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The Intelligence from The Economist

The Intelligence from The Economist

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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Gas-trick distress: a visit to Ukraine

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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2021-10-20
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Meeting them where they are: a British MP?s murder

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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2021-10-19
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Chinese draggin?: growth slows

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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2021-10-18
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Port, and a storm: sectarian violence in Lebanon

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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2021-10-15
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For watt it?s worth: energy markets? squeeze

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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2021-10-14
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Keep your friends close: Pakistan?s shifting role

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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2021-10-13
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Exit Poles? A bold challenge to the EU

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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2021-10-12
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Zero-to-some game: Asia-Pacific covid-19 plans crack

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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2021-10-11
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Strait of tension: Chinese jets test Taiwan

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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2021-10-08
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How to lose friends and alienate people: Ethiopia?s civil war

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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2021-10-07
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Ticker shock: London?s wheezing stockmarket

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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2021-10-06
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When it goes dark: Facebook?s terrible week

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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2021-10-05
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Docket launch: a new term for America?s Supreme Court

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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2021-10-04
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The courage of two convictions: Nicolas Sarkozy

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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2021-10-01
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Nobody?s fuel: Britain?s shortages

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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2021-09-30
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Suga-free Diet: Japan?s next leader

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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2021-09-29
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A run for its money: funding crunches in Congress

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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2021-09-28
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Colour schemes: Germany?s coming coalition

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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2021-09-27
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Clubs seal: China?s view as alliances multiply

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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2021-09-24
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Same assembly, rewired: the United Nations meets

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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2021-09-23
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The homes stretch: Evergrande

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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2021-09-22
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Running to stand still: Canada?s election

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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2021-09-21
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Potemkin polls: Russia?s elections

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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2021-09-20
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Sub plot: the AUKUS alliance

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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2021-09-17
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Shake, rattle the roles: Britain?s cabinet reshuffle

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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2021-09-16
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Hunger gains: Afghanistan?s humanitarian crisis

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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2021-09-15
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Percent of the governed: California?s recall vote

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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2021-09-14
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Getting their vax up: America?s vaccine mandates

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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2021-09-13
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From the ground up: New York after 9/11

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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2021-09-10
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Putsch back: Africa?s latest coup in Guinea

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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2021-09-09
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The call before the storm? Brazil?s protests

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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2021-09-08
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Bitcoin of the realm: El Salvador?s experiment

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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2021-09-07
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Heartbeat of the matter: Texas?s draconian abortion law

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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2021-09-06
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Taking the fifth: Venezuela?s talks

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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2021-09-03
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Reeling and dealing: how to engage the Taliban

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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2021-09-02
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Out for blood: the Theranos trial

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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2021-09-01
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CDU later? Germany?s topsy-turvy election

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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2021-08-31
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Banks note: the Jackson Hole meeting

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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2021-08-30
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The terror of their ways: Kabul and global jihadism

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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2021-08-27
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To all, appearances: Israel?s PM in Washington

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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2021-08-26
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Delta?s force: Australia?s covid plans crumble

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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2021-08-25
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How you like them: Apple?s decade under Tim Cook

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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2021-08-24
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Annexed question, please: Ukraine?s summit on Crimea

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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2021-08-23
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Value-free investing: China and Afghanistan

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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2021-08-20
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Fits and starts: SARS-CoV-2?s origin

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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2021-08-19
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Stymie a river: the American West dries up

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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2021-08-18
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It rains, it pours: Haiti?s tragedy compounds

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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2021-08-17
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Nothing to break the fall: Afghanistan

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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2021-08-16
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Thicket and boarding pass: travel?s tangle of rules

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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2021-08-13
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Bridges and divides: America?s infrastructure push

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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2021-08-12
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