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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 10/28/2017

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.

Land:
United Kingdom
Sprache:
English
Verlag:
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Europe
Erscheinungsweise:
Weekly
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8 Min.
the world this week

Politics Shinzo Abe’s gamble in calling an early general election in Japan paid off, as his ruling Liberal Democratic Party won 281 of the 465 contested seats in the lower house of parliament. Along with seats won by the LDP’s coalition partner, Mr Abe has control of two-thirds of the house, meaning he can pass legislation without approval from the upper house. The prime minister will press to change Japan’s pacifist constitution, a huge step that will allow it to take part more easily in peacekeeping operations, but will also rattle China and South Korea. China’s ruling Communist Party revised its constitution to include the thinking of Xi Jinping. Mr Xi is the first ruler to be named in the document since Deng Xiaoping, and the first since Mao Zedong to be…

5 Min.
a tsar is born

SEVENTEEN years after Vladimir Putin first became president, his grip on Russia is stronger than ever. The West, which still sees Russia in post-Soviet terms, sometimes ranks him as his country’s most powerful leader since Stalin. Russians are increasingly looking to an earlier period of history. Both liberal reformers and conservative traditionalists in Moscow are talking about Mr Putin as a 21st-century tsar. Mr Putin has earned that title by lifting his country out of what many Russians see as the chaos in the 1990s and by making it count again in the world. Yet as the centenary of the October revolution draws near, the uncomfortable thought has surfaced that Mr Putin shares the tsars’ weaknesses, too. Although Mr Putin worries about the “colour” revolutions that swept through the former Soviet Union,…

3 Min.
democracy deferred

DEMOCRATS across Africa cheered on September 1st when Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled the presidential election that had taken place a few weeks earlier. The court held that the electoral commission had botched the count and that the poll should be held again. No rigging had been proved after the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, won by a handy margin over the main opposition leader, Raila Odinga. But the court argued rightly that elections are not just about numbers. “You only get points for the answers if you show your working,” said Philomena Mwilu, the deputy chief justice. It was a landmark in a region where judges are often cowed. Rather than using the judgment to strengthen democracy in a country that descended into ethnic bloodshed after a disputed election in 2007, the government…

4 Min.
abe’s next act

RARELY has such an unpopular leader won a free and fair election so lopsidedly. Only about one-third of Japanese people approve of Shinzo Abe, their prime minister; a whopping 51% disapprove. Yet on October 22nd his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner kept its two-thirds majority in the lower house (see page 48). Mr Abe’s decision to call a snap election, unlike that of Theresa May, his British counterpart, paid off handsomely. One reason is that the opposition imploded. A much-hyped new force, the Party of Hope, led by Tokyo’s charismatic governor, botched its campaign and ended up with barely enough seats to fill a ramen restaurant. A left-wing splinter group, the Constitutional Democratic Party, emerged as the main opposition force with only 55 out of 465 seats. Mr Abe…

3 Min.
there be giants

SHOPPERS will spend record sums online in the next few weeks—in China for Singles Day on November 11th, in America on Black Friday and around the world in the run-up to Christmas. E-commerce has been growing by 20% a year for a decade, shaking up industries from logistics to consumer goods. Nowhere does debate rage more fiercely about what this means than in America, where thousands of stores have shut this year and where retailing accounts for one in nine jobs. Astonishingly, online shopping has only just got started. Last year it amounted to a mere 8.5% of the world’s retail spending. In America the share was about 10%. Its effects on business and society will be huge. Not just because retailing is a big employer that touches many industries, but…

3 Min.
grant me tighter policy...but not yet

THESE are extraordinary times for the Bank of England. Never before in the Old Lady’s 323-year history has monetary policy been so loose for so long. During the financial crisis in 2008-09 Britain’s base rate of interest was cut to 0.5%. After the Brexit referendum of 2016 the bank cut by a further 0.25 percentage points, in anticipation of the slowdown that most economists believed was to follow. The bank has bought more than £400bn ($525bn) of government bonds under its programme of quantitative easing. At various points in recent years members of the bank’s monetary-policy committee (MPC) have hinted that rate rises were on the cards. But never have they followed through. Until now. Inflation recently hit 3%, above the bank’s 2% target. In the third quarter of 2017 GDPgrew…