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The Economist - 4 May 2024

Скачать бесплатно журнал The Economist, 4 May 2024

Год выпуска: May 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: 80


An interview with Emmanuel Macron

  • France's president issues a dark and prophetic warning: leader, page 9, and analysis, page 42.
  • Europeans lack a visceral attachment to the European Union. Does it matter? Charlemagne, page 46.
  • China’s and America's global contest: Chaguan, page 36.

The new science of disinformation

  • How the nasty business works—and how to counter it: leader, page 10.
  • Deception is on the rise, page 66.
  • Producing falsehoods has become easier, page 67.
  • The anatomy of a disinformation campaign, page 68. Fighting back, page 70.

Uncle Sam’s fiscal profligacy

  • America’s reckless borrowing is a danger to its economy—and the world: leader, page 11.
  • The budget outlook is disastrous, yet all but forgotten on the campaign trail: briefing, page 16.

Conflicts on campus

  • Should American universities call the cops on protesting students? Leader: page 11.
  • Universities struggle with how to regulate free speech and other rules, page 21 and Buttonwood, page 63.

Feeling horny: dragons meet erotic fiction

  • Romantasy is the literary love-child of fantasy and romance, page 72.

The world this week Politics

  • More American colleges were swept up in pro-Palestinian student demonstrations.
  • Pro- and anti-Israel students clashed violently at the University of California, Los Angeles; Jewish students said earlier that they had been turned away from the campus by protesters. Hundreds of arrests were made across the country, including at the University of Texas in Austin and at Columbia, where students had occupied a building. The University of Florida said agitators who disrupted college life would be banished. iMany students have tried to set up tent encampments. At the Sorbonne in Paris police moved swiftly to stop a copycat camp from being set up.
  • Donald Trump was fined $9,000 for breaking the terms of a “gag order” by making public statements on social media about the witnesses and jury at his hush-money trial. The judge threatened to jail AMr Trump if he persisted in attacking the trial’s participants.
  • Arizona’s legislature repealed a law from 1864 that banned abortion, thus nullifying a decision by the state’s Supreme Court to outlaw the procedure based on the law. Two Republican senators joined Democrats in overturning the ban.
  • Following Congress’s approval of a $61bn military-aid package for Ukraine, the Pentagon announced that it would provide the country with $6bn so that it can buy weapons directly from American defence companies. Around $ibn has also been dispensed to buy anti-aircraft missiles and other hardware.
  • Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky urged Ukraine’s allies to speed up their delivery of military aid. The Ukrainian president warned that Russia was using the delay in replenishing arms to press its advantage. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, said his troops had been pushed back by Russian forces on the eastern front, and that the situation had “worsened”.

Georgian nightmare

  • Police in Georgia fired water cannon and tear-gas at protesters who were demonstrating against a new law that requires NGOs and media groups that obtain at least 20% of their funding from abroad to register as foreign agents. The legislation, which is making its way through parliament, has been dubbed “the Russia law” by its critics. Bidzina Ivanishvili, the influential founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party, lashed out at the West, claiming foreigners were trying to influence domestic politics.
  • Pedro Sanchez, the Socialist prime minister of Spain, decided not to resign. He had raised the possibility of quitting his job amid allegations of corruption against his wife, but Madrid’s public prosecutor has said there is no evidence to back the claims.
  • The American State Department said that five units in the Israel Defence Forces had committed gross violations of human rights. All the incidents are believed to have taken place in the West Bank and Jerusalem and occurred before the current war in Gaza. Israel had taken action in four units; it said it would supply additional information on the fifth. America will continue to supply the units with military assistance.
  • The International Court of Justice ruled against issuing emergency orders to stop Germany selling arms to Israel in a case brought by Nicaragua. A final ruling may take years.
  • A law was passed in Iraq that criminalises same-sex relationships, carrying a penalty of 10-15 years in jail. Iraqi politicians have been highly critical of gay rights in recent years.
  • Concerns increased over the risk of large-scale massacres among the roughly 2m people in el-Fasher, the capital of Sudan’s North Darfur region. The city is under attack by the Rapid Support Forces, a rebel paramilitary force that emerged from the genocidal Janjaweed militia. Meanwhile aid agencies warned of the risk of famine in Sudan.
  • Burkina Faso banned several foreign media outlets after they reported allegations made by Human Rights Watch, an international NGO, that the country’s army massacred 223 people. Separately, more than 120 people have been killed in floods in Kenya, including 40 who died when a dam burst. The region has been buffeted by unusually heavy rains.

It’s a tough job, but...

  • In Haiti the new transitional council named Edgard Leblanc Fils, a former president of the Senate, as its leader. The council now runs the country following the formal resignation of Ariel Henry as prime minister. Fritz Belizaire, a former youth minister, now holds that job. The council’s priority is to restore security in Haiti after months of de facto control by criminal gangs.
  • Astate of emergency was declared in five provinces in Ecuador amid a spate of violence that the government blames on drug gangs. A nationwide state of emergency had only just ended.
  • Markets rallied in Argentina, after the lower house of Congress approved a package of reforms put forward by the president, Javier Milei. The bill has been watered down from Mr Milei’s original proposals, but would still allow the government to privatise public bodies and cut red tape. It now goes to the Senate, where it faces stiffer opposition.
  • The security forces in India killed ten Maoists in a gun battle in the central state of Chhattisgarh. It was the second clash within two weeks and comes as voting continues in the country’s general election. The earlier skirmish saw 29 rebels killed.
  • After an election in the Solomon Islands that produced no clear winner, Manasseh Sogavare decided to stand down as prime minister. Mr Sogavare forged closer ties with China, which included the arrival of Chinese police in the Pacific-islands country in 2022. Jeremiah Manele, who is also pro-China, was selected by parliament to replace him.
  • Tensions rose between Britain and Ireland over illegal migrants, amid a surge of crossings from Northern Ireland to the Irish republic, a member of the EU. Irish politicians are debating an emergency law to send the migrants back to the UK, but Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, says his government won’t take them, because the EU doesn’t accept migrant returns from Britain to France.
  • Humza Yousaf resigned as first minister of Scotland, after a backlash to his decision to end his Scottish National Party’s coalition with the Green Party. John Swinney, a former party leader, was the first to throw his hat into the ring to succeed iMr Yousaf. The SNP is expected to lose ground to Labour at the forthcoming general election.

The world this week Business

  • The Federal Reserve made it official and declared there had been a “lack of further progress” in getting inflation down to its 2% target, suggesting that it won’t start cutting interest rates until much later this year at the earliest. In January investors were pricing in about six quarter-of-a-percentage-point cuts in 2024. They have pared their bets since.
  • The yen rebounded sharply, fuelling speculation that the authorities had intervened to prop up the currency for the first time since 2022. The currency had hit a 34-year low of 160 to the dollar, after the Bank of Japan left its benchmark interest rate on hold at between zero and 0.1%, having raised it from minus 0.1% in March. The central bank gave little clue as to when it would raise rates again, and also did not produce a plan to sharply curtail its bond-buying.

Farewell to the mighty Quinn

  • In a surprise announcement, Noel Quinn said he would step down as chief executive of HSBC, five years after taking up the role. Mr Quinn continued the bank’s pivot to Asia, where it makes most of its profit, and saw off a spirited challenge from shareholders that wanted the Asian business to be spun off into a separate entity. He says he is now due some “rest and relaxation”
  • BBVA and Banco Sabadell, Spain’s second- and fourth-largest banks, are contemplating a merger that would give the combined entity a market value close to that of Santander, and be the biggest banking deal in Europe in years.
  • Changpeng Zhao, the founder and former chief executive of Binance, was sentenced to four months in prison in Seattle for neglecting to oversee controls on money-laundering at the cryptocurrency exchange, which resulted in the transfer of funds to Hamas, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisa-tions. Mr Zhao pleaded guilty to the charges. Prosecutors had sought a three-year sentence.
  • CVC Capital Partners’ long-awaited IPO in Amsterdam drew huge investor interest. The share price of one of Europe’s biggest private-equity companies closed up nearly 20% on the first day of trading, raising €2bn ($2.1bn). In New York the IPO of Viking, a cruise line that targets the overis and bans children, was also a big success, raising $1.5bn.
  • Speculation swirled that other mining companies might make a takeover bid for Anglo American, after it rejected a £31bn ($39bn) proposal from ВНР, which could still submit a higher offer. Rivals may try to buy specific bits of Anglo. Its primary assets are in copper, iron ore and platinum, and the De Beers diamond business.
  • The demand forartificial-intelligence applications led to a big jump in Amazon’s cloudcomputing business, with the division’s operating income surging in the first three months of 2024. Amazon’s overall net profit came in at $10.4bn, up from $3.2bn in the same quarter last year. Microsoft and Alphabet have also reported stronggrowth in Al-based services. Alphabet announced its first-ever shareholder dividend and a $70bn share buy-back plan.
  • The euro zone’s annual inflation rate was unchanged in April at 2.4%. The core rate, excluding food and energy prices, slowed to 2.7%. The figures suggest the European Central Bank is on track to cut interest rates at its meeting on June 6th. Another factorfor the ECB is that the euro-zone’s economy grew by just 0.3% in the first three months of the year, quarter on quarter; new data showed it fell into recession in the last half of 2023.
  • Elon Musk unexpectedly sacked the entire team at Tesla working in its Supercharger division, around 500 people, as well as the division’s head and the head of new products. Tesla’s is one of the world’s largest charging networks for electric vehicles; Ford and General Motors had only just begun plugging their cars into the system. The lay-offs come on top of a 10% reduction in headcount announced recently. Mr Musk said he hoped by now that senior executives were getting the message about slashing costs.
  • Tesla’s boss had just returned from a trip to China, where he met the prime minister, Li Qiang, and reached a deal with Baidu, one of China’s tech giants, to provide mapping software for Tesla’s cars, bringing it closer to gaining approval for its driver-assistance technology in the country. Mr iMusk has talked before about “going balls to the wall on autonomy”.

Hollywood drama

  • Paramount Global said Bob Bakish was stepping down as chief executive, to be replaced by three senior executives. Mr Bakish was not keen on a proposed buy-out of the entertainment company by Skydance Media. That deal is supported by its controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, and opposed by almost every other investor.

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