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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 08/25/2018

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 Two of Donald Trump’s closest former advisers were convicted in separate court cases on a raft of charges. Michael Cohen, the president’s erstwhile personal lawyer, struck a plea-bargain deal with federal prosecutors and admitted that he had paid off two women claiming to have had affairs with Mr Trump. Damningly, he said he did this “in co-ordination and at the direction of” Mr Trump (who was not named directly in the case). Paul Manafort, Mr Trump’s campaign manager until August 2016, was found guilty of tax fraud. He also faces trial on charges relating to his work for pro-Russian Ukrainians. Duncan Hunter, a Republican congressman from California, was charged with misusing campaign funds for personal use. He is the second Republican to face criminal charges this month: Chris Collins, who represents…

5 min.
is he above the law?

IT WAS the kind of moment that would crown the career of a reality-TV producer. While the president of the United States was on his way to a campaign rally, his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was found guilty of eight counts of tax and bank fraud; and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, fraud and breaking campaign-finance laws. Cable-news channels needed so many split screens to cover what was going on that they began to resemble a Rubik’s cube. Amid the frenzy, however, something important changed this week. For the first time, President Donald Trump faces a formal accusation that he personally broke the law to further his candidacy. Mr Manafort’s conviction did not surprise anyone who had followed his trial, or his…

3 min.
maduro’s magic money tree

NICOLÁS MADURO calls it “a really impressive magic formula”. His paquetazo rojo (big red package) features a new currency that lops five zeroes off the nearly worthless bolívar, a sharp increase in the price of fuel and a rise in the minimum wage of more than 3,000%. Forget magic. The president’s formula, even with some welcome new bits of realism, will almost certainly fail to rescue Venezuelans from their economic agony. Venezuela has the world’s worst-performing economy among countries not at war. GDP fell by more than a third between 2013 and 2017. Inflation could pass a million per cent this year, says the IMF. The country with the world’s largest oil reserves cannot import enough food and medicine. Water shortages and blackouts plague cities. More than 2m Venezuelans have fled, unsettling…

3 min.
rebirth of the cool

WHAT is the single most effective way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions? Go vegetarian? Replant the Amazon? Cycle to work? None of the above. The answer is: make air-conditioners radically better. On one calculation, replacing refrigerants that damage the atmosphere would reduce total greenhouse gases by the equivalent of 90bn tonnes of CO2 by 2050. Making the units more energy-efficient could double that. By contrast, if half the world’s population were to give up meat, it would save 66bn tonnes of CO2. Replanting two-thirds of degraded tropical forests would save 61bn tonnes. A one-third increase in global bicycle journeys would save just 2.3bn tonnes. Air-conditioning is one of the world’s great overlooked industries. Automobiles and air-conditioners were invented at roughly the same time, and both have had a huge impact on where…

3 min.
rules of the road

THE rise of ride-hailing firms like Uber and Lyft has been a boon for passengers. But it hasn’t been good for everyone. Licensed cabbies lament the extra competition. Drivers for the new services complain about inadequate benefits. The latest preoccupation is the impact of ride-hailing on congestion. Between 2013 and 2016, the number of such vehicles in London rose by 66%; rush-hour traffic in the city centre slowed by 20%. Manhattan has seen something similar. Governments are right to worry about ride-hailing’s impact on traffic congestion. INRIX, a traffic-information firm, estimates that between fuel bills, time wasted sitting around in traffic and increased shipping costs, congestion cost New York City and London a combined $46bn last year. But the response of lawmakers is wrong-headed. On August 8th New York’s city council…

4 min.
a way forward on immigration

THE fear of immigration is poisoning Western politics. Donald Trump owes his job to it. Brexit would not be happening without it. Strident nationalists wield power in Italy, Hungary, Poland and Austria, and have gained influence elsewhere. Even Sweden, long a country of refuge, has soured on migrants. The Sweden Democrats, a thunderingly anti-immigrant party, could win the most votes at an election on September 9th (see Europe section). Though it will not form a government, it has already transformed Swedish politics as mainstream parties seek to halt migrants. The West risks a backlash of the sort that ended the previous great age of mobility, before 1914. That would be a tragedy. Societies that close their doors to migrants will be poorer and less tolerant. Meanwhile, those to whom the doors are…