The Intelligence from The Economist

By The Economist

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Subscribers: 4246
Reviews: 5


 Aug 2, 2021


 Aug 2, 2020


 Jul 19, 2019

ryan
 Jul 6, 2019
the only episode I listened to was so full of lies and ridiculous conspiracies it's ridiculous. I'm too intelligent for that garbage.

From my phone
 Apr 23, 2019
it's more good than bad though I preferred the week ahead. This a less dry and more casual listening podcast with snippets of information from around the world

Description

Get a daily burst of global illumination from The Economist’s worldwide network of correspondents as they dig past the headlines to get to the stories beneath—and to stories that aren’t making headlines, but should be.


Episode Date
Power strip: SCOTUS’s environmental ruling
00:27:09

America’s Supreme Court has essentially shorn the Environmental Protection Agency of its agency in making national policy. We ask what that means for the climate-change fight. Hong Kong is marking 25 years since its handover from Britain to China; the promised “one country, two systems” approach is all but gone already. And why moustaches are back in Iraq.

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Jul 01, 2022
Son rise: the Philippines’ next President Marcos
00:22:21

It is a remarkable turnaround for a notorious family: the late dictator’s son just took the reins. But how will he govern? Scotland’s separatist party is again pushing for an independence referendum. That will probably fail—and empower the very prime minister that many Scots love to hate. And, why pilots in Ukraine are using an outdated, inaccurate missile-delivery technique. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 30, 2022
Uprising tide: the coming inflation-driven unrest
00:21:58

In a global period of belt-tightening, popular anger will spill over. Our correspondent visits places where powderkegs seem closest to being lit; our predictive model suggests where might be next. China’s spies have a deserved reputation for hacking and harassing—but fall surprisingly short on other spooky skills. And why America is suffering a shortfall of lifeguards. 

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Jun 29, 2022
A force awakens: NATO’s new game plan
00:24:50

War in Ukraine has stiffened the alliance’s spine; leaders meeting this week will refashion troop-deployment plans reflecting a vastly changed security situation. The property sector makes a staggering contribution to carbon emissions, but our correspondent says it is not cleaning up nearly as fast as other industries are. And reflecting on the life of Roman Ratushny, a steely Ukrainian activist.

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Jun 28, 2022
Comings to term: America’s abortion-rights rollback
00:24:42

The Supreme Court ruling has convulsed the country; passing the question of abortion rights to the states will divide America yet further. We ask what it means for the court to go so plainly against public opinion, examine the woeful effects the changing scenario will have on women and speak to one woman whose life was saved by a now-threatened procedure. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 27, 2022
Shooting from the hip: The Supreme Court expands gun rights
00:25:59

Yesterday, America’s Supreme Court issued its most important Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade, striking down a New York law that tightly regulated concealed carrying of guns. The ruling means cities will probably see a lot more armed people. Our correspondent caught up with Ukraine’s First Lady. And new research into the origins of the Black Death. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 24, 2022
Pride and prejudice: China’s LGBT crackdown
00:22:12

In much of the world, things are improving for sexual minorities. The opposite is true in China, where authorities are cracking down on the LGBT community. Bangladesh is suffering its worst flooding in living memory, but with a surprisingly low death toll (so far). And which city topped the EIU’s annual Liveability Index. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 23, 2022
Eastern encroaches: Ukraine’s losses in Donbas
00:26:35

Russia is making steady, piecemeal gains in the region; Ukrainian forces are simply outgunned. That disparity defines the war’s progression—for now. More than 20 countries have radio stations run by and for prisoners, giving those inside a voice. And why a cannabis derivative is proving popular among Japan’s elderly. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 22, 2022
Estranged bedfellows: Israel’s government collapses
00:23:05

A motley collection of parliamentarians, now without its whisper-thin majority, has crumbled. That will force the country back to the ballot box—and back to familiar political turmoil. Increasing numbers of American cities are enticing people with cash incentives, but do such policies work? And why drumming helps people with emotional and behavioural difficulties.  For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 21, 2022
Stuck in the middle with few: Macron’s parliamentary pasting
00:23:25

resident Emmanuel Macron has lost his majority in France’s National Assembly as voters flooded both to the far right and far left. A second term filled with confrontation and compromise awaits him. The shadowy world of corporate spying is broadening to far more than just cola or fried-chicken recipes. And when scare-tactic road-death statistics lead to more deaths, not fewer. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer


 

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Jun 20, 2022
Menace to democracy: The January 6th hearings
00:24:19

In its third public hearing yesterday, the committee investigating the January 6th Capitol insurrection detailed the pressure put on Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election—as well as the continuing threat to American democracy posed by Donald Trump. Can artificial intelligence become sentient, and if it did, how would we know? And why internet shutdowns are a costly and ineffective way to stop students from cheating. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 17, 2022
Powell to the people: The Fed raises rates
00:24:31

America’s central bank raised rates by .75% yesterday—the biggest increase in almost 30 years. Whether that will help tame rising prices without triggering a recession is unclear. The poor performance of Russian tanks in Ukraine has led some to wonder whether the tank itself is obsolete. And the rousing, darkly humorous defiance of Ukrainian war anthems. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 16, 2022
Planes have changed: Britain’s controversial asylum policy
00:23:05

The European Court of Human rights foiled Britain’s plans to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda yesterday by holding that British courts must first find the policy legal. The Taliban have proven surprisingly adept tax collectors, though they will spend much of the funds on defence rather than improving the lives of struggling Afghans. And the world is buying too few electric vehicles to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions.


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Jun 15, 2022
No magic bullet: a Congressional agreement on guns
00:22:57

Mass shootings in Buffalo, Tulsa and Uvalde appear to have broken a longstanding impasse over federal gun laws. A bipartisan group of senators has laid out a legislative framework—but whether that turns into an actual bill remains unclear. Scientists are rethinking what might constitute the building blocks of extraterrestrial life. And why people seem to love boring video games.


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Jun 14, 2022
Nyet effects: Russia’s resilient economy
00:21:24

Western sanctions are intended to starve Russia’s economy and hinder its ability to wage war in Ukraine. And while the long-term outlook remains grim, so far oil and gas earnings have kept its economy humming. Why Latin America’s commercial capital isn’t even in Latin America: it’s Miami. And why France is building bridges over motorways for wildlife. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 13, 2022
Revolting: The January 6th committee’s public hearings
00:26:13

The committee investigating the Capitol attacks of January 6th 2021 held the first of several public hearings last night, having gathered evidence for the past year. The hearings may not break Donald Trump’s hold on the Republicans, but they are creating a vital record of an attempted coup. As wolf populations grow, humans are learning to live with them. And why the corporate world has taken an interest in psychedelic drugs.

 

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Jun 10, 2022
Second time’s the charm? Somalia’s new president
00:25:45

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is Somalia’s first-ever reelected president. In an interview with our correspondent, he lays out his second-term ambitions for beating back jihadist insurgents and repairing relations with his neighbours. Why adapting to climate change is harder for people with less education. And why the film industry has high hopes for this summer’s blockbusters. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 09, 2022
The wrath of Khan: Pakistan’s turbulent spring
00:20:57

Pakistan’s government faces an unpleasant choice between doing what’s popular and what is economically necessary, as Imran Khan, the former prime minister, exploits widespread discontent for his own ends. Russia’s invasion is threatening Ukraine’s unique seed bank. And why so many languages have such a rich variety of words to describe family members and relationships. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 08, 2022
After the party, the hangover: Boris survives, barely
00:25:07

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, narrowly survived a no-confidence vote last night. As he limps on, the informal contest to succeed him will intensify, as will questions about the Conservative Party’s direction. San Francisco’s progressive district attorney faces a recall election today, in a vote with broader implications for the future of criminal-justice reform in America. And why Ukraine’s army relies on century-old machineguns. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 07, 2022
A farewell to arms control? Ukraine and nuclear weapons
00:21:41

For almost 80 years, the world has refrained from using or, for the most part, even seriously pondering the use of nuclear weapons. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has eroded that taboo. Avian flu is spreading around the world, threatening birds’ health and contributing to rising egg and poultry prices. And Sun Ra’s huge, weird and wonderful Arkestra is back on the road. 

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Jun 06, 2022
Hide, park: Russian money in London
00:22:51

Britain’s capital is packed with foreign capital, in particular the Russian kind. We ask what it is about London that attracts—and protects—the oligarchs. We check in again with Lusya Shtein of the anti-Putin punk-rock group Pussy Riot about her daring escape from Russia. And amid celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year tenure, we reflect on royal jubilees through history.

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Jun 03, 2022
Press clipping: Ethiopia’s media crackdown
00:22:31

The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has expelled our correspondent. Abiy’s proxies at home and abroad are helping a propaganda push that is silencing criticism. California’s legal-marijuana market is enormous, but its growers are floundering under taxes and regulations; the industry is getting stubbed out. And a look at how companies that have withdrawn from Russia are faring.

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Jun 02, 2022
The diet is cast: a coming food catastrophe
00:26:04

War and blockades in Ukraine are the largest but far from the only problems squeezing the global food system—and with prices already way up, a catastrophe of hunger looms. The prospect of whole-genome screening for newborns opens up many opportunities to avoid or treat disease, and many ethical debates. And more than just sordid history at Bangkok’s red-light-district museum.For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jun 01, 2022
Bear traps: Russia’s push in eastern Ukraine
00:24:13

Russian forces are having some successes in eastern Ukraine; our defence editor discusses the situation on the ground and what may tip the balance in the grinding war. We examine a contentious American law that reveals the country’s broken immigration system. And why independent Chinese bookshops are becoming so social-media-friendly.

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May 31, 2022
Base motives? China in the Pacific
00:22:19

The country has just one foreign military base, but there are fears it wants to dot the Pacific region with more—and that is, so far, proving tricky. With ties between Western and Russian scientists severed, decades of research in the Arctic, particularly on climate change, are at risk. And a new series further unpicks the mythology of punk music. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 30, 2022
Take the first left? Colombia’s election
00:23:04

POLLS SUGGEST // Polls suggest the country might get its first-ever leftist leader. Whatever the outcome, a fresh outbreak of violent protest may await. Africa’s increasingly crippling fuel shortages can be blamed on more than just higher prices. And reflecting on the life of Lawrence MacEwen, laird of a tiny Scottish island whose austere simplicity he fought to preserve. 

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May 27, 2022
Let’s get the parties charted: the Partygate report
00:25:55

A long-awaited inquiry into lockdown gatherings on Boris Johnson’s watch reveals lurid details of brash bashes. Yet the prime minister will be able, once again, to brush off the controversy. We ask why Switzerland is such a powerhouse in business and finance despite its modest resources. And how Russia’s war propaganda is winning over plenty of Twitter users. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 26, 2022
Active shooters, inactive politics: America’s latest school massacre
00:23:30

After 19 children and two adults were gunned down in Texas, we ask why gun laws are actually loosening in many states and why even moderate gun controls do not get passed. The rapid spread of monkeypox has rattled a covid-weary world; how much cause for concern is there? And why teams of professional writers are getting involved in games development. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 25, 2022
The city that never slips: Beijing and covid
00:25:03

China’s Communist Party leaders have painted themselves into a corner: they cannot be seen to put the capital into lockdown, but permitting covid to spread could be catastrophic. We look into the myriad reasons behind America’s sharp shortages of baby formula, and how to solve them. And why it is illegal for women to get a manicure in Turkmenistan.

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May 24, 2022
Labor’s day: Australia’s election
00:22:01

Anthony Albanese, the first Labor prime minister in a decade, has pledged to do far more on climate change. His party’s slim win shows how Australian politics is changing. Bosses are increasingly turning to surveillance software to monitor employees (so be careful if listening to this show during work hours). And why the fortune-telling tradition of shell-throwing thrives in Brazil.

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May 23, 2022
Straight out of Orwell: Russia’s propaganda machine
00:26:25

The Kremlin’s propaganda machine ensures that Russians have a much different view of the war in Ukraine than the rest of the world. Our correspondent spent a day immersed in Russian media, to learn what people there see—and what they don’t. The spectre of hyperinflation is once again stalking Zimbabwe. And our obituaries editor remembers a man who refused to let Japan forget its painful past.


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May 20, 2022
Pestilent peninsula: covid in North Korea
00:24:13

North Korea’s zero-covid strategy appears to have failed. The country has officially acknowledged 162 cases; the true number is probably orders of magnitude more. The country’s health-care system is inadequate, and pre-existing conditions such as tuberculosis and malnutrition are rampant. With elections impending in Turkey, politicians have begun competing with each other to scapegoat refugees. And why girls outperform boys in the Arab world’s schools.

 

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May 19, 2022
It’s his party: American primaries
00:24:31

Five American states held primary elections yesterday. The most important were in Pennsylvania, where a Trump-backed candidate won the Republican gubernatorial primary. The Republican senate race remains too close to call. Wide-area motion imaging is a surveillance technique developed by the military in Iraq but now creeping into the civilian world. And why war in Ukraine is raising the price of berries in Britain. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 18, 2022
Luna landing: Crypto chaos
00:24:07

Stablecoins are essential to the financial plumbing of the cryptocurrency world. They’re pegged to a real-world asset, usually the dollar. But when that peg breaks, things can turn ugly in a hurry. Much of India is suffering through a particularly blistering and costly heatwave. And Indonesians’ love of songbirds is threatening wild bird populations within and beyond Indonesia itself. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 17, 2022
Not stuck in neutral: Sweden, Finland and NATO
00:22:50

Neither Finland nor Sweden ever joined NATO, the Western military alliance formed in 1949: Finland for pragmatic reasons and Sweden for ideological ones. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted both to change course. Facebook’s appeal is waning – to both users and investors. And for the first time, a telescope has captured images of the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 16, 2022
Arm Scandi: Britain’s mutual-defence pact
00:27:44

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s collective-defence deal with Swedish and Finnish leaders represents a shift in the European order—and Britain’s post-Brexit place in it. Our correspondent visits Great Zimbabwe, a long-overlooked archaeological site of stunning proportions whose secrets are only now being revealed. And a look at the weird sensory thrill of ASMR through a new exhibition. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 13, 2022
Entrenched: stalemate in Ukraine’s east
00:25:24

Russia’s bid to conquer the eastern region of Donbas is proceeding at a snail’s pace. All over Ukraine resistance continues and a grinding, prolonged conflict looms. Police reform remains controversial in America even two years after George Floyd’s murder. We visit two alternative-policing efforts to see how things might change. And examining the cultural chronicle tucked within Britain’s rules-of-the-road handbook. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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May 12, 2022
It’s a family affair: Sri Lanka’s protests turn deadly
00:23:27

Demonstrations that eventually ousted the prime minister have cost lives, but the protest mood is not fading: many want every member of the storied Rajapaksa family out of government. We examine an effort to develop undersea GPS and learn why a watery sat-nav would be so useful. And why 1972 was such a formative year for music in Brazil.

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May 11, 2022
Out like a Lam: Hong Kong’s new leader
00:21:02

John Lee, the successor to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, won by a predictable landslide: he is just the sort of law-and-order type party leaders in Beijing wanted. As the rich world emerges from the pandemic, surges in activity abound—particularly the opening of new businesses. And ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals, we hear about this year’s entrants from Ukraine.

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May 10, 2022
Under-armed sweat: America’s “arsenal of democracy”
00:22:36

America accounts for the lion’s share of weaponry sent to Ukraine. But that may leave it short of arms in onward conflicts; boosting production is not as easy as it may seem. The widespread cost-of-living crunch is particularly acute in Britain; we visit a food bank to see how people are coping. And the surprising demographic trends shaping contemporary California.

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May 09, 2022
The son shines: elections in the Philippines
00:26:19

Voters in the Philippines choose a new president on Monday. The likely winner is a scion of one of the country’s most controversial families. Exxon struck oil off the coast of Guyana a few years back. How will becoming a petrostate change this small country on South America’s northern coast? And koalas are adorable but imperilled—by development, stray dogs and now, a quickly spreading bacterial infection.

 

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May 06, 2022
Powell’s points presentation: the Fed raises rates
00:21:54

Prices in America are rising faster than at any time in the past 40 years. In response, the Federal Reserve has made its steepest interest-rate hike in 20 years. Will it be enough to tame inflation while not tipping America into recession? Shanghai’s residents are growing restive after a long lockdown. And Nelson Mandela’s name and legacy are being used to sell a growing range of consumer goods.

 

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May 05, 2022
Stormont weather: elections in Northern Ireland
00:24:59

Voters in the UK head to the polls for local elections tomorrow. In Northern Ireland, a party that does not want the country to exist appears poised to win the largest number of seats. Why a Nebraskan company’s annual general meeting has become known as “the Woodstock of capitalism.” And how the art of cattle trading is getting a 21st century makeover.

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May 04, 2022
Roe-ing away: Abortion rights in America
00:27:22

A leaked draft opinion shows America’s Supreme Court is ready to let states outlaw abortion. We explore the implications for American politics, and the rights of millions of American women. Around 85% of the world’s population lives in countries, often democracies at peace, where press freedom has declined over the past five years. And remembering the typist of Oskar Schindler’s list.

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May 03, 2022
ROC and a hard place: Taiwan’s lessons from Ukraine
00:22:25

Much like Ukraine, Taiwan has a well-armed neighbour that does not think it exists as a state: China. We ask what both sides are learning from Russia’s invasion. A heavy-handed string of arrests following a flare-up of gang violence in El Salvador is unlikely to change matters. And an analysis reveals the connection between weather and whether voters support climate-change legislation. 

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May 02, 2022
General disarray: Russia’s military failures
00:22:13

Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s armed forces were believed to be lean, modern and fighting fit. We ask why they have performed so poorly. A life sentence for a Turkish activist portends heightened repression as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads for a tough election. And celebrating master harmonica player Toots Thielemans on the centenary of his birth. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 29, 2022
Pipe down: Russia cuts gas to Poland and Bulgaria
00:22:51

By shutting off gas to Poland and Bulgaria, Russia has made an aggressive move that may draw yet more European sanctions. How might the escalation end? The popularity of Singapore’s ruling party has slipped, a bit, so it has selected a kinder, gentler leader ahead of elections in 2025. And why the delayed Art Biennale in Venice was worth the wait. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 28, 2022
Strong suits: climate litigation
00:23:32

Activists are tired of waiting for governments and companies to act on climate change. So increasingly they’re taking the matter to court—with success. Egypt’s leaders claim the country is open for business, but the army has a growing stranglehold on the private sector. And even the trails up Mount Everest are being affected by the war in Ukraine.

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Apr 27, 2022
A bird in the hand: Elon Musk buys Twitter
00:23:36

The world’s richest man now has the keys to one of the most influential social-media platforms. Can it be the free-speech wonderland he is aiming for? Should it? In America marriages involving those under the age of consent remain surprisingly common; we examine why reform remains distant. And a look at the push to redesign outdated, clunky spacesuits. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 26, 2022
Le Pen pusher: Macron wins again
00:27:28

Emmanuel Macron’s re-election is historic and, for many, a relief. But, as we discuss in the final instalment of our French-election series, the campaign revealed divisions that will trouble his second term, and that he must now try to heal. A staggering flow of foreign weaponry has been a significant factor in Ukraine’s resistance; we examine the geopolitical implications of all that hardware. And the pricey phenomenon of Britain’s personalised licence plates.

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Apr 25, 2022
Rwanda-on-Thames: Britain’s asylum proposal
00:23:51

BRITAIN’S GOVERNMENT has proposed sending asylum-seekers to Rwanda. The plan has been widely criticised as expensive and ineffective—but the greater danger is that the plan works. New research suggests that diversification, rather than boosting domestic production, may keep supply chains resilient. And our correspondent considers the legacy of Charles Mingus, an American composer and bassist born 100 years ago today.

 

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Apr 22, 2022
Knocking on hell’s Dvornikov: the battle for Donbas
00:25:37

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered a new phase, and its forces in Ukraine have a new commander—one with a history of targeting civilians. The next few weeks are likely to see huge, bloody battles for control of the eastern Donbas region. As Sunday’s presidential run-off vote approaches our French-election series profiles the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron. And why smell preferences vary little across cultures.

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Apr 21, 2022
Sana’a sunrise: A ceasefire in Yemen
00:23:02

In Yemen, fighting between Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. Recently, a ceasefire has taken hold — but whether it presages the war’s end or further fighting remains unclear. A new film about Kashmir has proven popular among Indian politicians, largely because it supports their Hindu-nationalist narrative. And why cricket is taking off in Brazil.

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Apr 20, 2022
In neither camp: Neutrality and war
00:22:20

ONE-THIRD of the world’s population lives in countries backing neither Russia nor Ukraine. The Biden administration has tried to persuade them off the fence, without much success. In Egypt, social mores make it tricky for women to live alone—so they have devised clever tactics to avoid unwelcome attention. And why residents of New Jersey are banned from pumping their own petrol—for now.

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Apr 19, 2022
Running for cover: our Ukraine-refugees special
00:27:13

The war in Ukraine has created the greatest flux of refugees in Europe since the second world war. We visit Poland, where the response has been remarkably smooth, and a New York neighbourhood that is no stranger to émigrés from the region. And we consider the displaced who are largely overlooked: why are so many Russians exiling themselves in Turkey?

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Apr 18, 2022
Girls interrupted: Afghanistan
00:23:47

When the Taliban resumed power, there were hopes that women might not be as excluded, repressed and abused as they were previously. Those hopes have faded. As smartphone sales plateau, tech giants are furiously searching for new platforms to conquer. Augmented and virtual reality are the new battlefields. And the rise of giga-everything: how the scale of science drives linguistic innovation. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 15, 2022
Food haul: aid trickles into Tigray
00:21:56

A ceasefire agreed weeks ago should have mitigated the suffering of starving Ethiopians caught up in war; we ask why so little aid has got through. Rebuilding Ukraine’s infrastructure and economy will require staggering sums—and a vast, international plan of action. And South Africa’s lockdown-era alcohol bans had a curious knock-on effect: crippling shortages of a beloved yeasty goo.

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Apr 14, 2022
Just fine: Boris Johnson and “partygate”
00:23:38

Police have served Britain’s prime minister, among others, with a fine for breaching the lockdown rules he instituted. He may yet again emerge unscathed, but Britain’s politics is damaged nonetheless. Florida’s natural environment has made it one of America’s fastest-growing states, yet environmental challenges represent its biggest long-term challenge. And Ukraine’s most famous rock star joins the war effort.

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Apr 13, 2022
A stretch and a run: Brazil’s ex-president returns
00:22:20

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva left office with a sky-high approval rating, having raised millions from poverty—but was then convicted of corruption. Now he wants his old job back. Forced labour in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields, once widespread, is swiftly vanishing. And an old hypothesis confirmed: birds get more colourful the closer they live to the equator.

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Apr 12, 2022
Le Pen is mightier than before: France’s election
00:25:09

President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen of the nationalist-populist National Rally party will advance to a run-off; in the continuation of our series, we ask what to expect in an unexpectedly tight race. Russian military communications have proven easy to intercept, leading to poor co-ordination and heavy battlefield losses. And South Korea’s millennials are frantically hunting for Pokémon-themed snacks.

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Apr 11, 2022
Laïcité, extrémité, fragilité: our French-election series in full
00:54:42

The first round of the presidential election is on Sunday and our first-ever series has been following the race closely. This compendium of the first six dispatches looks at the candidates, their platforms and the sharply shifting political landscape in France. 

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Apr 09, 2022
Gota the trouble: Sri Lanka’s crises
00:24:00

Through ineptitude and bad timing, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa—known as Gota—has driven his country toward ruin. Its people want him out. Russian forces have occupied Kherson since early March. We hear a report from the ground about life under foreign occupation. And tasting awamori, a Japanese spirit that distillers may lift from the doldrums simply by watering it down. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 08, 2022
Nasty, brutish and long? The war’s next stage
00:26:21

Russian troops have withdrawn from suburban Kyiv to focus on the eastern Donbas region. With Western weapons for Ukraine flowing in, a grinding war of attrition looms. For our French-election series we meet members of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, which has found success by shifting the focus away from its extremist image. And why a bid to rename Turkey will be so fraught. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 07, 2022
Zero's intolerance: Shanghai’s messy lockdown
00:22:33

China’s zero-covid policy is being stretched to breaking point as the virus makes its way through the city. Supplies are low, residents are angry and there is no end in sight. The debate about air conditioning in America’s sweltering prisons will only heat up further. And how a dispute about time from exactly a century ago remains timely today. Additional audio provided courtesy of Matthew Florianz. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 06, 2022
Bodies in the streets: Russian atrocities
00:23:22

Our correspondent reports from towns around Kyiv, where Russian forces appear to have committed war crimes, including summary executions and random murders. The last instalment of a once-in-a-decade climate report suggests that meeting the more ambitious temperature goals set in Paris requires a “handbrake turn” on global emissions. And why Britain’s car washes are a rare example of “re-automation”. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 05, 2022
No-confidence interval: Pakistan’s embattled PM
00:21:09

Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to be trying everything to avoid an ouster. The powerful military brass may simply want a new leader who is less hostile to the West. Calls for tough sanctions on Russian oil are multiplying. But demand for it has already plummeted—and China and India sniff a bargain. And the earthworm invasion beneath North America’s soil. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Apr 04, 2022
All opposed, say nothing: Hungary’s election
00:22:47

Viktor Orban’s eight-year assault on the country’s institutions will help his bid for re-election. But the poll is far bigger than Hungary: it is a verdict on autocracies everywhere. Britain welcomes the fees from its staggering number of Chinese university students; we examine the risks that dependence poses. And a prescient Ukrainian war film gets a new lease on life.

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Apr 01, 2022
Oil and vodka: Russia’s resilient economy
00:22:43

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Western businesses pulled out and governments imposed punishing sanctions. But Russia’s economy is proving surprisingly resilient. In the instalment of our French election series, we travel to Provence to better understand the campaign of the hard-right candidate Eric Zemmour, who has tapped into and stoked anti-Muslim sentiment. And why Lebanon’s plastic surgeons are thriving amid an economic mess.

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Mar 31, 2022
Capital outflow: Russia changes tack
00:25:26

It appears that Russian forces are withdrawing from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, to focus on the eastern region of Donbas. We examine what the shifting tactics signify. A court in Singapore has refused to strike a colonial-era anti-gay law from its books, despite the fact it is never enforced; we ask why. And what’s behind Bolivia’s preponderance of contraband Japanese cars.

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Mar 30, 2022
Talk in Turkey: Russia-Ukraine peace negotiations
00:20:37

Negotiators are again meeting face-to-face, this time in Istanbul. There is little hope of reaching an agreement at this stage—and even less that it would be adhered to. The metal cages appearing atop Russian tanks are intended to counteract anti-tank munitions; in practice their biggest effects seem to be psychological. And the extraordinary heatwave hitting the Antarctic.

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Mar 29, 2022
In the war room: our exclusive visit to Zelensky’s “fortress”
00:25:07

Our editors traverse layers of security to reach the situation room where Ukraine’s president is so often seen addressing the world. They ask about his decision to stay in Kyiv, which countries are proving most helpful and whether he always had all those green clothes. They find a man who speaks of determination and honesty, and whose sense of humour remains remarkably undimmed.

Find an edited transcript of the interview here

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Mar 28, 2022
Under fire: Life in Kharkiv
00:26:42

For the past month, one of our editors has spoken daily with a young man in Kharkiv. Today he discusses his family's decision to leave their hometown for somewhere safer. Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, faced questioning this week from a Senate Committee. And we look back at Oscars hosts gone by.

 

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Mar 25, 2022
What little remains: The destruction of Mariupol
00:21:42

For weeks, Russian forces have besieged the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. Up to 90% of its structures have been destroyed, and while thousands have fled, plenty remain--without food, water, medicine or electricity. Najib Razak, once Malaysia’s prime minister, left office embroiled in scandal. Now he’s back on the campaign trail. And Oman has set strict sartorial standards around the dishdasha, its national dress.

 

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Mar 24, 2022
Vlad the in-jailer: Alexei Navalny sentenced
00:23:02

Alexei Navalny returned to Russia after being poisoned in an assassination attempt that many believe came from the Kremlin. He was immediately arrested, and yesterday his prison sentence was extended for nine years. But if Vladimir Putin hopes that ends his influence, he may be mistaken. The world has turned against Russian artists. And a new exhibition explores African-American contributions to the American table.

 

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Mar 23, 2022
Russian to judgment: Putin accused of war crimes
00:23:48

Joe Biden, among others, has called Vladimir Putin “a war criminal.” International tribunals have tried and convicted war criminals from Rwanda and Serbia: will Russia’s president suffer the same fate? The war in Ukraine will disrupt the world’s wheat market, with potentially grave political consequences in the Middle East. And three public-works projects in Mexico are stirring controversy.

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Mar 22, 2022
Blood will out: Russian mercenaries
00:22:10

Russian forces advancing on Kyiv have stalled. Ukraine has refused the demand to surrender Mariupol. But it’s not just Russian regular troops fighting: we look at Russia’s use of mercenaries. Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, and is now facing the wrath of China. And included in the exodus of Ukrainians are plenty of four-legged companions. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Mar 21, 2022
Mention the war: Germany awakes
00:26:02

For decades, Germany was doctrinally pacifist: a legacy left over from the second world war. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed that, seemingly overnight. As Russia’s military advance has stalled, it has turned its firepower against civilian targets, resulting in widespread death, but also in the destruction of Ukraine’s cultural legacy. And remembering one of the many brave, ordinary Ukrainians, fallen in defence of their country.

 

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Mar 18, 2022
Shock and war: global prices rise
00:24:09

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed global prices, which were already climbing, even higher. As America’s central bank raises its target interest rate for the first time in four years, we break down the challenges facing central bankers. In the fourth instalment of our French election series, we look at how the conflict has changed the race. And Russia’s seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear plant ends three decades of scientific research.

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Mar 17, 2022
Bear hug? China’s take on Ukraine
00:24:22

China appears content to let the carnage continue in Ukraine, anticipating a win for Vladimir Putin. Its real concern is avoiding an apparent win for America and the West. Never mind fears that cryptocurrencies might help Russia dodge sanctions: they are far better at helping to finance Ukraine’s efforts. And the cyborg cockroaches that may one day aid search-and-rescue operations.

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Mar 16, 2022
Capital accounts: on the ground in Kyiv
00:24:39

Our correspondent finds Ukraine's capital already accustomed to an eerie war footing. People are getting married and playing music, even as medicine runs out and a new volunteer army braces for fighting. Australia’s barely fathomable floods show freakish weather is becoming increasingly common there. And the case for reforming how grammar is taught.

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Mar 15, 2022
Abject lesson: the siege of Mariupol
00:23:31

To the west, strikes near Poland have rattled NATO partners. But look to the south-east to see what Russia intends for the Ukrainian cities it encircles. Chile’s new president Gabriel Boric is just the latest leftist to take office in the region; we examine the “pink tide” that is coming in. And why British retail workers are sporting body cameras. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Mar 14, 2022
Defog of war: your questions answered
00:28:34

We tackle some of the many questions on the war in Ukraine that listeners sent in this week—why no-fly zones are a perilous idea, how weapons are making their way into Ukraine, why mud is a growing tactical concern, the implications of oil-and-gas embargoes and much more. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Mar 11, 2022
A non-member states: Finland’s ex-PM on NATO
00:22:57

Perched at Russia’s north-western corner, the country has plenty of history dealing with neighbourly aggression. We speak with Alexander Stubb, a former prime minister, about his views on European security. After a nasty campaign season, South Korea has a new president, Yoon Suk-Yeol. We examine the myriad challenges he faces. And how to spot Parkinson’s disease early—with an electronic nose.

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Mar 10, 2022
Strikes, fear: an update from Kharkiv
00:26:40

After failing to take Ukraine’s second city, Russian forces continue to pummel it with air, artillery and missile strikes. We speak again with an increasingly despondent Kharkiv native. Many schoolyard games have deep histories, conveying culture down the generations; these days they are adapting to the pandemic era. And the revival of Mexico’s murals with a purpose. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Mar 09, 2022
War stories: the view from Russia
00:24:04

With the propaganda machine at fever pitch, not everyone in Russia agrees on—much less agrees with—what is going on in Ukraine. Dissent is being met with increasing repression. A wave of jihadism is crashing across the states of West Africa and the battle lines are moving south. And reasons for both hope and concern in our annual glass-ceiling index.

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Mar 08, 2022
Bear trapped: the sanctions on Russia
00:25:36

The West’s co-ordinated financial weaponry is starting to bite, opening a new age of economic conflict; once-unthinkable oil embargoes seem now to be on the table. Taiwan is another democratic country with a big, bullying neighbour; we examine how the war has sparked introspection. And celebrating Pier Paolo Pasolini, a polymathic auteur unjustly known only for his most controversial film.

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Mar 07, 2022
Rushing from Russians: Ukraine’s refugees
00:24:54

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a refugee crisis in Europe. More than a million people have left; millions more could follow. Turkey’s reasonably stable relationship with Russia may not survive the war. And remembering a champion of Yaghan language and culture, at South America’s southernmost tip. 

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Mar 04, 2022
Climate of fear: the IPCC’s new report
00:24:53

A new report shows that climate change is already causing widespread, tangible damage, and argues that adaptation is now as important as mitigation. A once-promising candidate for the French presidency sees her campaign sputter. And why America needs to shore up the postal service’s finances. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Mar 03, 2022
All that Xi wants: China’s Ukraine dilemma
00:20:44

After backing Russia’s grievances against NATO, China now finds itself treading a very fine line on Ukraine. There are often reasons to be suspicious of a country’s covid-death tally; we examine research showing how fraud can be spotted mathematically. And why women are less likely than men to be corrupt. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Mar 02, 2022
Square in their sights: Kharkiv under siege
00:25:56

The levelling of Freedom Square in Ukraine’s second city is powerfully symbolic. One resident has been speaking to us daily since the invasion began. In the American West, minerals crucial to a clean-energy transition abound. We examine the opposition to a looming new mining boom. And a revealing meal with our food columnist: we have big news about “The Intelligence”.

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Mar 01, 2022
The battlefield broadens: Ukraine resists
00:24:24

On the ground, Ukrainian resistance is holding—so far—and Vladimir Putin’s nuclear posturing reveals a crumbling of his plans. Meanwhile the international response grows more serious and more united. We examine President Joe Biden’s savvy Supreme Court pick, Ketanji Brown Jackson. And how to get around the fact that eyewitness testimony can be fuzzy or change over time. 

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Feb 28, 2022
Capital offence: the battle for Ukraine
00:25:23

As promised, Ukraine’s forces are fighting back tenaciously against a Russian invasion on multiple fronts—but Kyiv, the capital, is now squarely in the invaders’ sights. In England, the last covid restrictions were lifted entirely this week; we consider the calculations many leaders are making in this phase of the pandemic. And an assessment of romantic comedies as a cultural force.

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Feb 25, 2022
It begins: Russia invades Ukraine
00:21:18

Ukrainians woke to the sound of sirens. Volleys of cruise missiles, artillery, widespread reports of explosions: a large-scale invasion appears to be under way. Our correspondent in Kyiv reports on the mood and on what is known so far. And we examine the sharp rise in carjackings in America, asking why so many young people end up behind the wheel. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Feb 24, 2022
Given choice: Colombia’s abortion-law change
00:22:05

In little more than a year, three of Latin America’s four most populous countries have expanded access to abortion. We ask what is driving that change in the region. Austin is the destination for many fleeing Silicon Valley; our correspondent examines the risks posed to the hot new tech spot. And the sugarloaf pineapple: the lucrative fruit of Benin’s branding labours. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Feb 23, 2022
Putting his first boot forward: Russian troops move
00:23:02

President Vladimir Putin has declared the independence of the two Ukrainian provinces of Donbas—and sent in "peacekeepers". We ask what is next. The African Union was founded two decades ago this year; its early integration and diplomatic successes have since sharply faded. And our deep, interactive dive into Spotify reveals the slipping global dominance of English-language lyrics.

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Feb 22, 2022
Trial run: genocide claims against Myanmar
00:24:04

The Gambia’s first-of-its-kind case at the International Court of Justice might bring a rebuke and shine light on Myanmar’s brutal tactics. It might not, alas, bring succour for the Rohingyas. Our correspondent considers a grand geopolitical gamble from exactly 50 years ago, seeking lessons for today from Richard Nixon’s visit to China. And research reveals that noise stresses plants out. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Feb 21, 2022
On the brinkmanship: a special episode on Ukraine and Russia
00:26:30

We unpick the week’s torrent of headlines; an invasion may yet come but either way President Vladimir Putin has already harmed Russia. The country’s digital self-isolation project is quietly forging ahead; we examine its home-grown “tech stack” with everything from chips up to apps. And we hear from a Ukrainian woman whose life has been upended by the conflict’s uncertainties.

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Feb 18, 2022
Sharpest tools, in a box: miniature vaccine factories
00:22:23

BioNTech, the German firm behind the first licensed coronavirus jab, reveals its attempts to stuff its technology into shipping containers—to be used where they are most needed. In the second instalment of our French-election series, we ask what is left of the country’s left. And, as the Olympics wrap up, putting numbers to judges' biases that favour their compatriots. 

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Feb 17, 2022
Judge, jury and executive: another power-grab in Tunisia
00:21:54

Last summer President Kais Saied nobbled the legislature; now he has abolished the judiciary. We ask where the country is headed, and why there is so little protest. Brazil’s modern-art scene, born a century ago this week, flourished despite rocky politics—but the current president has a chokehold on it. And the Thai army’s quixotic mission to evict Bangkok’s legendary street-food hawkers. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Feb 16, 2022
Yen here before: Japan’s “new capitalism”
00:20:41

Today’s figures showing the first annual economic growth in three years may seem promising. But the grand plans of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio resemble past policies that have not worked. The finely tuned government of Bosnia is under grave threat from some of the same forces that caused its brutal war. And why roadkill is now on the menu in Wyoming.

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Feb 15, 2022
Not trucking around: Canada’s protests spread
00:22:25

It has become much more than a fight against proof-of-vaccination strictures. The anti-government mood has spread in Canada and abroad. What happens next? Haiti has received billions upon billions in foreign assistance but its situation remains dire; we ask why all that aid has not aided much. And Reader’s Digest, a surprisingly influential American snappy-excerpts magazine, turns 100.

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Feb 14, 2022
Withdrawal symptoms: Afghanistan goes hungry
00:23:51

Since American forces left, pessimism has skyrocketed—and with good reason. Starvation is driving Afghans to sell their organs and even their children in order to eat. The artificial snow of this year’s winter Olympics is unsustainable and environmentally troubling; we meet a “snow consultant” pioneering a better way. And remembering Lata Mangeshkar, who gave voice to a newly liberated India.

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Feb 11, 2022
Which way UP: India’s bellwether election
00:23:12

The state-legislature poll in Uttar Pradesh is in effect a vote on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s increasingly stringent Hindu-national agenda—and will hint at his party’s chances in 2024. Oil majors are getting points for selling off their dirtiest oil-and-gas operations; we ask who is buying them. And which countries are up and which are down in our annual Democracy Index. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Feb 10, 2022
The quiet man of Europe: Olaf Scholz
00:24:13

So far Germany’s new chancellor has been all but invisible at home and on the international stage. We examine the motives behind his reticence—and his abilities during a European crisis. As space becomes a battleground and satellites become targets, new research aims to bring nuclear power to bear. And visiting a red-hot art exhibition in three ways at once. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Feb 09, 2022
FAANGer danger: big tech takes a beating
00:22:49

 For years, the big tech firms Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google were seen as a collective good bet; investors will soon judge them each on their merits—or demerits. After Israel’s creation, Jews were shunned in the Arab world; that now seems to be changing, and quickly. And, on the frozen ground at Ukraine’s border, there will be mud.

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Feb 08, 2022
Fission creep: Iran nuclear talks resume
00:22:48

After protracted negotiations, at last a conclusion appears nigh—but depending on whom you ask, a breakthrough is as likely as a breakdown. The regime in Bangladesh has been growing more brutal, yet some American sanctions seem to have had a swift and surprising effect. And Japan focuses on healthier, happier sunset years.

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Feb 07, 2022
Skin in the Games: Beijing’s nervy Olympics
00:25:32

Our correspondent describes the fraught effort to attend the opening ceremony. It is a pageant highlighting a divided world, with party leaders aiming for zero covid, zero mistakes and zero dissent. An investigation reveals the brutal treatment meted out by Libya’s coast guard dealing with Europe-bound migrants—an outfit bankrolled by the European Union itself. And America’s gun-owners become surprisingly diverse.

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Feb 04, 2022
A model result: our French-election series begins
00:24:19

In the first instalment of the series, we unveil our forecast model and visit one of the quiet suburbs where the vote’s outcome will probably be decided. Debt has soared as borrowing costs stayed low; we examine who will foot the enormous interest bills as rates rise. And the one place where marriages increased in the pandemic era. 

You can find all of our ongoing coverage of the French election at https://www.economist.com/french-election-2022

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Feb 03, 2022
Action pact: NATO’s Ukraine role
00:23:20

Our correspondent speaks with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, who says the alliance’s involvement in de-escalating Russia tensions is a sign of its resurgent relevance. After tortuous votes, Italy’s lawmakers elected a president: the incumbent who did not want the job. No posts have changed, but the political balance surely has. And we meet the nuns racking up followers on TikTok. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Feb 02, 2022
Do as I say, except at my dos: Boris Johnson’s parties
00:23:10

A long-awaited report confirms rumours that have consumed Boris Johnson’s premiership. He may be weakened, but early signs suggest he will not fall. One year after Myanmar’s military coup, the protest mood has not faded; the murderous junta is failing to rule and the country is falling apart. And the pain of losing one’s native tongue in a foreign land.

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Feb 01, 2022
Sunshine statement: Ron DeSantis’s Florida
00:24:04

Talk of a presidential run for the governor is growing. We examine the state’s rightward lurch as a bellwether of his intent and his political strength. Our correspondent finds that divorce is getting easier, cheaper and a little less adversarial across the rich world. And the wider ecosystem risks posed by the looming extinction of the Sumatran rhino.

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Jan 31, 2022
Insecurities in securities: why markets are sliding
00:22:47

Huge swings and downward trends: markets are forward-looking, and it is clear they do not see much to look forward to in 2022. Warnings about infectious bugs resistant to antibiotics have long been around; to see the effects just look to South Asia. And our data journalists reveal another benefit of widespread veganism: huge tracts of habitable land. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 28, 2022
On the edge of his seat: Stephen Breyer
00:22:42

The departure of one of America’s Supreme Court justices is an opportunity for President Joe Biden to choose a replacement, but the clock is ticking. We ask who might be in the running. West Africa’s latest coup, in Burkina Faso, bodes ill for an already stumbling campaign against jihadism in the region. And why countries change their capitals. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 27, 2022
Twist of faith: religious hatred in India
00:22:45

As the country celebrates its secular constitution, we examine the rising bigotry of Hindu nationalists—at best tolerated and at worst encouraged by the ruling party. China’s propagandists are onto something: after years of dull jingoism, the entertainment they put out now is glossy, big-budget and ever more watchable. And why South-East Asia’s obsession with otters poses a threat to them.

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Jan 26, 2022
What’s it good for? Putin’s Ukraine calculus
00:22:36

More Russian troops piling in. Embassy staff pulling out. American forces on alert and sober diplomacy still on the docket. We examine Vladimir Putin's ways, means and motivations. The Omicron variant is making its mark in Mexico, a place that our correspondent says never really shut down. And considering the merits and the risks of work-related drinks. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 25, 2022
Prime mover? Mario Draghi and the Italian presidency
00:21:36

This week’s secretive votes will determine the next president and the current prime minister looks to be a favourite. But that move would be bad for Italy. Many African countries that are rife with resources remain persistently underdeveloped; we dig into the reasons. And we meet the chefs bringing unsung Native American cuisine to the table.

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Jan 24, 2022
Unsustainable envelopment goals: China’s zero-covid fight
00:20:04

The Omicron variant is destined to test the limits of a policy that has already proved costly: consumption, growth and confidence are all flagging. The effects of Russia’s gulag did not stop when the labour camps closed: there appear to be long-term benefits for nearby areas. And why cycling in the Arab world is on the rise.

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Jan 21, 2022
Heavyweight-price fight: how to beat global inflation
00:24:27

Shoppers across the developed world face sharply rising prices, and leaders are reaching for all manner of remedies—but that’s what central banks are for. Behind the story of Myanmar’s brutal military leadership is a slow stream of defectors; our correspondent meets the support network they rely on. And cover songs muddle the notion of who can call it their tune.For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 20, 2022
Drilling into the numbers: ExxonMobil
00:22:56

America’s biggest oil firm has long been recalcitrant on climate matters, so its new net-zero targets may seem surprising. We examine the substance of its pledges—and motivations. For an economist, tipping is an odd practice; whether you love it or hate it may be a question of control. And how unusual Novak Djokovic’s refusenik vaccine stance is among elite athletes. Additional audio courtesy of Tennis Australia. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 19, 2022
Through deny of a needle: vaccine mandates
00:22:51

Austria is set to enact a bold policy of levying fines on the unvaccinated. We look at what is driving governments to such measures, and whether they will work. Japan’s shift in thinking about its growing elderly population holds lessons for countries set for a similar demographic shift. And why the Mormon church is struggling to retain its foreign converts.

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Jan 18, 2022
But who’s counting? Voting rights in America
00:23:04

Democrats will spend the week battling for a tightening of laws on casting votes; that will overshadow Republicans’ worrying push into how those votes are counted and certified. Earthquakes remain damnably unpredictable, but new research suggests a route to early-warning systems. And why hammams, the declining bathhouses of the Arab world, will cling on despite even the challenge of covid-19. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 17, 2022
His royal minus: Prince Andrew
00:23:20

The queen’s second son has been stripped of his titles—an apparent bid to insulate the crown from his legal troubles. But dangers to the prince and to the monarchy remain. A blockade of Mali, intended to force a return to democratic order, may worsen security and entrench foreign influences. And the genre of “eco-horror” evolves alongside environment-driven anxieties.

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Jan 14, 2022
In vino, veritas: Boris Johnson under fire
00:22:47

While Britons followed covid strictures, the prime minister’s residence hosted boozy gatherings; widespread fury hints that his prevarications this time may be his last as leader. Religious institutions struggled during the pandemic, as all businesses did—so they are selling assets and courting new customers in innovative ways. And road rage is common, but in America it is getting decidedly deadlier. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 13, 2022
Not in the same class: America and schools
00:22:09

The country’s children have missed more in-person learning than those in most of the rich world—to their cost. We ask why battles about schooling rage on. Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president, came to power on big promises; few were fulfilled. We ask about the skimpy legacy he leaves behind. And a look at the metaverse’s red-hot property market.

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Jan 12, 2022
Talking out his asks: Putin’s NATO demands
00:21:55

This week’s flurry of diplomacy aims to address what Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, says he wants. He cannot get it. Does an invasion of Ukraine hang in the balance? At an annual jamboree of economists our correspondent finds an unusual focus on the future—in particular the future of home working. And why Cuba has an enormous trade in grey-market garlic.

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Jan 11, 2022
Hope for the crest: an Omicron wave hits India
00:21:35

The country has the world’s worst estimated covid-death total—but as another variant takes hold there are reasons for optimism. Mexico’s president has some old-fashioned notions about energy, and his pet legislation would make it both dirtier and costlier. And the Orient Express was itself a murder victim, just one line in a continent-spanning rail network that may yet be revived.

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Jan 10, 2022
Fuel to the flames: uprising in Kazakhstan
00:23:13

What started as a fuel-price skirmish has engulfed the entire country; now Russian-led troops have been summoned to help. How did things escalate so quickly? The spike in global house prices has several pandemic-related causes—but do not expect them to fall much when those factors fade. And our obituaries editor reflects on the life of Britain’s first transgender activist. 

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Jan 07, 2022
Capitol crimes: one year after America’s insurrection
00:23:37

The insurrection’s horrors might have marked a turning point for Donald Trump’s supporters and enablers. Not so; the people and the politics remain as divided as they were one year ago. We examine why, despite the rampant uncertainty that should lift it, gold had a terrible 2021. And London’s farcical attempt to draw consumers to a famed shopping district. For full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Jan 06, 2022
Stop the presses! Hong Kong’s media crackdown
00:22:11

The closure of two independent, Chinese-language media outlets all but completes the push to silence pro-democracy press; we ask what is next for the territory. Sudan’s military seems as uninterested in civilian help with governing as legions of protesters are in military leadership. What could end the standoff? And why sanctions on Iran are affecting the purity of saffron. 

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Jan 05, 2022
Holmes stretch: Theranos’s founder convicted
00:21:34

Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty of fraud. We ask what lessons her downfall holds for Theranos’s high-profile backers—and for a startup culture of hype before science. As Apple crosses a $3trn valuation we examine the motives for its stop-start forays into the competitive streaming-video business. And what lies behind the curious resurgence of syphilis.

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Jan 04, 2022
Separate weighs: Brexit, one year on
00:22:00

Trade is down, red tape is up, details of regulatory harmony are still being hammered out. Britain may be less divided about it, but the benefits of the divorce are still to be seized. For the clinically vulnerable, covid restrictions go beyond government mandates; our correspondent shares a personal view. And a visit to mainland Singapore’s last rural village.

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Jan 03, 2022
All she wrote: our obituaries editor reflects on 2021
00:25:00

From Prince Philip to Desmond Tutu, from an anti-racism campaigner and member of the Auschwitz Girls’ Orchestra to a war surgeon focused on civilians to an impoverished Ethiopian whose school for the poor educated 120,000 students: our obituaries editor reflects on the famed and the lesser-known figures who died in 2021. 

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Dec 30, 2021
A few bright spots: our country of the year
00:20:10

Each year The Economist selects its country of the year: a place that has improved the most. Improvement, though, was damnably rare in 2021. We run through our nominations and the shortlist, and take a close look at why the winner won. And we examine what has gone on in South and South-East Asia, which offered no contenders whatsoever.

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Dec 29, 2021
You bet your dollar-bottomed: Erdogan’s next gambit
00:23:20

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s idea for saving the lira by backing deposits with dollars means the Turkish taxpayer will end up bailing out the Turkish depositor. Our correspondent finds striking insights in 40 years’-worth of humdrum submissions to a unique sociology project. And Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion-dollar push into the cinema industry it outlawed for decades.

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Dec 28, 2021
Beginning of the endemic? Omicron’s spread
00:22:20

The lightning-fast spread of a seemingly milder coronavirus variant may represent a shift from pandemic to endemic; we ask how that would change global responses. Concern about video-game addictiveness is as old as video games themselves—but the business models of modern gaming may be magnifying the problem. And newly publicised photographs shed light on Bangladesh’s brutal war for independence.

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Dec 27, 2021
No safety in numbers: security in Haiti
00:24:05

The security situation is hopeless, following violent unrest and a presidential assassination—as one family’s epic and ultimately failed attempt to leave reveals. The sum total of the missing banknotes in the world is staggering, but what is worrying is that no one seems interested in finding it all. And meeting the man who unwittingly became Sherlock Holmes’s secretary.

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Dec 23, 2021
Relocation, relocation, relocation: America’s internal migration
00:24:08

The flood of people out of cities is unlike anything since the suburbanisation of the 1950s; we examine the inevitable economic and political consequences. After years of reporting our correspondent concludes that the mutual disdain of a country’s northern and southern halves is a curious human universal. And a sojourn to fact-check Julius Caesar’s accounts of his triumphs in France.

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Dec 22, 2021
All about that base: Japan’s security policy
00:24:25

In recent years the country has found itself in a sharply different geopolitical environment, responding by building bases and security-partner ties as never before. Our correspondent meets perhaps the last living offspring of an American slave, whose stories paint a picture of the civil-rights movement right up to today. And Thailand’s changing cannabis policy, best seen through its restaurants’ menus.

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Dec 21, 2021
Back to the USSR: Russia and Ukraine
00:23:54

As border tensions continue to build, our Russia editor looks back to the fall of the Soviet Union to explain why Russia has never accepted Ukraine’s independence. Eating out has only become more expensive through the decades, yet the diners keep coming; we examine the long history and economics of restaurants. And our staff picks for 2021’s best books.

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Dec 20, 2021
Centre of no attention: Chile’s presidential election
00:23:20

As the vote’s second round has neared, the candidates have shifted, a bit, from their positions at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Which radical vision for the country will win out? The transition to electric vehicles may well stall, unless the chicken-and-egg problem of public chargers can be cracked. And a soaring history of “birdmen”, successful and otherwise.

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Dec 17, 2021
Money printer slow brrr: the Fed turns down the taps
00:20:40

America’s central bank plans to pinch off its massive bond-buying programme much faster in a bid to stall inflation; our correspondent says it is perhaps a late-arriving signal—but a promising one. Loneliness is a growing problem in the rich world but seems particularly acute among American men. And why aged artists are increasingly taking over the December music charts.

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Dec 16, 2021
In full swing: Ethiopia’s shifting civil war
00:24:17

More than a year after a rebellion Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promised to put down in weeks, the balance of power keeps swinging—and neighbouring states may soon be drawn in. To the chagrin of libertarian crypto types, regulators are weighing in on an industry now worth trillions. And the fed-up North Korean wives earning more than their husbands.

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Dec 15, 2021
Twister of fate? Tornadoes and climate change
00:23:43

Many have been quick to link the tornado catastrophe in America’s Upland South to climate change; we ask why that is a tricky connection to draw. Citizenship of Gulf states has long been difficult to acquire, even for lifelong residents. That is slowly changing—for a slice of the elite. And the kerfuffle surrounding the repurposing of Britain’s red phone boxes.

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Dec 14, 2021
Protein shake-up: getting to know Omicron
00:20:13

The latest “variant of concern” has spread far—and fast. We examine what has been learned about it at equally striking speed, and ask what to look out for next. South-East Asia has long had a methamphetamine problem; so-called compulsory treatment centres are only making matters worse. And the effort to make a minuscule lemur science’s next super-model

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Dec 13, 2021
Unsafe as houses? Evergrande and China’s big plans
00:24:07

The wildly indebted property firm has defaulted at last. That poses big risks as China’s leadership works to refashion financial markets and draw in foreign investors. We visit the world’s largest lithium reserves, asking why Bolivia has not yet made the most of them—and whether it still might. And the Chopin concert aimed at calming Poland’s refugee tensions.

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Dec 10, 2021
Ain’t no party: scandals hobble Britain’s government
00:22:06

At two years into Boris Johnson’s premiership, yet more scandal ensures attention will still stray from the sweeping agenda of change he promised. An archaeological find in the state of Tamil Nadu rewrites the timeline of civilisation in India—raising questions of identity in a charged political atmosphere. And the man listening intently to the staggering variety of Beijing’s birds.

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Dec 09, 2021
CDU later: Angela Merkel’s successor
00:22:55

For the first time in 16 years Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union is out of Germany’s government. We ask what to expect from Olaf Scholz, the new chancellor. China’s leadership wants to boost the birth rate but discriminates against single mothers; we examine a slow push for equality. And mental-health apps are booming, but the risks are many and the benefits uncertain. Have your say about “The Intelligence” in our survey here. www.economist.com/intelligencesurvey. And for full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Dec 08, 2021
Off the warpath: America 80 years after Pearl Harbour
00:22:48

The Japanese attack set America on a course toward military hegemony; recent administrations have walked it back. We ask what the country would fight for now. A clash of priorities between national and city-level politicians the world over makes for fraught politics on car ownership. And our columnist envisages how the office will compete with home in a post-pandemic world.Have your say about “The Intelligence” in our survey here www.economist.com/intelligencesurvey. And for full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Dec 07, 2021
The first sentence of the story: Aung San Suu Kyi
00:22:11

Myanmar’s ousted leader has been sentenced to four years in prison; more guilty verdicts are expected soon. That will only fuel unrest that has not ceased since a coup in February. Scrutiny of Interpol’s new president adds to concerns that the supranational agency is in authoritarians’ pockets. And governments start to back the “seasteading” of libertarians’ dreams.

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Dec 06, 2021
Taiwan thing after another: the Solomon Islands
00:20:44

The archipelago’s diplomatic pivot to China has added an international dimension to the latest flare-up of domestic tensions. We ask how this tiny state figures into far larger geopolitics. British law permits medical cannabis for children with epilepsy—so why are so few able to get it? And a Formula 1 race may mark the end of Saudi Arabia’s alcohol ban.

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Dec 03, 2021
Roe blow? SCOTUS weighs abortion rights
00:24:02

The conservative supermajority on America’s Supreme Court looks likely to strip back rights enshrined since the Roe v Wade ruling in 1973. Beset by natural disasters, Puerto Rico did not seem ready for a pandemic—but our correspondent finds it has done better than the rest of America. And an intriguing new idea in the mystery of how Earth got its water. Have your say about “The Intelligence” in our survey here www.economist.com/intelligencesurvey. And for full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Dec 02, 2021
The house that Jack built: Twitter’s founder departs
00:19:35

Jack Dorsey’s departure from the social-media giant reflects the growing primacy of engineering talent, and the waning mythology of the big-tech founder. Ukraine’s military has become much better at battling Russian-backed separatists since the annexation of Crimea—but now a far graver kind of war looms. And the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest list of the world’s most expensive cities.

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Dec 01, 2021
Centrifugal forces: Iran nuclear talks resume
00:22:51

Things were all smiles after negotiations resumed—but it is difficult to see how a middle ground can be reached in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Apple’s surprise move to permit repairs to its hardware reflects the growing “right to repair” movement, and a shift in the notion of tech ownership. And the “grab lists” that museum curators prefer not to talk about. Have your say about “The Intelligence” in our survey here 

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Nov 30, 2021
Priority letter: the Omicron variant
00:21:02

Governments’ rapid responses to a new coronavirus strain were wise. But much is still to be learned about the Omicron variant before longer-term policies can be prescribed. Vietnam’s government wants to create internationally competitive firms, and a growing new class of billionaires suggests the plan is working. And research suggests that social distancing comes naturally to bees under pathogenic threat.

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Nov 29, 2021
A cut-rate theory: Turkey’s currency spiral
00:22:55

As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan keeps pushing his upside-down economic ideas, the currency plummets and an immiserated population grows restless. Sunday’s presidential election in Honduras will be a test of the country’s democracy; fears abound of the deadly protests that marred the last vote. And our obituaries editor reflects on the life of Rossana Banti, a storied, lifelong anti-fascist campaigner.

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Nov 26, 2021
You put your left side in: Germany’s shake-about
00:23:00

A three-way coalition has struck a deal to govern. We ask who’s who among top ministers and what’s what on the newly centre-left agenda. A shortage of lorry drivers has sharpened Britain’s supply-chain woes; our correspondent hitches a ride with one, finding why it is such a hard job to fill. And what Maine’s new “right to food” actually means. Have your say about “The Intelligence” in our survey here www.economist.com/intelligencesurvey. And for full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Nov 25, 2021
America’s sneezing: diagnosing global inflation
00:22:18

Prices are up all over, especially in America. But whether the world’s largest economy is part of the problem or just suffering the same symptoms will determine how to fix it. Autocratic leaders of middling-sized countries are having a field day as America has relinquished its world-policeman role. And what makes some languages fail to develop a word for blue?

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Nov 24, 2021
New bid on the bloc: Europe and vaccine mandates
00:22:03

A Delta wave is driving restrictions and restrictions are driving unrest. Vaccine mandates like that enacted by Austria may be the only way to end the cycle. We examine the dim prospects for Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star who accused a senior politician of sexual assault. And a broader view of modern art at the UAE’s new Guggenheim museum. Have your say about “The Intelligence” in our survey here www.economist.com/intelligencesurvey. And for full access to print, digital and audio editions of The Economist, subscribe here www.economist.com/intelligenceoffer

 

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Nov 23, 2021
Left, right and no centre: Chile’s elections
00:21:13

The presidential election will now go to a run-off—between candidates of political extremes. We ask how that polarisation will affect promised constitutional reform. Our correspondent visits Mali to witness the largest current Western push against jihadism, finding that governments and peacekeepers in the Sahel are losing the war. And women seek a more level playing field in competitive gaming.

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Nov 22, 2021
State of profusion: governments just keep growing
00:22:05

Some factors that drive relentless growth in state spending are eternal; some are getting stronger. Our correspondent outlines a big-government future. We examine how MacKenzie Scott, an accidental billionaire, is revolutionising big-money philanthropy. And Moroccan hoteliers rail against a law that forbids beds for the unwed.

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Nov 19, 2021
Georgia undermined: protests and a hunger strike
00:22:24

Mikheil Saakashvili, a former president, is seven weeks into a hunger strike and protests supporting him are proliferating. We ask where the country is headed. China’s state-sponsored industrial espionage is growing more overt and more organised—and little can be done to stop it. And how to figure out the past tense of verbs like “green-light” and “gaslight”.

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Nov 18, 2021
Defrost setting: the Xi-Biden summit
00:19:52

The meeting between superpower presidents was cordial and careful, but it will take far more than a video call to smooth such frosty relations. Europe once had an enviable international rail network—one it must revive if the bloc is to meet its climate targets. And the costly and sometimes dangerous lengths South Koreans are going to for flattering photographs.

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Nov 17, 2021
White flagged: Cuba’s muted protests
00:19:31

White roses, white sheets hung from homes, even white t-shirts: a movement’s symbolic colour was not much in evidence after officials quashed national protests. Part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to wean its economy off oil is to entice lots of tourists; we ask how likely that is to work. And gut bugs beget a bigger bounty of blackcurrant berries.

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Nov 16, 2021
Peronists’ peril: Argentina’s elections
00:20:02

The ruling party got a pasting at the polls, owing in part to a reeling economy. We ask what the opposition’s gains mean for the country. The practice of assisted dying is being enshrined in law the world over; we examine the ethical dimensions of its spread. And why electric vehicles failed to keep their market dominance a century ago.

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Nov 15, 2021
The heat is on: COP26’s final hours
00:20:21

The climate summit in Glasgow is in its last official day, but looks sure to overrun as negotiators thrash out an agreement. When the talking’s over, what will count as success? The rise of film franchises and streaming is taking the shine off Hollywood’s top stars. And we hatch a tale of unusual births among North America’s biggest birds.

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Nov 12, 2021
Putin’s defiers: repression in Russia
00:19:58

As the economy has deteriorated and the internet has bypassed television, persecution of opponents has become the president’s main tool of political control. Even the pandemic has been harnessed to silence dissent. An Economist film reports on the young women standing up to Vladimir Putin. And in China, there’s a more subdued background to the Singles’ Day online shopping splurge. 

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Nov 11, 2021
Trouble at the border: Belarus and the EU
00:21:21

Around 2,000 people from the Middle East are at the European Union’s eastern frontier. Alexander Lukashenko, the autocratic Belarusian president, promised them passage to the EU. They are pawns in a long dispute and their plight is bleak. Tension is mounting in north Africa, between Algeria and Morocco. And who said words were cheap? The cost of newsprint is soaring. 

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Nov 10, 2021
Dream on: Biden and social mobility
00:20:44

Americans born at the bottom of the economic ladder find it harder than past generations—or their peers abroad—to climb to the top. The president has plans to change that. But he’s already having to scale them back. Concrete may be a super-spouter of carbon dioxide, but it can go green. And a new style of book review is flourishing on TikTok

 

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Nov 09, 2021
Control the past: rewriting Chinese history
00:20:06

Over four days in Beijing, the political and military elite are meeting to recast the past. The revised version will depict Xi Jinping as a giant of the stature of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping—and justify his continued rule. More Africans are migrating, mostly within their own continent. And Hollywood is examining its navel. It doesn’t like what it finds.

 

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Nov 08, 2021
Tigrayans turn the tables: Ethiopia’s war
00:22:26

Few imagined when Ethiopia’s civil war began a year ago that the capital, Addis Ababa, would come under threat from Tigrayan rebels. We explain why the tide has turned. At this time of year, India’s deadliest environmental problem—its toxic air—is at its worst. And the Chinese Comminust Party is cracking down on burning gifts for the dead.

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Nov 05, 2021
Covering the ground: trees and COP26
00:22:54

At the global climate summit, more than 100 countries have promised to end deforestation by 2030. Similar promises have been made before, but might this time be different? America’s Supreme Court dives into the thorny topics of abortion and gun rights. And we report on the peculiar economics of African cities where the UN has set up shop. 

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Nov 04, 2021
Power failure: South Africa’s ANC stumbles
00:20:37

For the first time since the end of white rule, South Africa’s governing African National Congress is set to win less than half the vote, albeit in local polls. We explain its slide in popularity. After a dreadful 2020, Italy has had a happier 2021; what’s prime minister Mario Draghi’s next move? And we check out the rhythm of Bangladesh’s underground club scene.

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Nov 03, 2021
The Floyd factor: American police reform
00:21:26

More than a year after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis policeman, the city votes on an overhaul of its force. We examine America’s shifting debate over police reform. Cryptocurrencies have taken off in Cuba; but the communist authorities want control. And light may be shed on the mystery of the reproductive habits—and extraordinary migration—of eels. 

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Nov 02, 2021
Cool heads needed: COP26 begins
00:20:48

World leaders are gathering in Glasgow for the UN climate summit. Can they agree on the path to meeting the goals set in Paris six years ago, to stabilise global temperatures? We weigh up the chances. Sex work is illegal almost everywhere in America; a growing movement wants that to change. And why Britain’s TV-production industry is booming.

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Nov 01, 2021
Going critical: Iran’s nuclear programme
00:23:08

The Islamic Republic is closer than ever to a bomb’s worth of fissile material. Talks with America and other countries will resume next month, but hopes of an agreement are fading. Is war inevitable? Chinese media are not allowed to report on the #MeToo movement, but the Communist Party is taking up some feminist causes. We consider the paradox of women’s rights in modern China. And we look back at the life of Anne Saxelby, a pioneering American cheesemonger, who has died aged 40.

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Oct 29, 2021
Competitive spirit: tech after the pandemic
00:21:53

After a year of breakneck growth, the big five tech companies—Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft—are coming back down to earth. We look at how the pandemic has changed the industry and spurred on smaller firms. Serbia’s military build-up is making its neighbours nervous. The country’s president tells us why he’s been amassing arms. And evolution usually unfolds over millions of years. But new research into Mozambique’s tuskless elephants suggests that it can be turbocharged by humans. Additional audio used with permission from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Oct 28, 2021
Winter is coming: Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis
00:20:48

Two months after the Taliban’s victory, civilians face a looming disaster. Will Western governments dig their heels in, or turn the aid taps back on? India’s government has increasingly turned to high-tech means for delivering government services. But its digital-first solutions are inaccessible to millions of citizens. And we look at the business of renting clothing, as Rent the Runway goes public with a sky-high valuation.

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Oct 27, 2021
Trouble in Khartoum: Sudan’s coup
00:22:31

Just as the country was moving towards democracy, its generals have overthrown the civilians—again. We look at what sparked the unrest, and why coups in Africa are on the rise. Ecuador declared a state of emergency last week over a wave of violent crime. It’s just one of several headaches for Guillermo Lasso, the country’s president. And we explain why you have an accent in a foreign language.

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Oct 26, 2021
You shall not pass: standardising vaccine passports
00:20:22

Covid certificates are a global mess, with countries operating a patchwork of incompatible systems. We look at why it’s so difficult to standardise digital health passes. When the results of Uzbekistan’s elections are published today, the only surprise will be the margin of victory for Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the country’s autocratic leader since 2016. The question is how far he can take his agenda of economic and political reform. And Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), a way of representing ownership of digital media, have taken the art world by storm. Why The Economist is getting in the game

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Oct 25, 2021
Flu into a rage: Brazil’s Bolsonaro inquiry
00:21:35

President Jair Bolsonaro’s early dismissal of the pandemic as “a little flu” presaged a calamitous handling of the crisis. We ask how a congressional investigation’s dramatic assessment of his non-actions may damage him. China’s test of a hypersonic, nuclear-capable glider may rattle the global weapons order. And our obituaries editor reflects on the life of level-headed American statesman Colin Powell.

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Oct 22, 2021
States of emergency: Nigeria
00:23:35

Criminal gangs in north-western states, jihadists in the north-east, a rebellion in the south-east: kidnappers, warlords and cattle rustlers are making the country ungovernable. The new head of Samsung Electronics has a legacy to build—and aims to do so by breaking into the cut-throat business of processor chips. And the sci-fi classic “Dune” gets a good cinematic treatment at last.

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Oct 21, 2021
Gas-trick distress: a visit to Ukraine
00:20:26

Russia continues to pile pressure on the country, and will soon have the power to cut off its natural gas. Our correspondent pays a visit to find how Ukrainians cope. The simplest solution to renewables’ intermittency is to move electricity around—but that requires vast new international networks of seriously beefy cables. And Canada’s version of American football is wasting away

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Oct 20, 2021
Meeting them where they are: a British MP’s murder
00:20:46

Sir David Amess was killed doing what he loved: speaking directly with voters. We examine the dangers inherent in the “constituency surgeries” that British politicians cherish. The fight against tuberculosis is made harder by mutations that confer drug resistance; we look at research that has traced nearly every one of them. And why Andy Warhol is big in Iran, again.

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Oct 19, 2021
Chinese draggin’: growth slows
00:19:49

A paltry GDP rise is down to the pandemic, power and property. We ask what growing pains President Xi Jinping will endure in the name of economic reforms. Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, will probably end up in the second round of next year’s election; who will stand against him is ever more unpredictable. And fixing meeting inefficiency with an 850-year-old idea.

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Oct 18, 2021
Port, and a storm: sectarian violence in Lebanon
00:23:22

The effort to investigate last year’s port explosion in Beirut has fired up political and religious tensions—resulting in Lebanon’s worst violence in years. We speak with Dmitry Muratov, a Russian journalist who shared this year’s Nobel peace prize, about what the award means to him, and to press freedom. And why autocratic regimes like to snap up English football clubs.

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Oct 15, 2021
For watt it’s worth: energy markets’ squeeze
00:22:52

A fossil-fuel scramble reveals energy markets in desperate need of a redesign. We examine what must be done to secure a renewable future. Throngs of Hong Kong residents fleeing China’s tightening hand are settling in Britain; our correspondent finds an immigrant group unlike any that came before. And the boom in “femtech” entrepreneurs at last focusing on women’s health.

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Oct 14, 2021
Keep your friends close: Pakistan’s shifting role
00:21:01

As the Taliban’s closest ally, the country bears a big responsibility for Afghanistan’s fate. We examine its diplomatic risks and opportunities. Mastercard is pressing porn purveyors this week; we look at how financial companies are reluctantly stepping up as the internet’s police. And a timely social-inequality take drives South Korea’s “Squid Game” to the top of Netflix's charts worldwide.

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Oct 13, 2021
Exit Poles? A bold challenge to the EU
00:20:01

After a court ruling in Poland that is an affront to a core European Union principle, Poles hit the streets—fearing a “Pol-exit” they do not want. Who will back down? Hydrogen has been touted for decades as a fuel with green credentials. At last its time has come. And the herd of unicorns popping up in Mexico.

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Oct 12, 2021
Zero-to-some game: Asia-Pacific covid-19 plans crack
00:21:15

Where governments enacted zero-tolerance coronavirus strategies, numbers indeed stayed low. That was before the Delta variant. We ask how countries can now wind back those policies. A shocking report of sexual abuse within France’s Catholic church further threatens the institution’s connection with society. And countering the notion that the “standard English” taught the world over is the only proper one. 

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Oct 11, 2021
Strait of tension: Chinese jets test Taiwan
00:22:05

China has sent more than 100 planes to probe Taiwan’s air-defence zone. We explain why Beijing has chosen this moment to send a message across the strait. The WHO has approved a vaccine against malaria—a turning-point in fighting a disease that kills 260,000 African children a year. And if you want a Nobel prize, it helps to be lauded by a laureate.    

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Oct 08, 2021
How to lose friends and alienate people: Ethiopia’s civil war
00:20:00

Abiy Ahmed is sworn in again as prime minister, even as continuing strife increases the country’s isolation. Our correspondent witnesses the gruesome aftermath of a telling battle. China once encouraged, even forced abortions. Now, as it frets about declining birth rates, it’s discouraging them. And we report on India’s “godmen” and “godwomen”, their moneyspinning schemes and their fanatical followers.

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Oct 07, 2021
Ticker shock: London’s wheezing stockmarket
00:23:34

A global financial centre must move with the times, and—so far—London has not. Our correspondent lays out the causes of the malaise, and how to fix it. For many years compulsory military service was on the decline; we ask why so many countries are bringing it back. And why Europe is the destination for a growing class of digital nomads.

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Oct 06, 2021
When it goes dark: Facebook’s terrible week
00:21:05

Yesterday’s global outage is not even the worst of it: today’s congressional testimony will examine a whistleblower’s allegations that the company knows its products cause widespread harm. The modern food-industrial complex is great for eaters but appalling for the planet; we examine technological fixes, and whether consumers will bite. And how Afghanistan's embassies abroad are—or aren’t—dealing with the Taliban.

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Oct 05, 2021
Docket launch: a new term for America’s Supreme Court
00:21:54

The court will be tackling just about every judicial and social flashpoint in the country during the term that starts today; our correspondent lays out the considerable stakes. A vast and costly die-off of Britain’s trees could have been averted simply and cheaply: just let them stay put. And why hotels are such ideal backdrops for filmmakers and scriptwriters.

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Oct 04, 2021
The courage of two convictions: Nicolas Sarkozy
00:21:09

The first conviction of France’s former president shocked the nation; the second confirms for citizens that, these days, politicians will be held to account. Our correspondent meets a Burmese hipster who, after this year’s military coup, has become a somewhat conflicted freedom fighter. And the record label whose name you may never have heard but whose music you certainly have

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Oct 01, 2021
Nobody’s fuel: Britain’s shortages
00:23:06

From chicken to petrol, Britons are facing long queues and bare shelves. We ask about the multifarious reasons behind the shortfalls, and how long they will last. Tunisia’s democracy has been looking shaky for months; we examine what may change with yesterday’s appointment of its first-ever female prime minister. And India’s beleaguered unmarried couples at last are getting some privacy.

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Sep 30, 2021
Suga-free Diet: Japan’s next leader
00:19:13

The ruling party’s choice for its president—a shoo-in for prime minister—seems to overlook the people’s will. We ask how Kishida Fumio is likely to lead, and for how long. Some of Nigeria’s megachurches are larger than stadiums, and have considerable assets—as do many of their charismatic pastors. And keeping up with demand for vinyl records presents pressing problems. 

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Sep 29, 2021
A run for its money: funding crunches in Congress
00:21:50

America’s crash of deadlines carries risks for the government’s budget and just possibly its sovereign debt, and threatens Joe Biden’s presidency-defining social-spending reforms. We ask what happens next. South Korea’s government is ostensibly cracking down on fake news; in practice it may be hobbling real journalism. And the hopeful view provided by a French conceptual artist’s latest work.

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Sep 28, 2021
Colour schemes: Germany’s coming coalition
00:19:34

The country heads for a three-party government after a nail-biting election. We cut through the flurry of letters and colours to ask what is likely to happen next. The technology swiftly deployed to combat the coronavirus may also crack a four-decade-old problem: vaccinating against HIV. And evidence that the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex may have liked a love bite.

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Sep 27, 2021
Clubs seal: China’s view as alliances multiply
00:23:19

Leaders of “the Quad” are meeting in person for the first time; drama from the AUKUS alliance still simmers. Our Beijing bureau chief discusses how Chinese officials see all these club ties. As Chancellor Angela Merkel’s time in office wanes, we assess Germany’s many challenges she leaves behind. And the sweet, sweet history of baklava, a Middle Eastern treat gone global.

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Sep 24, 2021
Same assembly, rewired: the United Nations meets
00:22:14

The annual United Nations General Assembly is more than just worthy pledges and fancy dinners; we ask where the tensions and the opportunities lie this time around. Last year’s fears of a crippling “twindemic” of covid-19 and influenza proved unfounded—and that provides more reason to worry this year. And why “like” is, like, really useful

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Sep 23, 2021
The homes stretch: Evergrande
00:19:03

China’s property behemoth has slammed up against new rules on its giant debt pile. We ask what wider risks it now poses as a cash crunch bites. Britain has begun a demographic trend unusual in the rich world: its share of young people is spiking—and will be for a decade. And what the pandemic has done for the future of office-wear.

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Sep 22, 2021
Running to stand still: Canada’s election
00:20:01

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains in power after Monday’s election, but he emerges without the majority he wanted, and with his soft power damaged. He now faces a fourth wave of the pandemic and an emboldened far-right from a weaker position. Child labour fell markedly in the 16 years after the turn of the millennium. Now it’s on the rise again. Efforts to prevent children from working can often exacerbate the problem. And we consider one of the more unusual ideas for combating climate change: potty-training cows.

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Sep 21, 2021
Potemkin polls: Russia’s elections
00:21:10

The winner of Russia’s elections was not in doubt. Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia, came out on top. But despite the ballot stuffing and repression, the opposition still managed to rattle the Kremlin. The Gates Foundation is America’s biggest charitable foundation by far and a powerhouse in the world of public health. But its money could be better spent. And we read the tea leaves to explain why bugs are important for your brew. 

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Sep 20, 2021
Sub plot: the AUKUS alliance
00:22:44

The alliance between America, Britain and Australia has enormous significance, most of all for its nuclear-submarine provisions. We look at the global realignment it represents. The container-shipping industry has had a wild year and its prices reflect the vast disarray; we ask whether things will, or should, get back to normal. And the growing trend of politicians’ media-production companies.

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Sep 17, 2021
Shake, rattle the roles: Britain’s cabinet reshuffle
00:21:04

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has re-allocated a number of key government posts. We ask how the changes reflect his political standing and what they mean for his agenda. A first-of-its-kind study that deliberately infected participants with the coronavirus is ending; we examine the many answers such research can provide. And the rural places aiming to capitalise on their dark skies.

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Sep 16, 2021
Hunger gains: Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis
00:20:28

Economic collapse and halting international aid following the Taliban’s takeover have compounded shortages that were already deepening; we examine the unfolding disaster. The verdict in a blockbuster case against Apple might look like a win for the tech giant; a closer read reveals new battle lines. And the data that reveal how polluters behave when regulators are not watching.

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Sep 15, 2021
Percent of the governed: California’s recall vote
00:23:14

Governor Gavin Newsom is fighting off a bid to remove him that puts the world’s fifth-largest economy and, possibly, control of the Senate in play for Republicans. Russia’s exercises in Belarus are the largest in 40 years—showcasing a chummy relationship and worrisome military might. And how Dante Alighieri’s masterwork “The Divine Comedy” still holds lessons, 700 years after his death.

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Sep 14, 2021
Getting their vax up: America’s vaccine mandates
00:20:54

President Joe Biden’s requirements for employers to insist on vaccinations are a bold move amid flatlining inoculation rates. But will they work? For decades the world’s cities seemed invincible, but the pandemic has hastened and hardened a shift in urban demographics and economics. And an ancient Finnish burial site scrambles notions of gender roles in the distant past.

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Sep 13, 2021
From the ground up: New York after 9/11
00:22:02

The horrors of 20 years ago spurred an ambitious transformation, not just at the site of the attacks but across the city’s five boroughs. We visit what has risen from the ashes. A growing body of academic work—and plenty of examples on the ground—suggest countries that most mistreat women are the most violent and fractious. And solving a flashy-hummingbird mystery.

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Sep 10, 2021
Putsch back: Africa’s latest coup in Guinea
00:22:07

It is unclear whether better governance lies ahead after a military takeover; what is certain is that Africa’s unwelcome trend of defenestrations has returned. We ask why. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, thought it a good time to shore up his party’s mandate; as election day nears that plan looks shaky. And the rise and fall of Georgia’s sex-selective abortions.

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Sep 09, 2021
The call before the storm? Brazil’s protests
00:21:34

Tens of thousands of people aligned with President Jair Bolsonaro held protests—at his direction. Yet the numbers are increasingly aligned against him as he eyes next year’s elections. Conspiracy theories are nothing new, but politicians espousing them, and exploiting them to great effect, make them much more than harmless tales. And a listen to the disappearing sounds of old Beijing.

Additional Beijing audio courtesy of Colin Chinnery.

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Sep 08, 2021
Bitcoin of the realm: El Salvador’s experiment
00:20:52

President Nayib Bukele thinks obliging businesses to take the cryptocurrency will help with remittances, inclusion and foreign investment. So far, few are convinced. From after-school tutoring to endless extracurricular activities, education is an increasingly cut-throat affair; we examine the costs of these academic arms races. And Sally Rooney’s new novel and the question of what makes great contemporary fiction.

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Sep 07, 2021
Heartbeat of the matter: Texas’s draconian abortion law
00:22:25

The Supreme Court’s surprise decision to let the country’s harshest “heartbeat bill” stand bodes ill for the landmark Roe v Wade decision; we ask what happens next. Brazil’s police kill six times as many people as America’s—and the numbers bear out a clear racial divide among the fallen. And how Lebanon is reviving its olive-oil industry, with global ambitions.

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Sep 06, 2021
Taking the fifth: Venezuela’s talks
00:23:43

Four previous resolution meetings involving President Nicolás Maduro have changed little. This time international backing and aligned incentives might at last spur fair elections. Madagascar already had it hard, but the coronavirus and repeated, brutal droughts have conspired to push the country’s south to the brink of famine. And our obituaries editor reflects on war surgeon and hospital-builder Gino Strada.

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Sep 03, 2021
Reeling and dealing: how to engage the Taliban
00:21:29

In some ways America has more leverage now that its forces have left; we ask how diplomatic and aid efforts should proceed in order to protect ordinary Afghans. A global pandemic has distracted from a troubling panzootic: a virus is still ravaging China’s pig farms, and officials’ fixes are not sustainable. And the first retrospective for activist artist Judy Chicago.

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Sep 02, 2021
Out for blood: the Theranos trial
00:21:17

Elizabeth Holmes founded a big blood-testing startup; her claims were founded on very little. As her trial begins we ask how the company got so far before it all crumbled. Research on primates is increasingly frowned upon in the West, leaving a strategic opportunity in places such as China. And lessons in a lost novel by French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.

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Sep 01, 2021
CDU later? Germany’s topsy-turvy election
00:20:05

The party of Angela Merkel, the outgoing chancellor, is flailing in polls. We ask why the race has been so unpredictable and what outcomes now seem probable. In America, obtaining a kit to make an untraceable firearm takes just a few clicks; we examine efforts to close a dangerous legal loophole. And as sensitivities change, so do some bands’ names

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Aug 31, 2021
Banks note: the Jackson Hole meeting
00:21:14

The message for central bankers at the annual jamboree: relax a bit about inflation and be loud and clear about plans to stanch the cash being pumped into economies. The halt to an Albanian hydroelectric-dam project reflects a growing environmental lobby in the country, which sees better uses for its waterways. And following dinosaur tracks—but finding no bones—in Bolivia.

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Aug 30, 2021
The terror of their ways: Kabul and global jihadism
00:21:52

The suicide-bombings that have killed scores of people signal how the Taliban will struggle to rule Afghanistan; meanwhile the rest of the world’s jihadist outfits are drawing lessons from the chaos. The swift reversal of an explicit-content ban by OnlyFans, a subscription platform, reveals a growing tension between pornography producers and payment processors. And the many merits of 3D-printed homes.

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Aug 27, 2021
To all, appearances: Israel’s PM in Washington
00:19:20

Naftali Bennett’s first face-to-face meeting with President Joe Biden will look calm and co-operative. But in time, sharp differences will strain the “reset” they project today. Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency is being defanged; it was simply too good at routing the rot President Joko Widodo once promised to eradicate. And estimating the breathtaking global cost of vaccine inequality.

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Aug 26, 2021
Delta‘s force: Australia’s covid plans crumble
00:20:45

For a while, closed borders and strict contact-tracing held the coronavirus at bay. What lessons to take now the Delta variant has broken through in the region? The European Union once had few prosecutorial powers to tackle rampant fraud by member states’ citizens; we examine a new office that can start cleaning house. And a look at Japan’s seasonal-sweet obsession.

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Aug 25, 2021
How you like them: Apple’s decade under Tim Cook
00:20:44

The tech firm has ballooned under his leadership, but Mr Cook’s next ten years will not be as rosy as the first. We ask how he can maintain Apple’s shine. Activists, academics, journalists, now labour unions: Hong Kong’s authorities keep stifling democracy’s defenders wherever they turn. And why California may soon find it hard to bring home the bacon.

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Aug 24, 2021
Annexed question, please: Ukraine’s summit on Crimea
00:19:31

President Volodymyr Zelensky wants to draw attention to Russia’s continued occupation of Crimea, and its failure to look after the region’s citizens. A new report attempts to put numbers to the “enforced disappearances” of Bangladesh’s opposition voices. And why so few astronauts have been women, and how that is changing. 

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Aug 23, 2021
Value-free investing: China and Afghanistan
00:21:45

The Taliban’s takeover is a boon for China’s propaganda machine: America is tired, its policies disastrous, its values a distraction. Meanwhile China has its own interests in the country. New research may explain rising covid-19 cases among the vaccinated: jabs’ effectiveness wanes with time, and “breakthrough” infections appear more contagious. And the case for working, a bit, while on holiday.

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Aug 20, 2021
Fits and starts: SARS-CoV-2’s origin
00:21:30

In the end, the World Health Organisation’s report in March revealed little. We ask why the coronavirus origin story is so crucial, and whether China will ever let it be told. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will struggle to square his current green promises with his past love—and his party’s—of cars. And the forgotten cooks in fried chicken’s history.

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Aug 19, 2021
Stymie a river: the American West dries up
00:19:14

The first-ever water shortage declared for the Colorado River is just one sign of troubles to come; as the climate changes, century-old water habits and policies must change with it. Israel’s Pegasus spyware has raised concerns the world over, but the country is loath to curb its exports of hacking tools. And the resurgence of a beloved and funky Nigerian seasoning.

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Aug 18, 2021
It rains, it pours: Haiti’s tragedy compounds
00:20:03

A president’s assassination, a cratered economy and now this: a tropical depression that will hamper rescue efforts after a massive earthquake. The country cannot catch a break. India and Pakistan parted ways 74 years ago this week; we discuss how the tensions that defined their division still resonate today. And why Indonesia is so good at badminton.

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Aug 17, 2021
Nothing to break the fall: Afghanistan
00:21:42

The fall of Kabul, the capital, sealed the country’s fate: after 20 years, the Taliban are back in charge—a fearsome outcome for its people and for the Biden administration. As capital punishment fades, life sentences proliferate; that comes with its own costs and iniquities. And visiting an enclave in Uruguay that is in many ways more Russian than Russia.

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Aug 16, 2021
Thicket and boarding pass: travel’s tangle of rules
00:22:47

Restrictions are opaque, fickle and often illiberal—and it is not even clear how much they help curb the coronavirus. Chinese officials want to boost the economy of the province of Xinjiang, but our correspondent says plans predicated on repressing the Uyghur minority are unlikely to work. And bidding farewell to our work-and-management columnist, who still hates useless meetings.

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Aug 13, 2021
Bridges and divides: America’s infrastructure push
00:21:53

The Senate has passed the first part of President Joe Biden’s mammoth plan, which is now tied to a far more ambitious part two. We examine their prospects for passage. Zambia is undertaking a pivotal election—but it seems far from a fair fight to oust the incumbent. And our Germany-election tracker cuts through reams of data and tricky electoral politics.

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Aug 12, 2021
Blazed and confused: Turkey’s raging fires
00:20:23

Across the Mediterranean and beyond, flames are consuming the landscape. Our correspondent says Turkey’s government helped make the country a tinderbox and was caught flat-footed by the blaze. State secrets, business intelligence, even conservation data: it’s all online, and freely available. We examine the pros and cons in an era of open-source intelligence. And the “murder hornet” threatening America’s north-west.

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Aug 11, 2021
Shots or fired: America’s vaccine mandates
00:17:42

Inoculation or testing requirements are spreading nearly as fast as the Delta variant. But it is not clear they will actually drive more people to get vaccinated. A broad semiconductor shortage has hit plenty of industries; we examine supply-chain subtleties that have made it particularly bad for carmakers. And why Mumbai is suffering from a plague of snakes.

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Aug 10, 2021
Hot prospects: a sobering IPCC report
00:21:13

The UN climate body’s latest doorstopper report is unequivocal: climate change is human-caused, and already here—and 1.5°C of warming is looking ever harder to avoid. In Bolivia, debate still rages as to whether a 2019 election was rigged, or a coup; the people want pandemic relief, not paralysed politics. And investigating the received wisdom of the “difficult second novel”.

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Aug 09, 2021
Coming in harder: Iran’s new president
00:22:09

Ebrahim Raisi takes office as the country is blamed for multiple attacks in the region; a more mistrustful, hardline and aggressive regime awaits. Our correspondent meets a woman first trafficked into a sprawling Bangladeshi brothel at age 12 and who is now in charge of it. And the high-tech shoes that may be contributing to tumbling world records in Tokyo.

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Aug 06, 2021
No consent of the governed: Andrew Cuomo on the brink
00:20:42

After a damning report into sexual-harassment allegations, support for New York’s governor has cratered. He is hanging on—for now. LinkedIn seems to do a brisk trade in China, without revealing how it keeps on the right side of the censors. So users increasingly censor themselves. And the mutual appreciation of Chechnya’s brutal dictator and a star mixed-martial-arts fighter.

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Aug 05, 2021
No port, still a storm: Lebanon a year after the blast
00:22:24

The explosion at Beirut’s port was a symptom, not a cause, of the country’s malaise. We find more questions than answers about the blast and a political class unshaken by it. For half a century, one Beirut resident has, from the same apartment, witnessed a history pockmarked by unexpected disaster. And our Big Mac index reveals the depth of Lebanon’s economic crisis. 

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Aug 04, 2021
Block off the old chips? Nvidia’s fraught merger
00:21:46

The semiconductor giant wants to acquire ARM—a British firm that is more complement than competitor—but regulators may balk. We look at what’s at stake in chips. Something is changing in Americans’ spiritual lives: a drift away from organised religion. We examine the startling rise in the “nothing in particular” denomination. And how women are leading China’s growing surfing scene.

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Aug 03, 2021
No-sanctuary cities: the Taliban’s latest surge
00:21:15

Sweeping rural gains made as American forces have slipped out are now giving way to bids for urban areas; an enormous, symbolic victory for the insurgents looms. Singapore has enjoyed relative racial harmony for decades, but shocking recent events have revealed persistent inequalities. And why chewing gum has lost its cool.

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Aug 02, 2021
Neither borrower nor renter be: America’s coming foreclosures
00:22:41

America’s pandemic-driven measures granting relief on mortgages and rent arrears will soon expire, and millions of people are in danger of losing their homes. The Netherlands’ history of slavery is often overlooked; a new exhibition goes to great lengths to confront it. And how Marmite’s love-it-or-hate-it reputation represents an unlikely marketing coup.

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Jul 30, 2021
Good news, ad news: Facebook’s big bucks and bets
00:22:46

The social-media behemoth revealed huge profits and stressed even bigger plans: to become an e-commerce giant and a hub for digital creators, and to pioneer something called the “metaverse”. After a bruising election, Peru has an inexperienced new president; matching policy to his hard-left platform will be a dangerous game. And the publisher trying to bring ethnic diversity to romance novels.

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Jul 29, 2021
Borderline disorder: the UN’s refugee treaty at 70
00:22:47

An international convention devised after the second world war is ill-suited to the refugee crises of today—and countries are increasingly unwilling to meet their obligations. Vancouver’s proposed response to a spate of drug overdoses is a sweeping decriminalisation; we ask whether the plan would work. And the bid to save a vanishingly rare “click language” in Africa.

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Jul 28, 2021
Alight in Tunisia: a democracy in crisis
00:21:05

The president has sacked the prime minister and suspended parliament. It is clear that the country needed a shake-up in its hidebound politics—but is this the right way? A sprawling trial starting today involving the most senior Catholic-church official ever indicted is sure to cast light on the Vatican’s murky finances. And how climate change is already changing winemaking.

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Jul 27, 2021
The blonde leading: Britain’s two years under Boris Johnson
00:22:22

As the country tests a bold reopening strategy in the face of the Delta variant, our political editor charitably characterises the prime minister’s tenure as a mixed bag. Hong Kong’s national-security law has now come for its universities, sending shudders through the territory’s last bastion of pro-democracy fervour. And why the alcohol-free beer industry is fizzing

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Jul 26, 2021
A dangerous games? A muted start to the Olympics
00:23:14

Tokyo is under a state of emergency; covid-19 cases are piling up. But for Japan, a super-spreader event is just one of the potential costs of this year’s games. We ask why Britain’s government has essentially given amnesty to those involved in Northern Ireland’s decades of deadly violence. And our obituaries editor reflects on the life of an Auschwitz accordionist.

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Jul 23, 2021
Three-degree burn: the warmer world that awaits
00:22:37

It seems ever more certain that global temperatures will sail past limits set in the Paris Agreement. We examine what a world warmed by 3°C would—or will—look like. Our correspondent speaks with Sudan’s three most powerful men; will they act in concert or in conflict on the way to democracy? And why Liverpool has been booted from UNESCO’s world-heritage list.

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Jul 22, 2021
Changing horses mid-streaming? Netflix’s next act
00:19:42

On the face of it, the streaming giant’s quarterly results were lacklustre. But our media editor explains why its international growth looks promising, and how it is spreading its bets. A largely uncontested purge of LGBT accounts from China’s social-media platform WeChat reveals much about a growing Chinese-nationalist narrative online. And why researchers are cataloguing the microbes of big cities.

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Jul 21, 2021
Joint pain: a rare rebuke of China’s hackers
00:20:10

The European Union, NATO and the “Five Eyes” intelligence partners have all joined America in accusing China’s government of involvement in hacking campaigns. Now what? Away from the spectacle of billionaires’ race to the heavens, many African countries are establishing space programmes—with serious innovation and investment opportunities on the ground. And why Australia is suffering from a plague of mice.

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Jul 20, 2021
In a flash: floods devastate Europe
00:20:58

Disaster-recovery efforts continue, even as heavy rains continue in many places. The tragedy brings climate change to the fore, with political implications particularly in Germany. Syria’s oppressive regime is short of cash, so it has apparently turned to trafficking in an increasingly popular party drug. And why kelp farms are bobbing up along America’s New England coast.

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Jul 19, 2021
A pounder of a quarter: American banks report
00:22:33

Bank bosses are jubilant: revenues were down but profits way up. We look at the pandemic-driven reasons behind the windfall, and ask how long their influence may last. A thicket of conflicting laws is complicating Jamaica’s plans to enter the wider medical-marijuana market. And our critic reports from a slimmed-down Cannes film festival.

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Jul 16, 2021
Loot cause: South Africa’s unrest
00:22:01

Widespread looting and the worst violence since apartheid continue, exposing ethnic divisions and the persistent influence of Jacob Zuma, a former president. How to quell the tensions? As some countries administer third covid-19 “booster shots” we ask about the epidemiological and moral cases for and against them. And the bids to reverse the decline of America’s national pastime.

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Jul 15, 2021
Texas hold-’em-up: a voting-rights standoff
00:21:21

The state’s Democratic lawmakers have fled to Washington, stymieing a voting-rights bill. We examine the growing state-level, bare-knuckle fights on voting rights across the country. Ransomware attacks just keep getting bolder, more disruptive, more sinister; what structural changes could protect industries and institutions from attack? And Britain’s efforts to bring back the eels that once filled its rivers.

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Runtime: 21min

 

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Jul 14, 2021
Flight attendance: airlines after the pandemic
00:19:56

Which carriers will thrive? Long-haulers or short-hoppers? The no-frills or the glitzy? The bailed-out or the muddled-through? Our industry editor scans the skies. Record numbers of Latin American migrants heading for America’s southern border mask another trend: many are stopping and making a home in Mexico. And Japan’s storied but declining public bathhouses get hipster makeovers

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Jul 13, 2021
Hasta la victoria, hambre: rare protests rock Cuba
00:20:53

Food shortages are nothing new. But it has been decades since shelves have been so empty—and since Cubans took to the streets in such numbers. Richard Branson’s space jaunt was intended to mark the start of a space-tourism industry; we examine its prospects. And why, despite last night’s disappointment, England’s football fans should be hopeful about their national side.

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Jul 12, 2021
A decade decayed: South Sudan
00:22:54

The world’s youngest state was born amid boundless optimism. But poverty is still endemic and ethnic tensions still rule politics; what hope for its next decade? Mass graves found at Canada’s “residential schools” have sparked a reckoning about past abuses of indigenous peoples. And marking 50 years since the final album of Karen Dalton, the forgotten queen of folk.

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Runtime: 22min

 

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Jul 09, 2021
Assassins’ deed: Haiti’s president killed
00:21:21

Jovenel Moïse presided, in an increasingly authoritarian way, over a country slipping toward failed-state status. The unrest is likely to worsen following his assassination. The Democratic primary race for New York’s mayor has at last been decided, with lessons for Democrats elsewhere and for fans of ranked-choice voting. And the movement to revive Islam’s bygone relaxed attitudes to homosexuality. 

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Jul 08, 2021
Dropped shots: Russia’s third wave
00:21:48

Despite registering the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, the country is being lashed by covid-19. Mixed messages and a long-cultivated mistrust are to blame. DARPA, America’s agency that funds blue-sky tech research, has been so successful down the years that now other countries want to copy it. And remembering Kenneth Kaunda, an icon of African liberation.

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Runtime: 21min

 

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Jul 07, 2021
Taken for a ride: why China is leaning on Didi
00:20:49

Just after the ride-hailing giant made a splashy stockmarket debut, Chinese regulators came down hard. Why is the country crimping its tech champions? There is something missing at many American embassies around the world: American ambassadors. We ask why so few are in post, and what risk that poses. And the not-so-simple task of counting the Earth’s oceans.

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Jul 06, 2021
Leave them in no peace: America’s Afghan exit
00:21:32

Passport queues are lengthening; ad-hoc civilian militias are strengthening. As foreign powers bow out, Taliban militants take district after district—and the fear of the people is palpable. The pandemic drove a boom in the attention economy, and media companies happily obliged. Now, it seems, an “attention recession” looms. And a look at the thoroughly inbred nature of thoroughbred horses.

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Runtime: 21min

 

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Jul 05, 2021
Repetitive strains: SARS-CoV-2 variants
00:23:09

The coronavirus’s Delta variant accounts for ever more infections; we ask about mutational surprises yet to emerge, and what can be done about them. The ousting of Ethiopia’s army from the Tigray region might precipitate far wider conflict—within the country and far beyond its borders. And ahead of the Fourth of July, we find no good films about the holiday. 

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Jul 02, 2021
Party piece: China’s Communists at 100
00:22:53