Indian states squabble over how to share out federal cash

Indian states squabble over how to share out federal cash

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Indian states squabble over how to share out federal cash
THE population of Uttar Pradesh is over 220m, enough to make the northern Indian state the world’s fifth-most populous country. But statistics still used by bureaucrats in New Delhi put it at less than 85m. Antiquated census data are used to split everything from federal funding to seats in the national parliament. A proposal to […]
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Development-impact bonds are costly, cumbersome—and good

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Development-impact bonds are costly, cumbersome—and good
IF A girl in a poor country goes to school, she will probably have a more comfortable life than if she stays at home. She will be less likely to marry while still a child, and therefore less likely to die in childbirth. So, not surprisingly, there is an Indian charity that tries to get […]
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Investors are gorging on American assets

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Investors are gorging on American assets
ECONOMISTS think prices, like spilt ketchup, are sticky. They move only slowly as firms digest economic conditions. Financial markets are an exception. Computerised trading by thousands of participants means prices, especially of currencies, can move in a McFlurry. Since The Economist last updated the Big Mac index (BMI), our lighthearted guide to currency valuation, burger […]
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Amazon wins from a Supreme Court ruling

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Amazon wins from a Supreme Court ruling
FOR years, online retailers in America have enjoyed an unfair advantage over their bricks-and-mortar competitors. Unless they were physically located in the same state as a shopper, they were not obliged to collect state and local sales taxes. Shoppers were still legally required to pay taxes on their online purchases, but not everyone did in […]
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Amazon takes a big step into online pharma

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Amazon takes a big step into online pharma
Jeff dispenses more disruption FOR roughly a year speculation has been feverish: would Amazon, an online retail giant, muscle into America’s prescription-drugs market? On June 28th that uncertainty ended when it bought a small online pharmacy, PillPack, based in Manchester, New Hampshire, for about $1bn. When the deal is completed later this year, Amazon will […]
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Shortages of carbon dioxide in Europe may get worse

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Shortages of carbon dioxide in Europe may get worse
Here’s to carbon capture IN THEORY, the world has too much carbon dioxide. In 2015 the Paris climate agreement set limits on emissions of the gas to prevent global temperatures rising by more than two degrees Celsius above those of pre-industrial times. But in practice, makers of food and drink in Europe have found that […]
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New auto tariffs would batter German carmakers

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New auto tariffs would batter German carmakers
Straight outta South Carolina THE menace to Americans from immigration of the wrong sort is immense, according to President Donald Trump. The list of items he wants to deter from crossing the border includes objects as well as people, and one in particular holds his attention. In trade terms, he told Fox News on July […]
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Contrition wins the day for Uber in a big market

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Contrition wins the day for Uber in a big market
SECOND chances exist, after all. Last September Uber was sideswiped when Transport for London (TfL), the city’s transport regulator, revoked the ride-hailing giant’s licence to operate in the capital, citing concerns related to public safety and reporting of drivers’ criminal offences. The decision appeared to dent the prospects of the firm, which counts London as […]
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Tortured by meetings

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Tortured by meetings
MOST workers view the prospect of a two-hour meeting with the same enthusiasm as Prometheus awaited the daily arrival of the eagle, sent by the gods to peck at his liver. Meetings have been a form of torture for office staff for as long as they have pushed pencils and bashed keyboards. One eternal problem […]
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VW opens Rwanda’s first car-assembly plant

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VW opens Rwanda’s first car-assembly plant
HOW to sell cars when most people can’t afford to buy one? That is the conundrum for Volkswagen in Rwanda, where it is opening the country’s first car-assembly plant. A new Polo costs 33 times the average Rwandan income. Most cars on the road are second-hand imports. Rwanda absorbs perhaps 3,000 new cars a year, […]
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America Inc and the rage against Beijing

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America Inc and the rage against Beijing
ONE of the naughty secrets about America’s trade war with China is that it has the tacit support of much of America’s business establishment. For the past 20 years big firms’ default mode has been Sino-infatuation. Schumpeter attended a dinner in 2016 between the captains of USA Inc and Li Keqiang, China’s premier, and you […]
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A disciplined startup emerges from the Wild West of crypto-currency

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A disciplined startup emerges from the Wild West of crypto-currency
MOST startups proudly announce their presence on buildings, billboards and any surface offering visibility. Not Coinbase, a crypto-currency startup. Visitors to its headquarters on a high floor of an office tower in San Francisco find themselves before an unmarked door and doorbell. They are asked to confirm by intercom which firm they intend to see. […]
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European state rail firms face scrappy new competitors

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European state rail firms face scrappy new competitors
THE opening of Britain’s Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked several firsts in rail history. It was the world’s first inter-city line. It was the scene of the first widely reported passenger fatality. And it was also the first where all trains were hauled by the track owners. Previous lines had seen competition between […]
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John Flannery gets down to business restructuring General Electric

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John Flannery gets down to business restructuring General Electric
THIS should have been one of the darkest weeks in the history of General Electric (GE). The firm founded by Thomas Edison has been a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a stockmarket index comprised of leading American companies, for over a century. Alas, mismanagement and a failure to move with the times have […]
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How two-wheelers are weaving their way into urban transport

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How two-wheelers are weaving their way into urban transport
THE streets of Beijing are thronged with two-wheeled contraptions. Some appear to be conventional petrol mopeds but as they zoom through red lights at pedestrian crossings their eerie silence and lack of exhaust reveals them as electric. Executives in suits cruise by on electric kick-scooters, looking like big kids on their way to school, though […]
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The founder of JetBlue is about to start a new airline

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The founder of JetBlue is about to start a new airline
TWO decades ago, David Neeleman founded JetBlue Airways, promising to “bring humanity back to air travel.” It has since grown to become one of America’s largest airlines. But stories of poor service and a lack of humanity still abound in the country’s aviation industry. And so it appears that Mr Neeleman is back and preparing […]
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A wave of new environmental laws is scaring shipowners

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A wave of new environmental laws is scaring shipowners
THE shipping industry has encountered rough seas over the past decade. Between 1985 and 2007 trade volumes shot up at around twice the rate of global GDP but since 2012 their rate of growth has barely kept pace, leaving the industry with overcapacity. Freight rates for containers have plunged by a third since 2008. Worse may be to come. The industry does […]
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How to play Argentina

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How to play Argentina
THERE is a type of footballer who inspires the affection of fans and the ire of coaches. He is talented, usually extravagantly so. But he is also wayward to the same lavish degree. Discipline seems beyond him, on or off the pitch. It was said of one of this kind, Stan Bowles of Queens Park […]
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How open is America?

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How open is America?
“JUSTIN has agreed to cut all tariffs and all trade barriers between Canada and the United States,” claimed President Donald Trump to laughter on June 8th, at the G7 summit in Quebec. The next day, in apparent seriousness, Mr Trump—who has slapped tariffs and quotas on imports of aluminium and steel from all the G7 […]
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Do Britain’s railways need a Fat Controller?

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Do Britain’s railways need a Fat Controller?
ON MAY 20th, the biggest changes to train timetables in modern British history took place, affecting commuters and business travellers across the country. In the weeks beforehand, the train-operating companies had been spinning the changes as good news for passengers due to an increase in the number of services offered. Journalists were being hosted on […]
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A new breed of German startups

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A new breed of German startups
At a rooftop bar in Berlin on May 29th, the glitterati of Germany’s startup scene toasted a new arrival. Silicon Valley Bank, a commercial lender which counts as customers half of American startups that went public in 2017, has just opened an office in the country. “They are doing unique, cool things here,” gushed Greg […]
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Why Japan’s sharing economy is tiny

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Why Japan’s sharing economy is tiny
AIRBNB, an American platform for booking stays in other people’s houses, can barely conceal its frustration. A law passed last year for the first time legalised minpaku, or home-sharing, in Japan, but also sharply restricted it. From June 15th hosts can rent out their property for a maximum of 180 days each year, provided they […]
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Can refugees help to plug Europe’s skilled-labour gaps?

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Can refugees help to plug Europe’s skilled-labour gaps?
THE canteen of Stockholm University could scarcely be more Swedish. Young blond students sip coffee and tap away on Macs. In room 3.89, an outpost of the campus, is another, newer Sweden. Refugees, all of them teachers, from lands far to the south and east are preparing for the classrooms of their new home. Several […]
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How e-commerce with drone delivery is taking flight in China

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How e-commerce with drone delivery is taking flight in China
Delivering the goods LATE on a Monday morning the village of Zhangwei is quiet. Chickens scratch and cluck at the side of the road. Workers use wooden spades to spread grain on the highway to dry, using half its width so that traffic can still pass on the other side. Yet at the community centre […]
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A tax-evasion scandal ensnares Chinese film-production companies

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A tax-evasion scandal ensnares Chinese film-production companies
Fan Bingbing, on location in Khorgos IT IS hard to go a day in China without seeing Fan Bingbing. The doe-eyed starlet gazes from film posters (she has averaged four films a year for the past decade), airbrushed ads for global brands and glossy magazine covers. But in the past week she has graced articles […]
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Plans to privatise India’s flag-carrier have run into turbulence

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Plans to privatise India’s flag-carrier have run into turbulence
AFTER a plane crash, air-safety investigators are dispatched to the wreckage site to find out what went wrong and ensure it never happens again. Their financial counterparts have a similar job to do with the Indian government’s proposed sale of Air India. Mooted for nearly a year, the first round of preliminary bids ended on […]
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Donald Trump lobs a grenade from afar into the G7

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Donald Trump lobs a grenade from afar into the G7
FOR a moment, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders attending their annual summit, in a mountain village in Quebec, looked like they had managed to paper over their differences with President Donald Trump and present a united front. They found just the right wording to secure American agreement on matters that never used to be […]
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