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The Economist - 9 March 2024

Скачать бесплатно журнал The Economist, 9 March 2024

Год выпуска: March 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: 86


What could upend America's election?

  • How to think through three big risks that are pertinent to this American presidential election: leader, page 11.
  • Third-party candidates could tip it either way: briefing, page 16.
  • Donald Trump moves swiftly to master a bigger maga machine, page 19.

Folly and the Ivies

  • The Ivy League's supremacy is being undermined by bad leadership: leader, page 14.
  • America's elite universities are bloated, complacent and illiberal, page 54.

The Oscars go global

  • Whoever gets the Best Picture award, international films are winning, page 74.
  • Marriage and the Oscars, page 75.

Slimming drugs, fat profits

  • Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are printing money now. But a wave of competition is coming: leader, page 13.
  • The trillion-dollar weight-loss bonanza, page 57.

China's fantasy growth plan

  • A blueprint for economic revival won't end deflation: leader, page 72.
  • The meeting of China's rubber-stamp legislature offers clues about policy and power, page 37.
  • In 2024, to acknowledge public gloom is to doubt Xi Jinping: Chaguan, page 40.

The world this week Politics

  • Nikki Haley pulled out of the Republican presidential nomination race after Donald Trump won 14 of the 15 primary elections on Super Tuesday. Ms Haley did not endorse Mr Trump, but urged him to reach out to her supporters. He responded on social media that she "got trounced’’. Earlier, the Supreme Court ruled that individual states could not kick Mr Trump off the ballot. In a unanimous decision it found that the ad hoc removal of federal candidates from elections would cause chaos.
  • Benny Gantz, a centrist member of Israel’s war cabinet, visited Washington, where he met Kamala Harris, America's vice-president, and London, where he met David Cameron, Britain's foreign secretary. Mr Gantz’s reception was a sign of growing frustration in Western capitals with Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, over the war in Gaza and ensuing humanitarian crisis. America has airdropped emergency aid into northern Gaza and urged Israel to increase the flow of humanitarian supplies. Mediators in Cairo were hopeful that Israel and Hamas would agree to a temporary truce before the start of Ramadan.
  • Turnout was low in Iran’s parliamentary elections. Many voters stayed away in protest against a poll in which opposition figures were excluded from the ballot.
  • Ghana's president, Nana Akufo-Addo, said he would not sign into lawa bill that would imprison people who say they are gay until the Supreme Court has ruled on whether it violates constitutional rights.
  • America imposed financial sanctions on Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and other senior Zimbabwean officials fortheir alleged involvement in human-rights abuses and corruption. It has also lifted existing sanctions on Zimbabwe to make it clear its actions are aimed at specific people and not Zimbabweans in general.
  • The German government was engulfed by an embarrassing national-security scandal, after Russian media leaked a phone call among senior airforce officials discussing the provision of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. Details of British and French assistance to Ukraine were also discussed. Russian intelligence intercepted the call because one of the participants dialled in to the encrypted conference via an unsecure link from a hotel in Singapore.

Even in death he mocks me

  • Thousands of Russians defied Vladimir Putin by attending Alexei Navalny’s funeral in Moscow. Hundreds more queued to pay their respects over the following days. America has imposed sanctions on three people in connection with the opposition leader’s death, including the prison warden of the penal colony where he was found dead.
  • The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two Russian commanders for directing attacks on Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure from October 2022 to March 2023. Targeting civilian rather than military objects is a war crime. Meanwhile a Russian missile exploded in Odessa near where Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, was holding a meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister.
  • France became the first country in the world to explicitly enshrine the constitutional right to an abortion, after parliament voted overwhelmingly to support it. Some won dered whether this smacked of American-style culture wars: proponents of the measure had pointed to the rolling back of legal abortion in America.
  • In Britain George Galloway won a by-election in Rochdale, reducing the Labour Party, which had held the seat, to fourth place. Mr Galloway, a former Labour MP, ran a proPalestinian campaign aimed at the town's large Muslim community (Labour had withdrawn support for its candidate over his remarks about Jewish people). The next day the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, gave a big speech warning against activists who “spew hate on protests or seek to intimidate people”, after MPS’ homes were targeted by proPalestinian supporters.
  • At the annual meeting of China’s parliament, the prime minister, Li Qiang, laid out an ambitious gdp growth target of "around 5%”. Mr Li admitted that it will be tough to meet. The government is reluctant to crank up stimulus, even though the economy faces “many lingering risks and hidden dangers", as Mr Li put it. It was also announced that Mr Li will not give a press conference at the close of the week-long event, ending a tradition dating back to the 1980s and highlighting the absolute power of China’s leader, Xi Jinping.
  • The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard of harassing vessels that were trying to supply Filipino troops on the Second Thomas Shoal, one of the many disputed areas in the South China Sea. The Chinese fired a water cannon, slightly injuring four Filipino crew. A Chinese coast-guard ship also ran into a Philippine one.
  • Thousands of farmers in India renewed their attempt to march on Delhi, the capital. The farmers want the government to guarantee minimum payments for their crops and scrub out their debts. They had suspended their protest last month.
  • The government in South Korea increased the pressure on junior doctors to end their strike by threatening to cancel their medical licences. Representatives from the Korean Medical Association were questioned by the police regarding claims that medical law had been broken.
  • The scant remnants of Haiti’s government were on the point of collapse. Murderous gangs control the capital, Port-au-Prince, and are waging gunbattles with the police for control of the airport. America’s State Department asked Ariel Henry, the prime minister, to agree to a new transitional government. Few can get out of the country, or into it. For days Mr Henry was holed up in Puerto Rico. A proposed peacekeeping mission is not yet under way.
  • Alberto Otärola resigned as prime minister of Peru amid corruption allegations. He denies wrongdoing. The country’s president, Dina Boluarte, replaced him with Gustavo Adrianzen, a humanrights lawyer and Peru’s representative to the Organisation of American States.

Unfree and unfair

  • Venezuela’s electoral commission set July 28th as the date fora presidential election, much earlier than expected. The opposition to Nicolas Maduro’s autocratic regime now has until only March 25th to register a candidate. Maria Corina Machado, who won the opposition primary, has been disqualified by the Supreme Court. America says it will reimpose sanctions if she cannot run.

The world this week Business

  • OpenAi hit back at Elon Musk’s claim that he had been "induced” to make contributions to the startup, which he helped to found, on the basis that it would remain a nonprofit organisation. Mr Musk has filed a lawsuit against OpenAi and Sam Altman, its chief executive, alleging that its partnership with Microsoft breaks a deal to make artificial intelligence free to the public. In a blog post OpenAi said that Mr Musk had "wanted us to merge with Tesla or he wanted full control” and left to create a rival Ai business. "We're sad that it’s come to this," the post said, "with someone whom we’ve deeply admired.’’

In reverse

  • Tesla’s sales in China slumped by 19% in February from the same month last year, according to the China Passenger Car Association. This was in part because Chinese new year fell in February, but the news focused investors'attention on the weakening demand for electric vehicles and Tesla’s stock fell sharply. A new price war is under way in China to tempt buyers. Tesla reduced the price of its Model 3 and Model Y cars in January. This week byd slashed the prices of the newer version of its bestselling Yuan Plus car and its cheapest model, the Seagull.
  • Adding to Tesla’s woes this week, the company stopped production at its factory near Berlin following an arson attack claimed by a far-left group. Local environmentalists have opposed the factory from the start, saying it soaks up local water supplies and damages woodland.
  • Tesla is not the only business struggling in China. Apple’s sales of iPhones in the country plunged by 24% in the first six weeks of 2024, year on year, according to data from Counterpoint Research. Smartphone sales fell by 7% overall, though Huawei’s grew by 64%. Apple's share price, already under pressure over its lack of direction on Al, fell further.
  • Meanwhile, Apple was fined €1.8bn ($2bn) by the European Commission for restricting its music-streaming rivals from telling customers about their pricing models on Apple's app store. It is the first competition fine levied against Apple by the European Union. The commission said the size of the penalty, the third-largest it has ever imposed in an antitrust matter, would act as a deterrent against similar practices. Apple is to appeal against the ruling.
  • The British government unveiled its budget, the highlight of which was a two percentage-point cut to national insurance, a payroll tax. It also increased the duty on business-class travel and extended a windfall tax on oil and gas companies. In another pivot, foreign nationals will no longer be able to avoid paying tax on money made overseas if they live in Britain for more than four years. An election is due later this year.
  • Egypt’s central bank floated its currency and lifted interest rates by six points. The Egyptian pound plummeted to a record low. The IMF, which had called for a more flexible currency regime, promptly increased its loan arrangement with the country from $3bn to $8bn. Egypt has also secured $35bn in investment deals from the United Arab Emirates.
  • Australia's economy grew by 1.5% in the fourth quarter, year on year, the slowest pace since the pandemic. That adds more pressure on the central bank to cut interest rates.
  • Increased activity in mining helped South Africa avoid a recession in the last three months of 2023, though the economy grew by just 0.6% over the whole year. As well as rolling power cuts and creaking infrastructure, businesses are contending with logistical problems at ports, which are hampering trade.
  • Bitcoin hit a new intraday record of $69,202 before falling back. The price of the cryptocurrency has surged this year, spurred in part by institutional investors piling into new American-listed exchange-traded funds in bitcoin.
  • Markets shrugged off the decision by OPEC+, which includes Russia, to extend to July cuts to oil production that were due to expire this month. The cartel is hoping to boost prices for the commodity by curtailing its output, but America and Canada are expanding their oil production, filling gaps in the market.
  • Target's revenue fell last year for the first time since 2016. Still, the retailer’s share price surged after it announced a turnaround programme to entice shoppers and said it would invest in new stores.

The muppet show

  • Controversy ensued when Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster tweeted that "Me hate shrinkflation! Me cookies are getting smaller”. Joe Biden mentioned the comment in a speech on fighting "corporate rip-offs". A new'bi 11 from Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey, two Democratic senators, would allow regulators to punish companies that reduce the size of their products but charge the same price.

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