Economist 6/25/14

  1. Since 2009 employment in the London’s technology and information businesses has grown by 11%, according to a recent estimate, which represents a threefold acceleration. Funding from venture-capital firms has also tripled (see chart), to $1.2 billion in the last financial year. Its location, between America and Asia, makes a handy base for globetrotting entrepreneurs; EU membership means firms can hire whizz-kids from across the continent. But Britons are also unusually keen on the internet: per person they spend about 50% more on online shopping than Americans.The third major draw is an enthusiastic government, which has provided tax breaks for investors and made it easy for some foreign entrepreneurs to get visas. In April Just Eat, a website that helps takeaways to sell food online, became the first company to list on the London Stock Exchange’s high-growth segment, which makes it unusually easy for a young firm to sell shares.The rising cost of office space risks strangling young firms;Britain is too inaccessible to the clever dicks from America, India and China that the industry needs.
  2. AMERICANS are giving more to charity than ever before—but a smaller proportion of this money is going to religious organisations. Though the amount given to religious charities has risen from an inflation-adjusted $89 billion in 1987 to $105.5 billion in 2013, that represents a fall from 53% to 31% of the total. One is that religious charities are not as good at fundraising as secular ones.Probably crucial—factor is that the sharp overall rise in charitable giving has been driven by the very rich, who tend to favour secular charities.
  3.  The Good Country Index, released on June 24th by Simon Anholt, an independent policy advisor, ranks countries based on how much they do for others globally. Ireland and Finland come on top; Libya is rock bottom. The measure is based on 35 datasets broken down into seven areas, such as technology, health and culture. The idea is clever but the execution is tricky. The index often scales countries on a GDP basis to give poor countries a chance against rich ones. That’s nice, but is Cyprus really a tech leader or Malta a cultural paragon? And the “peace and security.
  4. TWO nights of terror attacks on Kenya’s coast on June 15th and 16th left at least 65 people dead, prompting the Shabab, a Somali militia of extreme Islamists, to boast that it had turned the country into a “war zone”.Yet Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, seems to be blaming his political opponents at home for encouraging the violence.n the aftermath of the attacks on Mpeketoni, the Shabab achieved both aims. Kenya’s tourism, which has provided 15% of GDP in recent years, is in tatters. Warnings last month by the British and other foreign governments prompted flustered tour companies to evacuate clients from Kenya’s coastal tourist hub, Mombasa. The luxurious resorts and hotels on Lamu island stand virtually empty. No high-level officials have been sacked as a result of the disastrous handling of September’s assault by the Shabab on the Westgate Centre, a smart shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, when at least 67 people were killed.
  5. WITH elections due at the end of the year in Tunisia, A handful of new parties is rallying the old guard. The largest of them is Nida Tounes (“The Tunisian Call”), founded two years ago by a veteran politician, Beji Caid Sebsi (pictured), now 87, who was briefly the interim prime minister after the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the long-serving authoritarian ruler who was overthrown in January 2011. Nida Tounes has the support of family-run business groups who were glad to see the back of Mr Ben Ali’s parasitical in-laws, the Trabelsi family, but were alarmed by the victory of the Islamist party, Nahda (“Renaissance”), in the election to a constituent assembly in October 2011.All the same, opinion polls suggest that Nahda may again emerge as the most popular party, though probably with a much narrower winning margin.
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