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Archive for 1. September 2019

China bans an independent think-tank critical of its policies

Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2019

Date: 31-08-2019
Source: The Economist

Unirule had been an unusually vocal proponent of free-market economics

For researchers devoted to the rule of law, the end was fitting. Drawing on patchwork regulations that appear to violate the Chinese constitution, local authorities in Beijing at last found a pretext to ban the Unirule Institute of Economics, that rarest of things in China, an independent think-tank known for criticising the government. For years Unirule had faced pressure, including evictions from multiple offices, to quiet down, and yet had managed to go on functioning. But it saw no way around the ban, issued last month, and so on August 26th announced that it would stop all activities.

Founded in 1993, Unirule always resided on the fringes of Chinese policy discussions, bringing together a collection of liberal economists who were strong believers in free markets. It published a series of books about institutional reform, including on how to slim down state-owned firms. It delved into topics such as the design of China’s health-care system and land-ownership rules. It also convened forums every two weeks; its last, the 600th, was a theoretical discussion about network effects in economics. A steady stream of eminent economists and senior officials came through Unirule’s doors over the years, eager to hear its perspectives, so different from those propagated by right-thinking state-affiliated institutions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The drama surrounding Google and Huawei’s new phone – explained

Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2019

Date: 31-08-2019
Source: The Guardian

Mate 30 won’t have licensed access to any Google apps, thanks to ongoing dispute between US and the Chinese smartphone maker

Huawei’s upcoming flagship Mate 30 smartphone will launch next month without key Google apps.

Huawei, the number two smartphone maker in the world, will launch its next flagship device without licensed access to the number one smartphone operating system in the world – Google’s Android – or any of Google’s ubiquitous apps.

The 5G-capable Mate 30 will be revealed at a 19 September event in Munich, Germany, CNBC reported on Friday. But the launch by a company that saw its share of the European smartphone market soar by 55.7% in 2018 is approaching under a cloud of uncertainty, thanks to the actions of the US government.

What is Huawei?
Huawei is a Chinese telecommunications company, founded in 1987, whose early history included updating China’s telephone infrastructure and helping the nation transition away from relying on importing foreign-made technology. It has since expanded internationally and launched its own product lines, including smartphones that are increasingly competitive with Samsung and Apple.

Why is it controversial? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Amid Italy’s Beauty, a Vista of Decline

Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2019

Date: 31-08-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Gerard Baker

The country’s rich history contrasts with today’s economic and political turmoil.

Vineyards near Montalcino, Italy.

There was a joke that was popular when I was in college. “I had a great summer job this year,” it went. “What was it?” went the reply. “I was prime minister of Italy.”

I didn’t quite get the job this summer, though I did something even better—spending several weeks in the Tuscan countryside, resting, reading and writing. While I was there, on cue, the Italian government collapsed, and this timely juxtaposition of inner serenity and public turmoil prompted a few thoughts about our larger dispensation.

It’s hard to imagine a better place to ponder the arc of our civilization’s history than the rich, hilly lands from Tuscany down to Rome. It’s partly the views—across vine-covered slopes and cypress-studded hilltops to gorgeous honeyed-stone villages—and the long lunches of pasta and red wine that induce a contemplative mood under the relentless sun.

But it’s also the ubiquitous reminders of our historical roots in this fresco landscape. You can make a solid case that the small swath of hilly terrain between Florence and Rome has had more impact on our civilization than any other territory anywhere on Earth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The EU’s Rule-of-Law Test

Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2019

Tytti Tuppurainen

Tytti Tuppurainen is Minister for European Affairs of Finland.

Although European Union member states tend to comply with rulings by the European Court of Justice, this is only a partial solution to curtailing threats to the rule of law. Fortunately, the EU has several other tools with which to uphold this fundamental pillar of democratic governance.

HELSINKI – The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom’s recent ruling that Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in seeking to suspend (or “prorogue”) the UK Parliament for five weeks to avoid debate of his plans for a “no-deal” Brexit underscores the centrality of the rule of law to democratic governance. But while the rule of law prevails in the UK, concerns are arising elsewhere in the European Union. For the EU, protecting the rule of law is an obligation – one that its leaders must be adamant in upholding.

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