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The Economist Podcasts

The Economist Podcasts

Every weekday our global network of correspondents makes sense of the stories beneath the headlines. We bring you surprising trends and tales from around the world, current affairs, business and finance?as well as science and technology.

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Checks and Balance: Face palm

Republicans and Democrats don't agree on much, but in Facebook they?ve found a common enemy. When whistleblower Frances Haugen told a congressional hearing the company knew its products damaged the mental health of its young users, senators rushed to proclaim they would get something done. How harmful is Facebook? And will politicians take action?

The Economist?s Hal Hodson tells us we need more evidence to understand social media?s impact on wellbeing. We go back to when video games caused panic on Capitol Hill. And The Economist?s Alexandra Suich Bass explains why this scandal is politically potent. 

John Prideaux hosts with Charlotte Howard and Jon Fasman.

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2021-10-15
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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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The Economist Asks: David Chase

Fourteen years after ?The Sopranos'' ended, the creator of the hit TV series explains why his show is reaching new and younger audiences. Host Anne McElvoy asks whether mobsters have a moral compass and why audiences root for the patriarch Tony Soprano? The Hollywood veteran talks about bringing the story back to life in the prequel movie ?The Many Saints of Newark? and why it should be enjoyed in a cinema, not at home.

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2021-10-14
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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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Money Talks: A real-world revolution

This year's Nobel prize celebrates the "credibility revolution" that has transformed economics since the 1990s. Today most notable new work is not theoretical but based on analysis of real-world data. Host Rachana Shanbhogue speaks to two of the winners, David Card and Joshua Angrist, and our Free Exchange columnist Ryan Avent explains how their work has brought economics closer to real life.

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2021-10-13
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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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Babbage: Rocks in space

A probe to study the Trojan asteroids is expected to take off this week, but what will this mission uncover about the formation of the solar system? Also, we explore new technology to observe asteroids, as well as a mission to deflect an incoming celestial object. And, we hear from the Nobel co-laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Ardem Patapoutian, about temperature and pressure sensing. Alok Jha hosts. 

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2021-10-12
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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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To a Lesser Degree: Going in reverse

Lowering greenhouse gas emissions won?t be enough to stop the world from overheating. Carbon needs to be sucked out of the atmosphere. But can that be done quickly enough -- and on what scale?

Nathalie Seddon of the Nature-Based Solutions Initiative explores the ways ecosystems can be enhanced to store carbon. And we go to Iceland to visit the world?s largest direct air capture facility that removes carbon from the air, which is then injected into volcanic rock.

Hosted by Vijay Vaitheeswaran, The Economist?s global energy and climate innovation editor, with environment editor Catherine Brahic, and Oliver Morton, our briefings editor.

 

For full access to print, digital and audio editions as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/climatepod and you can sign up to our fortnightly climate newsletter at economist.com/theclimateissue.

 

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2021-10-11
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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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Editor?s Picks: October 11th 2021

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, the world economy?s shortage problem, Abiy Ahmed against the world (9:39) and how fast-fashion label Shein models a new style of Chinese multinational (16:50)

 

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2021-10-11
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Checks and Balance: Cop out

When Democrats took control of Congress and the presidency, it raised hopes that real change could happen in a criminal justice system tarnished by racism and police brutality. But federal efforts have stalled and progressive local prosecutors are hitting roadblocks. Why is law enforcement so resistant to reform?

The National Sheriffs? Association?s Jonathan Thompson tells us police are open to some change. We go back to when an amateur video tape shone a light on racist cops. And Boston District Attorney Rachael Rollins explains why she?s stopped prosecuting a number of non-violent crimes.

John Prideaux hosts with Charlotte Howard and Jon Fasman.

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2021-10-08
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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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The Economist Asks: Stanley McChrystal

Are Western alliances fraying? Anne McElvoy asks the retired four-star US General about the diplomatic fallout from the AUKUS deal. As Chinese jets menace Taiwan, would the US go to war to defend the island? The former commander of US and coalition troops in Afghanistan ponders whether the Taliban could become America?s counter-terrorism allies. And could you follow the General?s lead and exist on one meal a day? 

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2021-10-07
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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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Money Talks: The new logic of trade

Trade used to be about efficiency and growth. But those goals are being overtaken by others, from security to environmentalism. Our Britain economics editor Soumaya Keynes and host Rachana Shanbhogue investigate how the blurring of economic and political concerns is driving?and destabilising?trade relationships, with global consequences.

We hear from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, about the WTO?s complicated history and contested future. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai explains where she thinks the current rules-based system falls short, particularly when it comes to China. And Pamela Coke-Hamilton, head of the International Trade Centre, identifies the winners and losers of this new era.

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2021-10-06
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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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Babbage: A new Anthropocene diet

A new generation of technologies are transforming the world?s food-production system. Food scientists are producing cruelty-free meat in the lab, growing salad underground in vertical farms and bringing aquaculture on land. The Economist's US digital editor Jon Fasman uncovers the future of food.

 

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2021-10-05
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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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To a Lesser Degree: Best behaviour

Eating less meat or giving up flying are palpable ways people can help mitigate climate change. But how much does personal action matter? And how should societies meet the challenge of lowering greenhouse gas emissions?

Yael Parag of the Reichman University in Tel Aviv weighs the merits of individual carbon budgets. Bruce Friedrich of the Good Food Institute highlights the impact of eating beef. And Jon Fasman, The Economist?s US digital editor, tries a lab-grown meat substitute to assess its flavour and potential.

Hosted by Vijay Vaitheeswaran, The Economist?s global energy and climate innovation editor, with environment editor Catherine Brahic, and Oliver Morton, our briefings editor.

 

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2021-10-04
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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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Editor?s Picks: October 4th 2021

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week: Xi Jinping?s campaign against China's capitalist excesses, how to revive Britain?s stockmarket (10:11), and electric motor city (18:33) 

 

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2021-10-04
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Checks and Balance: Taxing times

Democrats are in a fight to turn President Biden?s signature economic proposals into law. They want to raise the top rates of income tax and increase corporate tax to fund them. It would be the first big hike in federal taxes in nearly three decades. What is the best way to pay for Joe Biden?s vision of America? 

The Economist?s Simon Rabinovitch takes us through the president?s tax plans. We go back to the time when the stars of Hollywood?s Golden Age became tax dodgers. And Erica York from the Tax Foundation tells us America?s fiscal system is surprisingly progressive.  

John Prideaux hosts with Charlotte Howard and Jon Fasman.

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2021-10-01
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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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The Economist Asks: Michel Barnier

As trade tensions flare, Anne McElvoy asks the former chief Brexit negotiator about the state of relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Can the two sides end a stand-off about the Northern Ireland protocol? The author of ?My Secret Brexit Diary? reveals why he wants to be the next president of France. And, after four years of tussles with Britain, would he still call himself an Anglophile? 

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2021-09-30
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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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Money Talks: Bricks and mortar

China?s largest developer Evergrande is threatening to default?what does this reveal about the broader troubles in the country?s property market? And if you live in a big American or European city, there?s a good chance that a mighty financial institution could be your next landlord. Plus, historian Adam Tooze looks back at the economic impact of the pandemic. Patrick Lane hosts.

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2021-09-29
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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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Babbage: Don't panic

As British petrol stations run dry, we explore the behavioural science of panic buying. Also, a dried-up lake bed reveals evidence about America?s first inhabitants. And neuroscientist Anil Seth explains what a new theory can tell us about our conscious experiences of the world?and a chance to win his book. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  

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2021-09-28
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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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To A Lesser Degree: The challenge

It's not too late to avert a climate disaster. The question is, how? We map out the three priorities: reducing emissions and finding ways to suck carbon out of the air, adapting to climate change; and navigating the fraught global politics to reach agreement at November?s UN Climate Conference in Glasgow.

John McDermot, The Economist?s Chief Africa Correspondent, reports from South Africa on the difficulties of weaning the country off coal. 

Hosted by Vijay Vaitheeswaran, The Economist?s global energy & climate innovation editor, with Catherine Brahic, environment editor, and Oliver Morton, briefings editor.

 

For full access to print, digital and audio editions as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/climatepod and you can sign up to our fortnightly climate newsletter at economist.com/theclimateissue.

 

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2021-09-27
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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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Editor?s Picks: September 27th 2021

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week: the mess Merkel leaves behind, America gets serious about countering China (11:01) and Nigerian megachurches practise the prosperity they preach (17:36).

 

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2021-09-27
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Checks and Balance: AUKUS ruckus

Occasionally, you can see big shifts in foreign policy happen right before your eyes. The unveiling of AUKUS, the trilateral defence pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, was one of those rare occasions. What does AUKUS tell us about America?s changing priorities?  

The Economist?s Daniel Franklin explains how the pact is a response to Chinese aggression. We go back to when a European crowd went wild for an American political star. And Paris bureau chief Sophie Pedder tells us how AUKUS may benefit French president Emmanuel Macron.  

John Prideaux hosts with Charlotte Howard and Jon Fasman.

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2021-09-24
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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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The Economist Asks: What happens after Merkel?

Host Anne McElvoy reviews the German Chancellor?s 16-year leadership with Wolfgang Nowak, a political veteran who advised Angela Merkel's predecessor, and asks what made her such a phenomenal politician. And as the race to replace Angela Merkel draws to a close, Anne talks to security expert Claudia Major about the domestic and foreign challenges awaiting her successor. 

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2021-09-23
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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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Money Talks: Volatile gas

The price of natural gas is rocketing, with global consequences. Is volatility in this crucial fuel here to stay? We also ask why an investigation at the World Bank has put Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund, in the spotlight. And, after our adventures in DeFi-land last week, economist Eswar Prasad assesses who should control the future of money and payments. Patrick Lane hosts

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2021-09-22
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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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Babbage: From pandemic to twindemic

As the northern hemisphere heads towards its second winter battling covid-19, epidemiologist Professor Dame Anne Johnson explains the risk of a surge in flu cases and how to avoid a double pandemic. Also, a decline in mental health was one of the unforeseen consequences of the coronavirus crisis. Dr Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist, advises how to turn everyday anxiety into a positive emotion. And, a new form of sea defence is part natural, part artificial. Kenneth Cukier hosts. 

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2021-09-21
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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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To a Lesser Degree: Trailer

Rising global temperatures have already increased the frequency of floods, wildfires, droughts, and heatwaves around the world. If humanity does not change course rapidly, the effects of climate change will become more extreme.

What can be done to avoid this outcome?

Vijay Vaitheeswaran, the Economist?s global energy and climate innovation editor, will be joined weekly by expert guests to explore how everything?from finance to agriculture, transport to international policy?will have to change to take the world?s temperature down ?To a Lesser Degree?.

 

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2021-09-20
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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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Editor?s Picks: September 20th 2021

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, the dream and danger of decentralised finance, how America is substantially reducing child poverty (10:02) and a defence of, like, ?like? (18:57)

 

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2021-09-20
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Checks and Balance: Life choices

When the Supreme Court declined to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions after six weeks, it gave the strongest signal yet that its conservative majority is prepared to deny women the right to an abortion. Nearly fifty years after Roe v Wade, might that landmark ruling soon be overturned

Legal historian Mary Ziegler assesses Roe?s chances of survival. We look back to when the abortion debate turned deadly. And pro-life activist Kyleen Wright tells us why liberals are wrong to accuse her movement of hypocrisy. 

John Prideaux hosts with Mian Ridge and Jon Fasman.

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2021-09-17
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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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The Economist Asks: Scott Gottlieb

As President Biden pushes to get more Americans fully jabbed, Anne McElvoy asks the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration whether America?s vaccine mandates will work. The author of ?Uncontrolled Spread? discusses the failures in handling the covid-19 pandemic and the efficacy of booster shots. And, what is the best temperature to cook a steak?

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2021-09-16
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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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Money Talks: Alice in DeFi-land

After a painstakingly slow start, the financial system is now digitising fast. Alice Fulwood, The Economist?s US finance correspondent, and host Rachana Shanbhogue explore the different emerging models shaping the future of money and payments. 

With David Marcus, head of Facebook Financial and Novi, its new digital wallet system; Benoît C?uré, head of innovation at the Bank for International Settlements, a club of central banks (recorded at the 2021 Eurofi forum) and Lex Sokolin, head of decentralised finance at ConsenSys, a blockchain software firm.

Sign up for our new weekly newsletter dissecting the big themes in markets, business and the economy at economist.com/moneytalks 

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2021-09-15
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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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