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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition April 20, 2019

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 Notre Dame, a medieval cathedral immortalised by Victor Hugo, Hollywood and innumerable tourist selfies, caught fire. More than 400 firefighters brought the blaze under control, but the roof is gone, and with it the spire. The interior damage is extensive, but many artefacts and relics, including a supposed part of Jesus’s crown of thorns, were saved. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, visited the site and vowed that the cathedral will be rebuilt. Two French billionaires pledged a total of €300m ($340m) towards that effort. The Finns Party, an anti-immigrant outfit, won 17% of the vote in Finland’s election. Other parties do not want to work with it. The winning Social Democrats will try to form a government without it. Britain pondered what to do with Julian Assange, a co-founder of WikiLeaks.…

5 мин.
the trouble with tech unicorns

INVESTORS OFTEN describe the world of business in terms of animals, such as bears, bulls, hawks, doves and dogs. Right now, mere ponies are being presented as unicorns: privately held tech firms worth over $1bn that are supposedly strong and world-beating—miraculous almost. Next month Uber will raise some $10bn in what may turn out to be this year’s biggest initial public offering (IPO). It will be America’s third-biggest-ever tech IPO, after Alibaba and Facebook. Airbnb and WeWork could follow Lyft, which has already floated, and Pinterest, which was set to do so as The Economist went to press. In China, an IPO wave that began last year rumbles on. Thanks to fashionable products and armies of users, these firms have a total valuation in the hundreds of billions of dollars.…

3 мин.
the human spark

“WHAT IS CIVILISATION?” asked Kenneth Clark 50 years ago in the seminal BBC series on the subject. “I don’t know, and I can’t define it in abstract terms, yet. But I think I can recognise it when I see it, and I’m looking at it now.” And he turned to gesture behind him, at the soaring Gothic towers and flying buttresses of Notre Dame. It seems inhuman to care more about a building than about people. That the sight of Notre Dame going up in flames (see Europe section) has attracted so much more attention than floods in southern Africa which killed over 1,000 arouses understandable feelings of guilt. Yet the widespread, intense grief at the sight of the cathedral’s collapsing steeple is in fact profoundly human—and in a particularly 21st-century…

3 мин.
time to see the blight

RISING CARBON-DIOXIDE levels and the climate change associated with them portend many problems, but one group of people might be expected to give them a cautious welcome: farmers in Earth’s temperate zones. More CO2 typically results in more photosynthesis and therefore higher yields, and milder weather means longer growing seasons. Balanced against these potential benefits, however, is the potential for blight. It is hard to predict how changes in the climate and the atmosphere’s chemistry will affect the prevalence and virulence of agricultural diseases (see Science section). But there is a risk that such changes will make some plant infections more common in all climatic zones, perhaps catastrophically so. To fend off this danger, seed companies and botanists need to band together to stockpile a genetic arsenal before it is…

4 мин.
justice for julian assange

WHEN JULIAN ASSANGE was dragged out of Ecuador’s embassy and into a London courtroom on April 11th, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was his life’s work, moral character and personal hygiene in the dock. Mr Assange was “no hero”, said Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s foreign secretary. Nonsense, retorted Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, he “told us the truth about what was actually happening in Afghanistan and in Iraq”. Ecuador’s president complained that Mr Assange had repaid his country’s hospitality by smearing faeces on the embassy wall. These soundbites miss the point. America accuses Mr Assange of hacking Pentagon computers. Does that charge justify his extradition? To be sure, Mr Assange’s legacy deserves scrutiny. WikiLeaks did some good in its early years, exposing political corruption, financial malfeasance…

3 мин.
heading nowhere?

WHEN HE FAILED in February to get his budget passed, Spain’s Socialist prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, had little choice but to call a snap election. His government, just eight months old, had surprised many by lasting as long as it did. With only 24% of the seats in parliament, but without coalition allies, its every move had been a tricky negotiation. As the country heads to the polls on April 28th, the signs are that the political paralysis which now grips Spain may only worsen. The Socialists look set to win the most seats, but the new parliament will contain five big parties, thanks to the arrival of the ultra-nationalist Vox (see Europe section). None will have anything like a majority, so the options will be another short-lived minority government,…