many Americans and other friends of Britain will be appalled by its decision and fear that the country is being naive and toadying up to China. Huawei has, after all, become one of the most controversial firms in the world and sits at the centre of a geopolitical storm. America worries that the telecoms equipment-maker is a Trojan horse for China’s spies and autocrats and poses a grave threat to Western interests. It has been urging its allies to ban it. Britain’s decision matters: it is a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance led by America, and was one of the first…

access_time4 min.
after mueller, what next?

AMERICAN VOTERS waited almost two years for the Mueller report. Most of its findings turned out to have already been published over the previous 13 months by investigative reporters and in indictments issued by Robert Mueller’s office. But that makes it no less extraordinary. While the special counsel found no evidence to sustain a conspiracy charge, he described a campaign eager to co-operate with a foreign adversary and a president who may have obstructed justice. This leaves America’s system of checks and balances in an uncomfortable position. What the report lacks in novelty it makes up for in thoroughness, adding detail and credibility to accounts about the behaviour of the Trump campaign and administration that might otherwise have been dismissed as thinly sourced or ideologically motivated (see United States section). It…

access_time3 min.
easter evil

A FEW MONTHS ago National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), an Islamist group from Sri Lanka, was known for little more than defacing statues of the Buddha. On April 21st nine of its members walked into churches and luxury hotels on the island and blew themselves up, killing more than 350 people. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the deadliest set of terrorist attacks in Asia in modern times (see Asia section). How could this happen? Start with Sri Lanka’s bungling. The world has learned a great deal about how to thwart terrorists since September 11th 2001. A crucial lesson is that it is vital to share information quickly and widely, so that fragmentary intelligence can be pieced together and followed up. This is precisely what Sri Lanka’s government failed to do, despite…

access_time3 min.
spoiling the mood

THE SENSE of pessimism that hung over the world economy early this year has begun to lift in recent weeks. Trade flows are picking up in Asia, America’s retail sales have been strong, and even Europe’s beleaguered manufacturing industry has shown flickers of life. But it would not take much bad news to reinstate the gloom. One threat is that oil prices continue their upward march—on April 23rd the price of a barrel of Brent crude exceeded $74, the highest level for nearly six months. Though the dynamics of the oil market have changed over the past decade, dearer oil still acts as a drag on global growth. The latest jump in oil prices has resulted from anticipation of a shock to supply, rather than surging demand (see Finance section). On…

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