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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 02/17/2018

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.

United Kingdom
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Europe
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8 мин.
the world this week

Politics Jacob Zuma resigned as South Africa’s president, the evening before a no-confidence vote was scheduled in parliament. The rand surged. Mr Zuma is beset by corruption allegations. The new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, a former union boss and tycoon, is not. Morgan Tsvangirai died from cancer, aged 65. He led the opposition to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe even after regime thugs tried to throw him off a tall building. He won a presidential election in 2008, but Mr Mugabe won the count. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former president of Liberia, was awarded the $5m Ibrahim prize for African rulers who govern well and retire when their time is up. It is only the fifth time that the prize has been awarded since it was established in 2007, because of a lack of suitable recipients. Police…

5 мин.
africa’s great war reignites

NO CONFLICT since the 1940s has been bloodier, yet few have been more completely ignored. Estimates of the death toll in Congo between 1998 and 2003 range from roughly 1m to more than 5m—no one counted the corpses. Taking the midpoint, the cost in lives was higher than that in Syria, Iraq, Vietnam or Korea. Yet scarcely any outsider has a clue what the fighting was about or who was killing whom. Which is a tragedy, because the great war at the heart of Africa might be about to start again. The cause of the carnage To understand the original war, consider this outrageously oversimplified analogy. Imagine a giant house whose timbers are rotten. That was the Congolese state under Mobutu Sese Seko, the kleptocratic tyrant who ruled from 1965 to 1997.…

3 мин.
skirting boards

SINCE the days of the Vikings, when they farmed while men marauded, Norwegian women have played a big role in their community’s economy. So it was fitting that, ten years ago, Norway pioneered a policy to deal with a stubborn gender gap: the dearth of women directors on company boards. Amid objections from shareholders, Norway introduced compulsory quotas requiring stockmarket-listed companies to give women at least 40% of their board seats (up from less than 8% in 2002), or face dissolution. Critics, including this newspaper, decried mandatory quotas as the wrong way to promote women. But they have caught on. In Belgium, Germany and France women make up 30-40% of board directors in large listed firms, three to five times the share of a decade ago. In America, which has no…

4 мин.
peering into the black box

THERE is an old joke among pilots that says the ideal flight crew is a computer, a pilot and a dog. The computer’s job is to fly the plane. The pilot is there to feed the dog. And the dog’s job is to bite the pilot if he tries to touch the computer. Handing complicated tasks to computers is not new. But a recent spurt of progress in machine learning, a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI), has enabled computers to tackle many problems which were previously beyond them. The result has been an AI boom, with computers moving into everything from medical diagnosis and insurance to self-driving cars. There is a snag, though. Machine learning works by giving computers the ability to train themselves, which adapts their programming to the task at…

3 мин.
licence to kill competition

SOME rush to blame free markets for America’s income inequality and its lack of social mobility. Among rich Western countries, America is where the top 1% of earners have become most detached from their compatriots. Yet those who blame this on unfettered competition or globalism run wild in the home of capitalism ignore an awkward fact. Far from being laissez-faire, America’s labour markets are grossly over-regulated by state governments. The resulting lack of competition drives up earnings—especially for the most exclusive professions, including medicine and the law. That is a tax on everyone else. Fully 22% of American workers must hold licences simply to do their jobs, up from just 5% in 1950. Bartenders must have licences in 13 states; manicurists are licensed everywhere but Connecticut. Louisiana licenses florists. Licences make it…

3 мин.
the syrian gambit

IN DECEMBER last year Vladimir Putin used a surprise visit to Syria to declare that Russia’s mission there was “basically accomplished”. His troops had saved the regime of Bashar al-Assad. And Russia had played the decisive part in a conflict that America had failed to control. Coming after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, his message was clear. Russia is back. Just ten weeks later, Mr Putin’s boast looks premature. Within a few hours last weekend Iran first sent a large surveillance drone from deep inside Syria into Israeli airspace and Israel responded by shooting it down and destroying its controlling infrastructure near Palmyra. When an Israeli F-16 fighter jet, on its way home from the raid, was brought down by a salvo of Syrian air-defence missiles, Israel hit back by…