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Which is the strongest Olympic team of all time?

Jul 25th 2021WHAT DOES an international team need to be successful at the Olympic games? Money and resources for talent identification and training, a big population for diversity of physical attributes and skills, and a culture that pushes people towards sports participation, are all sensible suggestions. At the 32nd Summer Olympics, which opened in...

As food prices soar, big agriculture is having a field day

Jul 25th 2021TROUBLE IS BREWING in America. The reopening economy’s hunger for goods from China, and for the containers that carry them, has left importers of coffee, of which the average American guzzles two cups a day, struggling to ship the stuff from Brazil. They are using whatever they can get, says Janine Mansour of Port of New Orleans, where...

Why America’s debt ceiling matters

Jul 25th 2021NEW YORKIN “BLAZING SADDLES”, a comedy film directed by Mel Brooks in 1974, a black sheriff, menaced by a white mob, takes himself hostage, pointing a gun at his head and threatening to shoot in order to escape. “Hold it, men,” says one of his moronic antagonists, laying down his own pistol. “He’s not bluffing.” This approximates to what...

Why France’s Provence and the Riviera are so right wing

Jul 25th 2021BRIGNOLESWITH its palm-fringed beaches, ribbon of coastal cities, inland vineyards and year-round sunshine, the south of France feels in some ways like a southern California à la française. The region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) is home to nearly 200,000 students, and a tech hub at Sophia Antipolis, near Nice. Car-dependent, it...

Female surfers ride the wave to China’s Hainan island

Jul 24th 2021HOUHAI BAYBELLA LIU’S family was aghast when she returned to her home inland after a year on Hainan, an island province in the south. She had several scars and a deep tan. “My mother thought I had become a drug dealer working across the border with Vietnam,” says Ms Liu. In fact, the former dietician had taken up full-time surfing. But...

Yang Huaiding died on June 13th

Jul 24th 2021IF YOU HAD been riding on one of China’s crammed, rickety green trains in 1989, bouncing in a hard-seat carriage, you might have noticed Yang Huaiding sitting nearby. Or you might not. He had taken pains not to stand out, wearing drab clothes and carrying a faded mock-leather travel bag. The black-rimmed glasses, messy hair and stained...

Can foreign venture capitalists make good money from Indian tech?

Jul 24th 2021IN FINANCE there are numbers people and stories people. Quants are archetypal numbers people: they only buy securities that fit statistical criteria. Venture capitalists are stories people. They have to be. They provide finance to technology startups that may have great potential but do not—or do not yet—have the numbers to back it up....

Myanmar’s underground civilian rulers are struggling for recognition

Jul 24th 2021YANGONFOR AROUND an hour on the afternoon of June 4th, as on so many previous occasions this year, the internet was out across Myanmar. For opponents of the country’s ruling military junta, the reason was clear: the generals were trying to stop people from watching a press conference by the National Unity Government (NUG), an underground...

A deluge in China has killed more than 30 and caused terror

Jul 24th 2021IN THREE DAYS, beginning on July 18th, an entire year’s-worth of rain fell on the central city of Zhengzhou in Henan province. One hour alone saw about 20cm of it. Streets were turned into raging torrents that swept up cars and gushed into the underground railway system, filling trains. Videos posted online showed passengers more than chest...

The rise of Ron DeSantis

Jul 24th 2021RONALD REAGAN’s tub-thumper for Barry Goldwater in 1964, Barack Obama’s silky-smooth Democratic Convention speech of 2004: the political annals are replete with moments when a significant new talent announced itself. Could it be that in February Ron DeSantis of Florida produced another? The scene was a press conference in Tallahassee. The...

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