The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition March 21, 2020

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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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1 min.
coronavirus briefs

Countries imposed strict restrictions on border crossings, including between America and Canada. Stringent curbs on the movement of people were enforced in France, Spain, the San Francisco Bay Area and other places. The number of deaths surged in Italy. For the first time China reported no new daily local infections. The Philippines declared a “state of calamity”. Researchers were concerned about a second wave of infections in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Supermarkets took steps to ration the sale of products and to set aside shopping hours for the vulnerable. In what some saw as a blow, the Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled. For our latest coverage of the virus and its consequences please visit coronavirus or download the Economist app.…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics Governments around the world took extraordinary measures to curb the novel coronavirus and alleviate its economic consequences. In America the Trump administration proposed giving direct cash transfers to every American as part of an emergency-spending package. Some Republicans balked at the idea, but Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate, said that now was the time for “urgent bipartisan action”. Joe Biden swept the board in the latest Democratic primaries. In Florida, the biggest prize on offer, he won 62% of the vote to 23% for Bernie Sanders. The pair also debated in their first one-on-one clash. Ohio postponed its primary because of the pandemic, as have Georgia and Louisiana. The Justice Department dropped charges against two Russian entities indicted by the Mueller inquiry because it believes a trial would give Russia…

6 min.

PLANET EARTH is shutting down. In the struggle to get a grip on covid-19, one country after another is demanding that its citizens shun society. As that sends economies reeling, desperate governments are trying to tide over companies and consumers by handing out trillions of dollars in aid and loan guarantees. Nobody can be sure how well these rescues will work. But there is worse. Troubling new findings suggest that stopping the pandemic might require repeated shutdowns. And yet it is also now clear that such a strategy would condemn the world economy to grave—perhaps intolerable—harm. Some very hard choices lie ahead. Barely 12 weeks after the first reports of people mysteriously falling ill in Wuhan, in central China, the world is beginning to grasp the pandemic’s true human and economic toll.…

4 min.
fighting the slump

IN JUST TWO months the world economy has been turned upside down. Stockmarkets have collapsed by a third and in many countries factories, airports, offices, schools and shops have been closed to try to contain the virus. Workers are worried about their jobs and investors fear companies will default on their debts. All this points to one of the sharpest economic contractions in modern times. China’s GDP probably shrank by 10-20% in January and February compared with a year earlier. For as long as the virus rages, similar drops are likely in America and Europe, which could trigger a further downward lurch in Asia. Massive government intervention is required to ensure that this shock does not spiral into a depression. But scale alone is not good enough—new financial tools need…

3 min.
stop deporting reporters

THE FLOW of information is essential to curbing a pandemic. Yet on March 17th China took a dramatic step towards throttling it. Xi Jinping’s government ordered American journalists for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal to leave the country, in the biggest expulsion of Western correspondents from China since the Communist takeover in 1949. The world sorely needs objective reporting on the place with the longest experience of fighting covid-19. China, too, lacks objective reporting about the virus or any other sensitive topic. At times like this people need masks, not muzzles. The expulsion is part of an ongoing feud between America and China. For a moment in January it seemed as if tempers were cooling, when both sides wisely agreed to suspend their trade…

3 min.
petro power struggle

GUYANA IS MINUSCULE. Its population of 780,000 is roughly that of Seattle. But it has recently struck oil. ExxonMobil, which holds the biggest share of the licence to the first productive offshore block, reckons that 8bn barrels can be pumped out of it. That puts Guyana’s reserves among the world’s top 20. Petrodollars could soon transform Guyana from South America’s third-poorest country into one of the richest. The power to begin spending that bonanza was at stake in the general election held on March 2nd, the first since oil started flowing. The weeks since have been chaotic. No overall result has been declared. The opposition and outside observers suspect that the president, David Granger, lost his bid for re-election. He may be plotting to have himself sworn in for a second…