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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 10/06/2018

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 An earthquake and tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, causing widespread destruction in and around the city of Palu. The death toll stands at more than 1,400 and rising. Damaged roads and bridges have hampered emergency crews. Some affected areas remain cut off. Rosmah Mansor, the jewellery-loving wife of Malaysia’s former prime minister, Najib Razak, was charged with money-laundering. She and Mr Najib are both being investigated in connection with the disappearance of billions of dollars from a government investment fund. Denny Tamaki, the son of a Japanese woman and an American marine, was elected governor of the Japanese island of Okinawa. He wants an American air base on the island to be closed, instead of moved, as the central government proposes. Osaka cut its 60-year sister-city relationship with San Francisco over…

5 min.
china’s designs on europe

EUROPE has caught China’s eye. Chinese investments there have soared, to nearly €36bn ($40bn) in 2016—almost double the previous years’ total. Chinese FDI fell in 2017, but the share spent in Europe rose from a fifth to a quarter. For the most part, this money is welcome. Europe’s trading relationship with China has made both sides richer. However, China is also using its financial muscle to buy political influence (see Briefing). The Czech president, Milos Zeman, wants his country to be China’s “unsinkable aircraft-carrier” in Europe. Last year Greece stopped the European Union from criticising China’s human-rights record at a UN forum. Hungary and Greece prevented the EU from backing a court ruling against China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Faced with such behaviour, it is only prudent…

3 min.

IT MAY never be possible to know what really happened in the suburban Maryland home where Christine Blasey Ford recalls being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh in the summer of 1982. Mr Kavanaugh vehemently denies the accusation. Given the difficulty of litigating a 36-year-old case, the risk of destroying the reputation of a man who may be innocent, and the partisan nature of the opposition—Democrats were against Mr Kavanaugh long before he faced allegations of sexual assault—should Republican senators confirm the president’s nominee when the Senate votes? They should not. Even if an FBI investigation fails to turn up new evidence about what happened in a bedroom 36 years ago, there is no disputing what Mr Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. And it was damning. Over his skis Mr Kavanaugh…

4 min.
workers on tap

THE Archbishop of Canterbury sees it as “the reincarnation of an ancient evil”. Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, says that, for many workers, it is the “next step in a losing effort to build some economic security in a world where all the benefits are floating to the top 10%”. Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s deputy prime minister, is going after it as part of his “war on precarious work”. For many, the “gig economy”, in which short-term jobs are assigned via online platforms, is a potent symbol of how modern capitalism has failed. Critics rail that it allows firms to rid themselves of well-paid employees, replacing them with cheap freelancers. Workers who once relied on an employer to pay into their pension, or to cover their health care when they…

3 min.
nearer the brink

ITALIANS are frustrated—and they are right to be. Because of the financial crisis and chronically low growth they are on average no richer, in real terms, than they were at the turn of the century. Some 10% are out of work; 20% live on less than €10,000 ($11,500) a year. In an election in March they voted for change by choosing political outsiders in the form of the Northern League and the Five Star Movement (M5S). On September 27th a coalition of the two parties unveiled its plan to start the job of lifting the country out of its funk—in the form of their first budget. It is both disappointing and worrying. The government makes no attempt to correct Italy’s low productivity growth, without which both the country’s living standards and…

3 min.
marginal revolution

NOT long ago President Donald Trump nearly withdrew from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Now he has replaced it. On October 1st the administration announced that Canada would join a pact it has already negotiated with Mexico. The resulting United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) keeps its predecessor’s most vital feature: tariff-free trade in most goods. These economies should now avoid one source of chaotic disruption. Having solved a crisis of his own making, the president is taking a victory lap, hailing “an amazing deal for a lot of people”. That is accurate only according to Mr Trump’s misguided protectionism (see Americas section). Although the new pact does contain improvements to NAFTA, taken as a whole it is a step backwards for free trade. As a result, it will harm America. Why…