Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 07/01/2017

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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8 Min.
the world this week

Politics Less than a year after taking power after his predecessor was impeached, Michel Temer, the president of Brazil, was accused by the country’s chief prosecutor of taking bribes. Mr Temer denied the accusation, describing it as a “fiction”. He is the first sitting head of state in Brazil to face criminal charges. A supreme court judge will now rule on whether congress should consider putting Mr Temer on trial. In Venezuela the armed forces were put on high alert after a helicopter dropped grenades on the supreme court, which has been criticised by the opposition for rulings that have kept President Nicolás Maduro in power. The helicopter was reportedly piloted by a dissident member of the special police force. Some in the opposition said it was a government stunt to detract…

5 Min.
a divided country

JULY 4th ought to bring Americans together. It is a day to celebrate how 13 young colonies united against British rule to begin their great experiment in popular government. But this July 4th Americans are riven by mutual incomprehension: between Republicans and Democrats, yes, but also between factory workers and university students, country folk and city-dwellers. And then there is President Donald Trump, not only a symptom of America’s divisions but a cause of them, too. Mr Trump won power partly because he spoke for voters who feel that the system is working against them, as our special report this week sets out. He promised that, by dredging Washington of the elites and lobbyists too stupid or self-serving to act for the whole nation, he would fix America’s politics. His approach is…

3 Min.
hands off al jazeera

IRONY is not dead in the Middle East. In April Saudi Arabia, a land where women may not drive, or leave the country without the written permission of a male “guardian”, or appear in public without an all-enveloping cloak, was elected to the UN’s committee on women’s rights. Now that same monarchy, where the government censors everything from political dissent to risqué Rubens paintings, and where a pro-democracy blogger named Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in jail, is trying to shut down the only big, feisty broadcaster in the Arab world, Al Jazeera. This is an extraordinary, extraterritorial assault on free speech. It is as if China had ordered Britain to abolish the BBC. Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, a tiny, wealthy Gulf state…

4 Min.
what hong kong can teach xi jinping

WHEN Britain handed Hong Kong back to China 20 years ago, many politicians in the West suspended disbelief. Here was a prosperous society, deeply imbued with liberal values, being taken over by a country that, less than a decade earlier, had used tanks and machineguns to crush peaceful protests by citizens calling for democratic reform. If they were worried, the British officials who attended the handover ceremony tried not to show it. China, after all, had promised that Hong Kong’s way of life would remain unchanged for at least 50 years under a remarkable arrangement that it called “one country, two systems”. Even the last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten—an outspoken critic of China’s Communist Party—called that rain-soaked day “a cause for celebration”. This week China’s president, Xi Jinping,…

4 Min.
senior moment

IF ONE goal has animated the reform of finance since the crisis of 2007-08, it has been a desire to spare taxpayers from having to pick up the bill for bank failures. Regulators have introduced stress tests to see how banks stand up to shocks; America’s latest round of tests concluded this week (see page 63). They have forced banks to fund themselves with more equity and to issue layers of debt that are earmarked for losses in the event of severe trouble. They have even asked banks to draw up plans for their own dismemberment in the event of failure. The first real tests of this post-crisis machinery were always going to happen in Europe, which has been damagingly slow to face up to the sorry state of its banks.…

3 Min.
printing things everywhere

MANUFACTURING advances often take time to catch on. Only later does their real significance become apparent. The flying shuttle, invented in 1733 by John Kay, a British weaver, allowed the production of wider pieces of cloth. Because its movement could be mechanised, the shuttle later became one of the innovations which paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. In 1913 Henry Ford brought motoring to the masses by making his Model T on a moving assembly line; but it was Ransom Olds, a decade earlier, who had come up with the idea of an assembly line to boost production of the Olds Curved Dash. Throughout the 1980s factory bosses scratched their heads over Taiichi Ohno’s Toyota Production System and its curious methods, such as the just-in-time delivery of parts. Now…