News

A lose-lose trade war looms between America and China

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has not yet started a global trade war. But he has started a frenzy of special pleading and spluttered threats. In the week since he announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, countries have scrambled to win reprieves. Australia, the European Union and Japan, among others, have argued that, since they are America’s allies, their products pose no risk to America’s security. If these appeals fail, the EU has been most vocal in vowing to retaliate, in turn prompting Mr Trump to threaten levies on European cars.In China, ostensibly the focus of Mr Trump’s actions, the public response has been more restrained. Officials have said the two countries should strive for a “win-win outcome”, a favourite bromide in their lexicon. As a rival to America, China knows that an

A primer on blockchain-based versions of central-bank money

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BITCOIN, Ethereum, XRP, Stellar, Cardano: the infant world of cryptocurrencies is already mind-bogglingly crowded. Amid the cacophony of blockchain-based would-be substitutes for official currencies, central banks from Singapore to Sweden have been pondering whether they should issue digital versions of their own money, too. None is about to do so, but a report prepared by central-bank officials from around the world, published by the Bank for International Settlements on March 12th—a week before finance ministers and central-bank heads from G20 countries meet in Buenos Aires—offers a guide to how to approach the task.The answer? With care. For a start, it matters who will be using these central-bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Existing central-bank money comes in two flavours: notes and c

United Airlines kills another pet

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GULLIVER recently wrote about a pet that suffered a grizzly end after it was not permitted to fly. Spirit Airlines refused to allow a hamster on board as an emotional-support animal and it ended up being flushed down an airport toilet. But sometimes it is more dangerous for an animal to be permitted to ascend to 35,000 feet. Particularly, it seems, if it is flying on United Airlines.On March 12th, on a flight from Houston to New York, a United Airlines flight attendant knowingly stowed a French bulldog in the overhead compartment, where it died, the family that owned the dog alleges. United quickly apologised to the family for what it called “a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.” The airline promised an investigation “to pre