The departure of the VW boss heralds a big shake-up

The departure of the VW boss heralds a big shake-up

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The departure of the VW boss heralds a big shake-up
From dieselgate to Diess? MOST chief executives relish a jump in their company’s share price. But spare a thought for Volkswagen’s Matthias Müller as he watched the gauge of value leap by 4.5% on April 10th. That was galling because investors were responding to rumours, in effect promptly confirmed by VW’s board, that he was […]
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Six precepts every investor should remember

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Six precepts every investor should remember
SIR ELTON JOHN has a three-year farewell tour planned. This columnist has only a few weeks to go, before heading off to a new Economist beat. So it seems like a good idea to summarise some of the themes which have dominated this blog.  To start, long-term investing. Here are a set of precepts every […]
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A plan to put beds on planes

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A plan to put beds on planes
Airbus recently announced that it has entered into a partnership with Zodiac Aeropsace, a French aviation-equipment company, to develop “lower-deck modules with passenger sleeping berths.” In other words, passengers in need of 40 winks might eventually be able to go below decks to the cargo hold and sleep in bunk beds. The video released by […]
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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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An update from Jeremy Grantham

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An update from Jeremy Grantham
JEREMY GRANTHAM is an investor with 50 years of experience in the markets who is known for his caution about the outlook for long-term returns (he works for the GMO fund management group). But he caused a stir earlier this year when he said the chances were high of a melt-up in the markets this year.  […]
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Gulf Air tries to reclaim its crown

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Gulf Air tries to reclaim its crown
WITH their geographical advantage for connecting flights between far-flung places, there is plenty to keep the airlines of the Gulf countries busy. Yet Bahrain’s skies are nearly empty compared with its neighbours. About 9m passengers used its airport last year, far fewer than the 88m for Dubai, 37m for Qatar and 26m for Abu Dhabi. […]
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A plan that needs more money

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A plan that needs more money
AMERICAN private-sector workers face a problem. Too few of them have private-sector pensions, and the government scheme, Social Security, set up by Franklin Roosevelt (pictured) is less generous than it used to be. One study estimated that 20m elderly Americans will be living in poverty or near-poverty by 2035. A new book* by Theresa Ghilarducci […]
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Takeda eyes up Shire

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Takeda eyes up Shire
Takeda shows some bottle WHEN it comes to foreign deals, Japanese drug companies are interested in buying the product, not the company, says Fumiyoshi Sakai of Credit Suisse, a bank. So the news that Takeda, Japan’s biggest pharmaceutical company, wants to buy Shire, a similar-sized Irish drugmaker that specialises in treatments for rare diseases, came […]
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Chinese carriers are the new disrupters in air travel 

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Chinese carriers are the new disrupters in air travel 
The Chinese have got their tails up ANYONE who doubts the ambitions of China’s airlines need only look over the plans for Daxing International Airport, which will serve Beijing after it opens in late 2019. It will be the world’s biggest airport by far, with eight runways and room for 100m passengers a year. The […]
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A trade war between America and China takes shape

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A trade war between America and China takes shape
TALK of tariffs is in danger of developing into cries of trade war. On April 3rd America published a list of some 1,300 Chinese products it proposes to hit with tariffs of 25%. Just a day later China produced its own list, covering 106 categories. “As the Chinese saying goes, it is only polite to […]
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Air India is trying to crack down on corruption

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Air India is trying to crack down on corruption
EVERYONE grumbles about the injustices of air travel, but most people assume that the inequities are at least grounded in a fair system. Pay for business class (or have your company pay), and you get comfort and free drinks. Go frugal with basic economy and get stuck in a lousy seat without a carry-on bag. […]
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Spotify makes its stockmarket debut

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Spotify makes its stockmarket debut
WHEN Spotify, a music-streaming service, went public on April 3rd, its founder, Daniel Ek, rang no bells on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Rather than the “pomp and circumstance” of an initial public offering, the Swedish firm, which is widely credited with turning round the fortunes of the music industry, opted […]
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Gulliver’s most popular posts on the world of travel

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Gulliver’s most popular posts on the world of travel
TODAY is a very special day for Gulliver, for it is ten years to the very day since his column at The Economist opened for business. Since then, much has changed in the world of travel. A barrel of oil is now worth a tad over $60, instead of around the $100 mark as in […]
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Mexico switches on its government-run wholesale mobile network

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Mexico switches on its government-run wholesale mobile network
G-whizz JAWS dropped when earlier this year a White House memo argued that the American government should build and run its own 5G mobile network. The reason given was national security. The memo cited Huawei, a Chinese maker of telecoms gear, as a strategic threat. Many assailed the idea of such massive state intervention and […]
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Mediapro offers a combustible mix of sport and politics

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Mediapro offers a combustible mix of sport and politics
LIKE Jaume Roures and Gerard Romy, two of its founders, Mediapro is proudly Catalan. Too proud, according to the Spanish police. The television company, which launched in 1994, has been investigated for paying for a press centre for foreign journalists during an unconstitutional independence referendum in the region last October, and for producing a sympathetic […]
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Royal Dutch Shell and Total flirt with becoming utilities

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Royal Dutch Shell and Total flirt with becoming utilities
IN AMERICA Big Oil remembers BP’s attempt to go “Beyond Petroleum” in the 2000s as a toe-curling embarrassment. In Europe it is seen as being ahead of its time. Once again the oil industry is experimenting with cross-dressing. Statoil, a Norwegian oil firm, is abandoning a name given to it almost 50 years ago to […]
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Qantas starts flying non-stop between Australia and London

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Qantas starts flying non-stop between Australia and London
WHEN migration from Europe to Australia first got going in the 19th century, it would take several months to get there by ship. Even by the end of the second world war, the trip would still take over 30 days. But in 1947 Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier, cut the time it took to fly between […]
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The poor behaviour of pilots and flight attendants is hitting the news

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The poor behaviour of pilots and flight attendants is hitting the news
NEARLY every day new stories hit the headlines about misbehaving flyers who get drunk on flights, turn violent or try to bring weapons or unusual animals on board. But it is not just the behaviour of passengers that now appears on a downward slide, but that of crew as well. Last week videos were posted […]
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Dropbox goes public

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Dropbox goes public
DREW HOUSTON and Arash Ferdowsi must have few regrets since they turned down an offer for their startup from Apple’s then boss, Steve Jobs, in 2011. Dropbox hasn’t done too badly in the interim. It rakes in over $1bn in revenue by allowing users—500m at the last count—to store and share data in the cloud. […]
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Markets think trade war is good for "absolutely nothing"

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Markets think trade war is good for "absolutely nothing"
IN THE original Godzilla movie, made in Japan back in 1954, the testing of American nuclear weapons leads to the creation of a giant dinosaur that threatens to destroy not just Japan, but the rest of the world. Now Asians face another American creation that seems to be laying waste to all around it. President […]
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The EU wants to tax tech giants’ revenues

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The EU wants to tax tech giants’ revenues
IT IS a choice that would make Thomas Hobson proud. European officials this week unveiled plans for a quick and dirty tax policy to apply to big digital firms, in theory by the end of the year. The idea, promised since September, would ditch a tradition of taxing profits and instead let collectors in member […]
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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has become the world’s biggest carmaker

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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has become the world’s biggest carmaker
RENAULT unveiled the EZ-GO, a concept for a robotaxi, at the Geneva motor show, which opened on March 5th. Nissan, in conjunction with DeNA, a Japanese software firm, recently began trials of driverless taxis in Japan. The two companies are pursuing their own paths towards the future of mobility. Yet both are bound together in […]
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Beware of performance figures

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Beware of performance figures
GOLFERS are familiar with the concept of a “mulligan”—the chance to retake a shot. Give an averagely talented player enough mulligans and he or she will get one close to the hole. And a version of the mulligan exists in fund management too. Readers will be familiar from past blog posts with the idea that […]
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Airlines in America are in a race to improve their meals

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Airlines in America are in a race to improve their meals
IN THE 1950s—when the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a cartel of airlines, used to set fare levels and service quality on international routes—there were few differences between major carriers. One way to persuade passengers to choose one airline over another was to offer better meals as entertainment on board. And so an arms race […]
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Unilever picks Rotterdam

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Unilever picks Rotterdam
PROUDLY overlooking the River Thames, Unilever House looks more royal palace than office building. Built on the site of a Tudor estate, for nine decades it has been the London home to Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer-goods firms. Since a merger of British soapmakers and Dutch margarine merchants in 1929, Unilever has been […]
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Why China is swooping on Georgia’s airline industry

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Why China is swooping on Georgia’s airline industry
IN ANCIENT times, traders on the Silk Road connecting China with Europe rarely ventured into the northern Caucasus region that is now home to Georgia. Diverting from established routes through Armenia and Anatolia to the south served little purpose unless conflict made the trackways impassable. Today, advances in transport and logistics mean that geography is less of […]
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Mining data on cab rides to show how business information flows

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Mining data on cab rides to show how business information flows
AS COMPUTING power has grown, it has become easier to uncover information hidden inside datasets that seem totally unconnected. Some recent studies have used this approach to reveal business-related information flows. One linked the movements of 18th-century share prices with the arrival of ships bringing news. Another looked at the relationship between business activity and […]
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