WHEN SÃO PAULO went dark at 3pm on August 19th, the city’s 12m-plus inhabitants were stunned by the black cloud that descended on the city. Some took photos of the dystopian scene; others called loved ones in fear that the end was nigh. A popular religious YouTube channel told subscribers that Jesus was returning for the second coming. Forget the end of days. This apocalypse is man-made. The mid-afternoon darkness, most accept, was caused by rare atmospheric conditions that brought smoke from the fires burning thousands of kilometres away in the Amazonian rainforest. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has detected 85% more forest fires this year than in the same period last year. But across the region trends so far (half-way through the fire season) are roughly consistent with the average for the last 20 years. That is not necessarily comforting: rampant … [Read more...] about Jair Bolsonaro shrugs as the Amazon burns
“THE DESTINY of nations,” wrote Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, an 18th-century French gastronome, “depends on how they nourish themselves.” Today a nation’s stature depends on how well it nourishes the rest of the world, too. For proof of this, consider the rise of culinary diplomacy. In 2012 America’s State Department launched a “chef corps” tasked with promoting American cuisine abroad. Thailand’s government sends chefs overseas to peddle pad Thai and massaman curry through its Global Thai programme. South Korea pursues its own brand of “kimchi diplomacy”. But which country’s cuisine is at the top of the global food chain? A new paper by Joel Waldfogel of the University of Minnesota provides an answer. Using restaurant listings from TripAdvisor, a travel-review website, and sales figures from Euromonitor, a market-research firm, Mr Waldfogel estimates world “trade” in cuisines for 52 countries. … [Read more...] about Which countries dominate the world’s dinner tables?
EVERY AUGUST a who’s who of economists and central bankers gathers in the shadow of the Teton mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Ostensibly, they convene to discuss new monetary research; occasionally, the meeting has broader significance. In 2010, as the American economy seemed to be stumbling into a “double-dip” recession, Ben Bernanke, then head of the Federal Reserve, reassured markets that the Fed was prepared to unleash a new round of stimulative asset-purchases. It proved a turning point for markets and the economy. The remarks by Jerome Powell, the Fed’s current chairman, on August 23rd, were perhaps the most eagerly awaited since then. Markets are unsettled. The global economic outlook is cloudy. There is disagreement within the Fed over interest rates. And the Fed and Mr Powell himself have been subjected to Twitter tirades from President Donald Trump, who wants interest rates to be cut hard and cut fast. In the event, Mr Powell said very little that … [Read more...] about Now Donald Trump calls the Fed’s chairman an “enemy”
This is a by-invitation commentary in a series on “Hong Kong’s Future,” part of The Economist’s Open Future initiative, which aims to foster a global conversation across the ideological spectrum on vital issues. You can comment here or on Facebook and Twitter. More articles can be found at Economist.com/openfuture NOT THAT long ago, one of my principal concerns was that, in the context of a world in awe at the rising economic power and influence of China, Hong Kong was beginning to drop off the global radar. I have always considered it vital that the international community not lose sight of Hong Kong’s unique economic, social and political status under the concept of “one country, two systems”. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks. Now that the recent social turmoil has captured the attention of the world’s media, the only comfort to be had is that the causes and significance of … [Read more...] about Hong Kong’s protest movement will not back down empty-handed
The 2019 WTA Jiangxi Open will run from September 7 to 15 in Nanchang, capital of east China’s Jiangxi Province, organizers said on Thursday. Participants include home favorites Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai, who will jointly participate in the doubles, and former Grand Slam winners Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur. “This year’s Jiangxi Open is set to feature some of the most famous stars of women’s tennis, including former Grand Slam champions,” said organizing committee member Lin Jun. The tournament’s prize fund totals 2.5 million U.S. dollars, with the winners set to earn 280 WTA ranking points. The Jiangxi Open is a professional tennis tournament played on hard courts. This year’s edition will be the sixth running of the event, and will form part of the 2019 WTA Tour. … [Read more...] about WTA Jiangxi Open to begin on September 7