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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 06/16/2018

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 Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, held a summit in Singapore. Mr Kim promised “complete denuclearisation” in exchange for American security guarantees. Mr Trump called it “a very great moment in the history of the world”. Critics noted that North Korea has always broken such promises in the past. South Korea’s ruling party won provincial and municipal elections by a landslide, capturing 14 of 17 governorships. It marked the first time that liberal candidates had ever won in several south-eastern provinces. The popularity of Moon Jae-in, the president, has been buoyed by the recent detente with North Korea. Hundreds of people stormed government offices in Vietnam to protest against a draft law that would let foreigners hold leases of up to 99 years on property. They fear that Chinese…

4 min.
how democracy dies

IS DEMOCRACY in trouble? Nearly 30 years after Francis Fukuyama declared the end of history and the triumph of liberal democracy, this question is no longer outlandish. America, long a beacon of democracy, has a president who tramples on its norms. Xi Jinping is steering authoritarian China towards one-man rule. And across the emerging world, strongmen stride tall. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, having locked up or purged more than 200,000 Turks for political reasons, will probably prevail in elections that start on June 24th and assume sultan-like powers. Nicaragua’s regime is pulling out protesters’ toenails. Vladimir Putin is about to reap a huge propaganda coup from the World Cup. Indices of the health of democracy show alarming deterioration since the financial crisis of 2007-08. One published by The Economist Intelligence…

5 min.
kim jong won

AS A television spectacle, it was irresistible. The star of “The Apprentice” striding commandingly along the red carpet, reaching out his hand, ready to strike the deal of a lifetime. And grasping it, Kim Jong Un, the leader of the world’s most repressive dictatorship, his Mao suit, hairstyle and grievances imported directly from the 1950s, who just nine months before had promised to “tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire”. In the end, fire did not prove necessary: a suspension of weapons-testing and an invitation to a summit was all it took. President Donald Trump said it was an “honour” to meet Mr Kim, who duly promised “complete denuclearisation” in exchange for security guarantees. It was, Mr Trump said at a press conference, “a very great moment in the…

3 min.
green light, amber warning

AT&T has already had one starring role in American antitrust history. Its enforced break-up in 1984, into a group of regional firms and a long-distance carrier, helped unleash competition in the country’s telecoms industry. This week AT&T was centre-stage in another momentous antitrust decision, one that threatens a much worse outcome for consumers. On June 12th Richard Leon, a federal judge, ruled that the firm, which has largely been put back together in recent decades, can acquire Time Warner, an entertainment giant. Assuming no appeal by the Department of Justice (DoJ), which brought the lawsuit against the merger, the deal will create a colossus able to sell HBO, CNN and other TV networks over its own wireless and satellite connections. A frenzy of dealmaking is expected, as other infrastructure firms join…

3 min.
xi, make me chaste

NEVER has China’s bond market had such a stormy spring. It has already set a record for defaults in the second quarter. The cost of credit for firms has shot up. Even the state-owned companies that invest in infrastructure, previously sacrosanct, are seen as risks. What has gone wrong? The answer is nothing at all. Defaults are progress for China, which needs to clear a backlog of accumulated debt. This year’s casualties amount to a mere 0.1% of the bond market. But that is still an improvement on the recent past, when investors assumed that the government would rescue any big firm in trouble. The real worry is not that the defaults will go too far, but that officials will lose their nerve. China needs to deleverage because, over the past decade,…

3 min.
free oleg sentsov

AS YOU settle down to watch the World Cup in Russia, remember Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director serving a 20-year sentence in a prison camp in Siberia. He has committed no crime. Rather, he was jailed for protesting against Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the war Russia’s president unleashed in eastern Ukraine four years ago. On May 14th Mr Sentsov started a hunger strike demanding the release of all 64 Ukrainian political prisoners from Russian jails. The opening of the World Cup on June 14th was Mr Sentsov’s 32nd day without food. He is rapidly acquiring the moral stature once accorded to people like Anatoly Marchenko, a Soviet dissident who was on hunger strike for 117 days and died soon after he ended it in December 1986. World…