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The Intelligence

The Intelligence

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.


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The never-ending saga: Brexit delayed

European leaders nixed Theresa May?s request to postpone Brexit for three months, but have given her a short-term reprieve - delaying it by a few weeks and possibly longer. Thailand is about to hold its first election since the military seized power five years ago. The only hitch is that the generals are trying to influence the outcome, and anyone who criticises the ruling royal family can be thrown in prison. And how do you make a whisky age more quickly? The answer lies in dance music. We take a sip. Additional music, "Grangtham (Drowning Dub)" by Hanover.

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Not now, Theresa: Postponing Britain?s EU goodbye

With just eight days to go before Brexit, Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May wants to extend the leaving date. As an EU summit gathers, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, insists she needs to get her twice-rejected deal through Parliament first. Also, are stronger strains of cannabis causing psychosis among users? And why Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump should have eaten ?family-style? to help pull off a nuclear deal.

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Alpha Beto: O?Rourke?s appeal

Beto O?Rourke launched his bid for America?s presidency. Despite his relative lack of experience, he?s already been raking in donations. We look at the source of his appeal. And palm oil is ubiquitous in many consumer goods used today, but it comes at a high environmental cost. Also, does the field of economics have a culture that is off-putting to women?

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War and pestilence: Ebola makes a comeback

Five years ago Ebola spread across West Africa, killing more than 10,000 people. In August a fresh outbreak hit the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. We look at why the response this time around has been so ineffective. NATO is about to turn 70. It will not be a happy birthday. And Rodrigo Duterte wants to rename the Philippines.

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Replacement anxiety: White supremacist terrorism

The terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, has left 50 people dead and a lot of unanswered questions. How big a threat are violent white supremacists? We take a look at a network of museums in China trying to commemorate that country?s murderous experience in the 20th century without offending the Communist Party. And our San Francisco correspondent goes in pursuit of free stuff - a lot of it-in the Bay Area.

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Can't deal with it: Brexit

It?s been another brutal week for Britain?s prime minister as her deal to leave Europe was swatted down comprehensively?again. As a delay to Brexit looks likely, we ask what all the chaos reveals about how Brexit will ultimately play out. Ahead of global climate protests by schoolchildren, we examine how a proposal regarding geoengineering?radically reversing the effects of climate change?reflects coming squabbles over regulating the approaches. And, why is it so difficult to open an Irish pub in Ireland? Additional music, "Kesh Jig, Leitrim Fancy", by Sláinte, licensed under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License

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Lights out: Venezuela?s blackout

Power cuts in Caracas have endangered lives and deepened the misery of Venezuelans. It?s another sign of the corruption that pervades the Maduro regime. Also, how do you make a 10,000 ton ship disappear? And the Hebrew bible - otherwise known as the old testament - gets a fresh new translation. Music courtesy of Ethan James McCollum

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Losing the plot: Brexit

The second defeat of British Prime Minister?s plan for withdrawal from the EU has weakened her. But what does it mean for the risk of a no-deal outcome? The chances of a Brexit delay are rising by the day. Competition between major powers for influence in Africa is intensifying, as Russia, China, Europe and America all see potential in the continent. And more gender-inclusive language is proving a headache for grammarians.

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Flying stop: Boeing

Following a second fatal crash of Boeing?s 737-MAX, China was quick to ground its fleet of the newish airliner. What does this mean for the world?s largest planemaker? In Russia, protests have broken out against President Vladimir Putin?s attempt to isolate and control the country?s internet. His bid to regain Russians? full attention may come too late. And, we look at why so many women are getting divorced in Bangladesh. Additional audio from Anton Scherbakov

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The sensitive month: Tibet

China?s party leaders get nervous in March?a month full of anniversaries that Tibetans hold dear. As the 60th anniversary of Tibet?s uprising approaches, security is tighter than usual. Corporate-risk managers are rotten at assessing their exposure to a changing climate; we examine the dangers that many are ignoring. And, a look back at André Previn?and a life of far more than just show tunes and showmanship. Additional audio courtesy of Twitter users @ngagya95 and @TibetPeople

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Fifth time unlucky: Algeria?s protests

Widespread protests will continue today against the re-election run of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who hasn?t been heard from since a stroke in 2013. Algerians have had enough of their country?s proxy rule and misrule. We also ask if countries can sometimes be better run when their leaders are out of action. And, knife crime is on the rise in Britain, but the causes?and the solutions?are a matter of uncomfortable debate.

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Guilt and association: Paul Manafort

President Donald Trump?s former campaign manager can expect to have the book thrown at him at his sentencing today?the first for crimes revealed by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Mr Trump?s campaign. Following a tense stand-off with Pakistan, we look at how Hindu nationalism has shaped Prime Minister Narendra Modi?s time in office, and will shape his re-election campaign. And, how North Korean refugees ship money home illicitly.

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Trudeau in trouble: a sunny leader in stormy times

Canada?s fresh-faced leader has been a icon for embattled liberals. But now he faces damaging accusations of meddling in a judicial process. Will Justin Trudeau be contrite or fight? And free money sounds like a grand idea. Here?s how universal basic income is being tested in practice. Also, young men in Pakistan grow some very fancy beards.

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Xi?ll meet again: China?s People?s Congress opens

The National People's Congress of China gathers today for ten days of deliberations. Tensions with the West over the trade war and disagreement about the role of technology giant Huawei will be in the background. Bosses are not always the most reliable narrators for an investor seeking to gain insight into a company. But there are new data sources that are making it harder for executives to mislead them. And an attic in France has yielded a find some claim to have been painted by the 17th century master Caravaggio. But how do we assess whether an unsigned, orphaned work is the real, very expensive deal?

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A thirsty world: the future of water

Fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce, as climate change and population growth puts greater pressure on resources. But the problem is one of mismanagement, rather than supply. When Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil?s president in January, he spoke of a national effort to fix the country?s economy and to tackle crime and corruption. Can he deliver on those promises? And how a big-budget Chinese film reflects the philosophy of the country?s leader.

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Bibi one more time? Binyamin Netanyahu

Israel?s prime minister has been indicted, pending a hearing, just weeks before an election. We look at the charges he faces, and how he has already transformed the country?s politics. Huawei, a Chinese technology giant, has drawn global scrutiny of its tactics and perceived relationship with the Chinese state. But a greater concern is going unmentioned. And, why autonomous-vehicle firms are taking their wares to retirement communities.

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Line of control: India-Pakistan

Air strikes by India and Pakistan this week represent a worrying flare-up of tensions that have simmered for years. We examine the forces and politics at play between the nuclear-armed powers. What?s causing the chill in the global manufacturing sector, and how to escape it? And, under the threat of a potentially costly infectious disease, Denmark is building a border wall.

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Chaos and calculation: Brexit

Grand fissures have opened in Britain?s politics; the two main parties? leaders are struggling to keep control. What does it all mean for Brexit, just a month away? As pharmaceutical companies defend their prices this week, we look at the push to use cheap, existing drugs in new ways. And, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the desire to adequately mourn the dead opens a market opportunity for paid wailers.

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Two for the show: Trump meets Kim

As Kim Jong Un arrives in Vietnam ahead of a second summit with President Donald Trump, we ask about the real prospects for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. Chicago votes for a new mayor today; we speak with Rahm Emanuel, the outspoken incumbent, about what he has?and hasn?t?done for the city. And, we examine Hungary?s curious effort to stem its population slide.

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It?s bean difficult: the China-America trade war

As President Donald Trump delays further tariffs on $200bn-worth of Chinese goods, there are hints of an end to the trade war. We assess the damage already done by looking at the global soyabean market. Countries around the world are struggling with the ethics and security concerns around re-admitting their citizens who have fought with Islamic State. And, there?s a rising favourite among wine investors?but it could represent a bubble.

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Alms held up: Venezuela

Venezuela is in dire need of humanitarian aid, and Juan Guaidó, the interim president, has pledged to deliver it tomorrow. Will Nicolás Maduro, the dictatorial leader still formally in power, let him? Ahead of Warren Buffett?s annual letter to shareholders, we look back on a half-century?s-worth of wisdom from the ?Sage of Omaha?. And in Japan, longer lives are leading to more books by and for the elderly.

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Sins of the fathers: the Vatican and child abuse

The Vatican is hosting a high-profile meeting on child abuse by the clergy. It?s a topic that has been woefully overlooked, and one that threatens to define the tenure of Pope Francis. We visit the world?s largest building, in the city of Chengdu. Inside there?s a giant wave pool, thirty thousand workers, free cats?and a glimpse of the state of China?s economy. And, an effort to resurrect the native language of Hawaii has brought unexpected benefits.

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Prince on tour: Muhammad bin Salman

Muhammad bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, is on a tour of Asia, striking deals and trying to polish his image. What kind of influence will he have in the region? Every year as much as a quarter of the global corporate-tax bill is avoided?legally. We take a look at where all that money is going. And we speak to Nadine Labaki, the first female Arab film-maker nominated for an Oscar.

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Labour?s love lost: British politics

Seven parliamentarians have split from Britain?s opposition Labour party. That could change the calculus of Brexit, and just might be the nucleus of a new movement. There?s a little-noticed shift in the relationship between Islam and the West; a new generation is lighting the way. And our Russia editor has a bit of a hobby?one that puts him at the nexus of language, drama and truth.

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State of the unionising: Amazon

We examine the aftermath of the online behemoth?s withdrawal of its New York expansion plans, and speak with its Midwestern workers about growing talk of unionising. President Emmanuel Macron hopes to quell protests across France with a series of ?town halls?; we drop into one. And mezcal is on the rise, but can tequila?s more-traditional cousin survive if the whole world wants a shot?

Music credit: "Chez Space" by The Freeharmonic Orchestra (CC-BY)

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Emergency measures: America?s border deal

President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency today, to fund his southern-border wall. We ask why that would be an uncomfortable constitutional precedent. Nigeria?s general election this weekend will be a nail-biter, and allegations of electoral fraud are already flying; the only certainty is that the result will be contested. And, we bid farewell to Opportunity, a Mars rover that vastly exceeded what was expected of it.

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IS this the end? Islamic State?s last stand

In Syria the few remaining Islamic State fighters are hemmed in. The caliphate?s territory may be diminished, but the idea will live on. A Valentine?s Day look at the digital dating market reveals the protocols and pitfalls of online matchmaking. And the derailment of an attempt by India?s railway minister to tout a new high-speed line.

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It?s not easy: the Green New Deal

As America?s Senate majority leader pledges a vote on the Green New Deal, a sweeping set of policies around climate and much more, we examine just what the legislation does?and doesn?t?lay out. Following Cyril Ramaphosa?s State of the Nation address, we explore the challenges South Africa?s president faces as an election looms. And our language columnist declares war on misused metaphors. Additional audio courtesy of Sunrise Movement & FDR Presidential Library.

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Independents? day: Catalans on trial

Today 12 leaders of Spain?s Catalonia region go on trial, accused of rebellion. The proceedings will lay bare long-running tensions about democracy and unity. As Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota senator, joins America?s presidential race, we ask whether her centrist tendencies are an advantage or a handicap. And a retrospective of the photographer Don McCullin?s work reveals extremes of human experience and suffering.

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You say you want: Revisiting Iran?s revolution

We examine how the echoes of Iran?s revolution, 40 years ago, still influence how the Islamic Republic deals with the West today. Harley Davidson has become entangled in the Trump administration?s trade war just as changing demographics have put the brakes on the motorcycle-maker. And, we tackle an old ethics conundrum and its relevance to future autonomous vehicles.

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Princess unbridled: Thai politics

A Thai princess enters the running for prime minister?a development that reshuffles the country?s centres of power completely. Our obituaries editor chronicles the heartbreak of an Iraqi archaeologist. And Chinese scientists have come up with a smarter way for Earthlings to try contacting aliens?but what kinds of messages is humanity sending them?

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The Intelligence: Weapons redrawn

After America and Russia pull out out of a cold war-era weapons treaty, we examine the picture of global stability without it. Our China columnist visits with members of the Hui, a repressed Muslim minority spread throughout the country. And Europe launches a system to combat fake-medicines?an expansive and expensive project that few think is necessary.

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The Intelligence: Credible, but critical

Today the Trump administration is expected to announce its nomination for head of the World Bank today. He?s a Treasury official with a sharply critical view of the institution and, to a degree, he?s right. A troubled region of the Philippines heads to the polls, as a Muslim minority calls for greater autonomy. The result might help calm centuries of violence. Finally, we take a trip to the shiny centre of China?s gold industry, just as golden-gift-giving spikes around the lunar new year.

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The Intelligence: Don?t despair, America

Tonight President Trump will deliver his State of the Union address; we ask what he?ll be saying, and what the state of the union really is. Yesterday the jury began its deliberations in the trial of ?El Chapo?, an alleged Mexican drug lord. What impact has his capture and trial had on the drugs trade? Finally, Japanese schools and businesses have some onerous grooming rules, stipulating even sock colour?but things seem to be changing.

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The Intelligence: A despot?s calculation

Internal and international pressure on President Nicolás Maduro brings Venezuela to the brink of change. As Facebook turns 15, it?s lurching from crisis to crisis?and still making money hand over fist. We ask whether it has, on balance, been good for the world. Finally, there?s an Iranian pop star who was once a darling of the regime. What?s changed?

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The Intelligence: Be careful on the way out

As progress appears to have been made in peace talks between America and the Taliban, the Senate urges the Trump administration not to rush for the door in Afghanistan. Origami might be pretty, but it hides great scientific potential; it?s starting to show up in all kinds of new technologies. And, our obituaries editor discusses the career of master accordionist Marcel Azzola, and how lives can be celebrated in writing.

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The Intelligence: Down and out in ?iPhone City?

As trade talks with China continue in Washington, our correspondent takes a trip to China?s ?iPhone City? to see how the country?s slowdown is affecting workers. In El Salvador, a social-media darling leads the polls ahead of Sunday?s presidential election?but his policy plans remain unclear. And, a big diamond up for auction in Angola today is a crystal-clear sign of change for the country.

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The Intelligence: This is not a coup

International pressure is mounting on the dictatorial regime of Venezuela?s Nicolás Maduro. As he hints at negotiations with a resurgent opposition, we ask how the country?s citizens make ends meet amid the misery. A striking American indictment will make the China trade talks that start today even more tense than last time. And, why is it getting easier to get good-quality Indian food in the truck stops of America?

Additional music: Cylinder Five by Chris Zabriskie.

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The Intelligence: Deal, delay or dither?

It?s another crucial vote in the Brexit saga as Prime Minister Theresa May learns whether her leaving plan will be derailed or delayed. Autonomous weapons are coming along just as fast as autonomous vehicles are. But who?s tackling the ethics of killer robots? And, the surprising number of uses that Cubans have found for condoms.

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The Intelligence: Trailer

The Intelligence is a new current-affairs podcast, published every weekday by Economist Radio, that provides a unique perspective on the events shaping your world. Drawing on the expertise of The Economist?s global network of correspondents, each episode digs past the headlines to get to the stories beneath?and to stories that aren?t making headlines, but should be. For a daily burst of global illumination, you need more than just the facts. You need The Intelligence.

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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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