The Economist Continental Europe Edition July 24, 2021

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

A federal judge ruled that Indiana University has the right to insist that its students are vaccinated, a precedent that could affect other American colleges. Canada said it would reopen its border to citizens of the United States from August 9th, but only if they are fully vaccinated. Citizens of other countries will be allowed in a month later. New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, reported its biggest rise in infections for 15 months. The 2020 Olympics, delayed a year by the pandemic, were set to open in Japan on July 23rd. The run-up to the games has been beset by scandals, sexism, jokes about the Holocaust and the worsening covid-19 situation in Tokyo, the host city. They will be less fun than in previous years; spectators are mostly banned and athletes…

7 min
the world this week

Politics The worst flooding to hit Europe since the second world war left at least 200 people dead, with many more still unaccounted for. The bulk of the deaths occurred in Germany, where days of exceptionally heavy rains caused rivers to burst their banks. Belgium saw at least 36 deaths. Germany’s complex federal system, with responsibility divided between federal, state and local governments, seems to have been a big part of the problem. Earlywarning systems failed. Flooding caused by torrential rain forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 people in China’s central province of Henan. In three days a year’s worth of rain fell on the city of Zhengzhou, filling underground railway tunnels. Hundreds of commuters who had been trapped on trains in water over their waists were eventually rescued; 12 of…

5 min
no safe place

IN 1745, AS the river Liffey, having broken its banks, clawed at the foundations of the house in which he sat, the young Edmund Burke experienced a strange, perverse thrill. The man who would go on to found modern conservatism drew inspiration from this experience in a later essay on the sublime, writing of the unmatched delight that terrible destruction could stir—provided that it is watched from a certain distance. The most terrible thing about the spectacular scenes of destruction that have played out around the world over the past weeks is that there is no safe place from which to observe them. The ground under the German town of Erftstadt is torn apart like tissue paper by flood waters; Lytton in British Columbia is burned from the map just a…

3 min
delta’s beta

IT WAS INEVITABLE that global economic growth would slow from the breakneck pace set as economies recovered from the pandemic. Lately, investors have begun to worry about something worse: that America’s economy, which has led the richworld rebound, could decelerate sharply. As well as supply bottlenecks and the withdrawal of economic stimulus, the country, like many others, now faces the ultra-infectious Delta variant. A painful slowdown remains unlikely. But the renewed spread of the virus is the biggest of those three dangers. To see how the latest rich-world coronavirus waves are likely to develop, consider that on July 20th America reported a sevenday moving average of 112 new cases for every million people. That is roughly where Britain, with a higher rate of vaccination, more restrictions and deadlier past outbreaks, was…

4 min
end of the road for ancnomics

THE FLAMES of burning warehouses, shops and factories have at last been doused. In front of shattered malls, local residents wearing luminous yellow or orange vests stand watch like an army of school-crossing wardens. Crowds of volunteers—white and black, young and old, sometimes singing together—sweep up the broken glass and ashes after the week of riots instigated by allies of the tainted former president, Jacob Zuma, in a vain effort to reverse his recent jailing for defying the Constitutional Court. In the clean-up, the optimism and generosity of spirit of the rainbow nation re-emerged, a reminder of the miracle that enabled a liberal democracy to be born, against the odds, 27 years ago, after the brutality of apartheid. Make no mistake, though. The riots were nothing less than a violent attempt…

3 min
internal affairs

THE LATE Donald Rumsfeld once sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to accompany his tax filing. “The tax code is so complex and the forms are so complicated”, he wrote, “that I know that I cannot have any confidence that I know what is being requested and therefore I cannot and do not know, and I suspect a great many Americans cannot know, whether or not their tax returns are accurate.” This is probably the least controversial statement that George W. Bush’s secretary of defence ever made. Yet despite the widely shared terror of the federal tax-collection agency, Democrats in the Senate are proposing to increase its budget. Is this wise? The political logic for doing so is clear. To make the arithmetic of a big spending bill…