Sleep pods are becoming increasingly common at airports

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Sleep pods are becoming increasingly common at airports
IN THEORY, overnight air travel should be wonderfully convenient. Instead of booking a hotel for the night and losing a day, travellers simply sleep while they fly. In reality, sleeping on a plane is hard, and at an airport tougher still. The chairs in terminals, nobody’s idea of comfort to begin with, tend to have […]
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Toys “R� Us files for bankruptcy

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Toys “R� Us files for bankruptcy
ASK young American parents about Toys “Râ€� Us and they are likely to be able to sing a jingle from their childhood: “I don’t wanna grow up, ’cause maybe if I did, I couldn’t be a Toys ‘R’ Us kidâ€�. For children of the 1980s, Toys “Râ€� Us was a mecca at the strip mall, […]
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A legal vulnerability at the heart of China’s big internet firms

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A legal vulnerability at the heart of China’s big internet firms
COMPANIES’ legal structures are usually mind-numbing fare. But occasionally it is worth pinching yourself and paying attention. Take “variable interest entitiesâ€� (VIEs), a kind of corporate architecture used mainly by China’s tech firms, including two superstars, Alibaba and Tencent. They go largely unremarked, but VIEs have become incredibly important. Investors outside China have about $1trn […]
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New rail routes between China and Europe will change trade patterns

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New rail routes between China and Europe will change trade patterns
ASTANA in Kazakhstan is one of the world’s most remote capitals, surrounded by thousands of kilometres of empty steppe. This summer Astana attempted to launch itself onto the global stage by hosting the World Expo, which closed on September 10th and underwhelmed many attendees. But there are other ways to have an impact. On the city’s […]
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The business of sperm banks

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The business of sperm banks
Fruit of a global supply chain BROWSING websites that list sperm donors is weirdly similar to online dating. “Sanford is the total package,â€� begins one online ad, describing his strong jawline and piercing blue eyes. With a degree in finance and a “charming demeanourâ€�, he is more than a pretty face. You can listen to […]
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Global LNG giants turn to poor countries for new markets

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Global LNG giants turn to poor countries for new markets
Bringing rivers of the liquefied stuff WHEN it comes to liquefied natural gas (LNG), the supermajors have supersized appetites. The likes of Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and BP make discoveries described as “elephantsâ€�; their cost overruns alone can run into the tens of billions of dollars; and projects take the best part of a decade […]
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America’s utilities prepare for a nuclear threat to the grid

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America’s utilities prepare for a nuclear threat to the grid
When the lights go out WHEN North Korea said on September 3rd that it had developed a hydrogen bomb, adding that it could be used for a “super-powerfulâ€� high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) attack, America’s electricity industry was already on alert. Sceptics tend to dismiss as far-fetched the idea that the rogue regime would knock out […]
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Panipat, the global centre for recycling textiles, is fading

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Panipat, the global centre for recycling textiles, is fading
Tools of the shoddy trade WHEN the doors open to the warehouse at Ambey Spinning Mills in Panipat, a city 90km from Delhi, it seems as if its contents might tumble out like those of an overstuffed cupboard. Heaps of clothes are piled to the ceiling. Ten women meticulously extract zips, chains and buttons from […]
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Mobile technology is revamping loyalty schemes

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Mobile technology is revamping loyalty schemes
THOSE of a cynical bent might think Tom Stuker a glutton for punishment. Over the years, Mr Stuker has flown more than 18m miles (29m kilometres) on United Airlines, a carrier not always renowned for treating its passengers tenderly. Mr Stuker may possess the world’s most impressive frequent-flyer account. Over the past half-decade he has […]
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An infrastructure for charging electric vehicles takes shape

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An infrastructure for charging electric vehicles takes shape
A NEW phrase, “range anxietyâ€�—the fear that an electric vehicle (EV) will run out of power before it reaches a charging-point—entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. At the time a Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling EV, could travel only 120km between charges. A car with a full tank of fuel will travel 650-800km between […]
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What effect is Donald Trump really having on American tourism?

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What effect is Donald Trump really having on American tourism?
WHEN Donald Trump was inaugurated in January, he wasted no time in trying to bar people from certain Muslim-majority countries entering America. He swiftly, too, promised to make good on his pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border. The nation’s travel industry shuddered. It did not feel like the actions of a man keen […]
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A survey finds support for both globalisation and import tariffs

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A survey finds support for both globalisation and import tariffs
IN JANUARY 2000, George W. Bush, then a presidential candidate, said: “If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow.â€� His eloquence did little for the cause of free trade. Tariffs have consistently retained broad global support despite the spoonerism. GlobeScan, a consultancy, has regularly conducted surveys in several developing and developed […]
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Pricey housing markets mean co-living buildings are on the rise

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Pricey housing markets mean co-living buildings are on the rise
  MONDAY is “Game of Thronesâ€� night at The Collective’s Old Oak building. Millennials congregate in TV rooms around the 11-storey, 550-person block. Some gather at the cinema, lounging on bean bags decorated with old graphics from Life magazine. Nothing gets residents out of their rooms like the hit TV show. This is not a […]
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Naspers comes under fire for free-riding on Tencent

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Naspers comes under fire for free-riding on Tencent
SOUTH AFRICA’S stockmarket has Naspers largely to thank for its recent record highs. Shares in the media and internet group have soared by 45% this year; even before then it was Africa’s most valuable firm. So recent unrest among shareholders in Naspers might seem unwarranted. But in the days before its annual general meeting in […]
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A scheme to let non-flyers through the security gates

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A scheme to let non-flyers through the security gates
In an era of strict security checks and other inconveniences for air travel, one American airport is making a sharp move in the opposite direction. On September 5th, Pittsburgh International will become the first American airport since the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001 to allow people who are not booked on a flight to pass […]
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Of Indian banknotes cancelled last year, 99% are accounted for

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Of Indian banknotes cancelled last year, 99% are accounted for
ON NOVEMBER 8th 2016, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, stunned its 1.3bn people by announcing that most banknotes would soon become worthless. Indians then queued for weeks on end to exchange or deposit their banned money at banks. The comfort for the poor was that the greedy, tax-dodging rich would suffer more, as they struggled […]
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The gap between India’s richer and poorer states is widening

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The gap between India’s richer and poorer states is widening
COUNTRIES find it easier to get rich once their neighbours already are. East Asia’s growth pattern has for decades been likened to a skein of geese, from Japan at the vanguard to laggards such as Myanmar at the rear. The same pattern can often be seen within big countries: over the past decade, for example, […]
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Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc on American air travel

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Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc on American air travel
Donald Trump went to the Texas coast on August 29th to see for himself the disaster-relief effort in response to Hurricane Harvey. But few other people are able to travel there. The storm has brought record-breaking rains and devastating floods to the Houston area, killing at least 30 people so far (the toll is expected […]
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Less lost luggage at the airport

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Less lost luggage at the airport
WAITING to see if your checked bag will bump down the carousel and join you at your destination is one of the enduring anxieties of air travel. Though the number of “mishandledâ€� bags—an industry term meaning lost or misplaced—is at an all-time low, six out of every 1,000 passengers can expect to be separated from […]
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Investor activism is surging in continental Europe

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Investor activism is surging in continental Europe
LEAVE it to the Americans to besiege European companies in August, when the entire continent is on holiday. It emerged this month that Corvex Management, an American hedge fund, had built up a $400m position in Danone, a French food giant. AkzoNobel, a Dutch paints-and-chemicals firm which has been under heavy fire from Elliott Advisors, […]
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American bosses continue to lobby, more quietly

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American bosses continue to lobby, more quietly
IN CORPORATE America, “Trumpâ€� seems to be a dirty word, at least in public. After President Donald Trump seemed to equate the actions of white supremacists and their opponents in Charlottesville earlier this month, dozens of chief executives abandoned his advisory councils. Several organisations cancelled fundraising galas booked at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. […]
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Appalling behaviour on London’s Tube

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Appalling behaviour on London’s Tube
WITH 1.4bn passengers annually, the London Underground is one of the world’s busiest transport systems. It is also one of the most crowded, sometimes producing an element of friction among commuters over small acts of inconsideration. This week YouGov released the results of a survey of the things that most wind up passengers as they […]
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Samsung’s boss is sentenced to prison

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Samsung’s boss is sentenced to prison
SAMSUNG’S founding family, the Lees, have good reason to dislike room 417 of Seoul’s Central District Court. In 2008 it was where Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of the sprawling South Korean conglomerate, was found guilty of tax evasion. On August 25th his son, Lee Jae-yong, the vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, stood in the same room […]
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Does ageing explain America’s disappointing wage growth?

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Does ageing explain America’s disappointing wage growth?
WHEN America’s unemployment was last as low as it has been recently, in early 2007, wages were growing by about 3.5% a year. Today wage growth seems stuck at about 2.5%. This puzzles economists. Some say the labour market is less healthy than the jobless rate suggests; others point to weak productivity growth or low […]
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China modernises its monetary policy

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China modernises its monetary policy
QIN SHIHUANG was the emperor who first unified China, through bloody conquest more than two millennia ago. Known for starting the Great Wall and burying scholars alive, he has a new claim to fame: the central bank has drawn on his construction of a national road system to help explain its new monetary system. In […]
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Involuntary bumping seems to be a thing of the past

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Involuntary bumping seems to be a thing of the past
IF AVIATION had an astrological sign, 2017 would surely be the Year of the Bump. Most infamously, it was the year that a United Airlines passenger who refused to leave an overbooked flight in April was dragged violently from the plane. There followed airline policy changes to reduce involuntary bumping, a novel system to make […]
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