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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition January 11, 2020

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 America’s assassination of Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s most prominent general, in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport threw the Middle East into crisis. Iran responded by firing more than 20 ballistic missiles at Iraqi military bases housing American troops. No deaths were reported. “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence,” tweeted Muhammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister. “We do not seek escalation or war.” But analysts think Iran might covertly retaliate against America in the future. Millions of mourners took to the streets across Iran to mark General Suleimani’s funeral. Before the burial in his home town of Kerman 50 people were killed in a stampede. Minutes after taking off from Tehran airport, and shortly after Iran fired its missiles, a Ukrainian airliner crashed killing all 176 people on board. It…

5 мин.
masterstroke or madness?

THE KILLING of Qassem Suleimani by an American drone on January 3rd threatened to bring the United States and Iran closer to war than at any time since the hostage crisis in 1979. In a part of the world that has lost the power to shock, the audacious killing of Iran’s most important general, ordered by President Donald Trump, sent Iran reeling. In public ceremonies millions of Iranians put aside their discontent with the regime to mark General Suleimani’s death. Blood-curdling threats of destruction issued from the Middle East, echoed by warnings of mayhem from Western experts. And yet a retaliatory missile strike on two American bases in Iraq five days later killed nobody. It looked like a face-saving attempt by Iran to wind the crisis down. If that were the…

3 мин.
a blaze that will keep on burning

ONE WAY of capturing the scale of the devastation that forest fires have inflicted on Australia is through figures. Some 11m hectares of the Lucky Country have gone up in smoke since September, almost the same area as Bulgaria. So far at least 26 people are known to have lost their lives, over 2,300 homes have been destroyed and over half a billion animals have been burned alive or choked to death. But numbers tell only part of the story (see Asia section). A plume of smoke has drifted across the South Pacific ocean, reaching Buenos Aires. Australia’s normally phlegmatic society has been shaken. Shane Warne, the most celebrated sportsman in a sports-mad nation, has gone so far as to raise money for the relief effort by auctioning off the…

4 мин.
why ben bernanke is wrong

THE BIGGEST challenge economists face today is how to deal with downturns. America’s expansion is the longest on record; a slowdown at some point is inevitable. The fear is that central banks will not have enough tools to fight the next recession. During and after the financial crisis they responded with a mixture of conventional interest-rate cuts and, when these reached their limit, with experimental measures, such as bond-buying (“quantitative easing”, or QE) and making promises about future policy (“forward guidance”). The trouble is that today across the rich world short-term interest rates are still close to or below zero and cannot be cut much more, depriving central banks of their main lever if a recession strikes. Fear not, argues Ben Bernanke, who led the Federal Reserve through the crisis. In…

3 мин.
who rules?

TO HOLIDAYMAKERS, Paris seems pleasantly uncrowded at the moment, so long as they have stout boots to walk around in. The French capital is quiet because strikers have virtually shut it down. Few commuter trains are running and the Metro is mostly out of commission outside peak hours—except for the automated No 1 and No 14 lines. Commuters are staying at home, as are shoppers. A stoppage called by transport workers is entering its second month. It has now lasted longer than the strike in 1995 that scuppered pension reforms proposed by the then prime minister, Alain Juppé. As the holiday season ends and Parisians desperately need to get to work, the strikers are hoping that President Emmanuel Macron will surrender, like his predecessors. He should not. This round of strikes…

4 мин.
apartheid in xinjiang

IMAGINE A PLACE with nearly seven times more land than Britain, oil reserves as big as Iraq’s and more coal than Germany. It produces one-fifth of the world’s cotton. Yet this place is poor. Its income per person is about the same as Botswana’s. And it is a time bomb. Its people mostly belong to two ethnic groups of similar size. One group has all the power and most of the wealth. Many of the other rot in a gulag, enduring compulsory “re-education” in how to think and speak like the richer lot. Such is the far-western region of Xinjiang (see China section). The dominant ethnic group are the Han Chinese, who are more than 90% of China’s population and about 40% of Xinjiang’s. The Communist Party has never trusted a…