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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 02/25/2017

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 A series of terrorist attacks struck Pakistan, including one on a Sufi shrine that killed 88 people. The army blamed infiltrators from Afghanistan, sealed the border and shelled what it said were terrorist bases on the Afghan side. In Afghanistan, police surrounded the house of Abdul Rashid Dostum, the vice-president, in an attempt to arrest nine bodyguards, who have been accused of beating and raping a political rival. A former policeman from the Philippine city of Davao claimed he had run a vigilante group that had murdered criminals at the behest of the mayor at the time, Rodrigo Duterte, who became president in June. The IMF agreed to lend Mongolia $440m to help it weather a balance-of-payments crisis, paving the way for further loans from the Asian Development Bank, Japan and South Korea. China…

5 мин.
clean energy’s dirty secret

ALMOST150 years after photovoltaic cells and wind turbines were invented, they still generate only 7% of the world’s electricity. Yet something remarkable is happening. From being peripheral to the energy system just over a decade ago, they are now growing faster than any other energy source and their falling costs are making them competitive with fossil fuels. BP, an oil firm, expects renewables to account for half of the growth in global energy supply over the next 20 years. It is no longer far-fetched to think that the world is entering an era of clean, unlimited and cheap power. About time, too. There is a $20trn hitch, though. To get from here to there requires huge amounts of investment over the next few decades, to replace old smog-belching power plants and…

3 мин.
making women count

IT IS easy to be cynical about government—and rarely does such cynicism go unrewarded. Take, for instance, policy towards women. Some politicians declare that they value women’s unique role, which can be shorthand for keeping married women at home looking after the kids. Others create whole ministries devoted to policies for women, which can be a device for parking women’s issues on the periphery of policy where they cannot do any harm. Still others, who may actually mean what they say, pass laws giving women equal opportunities to men. Yet decreeing an end to discrimination is very different from bringing it about. Amid this tangle of evasion, half-promises and wishful thinking, some policymakers have embraced a technique called gender budgeting. It not only promises to do a lot of good for…

3 мин.

BLESSED with tropical beaches, bossa nova and balletic footballers, Brazil seems like a marvellous place to be young. It is an even better place to grow old. That is because Brazil has among the world’s most generous pension systems. Sadly, the past is now beginning to catch up with it. Brazilians start drawing their pensions when they are 58 years old on average, eight years younger than Americans and 14 than Mexicans (see page 39). Members of some groups can retire even earlier. Female teachers, for example, need to spend just 25 years in the classroom to get a full pension and even fewer for a partial one; many leave before they turn 50. Widows inherit their spouses’ full pension (provided they are 44 or older) without giving up their own.…

4 мин.
no blank cheque

A VIGDOR LIEBERMAN, Israel’s pugnacious defence minister, is not one to mince his words. Speaking on February 19th at this year’s Munich Security Conference, he described the challenges facing the Middle East as “Iran, Iran and Iran”. Delegates from the Arab states present might not have relished being seen to agree with the Zionist enemy, but that did not stop them. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister reckoned that the Iranians have only “stepped up the tempo of their mischief” since the negotiation in 2015 of a nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six leading powers. And the regional actors are hardly alone in their hostility. The Trump administration placed Iran “on notice” at the start of this month and imposed a limited new set of sanctions, following a medium-range ballistic…

3 мин.
a girl’s new best friend

PEACOCKS strut; bowerbirds build lovenests; spiders gift-wrap flies in silk. Such courtship rituals play an important role in what Charles Darwin called sexual selection: when the female of a species bears most of the costs of reproduction, males use extravagant displays and gifts to demonstrate their “reproductive fitness” and females choose between them. For human males, shards of a crystalline form of carbon often feature. A diamond engagement ring signals a man’s taste, wealth and commitment, all to persuade a woman that he is a good bet. This particular courtship gift was dreamed up by an ad agency for De Beers, the cartel that sold almost all of the world’s diamonds throughout the 20th century. In the 1930s it started to promote a link between diamonds and marriage. Diamonds’ unmatched hardness…