Serendeputy - your personal news assistant.

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        AT FIRST sight, it was a triumph. After months of negotiations Ukraine and a committee of its creditors (which include Franklin Templeton, an American investment house and BTG Pactual, a Brazilian one) reached a deal this week to restructure...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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The CBOE volatility index, or VIX, is also known as the “fear index”. This week it jumped to its highest level since 2011. The VIX, which is calculated using S&P 500 options prices, has been placid most of this year, with the exception of a brief...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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OVER the past 100 years, mankind has made great leaps in healthcare and medicine: eliminating diseases and learning how to keep people alive. The life expectancy of a person born in America in 1900 was just 47 years. Eighty years later that figure increased...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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 LAST September U2 released its 13th album, “Songs of Innocence”. Critics lauded the collection’s lush ballads and rhythmically angular reminiscences of boyhood in 1970s Dublin. But, because it was released as part of a surprise iTunes giveaway,...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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Melina Mercouri liked doing it WHEN in doubt, call an election, goes a Greek political adage. It is as valid as ever. After only seven months in power, Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, resigned on August 20th with the intention of winning a new mandate....
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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YOU might think Godwin Emefiele, the governor of Nigeria’s central bank, had problems enough. The collapsing oil price has slashed Nigeria’s export earnings. Foreign reserves have fallen from more than $40 billion early last year to just over $30...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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THE first item sold on eBay, an online marketplace, was a broken laser pointer, which was snapped up for $14.83 in September 1995. By 2002 eBay had hosted nearly $15 billion of transactions and had more registered users than Britain had people. Yet the...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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ISLAMIC STATE (IS) does not hide its brutality. When it burns men alive or impales their heads on spikes, it posts the videos online. When its fighters enslave and rape infidel girls, they boast that they are doing God’s will. So when fugitives from...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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THE intensity of the argument in Washington, DC, over the nuclear pact between Iran, America and five other powers is in some ways impressive. Such an important agreement merits close scrutiny. Sadly, much of the talk has been wildly misleading (see...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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All change, pet MORE people in England travel to work by bus than by all other forms of public transport combined—about 12% of the working population. Bus passengers make 5 billion journeys a year, three times as many as train passengers. And yet...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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Turning his back IN THE semi-arid lowlands of Mufindi, in southern Tanzania, water is hard to come by. Villagers rely on irrigation to grow maize, potatoes and spinach. Informal and often woolly codes govern how much water each farmer diverts to their...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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Satan’s little helper ON AUGUST 23rd Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, reopened Britain’s sumptuous embassy in Tehran. It was a highly symbolic act. The embassy had remained closed since 2011, when it was stormed by angry protesters demonstrating...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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WITH his promises to introduce a “maximum wage”, nationalise energy companies and even reopen coal mines, one might not expect Jeremy Corbyn to enjoy much support among economists, at least this side of Moscow. But the socialist MP, who looks likely...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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FINLAND, with its baffling language and culture of reserve, is not an easy place for outsiders to penetrate. For Nura Farah, the breakthrough came via the dissected brains of dead cows. Ms Farah, who arrived with her mother in 1993 as a teenager seeking...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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AFRICA is home to a tenth of the planet’s oil, a third of its mineral reserves and produces two-thirds of its diamonds. High prices may pep up the continent’s short-term economic growth, but scholars have long suspected that its plentiful natural...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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AFTER two years of remission, Japan seems likely to sink back into the “chronic disease” of deflation, as Haruhiko Kuroda, the governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), calls it. New data are expected to show on August 28th that core CPI, the central...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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GETTING divorced? Going to the doctor? Flushing a loo? If so, you are increasingly likely to receive a bill from the government. As cash-strapped Western countries try to balance their books without raising unpopular taxes, they are charging higher fees...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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IN HER tiny flat, which she shares with two cats and a flock of porcelain owls, Chi Yingying describes her parents as wanting to be the controlling shareholders in her life. Even when she was in her early 20s, her mother raged at her for being unmarried....
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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Frond management JUST off the west coast of Florida lies the sun-drenched island of Little Bokeelia. It is blessed with cascading waterfalls, tennis courts, pools and a Spanish-style villa. Despite such enticing features, the island languished on the...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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IT IS hard to exaggerate the decrepitude of infrastructure in much of the rich world. One in three railway bridges in Germany is over 100 years old, as are half of London’s water mains. In America the average bridge is 42 years old and the average...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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A MAINLINE train station in France at the end of summer hums with the thrill of journeys taken and families reunited. The French travel more by high-speed rail than any other European nation. Trains in the French mind are about more than just efficiency...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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WHEN he became Turkey’s first popularly elected head of state last year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to be no “ordinary president”. Departing from political tradition once more, he has now called early elections for the first time in the country’s...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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Ready to launch EVER since the end of the Balkan wars in 1999, the most important question in the region has been when and how to join the European Union. Slovenia made it in 2004 and Croatia followed in 2013. For the rest, however, the goal is still...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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LIU CAIPING is a former maths teacher, now 71, who has lived alone in the western city of Xi’an since her husband died last year. The radio is her steadfast companion. Her eyesight is failing and she rarely goes out. Like many city residents, her former...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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In the summer when it drizzles ON A gloomy Wednesday morning, the threat of yet another torrential downpour does little to halt the flow of tourists into the British Museum, the country’s most popular attraction. Visitors march in, a mass of fluorescent...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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NEXT year in Rio de Janeiro, 28 sports will feature in the Olympic Games. Alongside traditional Olympic sports such as athletics, rugby sevens will make its debut, while golf will appear for the first time since 1904. Yet while the number of sports in...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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ON AUGUST 22th, at least 11 people were killed and many more injured when a vintage-1950s Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to a dual carriageway on the south coast of Britain during a display at Shoreham airshow. It follows a summer of carnage across Europe....
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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THE ability to make stockmarkets boomerang is usually reserved for central bankers. But on August 24th, hours into a global market rout that had started in Asia and was sweeping its way through Europe and then America, Tim Cook, the boss of Apple, turned...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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In 2010 David Cameron promised to reduce net migration “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands”. He failed. Earlier this year the prime minister restated the ambition. Figures published on August 27th showed that his goal is more...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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ONCE the soundtrack to a financial meltdown was the yelling of traders on the floor of a financial exchange. Now it is more likely to be the wordless hum of servers in data centres, as algorithms try to match buyers with sellers. But every big sell-off...
From: The Economist | Thursday, August 27, 2015
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DOWN a quiet lane in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, anti-government campaigners at trestle tables are doing a roaring trade in yellow T-shirts. The volunteers have already flogged more than 30,000 of the garments, which are becoming de rigueur for...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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Should the Federal Reserve worry about tanking stock markets? One reason for calm is that they do not much affect household finances. Just over half of Americans say they are invested in the stock market, but their direct stock holdings are small, making...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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NORTHERN IRELAND’S peace process, which has for more than a year been stumbling uncertainly along, was dealt a destabilising blow on August 26th when a unionist party signalled its imminent withdrawal from the region’s power-sharing executive. The...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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FOR centuries, astronomers thought the cosmos was made up entirely of star-stuff, with a bit of planet-stuff thrown in. But by the 1930s it became clear that a new universal recipe was needed: galaxies appeared to be spinning far too fast, given the...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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ADRIAN NOBLE, a British director and former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), is currently staging a vibrant production of Oscar Wilde’s comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest”. First performed 120 years ago, Wilde’s...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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AS A global city, New York offers visitors sights they won’t see anywhere else in the world. In the summer months, at the peak of tourist season, the city also offers visitors some fairly distinct smells. As the city heats up, smells of litter and...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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CHINA'S stockmarket rout has been causing waves around the world. China's benchmark index has fallen by 25% over the past week. Over the same period the S&P 500 has fallen 11%. In an apparent effort to reassure investors and onlookers that Apple...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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JOHN KASICH is trying his very best not to alienate any potential backers of a moderate Republican candidate for the presidency. So far the governor of Ohio has done well: he was the most centrist debater in the first televised debate of ten GOP presidential...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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Big demonstrations planned to take place in Malaysia's cities on August 29th and 30th--only one of many difficulties facing its prime minister, Najib Razak--are earning the country of 30m attention. Formed in 1963 from a confection of sultanates previously...
From: The Economist | Friday, August 28, 2015
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LAST week Johnson featured depressing evidence that old-fashioned gender-attitudes are still very much with us, in looking at “sexism” and “misogyny”. But there is good news, too. A host of new words from the past decade shows that straight men...
From: The Economist | Friday, August 28, 2015
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GULLIVER interviewed Kevin Johnson as research for a piece on luxury travel in the print edition this week. Mr Johnson worked as a chief-of-staff and a palace manager for various heads of state, Russian billionaires and royal families. Part of his job...
From: The Economist | Friday, August 28, 2015
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HOW big was China’s stockmarket crash? Dubbed “Black Monday”, August 24th ended with Chinese equities down 8.5%, wiping out hundreds of billions of dollars in market capitalisation. Like many things about China, this sounds massive. But is a one-day...
From: The Economist | Friday, August 28, 2015
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THE UPWARD revision to American GDP on August 27th provided a shot in the arm to global stockmarkets, which have endured their most volatile week of trading in years. The American economy is now thought to have grown by 3.7% at an annual rate in the...
From: The Economist | Friday, August 28, 2015
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LAST seen vanquishing her half-brother by punching nails through his feet, Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of Steig Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, is making a comeback—but now with a new author. Since the posthumous publication of the first book "The...
From: The Economist | Friday, August 28, 2015
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