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Does it matter if “The Crown” fictionalises reality?

“I’M STRUGGLING TO find any redeeming features in these people at all,” says Margaret Thatcher to her husband Denis in the course of a visit to Balmoral Castle, where the Thatchers are snubbed, humiliated and forced to play an after-dinner game called Ibble Dibble in which players smear their faces with burnt cork while getting drunk. Oliver Dowden,...

The world should not ignore systematic torture in Belarus

GREEN MEANS humiliation, which may involve sexual abuse or the threat of rape. It is reserved for young men sporting dreadlocks, long hair or piercings. Yellow paint, when daubed on those who ask too many questions or argue with riot police, spells a beating. Those who try to run away or resist arrest are sprayed with red paint and subjected to torture...

Joe Biden should drive a hard bargain with Iran

FOR THE past four years Iran’s enemies in the Middle East have had a friend in the White House. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for the region’s problems, sold arms to Israel and Arab states, and pulled America out of the deal that saw Iran limit its nuclear programme and agree to inspections in return for the lifting of international sanctions....

The digital surge in health care

VAST, BUREAUCRATIC and amorphous, health care has long been cautious about change. However, the biggest emergency in decades has caused a revolution. From laboratories to operating theatres, the industry’s metabolism has soared, as medical workers have scrambled to help the sick. Hastily and often successfully, they have improvised with new technologies....

Time to make coal history

AROUND THE world the mood is shifting. Xi Jinping has adopted a target to cut China’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2060. Under Joe Biden, America will rejoin the Paris agreement, which it adopted five years ago. In the financial markets clean-energy firms are all the rage. This month Tesla will join the S&P 500 share index—as one of its largest...

Exams are grim, but most alternatives are worse

AROUND THE world covid-19 has messed up children’s education. They began to be shut out of classrooms all the way back in February. Even in countries where schools have stayed open, lessons and tests have been disrupted. Some countries pressed ahead with national exams (see article) this year. A few others, including Britain, France and Ireland, cancelled...

Will big firms benefit from the covid crunch?

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub AS THE PROSPECT of a widely distributed vaccine draws nearer—this week AstraZeneca and Oxford University announced results for their jab (see article)—bosses and investors are turning...

Budget deficits should depend on the unemployment rate

ECONOMIC FORECASTERS could be forgiven for feeling a sense of whiplash. As covid-19 runs rampant in Europe and America the world economy is taking another hit from the pandemic. America’s consumers are gloomy; Europe’s service sector is contracting. At the same time the growing prospect of mass vaccination in 2021 raises the prospect of an imminent...

The world needs to stop war crimes in Ethiopia

FIRST, THE police and militia shut the roads out of Mai Kadra, a farming town in Ethiopia’s northern province of Tigray. Then they went from door to door, checking ID cards and singling out non-Tigrayans. They destroyed SIM cards to stop people phoning for help. Then, on November 9th, members of a Tigrayan youth group stabbed, hacked, burned and strangled...

British farming after the common agricultural policy

MANY OF THE claims made by Brexiteers have turned out to be rubbish. Contrary to their assurances, Britain will not soon be signing a trade deal with America. The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which the Brexiteers said would not be a problem, turns out to be a big one. Britain will probably end up letting French and Spanish trawlers into...

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