Saturday , October 23 2021
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The Economist Europe

Europe is in a muddle over ritual slaughter

Oct 21st 2021EUROPE’S BUREAUCRATS are not usually shy about prescribing how exactly to prepare and present food. Yet there is one ultra-sensitive matter they prefer not to touch: whether Jews and Muslims should be allowed to slaughter animals as their faith usually requires, with just a swipe of a super-sharp knife that causes blood to cascade from the veins. American bodies that promote religious freedom have called the legal mess disgraceful; animal-rights activists and secular-minded...

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A small-town mayor takes on Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban

Oct 21st 2021BERLINUNTIL A FEW weeks ago only political junkies knew who Peter Marki-Zay was. That changed with his unexpected victory on October 17th in the run-off of the first-ever primary for the Hungarian opposition. The 49-year-old mayor of Hodmezovasarhely, a smallish and almost unpronounceable town in south-eastern Hungary, was elected by supporters of six parties as their candidate to try to replace Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, at parliamentary elections next April.Listen...

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Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the new hope of Spain’s right

Oct 21st 2021MADRIDWHEN OWNERS of cafés and bars in Madrid wanted to honour the regional boss, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, after the hardest months of the pandemic were over, several offered dishes a lo Ayuso, con dos huevos, or with two eggs; a reference to the expression’s other meaning: “with a pair of balls”.Listen to this storyYour browser does not support the <audio> element.Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android.Ms Ayuso is riding a wave. In 2019 she was elected president of the...

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In the EU, every leader becomes a monarch

Oct 23rd 2021CORONATIONS HAVE taken many forms throughout European history. Spanish kings received a golden apple. French kings were doused in sacred oils from the Holy Ampulla in Reims. Napoleon went for a variation on a theme, oiling up and then crowning himself in the presence of a pope. Polish kings endured the alarming spectacle of waking up to an archbishop in their bedchamber on the big day.Listen to this storyYour browser does not support the <audio> element.Enjoy more audio and...

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Olaf Scholz’s “traffic-light” coalition is taking shape

Oct 23rd 2021BERLINONE THING seemed clear during Germany’s topsy-turvy election campaign. Whatever the result, the negotiations required to form the first government of the post-Angela Merkel era would be complex, difficult and extremely long. A fragmented electorate was likely to force Germany into its first three-way coalition since the 1950s, binding together parties previously united only by distrust and disagreement. Mrs Merkel, mused some, would have to don one of her famous coloured...

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Ukrainians are coping stoically with Russian aggression

Oct 21st 2021PAVLOPILAS AN ICY wind rattles the windows of his office, Sergei Shapkin dips a biscuit in honey and ponders the art of survival. He is the mayor of Pavlopil, a village in eastern Ukraine. When Vladimir Putin started grabbing Ukrainian territory in February 2014, Mr Shapkin knew his village was in danger. On one side were pro-Russian separatists, armed by the Kremlin. On the other were loyalist forces. If they fought over Pavlopil, villagers would die.Listen to this storyYour...

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Poland is a problem for the EU precisely because it will not leave

Oct 14th 2021B REXIT, BEFORE it happened, was imagined in many forms. Hard, soft, Norwegian, Swiss or Turkish. Briefly, an Albanian option was discussed. Often it was just “clean”. A “clean Brexit” would free Britain from the EU’s single market, customs union and its courts, advocates said. Just as there are many ways of leaving the EU, there are many ways of remaining. There is the clean version, in which countries quietly accept the EU’s strictures. Then there is the messy version, where...

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Sebastian Kurz is forced out of the Austrian chancellery—again

Oct 16th 2021BERLINHE MAY ONLY be 35, but Sebastian Kurz has been involved in enough political intrigue for several lifetimes. On October 9th Mr Kurz was toppled as Austria’s chancellor for the second time in three years, amid claims that he had masterminded a conspiracy to buy himself favourable media coverage. In America Mr Kurz would barely be old enough to run for president. But his career at the top of Austrian politics may already be approaching its end.Listen to this storyYour browser...

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It is tempting to blame foreigners for Europe’s gas crisis

Oct 16th 2021“RUSSIA IS ABOUT bears now, it’s not about bullies.” So joked Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, this week, speaking about the crisis in Europe’s natural-gas market. His country favours stability and lower prices over runaway prices, he insisted: “We would prefer to have here a bear market.”Listen to this storyYour browser does not support the <audio> element.Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android.Russia is responding to a view gaining currency in...

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A $15bn new canal for Istanbul

Oct 7th 2021ISTANBULTHERE IS NO such thing as a bad view of the Bosporus, the waterway that divides Istanbul between Europe and Asia. But the one from the bridge of the Gas Cobia, a 180-metre tanker, as it makes its way from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, is hard to beat. Ottoman palaces slide past. Hagia Sophia soaks up the morning sun. The towers of the Rumeli Hisari, the fortress Sultan Mehmet II used to choke off supplies to the city he later conquered, march down to the shore....

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