A volatile week across global stock markets has escalated into a frenzied sell-off, with European stock markets plunging to their lowest level in 20 months on Thursday. In the UK the FTSE 100 fell to a six-month low after Wall Street suffered its biggest drop in eight months, with the Dow Jones losing more than 800 points. Why are markets tanking? The sell-off is being fuelled by concerns over rising US interest rates, political uncertainty in Italy, mounting trade tensions between the US and China, and crises in emerging markets such as Turkey and Argentina. Donald Trump added to the pressure by branding the US Federal Reserve “crazy” for planning further rate rises. The US economy is booming, prompting the Fed to raise rates to keep a lid on inflation. Rising interest rates mean higher borrowing costs for companies and individuals, such as higher mortgage rates. Investors are fearful that firms and consumers will struggle to cope with higher costs. Charlie Ripley, a … [Read more...] about Why are markets plunging and which stocks are worst hit?
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Until fairly recently, Jhumpa Lahiri didn't have much name recognition in this country. But in the US, where she grew up and lives, and in India, where her parents were born, she's had star status since the beginning of her career. Her first story collection, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), which she finished not long after turning 30, won a string of awards that culminated in the Pulitzer prize for fiction. Her first novel, The Namesake (2003), was also well received and became a US bestseller; a less well received film of it by Mira Nair was released in 2006. Her marriage in Calcutta in 2001 to Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, a Guatemalan-American journalist, was given Hollywood-scale coverage by the local media, complete with paparazzi shots. And - unusually, to say the least, for a serious piece of writing, let alone a story collection - her new book, Unaccustomed Earth, went straight to the top of the New York Times fiction bestseller list. One of the things that make Lahiri's success … [Read more...] about Change and loss
POLYNESIAN pulverisers Manu Tuilagi and Joe Cokanasiga demolished Ireland in a rampaging record win. Samoan-born Tuilagi and Fijian-born Cokanasiga scored three of England's eight tries between them in this Twickenham annihilation. By doing so Eddie Jones' side fired a mammoth World Cup warning around the globe as they humiliated a country who looked like favourites just nine months ago. It was a coming-of-age performance for Cokanasiga, 21, who performed a bare-chested Fijian war dance in a grass skirt at Twickenham back in 2015 before England's opener against his homeland. And having grown up watching Tuilagi terrorise defences, it is no wonder where Jones' latest two-try hero gets his inspiration from. The 6ft 3ins 18 stone Bath winger revealed: "Manu was my idol growing up."When I was 15 I messaged him on Facebook and told him: ‘You’re my idol’. He didn’t respond! "But he told me he saw it. It’s all a dream come true. "Every carry he did today was … [Read more...] about England record rampant win over Ireland as Red Rose put up EIGHT tries in World Cup warm-up
January 1 Centenary of the birth of The Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger.7 Winners of Costa category awards announced.11 Release of the biopic Colette, starring Keira Knightley.12 50th anniversary of the publication of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint.14 TS Eliot prize for poetry awarded.29 Costa prize-giving with book of the year revealed. Germaine Greer turns 80. FictionThe Wall by John Lanchester (Faber)Capital took on the financial crisis; this latest novel imagines a future rocked by global migration and climate disaster, in which a wall has been built around Great Britain to keep out “the Others”. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (Doubleday)The follow-up to the bestselling The Thirteenth Tale is a hugely pleasurable 19th-century mystery combining folklore and scientific discovery, set around the Thames. Border Districts by Gerard Murnane (& Other Stories)First UK publication for the cult Australian author who, at nearly 80, is gaining … [Read more...] about 2019 in books: what you’ll be reading this year
Hello and vřelé uvítání from Prague, where we’ve come for some c̶h̶r̶i̶s̶t̶m̶a̶s̶ ̶s̶h̶o̶p̶p̶i̶n̶g̶ conference or other. It’s the Prague Media Point journalism event, neatly subtitled “What’s Working?” I’m told that media in the Czech Republic is largely controlled by creepy billionaires, is awash with fake news and is struggling to make ends meet. Sound familiar? Still, it’s always inspiring to hear that the Upside is not alone: indeed there is a vibrant ecosystem of local journalists around the world seeking out what works in their community and trying to spread the word. My own particular favourites from this week: Tea after Twelve, a Bonn-based operation which publishes in English; Outlier Media, a community self-help grapevine from Detroit; Rubryka, a promising Kiev-based startup (which is only worth clicking through to if you … [Read more...] about Good King Wenceslas looks out on a feast of journalism