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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 12/08/2018

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 A third Saturday of anti-fuel-tax demonstrations, infiltrated by violent provocateurs from the hard left and the extreme right, saw windows smashed, cars ablaze and monuments defiled in Paris. In response, the French government cancelled a second planned fuel-tax rise, but protesters said this was not enough. An hour proved to be a long time in British politics, as Theresa May’s government suffered three rapid defeats in the House of Commons over Brexit. The government was held in contempt of Parliament, a first in modern times, for not publishing the full legal advice from the attorney-general concerning the withdrawal agreement. MPs also voted to have a direct say in what comes next if the prime minister’s proposed deal is voted down on December 11th. In his advice to the prime minister, the…

5 min.
macron’s nightmare

IT IS A long way down from Mount Olympus. Last year Emmanuel Macron strode into power with a mandate to reform France. This week France looked unreformable. The streets of Paris have been littered with burned-out cars and glass from smashed shop windows. Parts of the countryside are paralysed, as protesters in high-visibility yellow jackets obstruct roads and blockade fuel depots. Policy U-turns are making Mr Macron look as weak as all his recent predecessors who tried to change this most stubborn of nations. The man who once promised a “Jupiterian” presidency is looking decidedly mortal. Mr Macron’s election in May 2017 seemed to herald new optimism about France, Europe and the world. Young, intelligent and bubbling with ideas to make France more open, dynamic and fiscally sober, he gave an…

5 min.
the best way out of the brexit mess

IT TOOK THERESA MAY a year and a half to reach a deal with the European Union. It looks as if it will take Britain’s own Parliament less than a month to throw it out. An imminent vote on whether to approve the prime minister’s Brexit agreement seems almost certain to be lost by a wide margin (see Britain section). The government’s struggle to get the deal through Parliament exposes a crack that Brexit has created at the heart of Britain’s democracy. Most MPs believe, with reason, that Mrs May’s imperfect compromise is worse than the status quo. As the people’s elected representatives, they have every right to block it. On the other hand, the referendum of 2016 gave them a clear instruction to leave. Although that vote carries no legal…

3 min.
liberty and disintegration

ETHIOPIANS ARE calling it their third revolution. The first was the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. The second was in 1991, when Ethiopians kicked out the Derg, a Marxist junta that had forced peasants onto collective farms at gunpoint, causing mass starvation. Now, after 27 years of less homicidal but still authoritarian rule by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Ethiopians are getting their first real taste of freedom (see Middle East & Africa section). The seeds of revolution were sown at a phoney election in 2015, when the EPRDF and its allies won an implausible 95% of the vote and every seat in parliament. Furious protesters took to the streets. The government shot dozens and arrested thousands, sparking riots. Young men burned foreign-owned factories and blocked roads.…

3 min.
dirty work

INDIA STINKS. If at this misty time of year its capital, Delhi, smells as if something is burning, that is because many things are: the carcinogenic diesel that supplies three-quarters of the city’s motor fuel, the dirty coal that supplies most of its power, the rice stalks that nearby farmers want to clear after the harvest, the rubbish dumps that perpetually smoulder, the 400,000 trees that feed the city’s crematoria each year and so on. All this combustion makes Delhi’s air the most noxious of any big city (see Asia section). It chokes on roughly twice as much PM 2.5, fine dust that penetrates deep into lungs, as Beijing. Delhi’s deadly air is part of a wider crisis. Seventy percent of surface water is tainted. In the World Health Organisation’s rankings…

3 min.
round and round they go

SPACE IS BECOMING more crowded. On December 3rd a Falcon 9 rocket made by SpaceX thundered into the sky. On board were 64 small satellites, more than any American company had launched before in one go. They have an array of uses, from space-based radar to the monitoring of radio-frequency emissions. One, designed by Trevor Paglen, an artist, will soon unfurl a 30-metre reflective structure that will shine down on Earth like an artificial star, visible to the naked eye. These objects are part of the latest breed of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, which are designed to whizz around the planet only a few hundred kilometres above its surface. This week’s launch is just a taste of what is planned. SpaceX and OneWeb, a communications firm, plan to launch satellites in their…