Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 01/06/2018

The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

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The Economist Newspaper Limited - Europe
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4 Min.
the world this week

Protesters took to the streets in more than 70 towns and cities in Iran, some complaining about the economy, others wishing death on the president, Hassan Rouhani, and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The clerical regime organised counter-demonstrations that attracted tens of thousands. At least 20 people have been killed, and many more arrested. Ethiopia announced that it would release hundreds of political prisoners and close a detention centre where people were allegedly tortured. Amnesty International said this “could signal the end of an era of bloody repression”. North Korea said it might send a team to the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The two countries re-opened a defunct hotline. Kim Jong Un boasted that he had a nuclear button on his desk and could strike anywhere in America. Donald Trump…

4 Min.
the next frontier

TECHNOLOGIES are often billed as transformative. For William Kochevar, the term is justified. Mr Kochevar is paralysed below the shoulders after a cycling accident, yet has managed to feed himself by his own hand. This remarkable feat is partly thanks to electrodes, implanted in his right arm, which stimulate muscles. But the real magic lies higher up. Mr Kochevar can control his arm using the power of thought. His intention to move is reflected in neural activity in his motor cortex; these signals are detected by implants in his brain and processed into commands to activate the electrodes in his arms. An ability to decode thought in this way may sound like science fiction. But brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) like the BrainGate system used by Mr Kochevar provide evidence that mind-control can…

3 Min.
the pardoner’s tale

ON THE evening of December 24th, as Peru was preparing for its Christmas dinner, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the country’s president, bestowed an unexpected present on a jailed predecessor, Alberto Fujimori: a pardon. This came just three days after Mr Kuczynski hung on to his job thanks to ten fujimorista legislators led by Alberto’s son, Kenji, who abstained in a vote on an attempt to impeach him for links to Odebrecht, a tainted Brazilian construction firm. Mr Kuczynski insisted that the pardon was for “humanitarian reasons”. Few Peruvians believe him. More likely, it was a grubby political deal that bodes ill for his country (see page 32). Many of his allies feel as conned by this pardon as people who bought fake relics from Chaucer’s pardoner in “The Canterbury Tales”. More than…

4 Min.
berating the tyrants of tehran

BIG things often have small beginnings. In the case of the protests engulfing Iran, it was a steep rise in the price of eggs. That was why hundreds of people first took to the streets in Mashhad, Iran’s second city, on December 28th. They demanded the resignation of Hassan Rouhani, the reformist president, for failing to bring prosperity to most Iranians. The protests quickly spread to more than 70 towns and cities, attracting a broader swathe of malcontents, mostly young (see page 22). Over 20 people have been killed; hundreds more have been arrested. The authorities have shut down messaging apps and social-media websites. They have blamed foreigners, absurdly, for the unrest and they are threatening a violent clampdown. Protesters are now calling not only for Mr Rouhani to go, but…

3 Min.
pupil power

WHEN Pakistan’s schools attract global attention, it is often as a backdrop to violence. In October 2012 a masked gunman from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan boarded a school bus and shot Malala Yousafzai in the head, neck and shoulder. Two years later, and six days after Ms Yousafzai received the Nobel peace prize, terrorists from the same umbrella group killed 141 people, nearly all pupils, at an army-run school in Peshawar, one of the deadliest attacks on a school in any country. According to the Global Terrorism Database kept by the University of Maryland, 867 educational institutions were attacked by Islamists between 2007 and 2015, often because these places had the temerity to teach science—or worse, educate girls. Such attacks have added to problems that schools in Pakistan, the world’s sixth-most-populous country,…

3 Min.
in praise of state-ism

CALIFORNIA’S new laws liberalising cannabis are a good idea, but some of their provisions read like a parody of 21st-century liberalism. To right an injustice—that brown people were more likely than white ones to be charged when the police found marijuana on them—Los Angeles plans to help those with marijuana convictions set up pot shops. This experiment may turn out to be a foolish mistake (see page 31). But that, in a way, is the point. Congress finds it notoriously hard to pass meaningful laws and finds it almost as hard to undo legislation that has been on the books for a long time. Statehouses, governors and mayors are more nimble. Sure enough, the Golden State is greeting 2018 with a host of innovations. Firms with at least 20 employees will…