Serendeputy - your personal news assistant.

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GETTING to the finish line of Vendée Globe has always been hard. The planet’s only non-stop solo round-the-world sailing race—known as the “Everest of the seas”—can take months to complete, and is considered a gruelling test of mental and...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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IN 2014 Mozambique seemed a good place to host the IMF’s “Africa Rising” conference. The economy was buoyant, having grown by about 7% a year for a decade. Offshore gas promised riches. Investors were optimistic, so much so that, in 2013, they...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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AMERICA protects the freedom of expression about as robustly as anybody. The courts that police this First-Amendment guarantee, though, often face dilemmas.
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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IN THE tense, uncertain days of late 2013, when Ukrainians filled Kyiv’s Independence Square in protest at their government’s turn towards Russia, the then president, Viktor Yanukovych, grabbed a lifeline. To bolster his resolve in resisting the...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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THE 2016 election marked a coming-out party for conservative Chinese-Americans, who offered Donald Trump some of his most passionate support among non-whites. Now some are feeling the first twinges of a hangover, as their hero threatens a trade war with...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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ALTHOUGH a jolly spot for surf and sun, Durban is hardly a centre of African diplomacy. So it was a surprise when Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the outgoing head of the African Union (AU), chose to deliver the first-ever “State of the Continent” speech...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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CAN a bad man be a good president? The potential urgency of this question took Lexington on a cross-country pilgrimage to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. The museum, which reopened in October after an expensive...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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SLOPPY security at an American military base in Iraq in 2009 allowed a lowly soldier to set off a diplomatic thunderstorm. Bradley Manning, a junior intelligence analyst, downloaded a database of American government files onto a CD (labelled “Lady...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Can I see your licence? A GOOD street-food stall is the one place in Mumbai where the posh and the poor might rub shoulders, if only for the few seconds it takes to gobble down a savoury snack. You can be sure the vendor himself will have come from the...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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“IF BEN GUERDANE had been located next to Falluja, we would have liberated Iraq.” So (reportedly) said Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, before he was killed a decade ago. He was referring reverentially to a town in south-eastern...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Jam tomorrow? NEARLY 20 years after it opened, Pakistan’s first motorway still has a desolate feel. There is scant traffic along the 375km link between Islamabad and Lahore (pictured). Motorists can drive for miles without seeing another vehicle, save...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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DELEGATES at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos often treat politicians as rock stars. But the fawning reception given to China’s leader, Xi Jinping, on January 17th was extraordinary. He was the first Chinese president to attend...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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FOR Admiral Wu Shengli, the commander of China’s navy since 2006, it must have been a sweet swansong to mark his imminent retirement. In November China announced that its first and only aircraft-carrier, the Liaoning, was combat ready. On December...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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PRODUCERS at RT, the Kremlin-financed media weapon formerly known as “Russia Today”, must have been glowing. More than half of the report on Russian electoral interference which America’s intelligence agencies released on January 6th was devoted...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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IF THE world’s most popular museum, drawing over 15m visitors a year, suddenly offered a distant city a priceless haul of artefacts—on permanent loan and absolutely free—you would expect that city’s residents to jump for joy. Not so, when the...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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ON NOVEMBER 9th, as it started to sink in that Donald Trump would be their president too, Californians expressed their anger and disappointment in different and creative ways. Some took to the streets and burnt papier-mâché effigies of Mr Trump’s...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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EXPECTATIONS were high last week as Alexei Kudrin, a former finance minister and the informal leader of a moderate liberal camp in the Russian establishment, outlined his proposed economic programme in a packed Moscow auditorium. Russia’s top economic...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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IT WAS music to Brexiteers’ ears. In an interview with the Times and Germany’s Bild, Donald Trump revealed that he wanted a trade agreement between America and Britain “very quickly”. Less widely reported was Mr Trump’s refusal to specify how...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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WHEN couples tango outdoors in Buenos Aires, it is usually to cadge coins from tourists. A recent display, outside the city hall, had a new purpose: to draw attention to the plight of the city’s milongas, tango events where the dancers’ only audience...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Protesters may topple bins but they can’t bin Hamad A SAGGING rope, haphazard barricades—and fear. That is all it has taken to keep Diraz, Bahrain’s largest Shia village, under siege for the past seven months. Two checkpoints bar access to all...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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EL SALVADOR was reborn 25 years ago. On January 16th 1992 the government signed a peace accord with left-wing guerrillas at Chapultepec castle in Mexico City, ending a 12-year civil war in which 75,000 people died. The agreement, followed by a truth...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Qat, a tonic? “THIS is qat,” explains Teklu Kaimo, gesturing to the wooded field behind him. He started growing it in 1976, and over the years its soft, green leaves have brought him a measure of prosperity. He has a modest plot of land, 11 children...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Wiles over charisma AT FIRST glance the European Parliament might look invulnerable to the populist wave sweeping across Europe. Antonio Tajani, a centre-right Italian who won the presidency of the chamber on January 17th, is the sort of bland functionary...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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IN A last minute scramble to cement a legacy before making way for Donald Trump, Barack Obama’s administration has been busy normalising relations with Cuba and commuting the sentences of hundreds of prisoners. It has also, more quietly, taken aim...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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CHOREOGRAPHERS have always looked to the literary canon for stories. Greek myths, Shakespeare, the great Russian novelists, the Brontes: all have been plundered to supply plots for ballets. Certain kinds of writing, though, have been left on the shelf,...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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JUST half an hour after opening time, it is already back-of-the-head viewing only at the Ferens art gallery in Hull. That must be rare for a smallish regional museum on a drizzly weekday morning. But then a whopping 10,000 people crammed into it over...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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THERESA MAY’S speech on Brexit lasted almost an hour, but five seconds would have sufficed. She could just have said: “Immigration controls will be imposed at any cost.” As home secretary, she tried and failed to implement David Cameron’s pledge...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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DONALD TRUMP often presents himself as the great enemy of fake news. He has a pronounced tendency to accuse his opponents of peddling it. But some suspect it helped to deliver him the White House....
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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THERESA MAY’S speech on January 17th set Britain definitively on a path to a “hard” Brexit, in which it will leave not just the EU but the European single market. This was not what the City of London wanted to hear. The prime minister did at least...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Still suffering OF ALL the things uttered by Donald Trump during the election campaign, none seemed to threaten his chances of victory more than his admission, on tape, that he had grabbed women “by the pussy” without their consent. Yet Republicans—and...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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HOLED up in Trump Tower, the New York citadel he seems reluctant to leave, Donald Trump detected a tsunami of excitement in the national capital before his inauguration on January 20th. “People are pouring into Washington in record numbers,” he tweeted....
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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AMONG other things, the start of Donald Trump’s presidency this week heralds a collision between campaigning rhetoric and legislative and economic reality. What follows will be a learning experience for all, it is fair to say. Though not perhaps the...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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China’s car industry boomed last year: the world’s largest auto market saw the number of passenger cars sold swell by 15%, thanks to government tax incentives. Growth will probably slow this year as the stimulus is phased out. New passenger-car registrations...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Ready to rock THE day after Ronald Reagan won his second term as president in 1984, a doctoral student at Harvard University published his second book. “The Policy Game: How Special Interests and Ideologues are Stealing America” complained that greedy...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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MUCH of the time, argues David Runciman, a British academic, politics matters little to most people. Then, suddenly, it matters all too much. Donald Trump’s term as America’s 45th president, which is due to begin with the inauguration on January...
From: The Economist | Thursday, January 19, 2017
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BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO (BAT) announced on January 17th a final deal to buy Reynolds American for $49bn. BAT already owns 42% of Reynolds; buying the rest of it will create the world’s largest listed tobacco company by sales and profits. It will peddle...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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IT MIGHT be called May’s paradox. Since she became prime minister last July, Mrs May has been urged by businesses to clarify her Brexit goals. Yet every time she has tried, investors have reacted by selling sterling, because she has shown a preference...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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THE culture wars that have inflamed American politics since the 1990s are set to continue under the incoming president, Donald Trump. Mr Trump has indicated he will name pro-life candidates to vacant seats on the Supreme Court.
From: The Economist | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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“FLYING’S very dangerous. In 1987, there were 30 airline accidents; 211 were fatalities and 230 were definitely passengers.” When “Rain Man” was released in 1988, airlines edited this scene out of the film before showing it to passengers.
From: The Economist | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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AS THEY slid down the streets of Davos this week, many executives will have felt a question gnawing in their guts. Who matters most: shareholders or the people? Around the world a revolt seems under way. A growing cohort—perhaps a majority—of citizens...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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“THIS show will wreck your evening, your home life and your day.” From the very first discouragement, it is clear that Netflix’s adaptation of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”—a set of 13 books about the miserable lives of three orphans—is...
From: The Economist | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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“CARNAGE”. That word—one not usually associated with inaugural addresses or any appeal to national unity—formed the smouldering, incendiary core of President Donald Trump’s first speech after taking his oath of office on January 20th.
From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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ON JANUARY 11th Hamburg celebrated the long-delayed inauguration of its Elbphilharmonie, an architectural gem of a concert hall which cost the taxpayer €789m ($836m). Now Potsdam, capital of the state of Brandenburg, is in the spotlight for another...
From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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CABIN crew on Korea Air flights have used electric stun guns to pacify flyers on five occasions, according to an investigation by the BBC. The report says that South Korea’s national carrier is the only big airline known to fly with such tasers on...
From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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IT WOULD be hard to find two more different characters than Theresa May and Donald Trump; the former a suburban vicar's daughter, the latter a brash reality TV star. But they face similar problems—how to keep both the markets and their supporters satisfied....
From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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WELCOMED by some, dreaded by others, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States has arrived. This is the 58th official inauguration, one of the world’s oldest ceremonies for passing the baton to a new head of state,...
From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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THE urgency with which Britain’s Brexiteer elite has scrambled to cosy up to Donald Trump in the weeks building up to today’s inauguration has been something to behold. Leading the way was Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, flashing a mile-wide...
From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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WHEN George Orwell, an avid collector of political pamphlets, surveyed the blossoming literary form in 1943, he was unexpectedly unimpressed. “There is totalitarian rubbish and paranoiac rubbish, but in each case it is rubbish,” he wrote in the New...
From: The Economist | Friday, January 20, 2017
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