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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 09/22/2018

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 Russia and Turkey agreed to patrol a buffer zone around the province of Idlib, the Syrian rebels’ last bastion, where 2m-3m civilians fear they may be caught up in a final onslaught by the regime’s forces. The zone is supposed to be demilitarised by October 10th. No one knows if the deal will be upheld. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, approved the release of more than 2,000 prisoners, including Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, a prominent opposition leader who had been sentenced to eight years in jail in 2012, a term later increased to 15 years. Liberia’s government has banned 15 people, including a son of the previous president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from leaving the country while it investigates the alleged disappearance of millions of dollars meant for the central bank. First comes love Cuba’s president, Miguel…

5 min.
latin america’s latest menace

“GOD is Brazilian,” goes a saying that became the title of a popular film. Brazil’s beauty, natural wealth and music often make it seem uniquely blessed. But these days Brazilians must wonder whether, like the deity in the film, God has gone on holiday. The economy is a disaster, the public finances are under strain and politics are thoroughly rotten. Street crime is rising, too. Seven Brazilian cities feature in the world’s 20 most violent. The national elections next month give Brazil the chance to start afresh. Yet if, as seems all too possible, victory goes to Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist, they risk making everything worse. Mr Bolsonaro, whose middle name is Messias, or “Messiah”, promises salvation; in fact, he is a menace to Brazil and to Latin America. Mr Bolsonaro…

3 min.
hunker down

IN HIS trade war with China, President Donald Trump appears to have the upper hand. The new tariffs his administration unveiled this week, which will raise the share of Chinese imports subject to levies to at least 44%, are unlikely to dampen America’s sizzling economy, or to boost inflation by much. Though some firms will be disrupted, most Americans will not notice the damage (see Finance section). China, however, is under pressure. Its growth seems to be slowing and its stock-market is down almost a quarter from its peak in January. China’s government has announced retaliatory tariffs against American goods, but it is fast running out of imports to tax. During conflict, an imbalance in strength should lead to a swift resolution. Here the side with the advantage may prolong the…

4 min.
ai, eu, go

THE two superpowers of artificial intelligence (AI) are America and China. Their tech giants have collected the most data, attracted the best talent and boast the biggest computing clouds—the main ingredients needed to develop AI services from facial recognition to self-driving cars. Their dominance deeply worries the European Union, the world’s second-largest economic power (see Business section). It is busily concocting plans to close the gap. That Europe wants to foster its own AI industry is understandable. Artificial intelligence is much more than another Silicon Valley buzzword—more, even, than seminal products like the smartphone. It is better seen as a resource, a bit like electricity, that will touch every part of the economy and society. Plenty of people fret that, without its own cutting-edge research and AI champions, big digital platforms…

3 min.
a long haul

JAPANESE prime ministers used to come and go in the blink of an eye, but Shinzo Abe has been in office for longer than the previous five combined. This week he easily won a third consecutive term as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (see Asia section). Given the LDP’s landslide victory in last year’s parliamentary election, Mr Abe is now secure in office until 2021. If he completes his new term, he would be the longest-serving prime minister since the job was created, in 1885. Under him, the LDP has convincingly won three elections for the lower house and two for the upper house. With his coalition partners, he commands more than two-thirds of the Diet. Perhaps most impressively, he has quelled the factionalism that used to plague his…

3 min.
not so fast

THE 21st century, in one way at least, will be African. In 1990 sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 16% of the world’s births. Because African birth rates are so much higher than elsewhere, the proportion has risen to 27% and is expected to hit 37% in 2050. About a decade later, more babies will be born in sub-Saharan Africa than in the whole of Asia, including India and China. These projections by the UN, if correct, are astounding (see Middle East and Africa section). There is good reason for the world to worry about Africa’s baby boom. The danger is not a Malthusian crisis, in which countries run out of food or farmland at some point in the future. It is true that Africa, although vast, is already a net food importer.…