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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 05/26/2018

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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8 min.
the world this week

Politics The World Health Organisation rushed to respond to an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So far, health workers have done a much better job of containing the virus than they did in west Africa in 2014. The fear, however, is that it may spread to big cities. Voters in Burundi approved a constitutional change that will allow President Pierre “Supreme Eternal Guide” Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, to run for a further two terms when his current one ends in 2020. The vote took place in a climate of fear. Two weeks after America withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran, Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, called for a more sweeping agreement. Mr Pompeo demanded that Iran stop enriching uranium, allow nuclear inspectors “unqualified…

6 min.
the affair

MOST American elites believe that the Trump presidency is hurting their country. Foreign-policy mandarins are terrified that security alliances are being wrecked. Fiscal experts warn that borrowing is spiralling out of control. Scientists deplore the rejection of climate change. And some legal experts warn of a looming constitutional crisis. Amid the tumult there is a striking exception. The people who run companies have made their calculations about the Age of Trump. On balance, they like it. Bosses reckon that the value of tax cuts, deregulation and potential trade concessions from China outweighs the hazy costs of weaker institutions and trade wars. And they are willing to play along with President Donald Trump’s home-brewed economic vision, in which firms are freed from the state and unfair foreign competition, and profits, investment and,…

4 min.
shape up, not break up

WHEN a company goes bankrupt, recriminations tend to follow. Even so, the fury caused by the recent collapse of Carillion, a British contracting firm, is unusual. A report on the debacle by British MPs, which was released this month, savaged everyone from the firm’s executives to its regulators. But the MPs reserved special bile for the Big Four accounting firms—not just KPMG, which audited Carillion’s accounts for 19 years, but also its peers, Deloitte, EY and PwC, each of which extracted fees from the company, before and after its fall. The MPs have called for a review into the audit market and asked it to say whether the Big Four’s British arms should be broken up. The row is local, but concerns about the industry are global. Critics of the auditors…

3 min.
back to blood

IN MARCH 2014 the brave doctors of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sounded an alarm. They were struggling to contain an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, a poor and violent west African state. The Ebola virus causes a terrifying disease: a fever sometimes followed by massive internal and external bleeding. It is contagious, via body fluids, and frequently fatal. Yet no one paid much attention to MSF’s warning, and by June the epidemic had spread to 60 places in three countries. It was not until August that year that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an international health emergency. The delay allowed Ebola to rage out of control, killing 11,000 people in six countries and leaving 17,000 children without one or both of their parents. Only after the epidemic had peaked…

3 min.
faulty front-runners

THE last time Colombia elected a president, in 2014, the country was at war. Its army was fighting the FARC, a Marxist guerrilla group dedicated to overthrowing the state and to making money from drug-trafficking and other crimes. In 50 years 220,000 people died and 7m were displaced. This year’s presidential election, the first round of which is scheduled for May 27th, is the first since the war’s end. President Juan Manuel Santos negotiated a peace deal with the FARC in 2016 and won the Nobel peace prize for it but cannot run again. Candidates in this year’s vote are rejecting his legacy. The front-runner is Iván Duque (pictured left), an ally of a conservative former president, Álvaro Uribe, who was the peace accord’s most ferocious critic (see Americas section). His…

3 min.
cinema, not vérité

“DEAR people of Belgium. This is a huge deal. As you know, I had the balls to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and so should you.” It sounds like Donald Trump—a bit, anyway. It is definitely a picture of Donald Trump. But the person in the video, produced by sp.a, a left-wing Belgian political party, is not quite the American president. It is a computer-tweaked facsimile, into whose mouth has been put a not-entirely serious homily about Belgium’s carbon emissions. Faked images are not new. Stalin airbrushed his enemies out of history by having them removed from official photographs. Visual-effects studios in Hollywood transpose actors’ faces onto the bodies of fitter, more disposable stunt doubles. But tinkering with video is hard. Doing it well requires specialists who are scarce and…