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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 01/20/2018

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 мин.
the world this week

Politics Thousands of Tunisians took to the streets to protest against lower subsidies and higher taxes, which have led to a rise in the prices of basic goods. The government responded by arresting more than 800 people, before agreeing to increase aid for the poor. Tunisia was the starting-point of the Arab spring that broke out in late 2010 and swept the region. America withheld $65m in aid for Palestinian refugees, while demanding that the UN Relief and Works Agency undertake a “fundamental re-examination” of its activities. Donald Trump blames the Palestinians for a lack of progress in peace talks with Israel, which in turn says UNRWA is working against the Jewish state. Mr Trump extended sanctions relief for Iran again, but warned that this was the “last chance” for Congress and the…

5 мин.
taming the titans

NOT long ago, being the boss of a big Western tech firm was a dream job. As the billions rolled in, so did the plaudits: Google, Facebook, Amazon and others were making the world a better place. Today these companies are accused of being BAADD—big, anti-competitive, addictive and destructive to democracy. Regulators fine them, politicians grill them and onetime backers warn of their power to cause harm. Much of this techlash is misguided. The presumption that big businesses must necessarily be wicked is plain wrong. Apple is to be admired as the world’s most valuable listed company for the simple reason that it makes things people want to buy, even while facing fierce competition. Many online services would be worse if their providers were smaller. Evidence for the link between smartphones…

4 мин.
britain’s hard bargains

WHAT do high-speed railways, school lunches and army bases have in common? Perhaps not much, which may be one reason for the dramatic collapse of Carillion, a jack-of-all-trades contractor that did a bewildering array of work for Britain’s public sector. On January 15th the firm went into liquidation, casting doubt on the prospects of its 43,000 employees, 30,000 subcontractors and the fulfilment of government contracts stretching three decades into the future. The company’s fall is a story of commercial overreach and miscalculation (see page 33). But it is also the story of a political philosophy. Carillion exemplified a way of running the state that was pioneered under Margaret Thatcher and which went on to conquer the world. Where once governments provided public services, they now commission them from private companies. The…

3 мин.
playing ketchup with the dollar

IN DECEMBER a new dollar bill came into circulation adorned with the signature of Steve Mnuchin. Instead of his usual scrawl, the treasury secretary opted to print his name. If he hoped that his best handwriting would give the greenback a fillip, he may well be disappointed. The dollar reached a peak against a basket of other currencies a year ago and has not threatened to regain it. Gurus of the foreign-exchange markets agree that 2018 is likely to be another year of modest decline. That is because of three sources of downward pressure. The first relates to the world economy. The dollar’s descent is not so much a judgment on America’s fitness as a sign of the burgeoning health of other places. So long as America was one of the…

3 мин.
the seven-year itch

“BREAD, freedom, dignity.” These were the demands of Tunisian protesters who threw off autocracy and sparked the Arab spring seven years ago this month. Tunisians now have more freedom and some dignity. But bread is scarcer than ever. GDP per person has barely budged since the revolution. That is why Tunisia has once again been mired in protests, this time over higher taxes, lower subsidies and the lack of jobs. Nine governments in seven years have failed to revive the economy (see page 37). Tunisians are losing faith in democracy. Some even yearn for the return of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the despot whom they tossed out in 2011. According to today’s rose-tinted nostalgia, he at least ensured that Tunisians had work. In fact, Mr Ben Ali left Tunisians feeling much as…

3 мин.
in heaven as it is on earth

LATER this month, if all has gone according to plan, a rocket called the Falcon Heavy will take off from Cape Canaveral, in Florida (see page 74). Its mission is to put a sports car in orbit around the sun. The Falcon Heavy is the latest product of SpaceX, a firm founded by Elon Musk, an American billionaire. The car is Mr Musk’s own, made by Tesla, another of his businesses. SpaceX has the explicit aim, besides making money, of enabling people to travel to and colonise Mars. Before then, the Falcon Heavy may earn its keep lifting satellites and carrying tourists on “slingshot” trips around the moon. Mr Musk’s ambition is to propel humanity beyond its home planet. But what is going on in space today also reflects the shifting…