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The Economist - 11 февраля 2023

Скачать бесплатно журнал The Economist, февраль 2023

Год выпуска: февраль 2023

Автор: The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group

Жанр: Экономика/Политика

Издательство: «The Economist Newspaper Ltd»

Формат: PDF (журнал на английском языке)

Качество: OCR

Количество страниц: 76

Google: Chatbots and the battle for search

  • What do AI chatbots mean for the lucrative business of searching the internet? Leader, page 7.
  • After 20 years of stagnant monopoly, online search is in for a shake-up, page 53.

The parable of Adani

  • The humbling of a tycoon is a test for Indian capitalism: leader, page 11.
  • Why the Adani Group’s troubles will reverberate across India: briefing, page 15.

Earthquake horror

  • Why the devastating tremors might upend Turkish politics, too: leader, page 8.
  • Disaster strikes thousands of lives and shakes two countries, page 41.
  • Turkey sits at the crossroads of tectonic plates as well as civilisations: Graphic detail, page 77.

China’s rapid recovery

  • Its economy is reviving from zero-covid much quicker than expected, page 60.

Academic thought police

  • Universities that promote ideological conformity do students a disservice: leader, page 9.
  • Mandatory diversity statements are taking hold in academia, page 19.

The world this week Politics

  • An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, killing at least 16,000 people. A second powerful earthquake followed shortly after. The toll is expected to rise significantly. It was the world’s deadliest earthquake since 2010, when 220,000 people died in Haiti, or 2011 in Japan, where 21,000 were killed, but mostly by a resulting tsunami. Turkey imposed a state of emergency in the affected areas.
  • Parts of northern Syria, devastated by more than a decade of civil war, were struck by the earthquakes. Bab al-Hawa, a crucial border crossing with Turkey that allows international aid into the country, was left unpassable. The un announced that cross-border aid had been temporarily halted.

Lovely to see you

  • Volodymyr Zelensky visited London, his second trip outside Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. The Ukrainian president gave a speech to Parliament, where he appealed for more combat aircraft, or “wings for freedom” as he described them. Britain promised money to train fighter pilots. Mr Zelensky then headed to Paris and Brussels where he made similar requests.
  • In a break from the calendar used by Russian orthodoxy the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church, which counts around 10% of Ukraine’s population as followers, announced that it would shift the celebration of some feast days to match those of Christians in the West. Its Christmas Day will now fall on December 25th instead of January 7th.
  • Sweden’s prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, said he hoped talks with Turkey would resume soon over his country’s application to join nato, which all member states must agree to. Negotiations came to a halt when a copy of the Koran was set alight near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Turkey’s president suggested recently that he will look favourably on the application from Finland, which also wants to join, but not Sweden.
  • Rishi Sunak appointed Greg Hands as chairman of the Conservative Party, following the sacking of Nadhim Zahawi over a tax scandal. The British prime minister also created a new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and promoted Kemi Badenoch to business secretary.
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, has reportedly pardoned tens of thousands of prisoners, including many who were involved in recent anti-government protests. The head of the judiciary claimed that many of those arrested after the demonstrations had committed their crimes as a result of foreign propaganda. It is unclear when the prisoners will actually be released.
  • Tens of thousands of Israelis poured onto the streets of 20 cities for a fifth week of protests against the judicial reforms of Binyamin Netanyahu’s government.
  • The number of people killed in violence linked to jihadist groups in Africa jumped by 48% in 2022, according to the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies, part of the Pentagon. At least 19,109 people were killed, most of them in the Sahel and Somalia, surpassing the previous peak in 2015.
  • Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, making his third trip to Africa in eight months, met Mali’s military government and promised to provide it with weapons. Russia has been extending its influence in central Africa and the Sahel through weapons sales and contracts for mercenaries from Wagner Group.
  • A court in Hong Kong began the trial of 47 former legislators and activists, the largest trial under the territory’s national-security law, imposed in 2020. The defendants are accused of involvement in conducting an unofficial primary election aimed at helping government critics gain a majority in the legislature.

Red balloons

  • An American fighter jet downed a Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina. American officials called it a spy balloon. China said it was merely for weather observation and had gone astray. The discovery of the massive object, which flew over nuclear-missile sites, prompted the White House to cancel a visit to Beijing by the secretary of state, Antony Blinken.
  • Two days after America shot down the balloon the Chinese government acknowledged that another balloon, spotted over Colombia, was also from China.
  • Joe Biden gave a combative state-of-the-union speech to Congress, his first since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. The president was constantly heckled and at times engaged his detractors, for example by accusing some Republicans of trying to undermine Social Security and Medicare.
  • Earlier, the House voted, along party lines, to remove Ilhan Omar from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee because of past comments that were deemed to be antiSemitic. Some say the removal of Ms Omar, who is Muslim, was revenge for the Democrats’ dismissal of two Republicans from committees in 2021 for allegedly condoning violence against Democrats.
  • Guillermo Lasso, the centreright president of Ecuador, lost a referendum that would have allowed crime suspects to be extradited. Mayoral elections were also held. Politicians linked to Rafael Correa, a former left-wing president, won several races.
  • A court in Seoul ruled that the government was liable for atrocities committed by South Korean troops during the Vietnam war in the 1970s—and that it must therefore compensate the survivor of a village massacre. South Korea was America’s biggest foreign ally in the war. The ruling is expected to open the floodgates to thousands of compensation claims.
  • The premier of the most populous province of the Solomon Islands was removed by a confidence vote after he criticised the federal government for cosying up to China. Last year the country signed a security agreement with China, intensifying concerns in the West about China’s growing influence in the Pacific islands.
  • Development of a new coal mine was halted on environmental grounds for the first time in Australia. The country’s Labor government said the site in question was too close to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • LeBron James became the all-time top scorer in America’s nba basketball league. He made 38 points in a game, surpassing the record of 38,387 points over the career of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which had stood since 1989. Mr Abdul-Jabbar, 75, was sitting courtside to witness the achievement.

The world this week Business

  • The business of searching the internet, dominated for over 20 years by Google, was on the cusp of disruption, with various announcements that chatbots based on artificial intelligence are to be incorporated into search engines. Microsoft unveiled a version of Bing with the technology that powers ChatGPT, made by OpenAi, a startup, in which Microsoft is a big investor. Finding itself on the back foot, Google launched Bard, its rival to ChatGPT. However, the company’s share price fell sharply when Bard gave the wrong answer to a question on space telescopes in a video promoting its abilities.

Game over?

  • It was a mixed week for Microsoft, which received another blow to its planned takeover of Activision Blizzard, a maker of video games. Britain’s competition regulator said the deal would be bad for consumers, and may not approve it. America’s Federal Trade Commission is already suing to block the acquisition.
  • Some of the companies in the embattled Adani Group reported a rise in profits. That prompted a rally in their share prices after a two-week rout sparked by a short-seller’s claim that the stock was being artificially inflated (Adani denies the allegation). Adani’s controlling shareholders attempted to soothe markets by repaying a $1.1bn loan ahead of schedule.
  • Disney announced a restructuring of its business in which 7,000 jobs will be cut, around 3% of its workforce. It is the company’s first big move since Bob Iger returned as chief executive in November. He said the changes would reshape Disney “around creativity” and make its streaming business profitable.
  • The great shake-out continued in the tech industry, as Zoom announced that it would cut 15% of its workforce, or 1,300 jobs. Eric Yuan, the chief executive, said he would take a cut to his salary and bonus. The company’s headcount has tripled in two years, while post-pandemic demand for its video-conference services has slowed dramatically.
  • Investors seem to be enthused by the extensive cost-cutting at America’s tech giants. Despite Apple reporting a 5% year-on-year drop in revenue for the last three months of 2022, which includes the crucial Christmas season, and Google posting a sharper-than-expect-ed decline in advertising revenue, the Nasdaq composite held steady. The index is up by 15% since the start of the year.
  • Britain’s ftse 100 hit new record highs, surpassing its previous peak of May 2018. The Footsie outshone its American and European peers last year and has risen by 6% since the beginning of this year.
  • The ftse 100’s gains have come on the back of a surge in the share price bp, which announced a record annual profit, of $27.7bn. The company increased its dividend and share buy-back programme. But it lowered its target for cutting fossil-fuel production, from 40% by 2030 to 25%. Like others in the industry, bp is squeezed between keeping shareholders happy with high returns from pumping oil and gas and the push towards a net-zero economy. “We’re responding to what society wants,” mused its boss, Bernard Looney.
  • Russia’s revenues from oil and gas fell by 46% in January, year on year, according to the finance ministry. With its spending on the war in Ukraine soaring, Russia’s monthly budget deficit ballooned to 1.76trn roubles ($25bn).
  • Credit Suisse reported an annual loss of SFr7.3bn ($7.9bn), its biggest since the global financial crisis of 200709. The Swiss bank was hit by a surge in withdrawals from wealthy clients in October.
  • A jury found that Elon Musk was not liable for losses incurred by a group of shareholders because of the market reaction in 2018 to his tweet about taking Tesla private, which did not happen. Mr Musk said he believed he had secured the funding to buy out the carmaker at the time of the tweet. The verdict vindicates his decision to fight the case rather than settle.
  • American employers created 517,000 jobs last month, the highest number for January since 1946 and well above the market forecast. Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that given strong data on the labour market and the economy, the central bank may have to prolong interestrate rises for longer than investors might expect.

Sans Son

  • SoftBank’s Vision Funds reported another big quarterly loss, of $5.5bn. It is a tough time for the Japanese conglomerate’s investments, which have plunged in value as tech stocks and startup valuations have slid. Its investments in new ventures have all but dried up. Son Masayoshi, the company’s boss, missed his usually exuberant earnings presentation. We hope that he will once again appear, said the chief financial officer, but we don’t know when.

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