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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 10/27/2018

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 Some 7,000 Central American migrants travelling together towards America entered Mexico from Guatemala, despite an attempt by Mexican police to stop them. The “caravan” originated in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula and grew as it progressed. President Donald Trump suggested, without evidence, that the Democrats had a hand in organising it and that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” are part of the group. America’s mid-term elections are on November 6th. Julian Assange, a co-founder of WikiLeaks, sued Ecuador, whose embassy in London has given him comfortable refuge since 2012. WikiLeaks accuses Ecuador of blocking his communications. The embassy has also told him to take better care of his cat. Mr Assange originally entered the building to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual-assault charges that have since been dropped.…

5 min.
aussie rules

WHAT IS THE biggest problem facing America? Or Japan? Or Britain? Or France? Opinions vary, naturally, but some worries crop up again and again. Those of a materialist bent point to decades of slow growth in median incomes, which has bred disillusion and anger among working people. Fiscal hawks decry huge public debts, destined to grow even vaster as ageing populations rack up ever bigger bills for health care and pensions. Then there is immigration, which has prompted a furious populist backlash in the United States and all over Europe. That hints at what, for many, is the most alarming trend of all: the lack of any semblance of a political consensus about how to handle these swelling crises. Rising incomes, low public debt, an affordable welfare state, popular support for…

3 min.
caravan of guff

ACCORDING TO President Donald Trump, the “caravan” of migrants trudging north towards the United States represents “an assault on our country”. He adds that among the thousands of Central American pedestrians are criminals, gangsters and Middle Eastern terrorists. He hints that the entire spectacle was funded by Democrats. When he vows to send troops to the border to keep the migrants out, his supporters cheer. Much of what Mr Trump says is untrue, or at least unsubstantiated. As our correspondent in Tapachula reports (see Americas section), the migrants in the caravan are mostly ordinary Hondurans who would rather live somewhere peaceful and rich than poor and violent. There is no evidence of Middle Easterners among them, or an unusual number of criminals. Nor is there a shred of evidence that Democrats…

3 min.
containing jair bolsonaro

BRAZILIANS FACE an awful choice. One candidate in the presidential run-off on October 28th is Jair Bolsonaro, a seven-term congressman who venerates dictators and guns, goads police to kill suspected criminals, threatens to banish opponents and belittles women, blacks and gays. His rival is Fernando Haddad, the nominee of the leftist Workers’ Party (PT). Its 13 years in power, from 2003 to 2016, ended in a self-inflicted economic depression and revelations that the party encouraged bribery on an unprecedented scale, in part to prolong its hold on power. Dilma Rousseff, a PT president, was impeached in 2016 for hiding the true size of the budget deficit. Crime continued to rise after she left office. Nearly 64,000 people were murdered in Brazil last year, a record number. Understandably, Brazilians are enraged. They…

4 min.
who decides your gender?

THIS NEWSPAPER is a proud champion of gay rights. We first ran an editorial in favour of same-sex marriage in 1996. We hew to the liberal principle that people are the best judges of their own interests and should be able to act as they wish, as long as no one else is harmed. That some people regard homosexuality as sinful is irrelevant. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but not to stop others from exercising their own freedoms. Some see gender self-identification for trans people as the next frontier. This starts with the idea that what makes someone a man or woman is not biological sex but an inner knowledge of who they are. Trans people have gender dysphoria, an overwhelming sense of belonging to the other sex. They suffer…

3 min.
credit comes later

THE GULFbetween principle and practice is often fatal for policies—and for political careers. Britain’s government faces a backlash over universal credit, a reform combining six welfare programmes into one. This was widely seen as a good idea about a decade ago. But a series of administrative failures, a senseless decision to make payments well in arrears and a squeeze on the system’s overall generosity have left many claimants angry. Some are destitute. In places where universal credit replaces legacy benefits, reliance on food handouts rises and more people fall behind with the rent. This good-idea-turned-disaster has already led the government to delay the reform. Some critics say it should be abandoned altogether (see Britain section). They are wrong. If the government corrects its mistakes—starting by providing a little more money in…