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The Economist - January 27 2024

Скачать бесплатно журнал The Economist, 27 January 2024

Год выпуска: January 2024

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


  • Democrats need to reconsider what they would trade on immigration to keep Donald Trump out of the White House: leader,page 9.
  • Surging migration in the south-west may cost Joe Biden the election. Will Congress intervene? Page 19.

Could AI transform the emerging world?

  • Artificial intelligence holds out a tantalising promise of prosperity: leader, page 10.
  • Could AI boost human capital in developing countries? Briefing, page 16.
  • How to make large language models fluent in more than just English, page 69.

Saving coffee from climate change

  • Half the world's coffeegrowing land is threatened by global warming. Can science save the bean? Page 67.

The comeback of Notre Dame

  • The rebuilding of France's best-known cathedral has prompted a debate about how to balance modernity and tradition, page 71.

Why you shouldn’t retire

  • Pleasure cruises, golf and tracing the family tree are not that fulfilling: Bartleby, page 55.

The world this week Politics

  • Russia accused Ukraine of shooting down a Russian military transport plane near its border with Ukraine. The circumstances were murky, but Russia said the plane was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were heading for a prisoner exchange with Russian pows, as well as nine crew. Ukraine said it had not been asked to ensure a safe passage for the aircraft. A few days earlier, Russia blamed Ukrainian forces for a strike on Donetsk, a city under Russian occupation in eastern Ukraine, in which 28 people were killed (a Ukrainian army group in the area said it had not been involved). Two days after that at least 18 people were ki lied in Russian strikes on other Ukrainian cities.
  • NATO approved a $i.2bn contract that will replenish the artillery-shell stocks of the alliance’s members, allowing them to provide more ammunition to Ukraine. In Washington a bill that would free $nobn in military aid for Ukraine, Israel and other allies remains stuck in Congress. Republicans in the House of Representatives are refusing to back the bill until they get a deal on stricter immigration policies, though a compromise in the Senate is emerging.
  • Turkey’s parliament at last approved Sweden’s bid to join NATO. Turkey, which as a NATO member must bless another country’s accession, had dragged its heels over the bid, claiming that Sweden harboured Kurdish militants. The only holdout now is Hungary. Its prime minister, Viktor Orban, said he would "continue to urge" parliament to ratify Sweden’s membership soon.
  • Germany's Constitutional Court banned state funding for a far-right extremist party, Die Heimat, finding that it had shown disdain for democracy. The ruling has fired the debate about taking legal steps to stop the rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party on the radical right. Around 1.4m people demonstrated against the AfD in cities including Berlin, Cologne and Munich over three days recently.

Like a freight train

  • Donald Trump chalked up another big win in the Republicans’ presidential nomination race, taking 54% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary. Nikki Haley took 43%. Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race ahead of the vote. Ms Haley vowed to carry on. She may make her last stand in the primary in South Carolina, her home state, where Mr Trump currently holds a huge lead in the polls.
  • Police in Ecuador arrested 68 gang members who were trying to take over a hospital in a town close to the city of Guayaquil, the centre of a flare-up in violence that has swept the country'. The arrested men were apparently trying to protect one of their members, who was in the hospital, from being attacked by rivals.
  • Venezuela’s attorney-general issued 14 arrest warrants for people he claimed were involved in various conspiracies against the country’s autocratic president, Nicolas Maduro. One of the warrants is for Tamara Sujti, a human-rights lawyer who lives abroad.
  • In Canada a federal judge ruled that Justin Trudeau's use of emergency powers in February 2022 to end protests by truckers had been "unreasonable" and violated the Charter, Canada's bill of rights. The prime minister invoked the powers when the Freedom Convoy, w'hich for weeks protested against covid-vaccine mandates and other pandemic measures, brought traffic to a standstill with demonstrations. The government will appeal against the ruling.
  • A court in Thailand decided that Pita Limjaroenrat, who led the Move Forward reformist party to an election victory last year, had not violated election lawsand could remain in parliament. Although Move Forward won the election it wras blocked from taking power by Thailand's royalist and military elite. The same court is expected to make a decision soon in a separate case on whether Move Forward broke the country’s lese-majeste laws.
  • India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, led the ceremonies at the consecration of a controversial Hindu temple in Ayodhya. For decades Hindu nationalists had pledged to build the temple on the site of a 16th-century mosque that was destroyed by a mob in 1992. Hindus venerate the site as the birthplace of Ram. The spectacular ceremony was part political rally for Mr Modi, who faces an election this year.
  • Singapore’s transport minister resigned in a corruption scandal that has engulfed the normally squeaky-clean government. S. Iswaran has been charged with 27 offences, which he denies.
  • Fears are growing about the widening war in the Middle East. Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria launched their most serious rocket attack on American troops since the start of the Gaza war. A volley of ballistic missiles and rockets was fired at the Al Asad air base in Iraq. Most were intercepted. Meanwhile in Yemen America and Britain continued to bomb the Houthis, another Iranian-backed group.
  • Israel encircled Khan Younis, the city in southern Gaza where it believes Hamas leaders including Yahya Sinwar are hiding. Some 24 Israeli soldiers were killed in the deadliest day for the Israel Defence Forces since the start of the war. The Palestinian death toll passed 25,000, the majority of them civilians. Egyptian and Qatari negotiators continued to push fora deal between Israel and Hamas that would see a ceasefire and the release of the hostages still being held.
  • Saudi Arabia will start selling alcohol, but only to foreign diplomats (alcohol was banned in 1952 after a drunken Saudi prince shot dead a British envoy). Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto ruler, is continuing his efforts to modernise the kingdom.

Better to stay with the USA

  • Antony Blinken, America’s secretary of state, visited several African countries including Angola and Nigeria, in a bid to counter Russia’s growing influence in the region. Mr Blinken offered American security assistance to countries battling jihadists, saying it was a better partner than Russia's Wagner mercenary group.
  • Tensions continued to rise over a deal by Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia, to lease part of its coastline to Ethiopia, which wants to build a port and naval base. Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said he would back Somalia’s federal government, which opposes the deal, and would "not allow anyone to threaten Somalia".
  • Japan became the fifth country to land a spacecraft on the Moon. Japan’s space agency said it was able to communicate with the probe, though its power cells were not working.

The world this week Business

  • The s&p 500 reached new record highs this week. The previous record had been set in early January 2022, before Russia’s war in Ukraine and the rout in tech shares that year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also hit a record in recent days and the NASDAQ Composite was closing in on an all-time high. Like the s&p 500 the nasdaq is being propelled by the turnaround in tech stocks; Meta, Microsoft and Nvidia are all trading at new highs. In Japan the Nikkei 225 is also scaling new peaks.
  • By contrast the rout in Chinese stockmarkets continued apace, with the csi 300 drop-pi ng to a five-year low and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng trading near its lowest close since 2009. The NASDAQ Golden Dragon China Index of Chi-nese-company shares listed in America has also dropped since the start of the year. China’s prime minister, Li Qiang, ordered the authorities to take “forceful” steps. Speculation mounted that the government would intervene with a state-backed stabilisation fund to buy up shares.
  • The Bank of Japan’s first monetary-policy meeting of the year kept interest rates at -0.1% and made no changes to its yield-curve control strategy. Japanese government-bond yields rose sharply after the central bank’s governor, Ueda Kazuo, said the chances were increasing of it hitting its inflation target, fuelling market expectations of a rate rise in the first half of this year.
  • America’s Federal Aviation Administration cleared the path for Boeing's 737 Max 9 planes to fly again, once airlines complete their safety inspections. The aircraft were grounded when a panel fell off a flight just after take-off.
  • ExxonMobil asked a court to block a shareholder motion brought by two activistinvestor groups that want the oil giant to expand cuts to its emissions. Exxon says the motion does not comply with the Securities and Exchange Commission's rules on shareholder proposals and that the activists are motivated by an extreme agenda. Similar motions were defeated at Exxon’s annual general meeting in the past two years. Shell also faces problems with an activist-shareholder motion on emissions this year.

The last kingdom

  • The number of net new subscribers to Netflix surged by 13.1m in the last three months of 2023, a figure exceeded only by the 15.8m people it signed up in early 2020, the start of the pandemic. It now has 260m users in total, pushing it further ahead of rival streaming services. The company said the growth in its customer base reflected "the benefits of paid sharing”, in other words, its crackdown on users sharing passwords. Its subscription plan including ads is also popular, growing by 70% on the quarter. And Netflix is expanding into live broadcasting, striking a $5bn deal to stream World Wresting Entertainment shows.
  • ASML reported a 30% jump in annual net sales. The Dutch company is the dominant maker of the equipment needed to produce top-end semiconductors. Orders for its kit tripled in the fourth quarter compared with the previous three months, boosted by the mania for artificial intelligence. ASML is now Europe’s most valuable technology company.
  • Tesla’s revenue grew by just 3% in the last quarter of 2023, year on year. The carmaker warned that sales growth this year would be "notably” lower, and unusually, did not provide a delivery target. Tesla said that it is "between two major growth waves", ad di ng to concerns that demand for electric cars may be waning.
  • Toyota’s chairman, Toyoda Akio, forecast that the sale of purely electric cars will top out at 30% of the global market, with the rest shared out between hybrid, hydrogen and petrol vehicles. Mr Toyoda has long been less bullish than his peers on the prospects for EVS. Limiting people's choices isn’t the answer, he opined; customers, not regulators, should decide what to drive. Toyota has lagged behind its rivals in the switch to EVS, though its sales of electrified vehicles in America last year, including hybrids, came to 29% of its total there.
  • Macy’s rejected a $5.8bn buyout offer from a pair of investment firms that it received in December. The retailer is instead closing five stores and laying off 3.5% of its workers, or around 2,350 staff.

No sanctuary in the restroom

  • A privacy watchdog in France fined Amazon for its “excessively intrusive system” for monitoring workers. Amazon collects data from goods-scanners used by employees, who sometimes feel they have to justify taking a break, the watchdog said. Amazon may appeal against the fine. A survey last year by uni Global Union found 57% of Amazon workers felt that the constant monitoring was having a negative impact on their mental health; workers with irritable-bowel syndrome were having a particularly hard time, it said.

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