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2,797.00 0.04%
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87,823,270
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0.04%
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1,441
17
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5,039.12 -0.31%
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0.91
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0.4
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4.28
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3.88
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0.52
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Alan Philps


13/06/2018

Can showmanship and chemistry really advance the cause of a US-North Korean peace?

The theme of much western commentary on the summit in Singapore can be summed up in three words: Kim outmanoeuvres Trump. There is certainly a rich seam of evidence to mine here: the Korean leader Kim Jong-un made no promises on “denuclearisation” that had not been made before, and with greater clarity, by his father and grandfather, promises which came to naught. By suspending the annual military drills with the South Korean armed forces and indicating that he wanted to remove the 30,000 US troops in South Korea, Donald Trump appeared to abandon his allies in East Asia to deal...
06/06/2018

Grenell is tearing up the diplomatic playbook as the true voice of the US administration

The new US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has been attracting an unusual amount of attention. This is not due to his diplomatic prowess but because he appears to speak as the true voice of the Donald Trump administration, unsweetened by diplomatic niceties. Mr Grenell has caused outrage in Germany by giving an interview to Breitbart, the far-right website, in which he said he wanted to “empower conservatives throughout Europe”. An implied criticism of the German government – a coalition of centre-right and centre-left – his comments were sharpened by his praise for the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, as a...
30/05/2018

Italian election crisis: the barbarians have nearly breached the walls of Rome

Italian politics has for decades been seen abroad as more about theatre than policy. In the Cold War years, prime ministers changed with bewildering speed, brought down by scandal or political manipulation and yet the government remained the same. More recently, Italy has given the world Silvio Berlusconi, its longest serving post-war prime minister, who is a precursor of Donald Trump: a mega-rich businessman whose provocative comments convinced a good part of the electorate that he was a man of the people. All along, behind the political theatre, some of Italy’s best brains have served in the Treasury and Central...

23/05/2018

In the US-China trade war, Beijing appears to have the upper hand

Last week a photograph that would normally invite no more than a yawn from the twitterati was doing the rounds on Chinese social media – a shot of the Chinese and US trade missions at formal talks in Beijing. What stood out was that the Americans all appeared to be old men, without a full head of hair on their side of the table. The Chinese team looked young and keen and included the only female whose hair, whether by happy coincidence or design, was obscuring the face of the Chinese chief delegate, 66-year-old Liu He. In some posts, the...
28/07/2016

France’s next president will face a daunting task

The wave of killings in Europe, leading up to the murder on Tuesday of an 86-year-old priest in a French church by two teenagers, marks a new stage in the development of terrorism. Shiraz Maher, an expert at King’s College London, says ISIL has succeeded in "dumbing down" the terrorist enterprise so that almost anyone can join. In the past terrorists were part of a wider conspiracy. They had to assemble materials for a bomb, acquire the expertise to put it together, and then take it out onto the street and explode it.All of this required a long lead time,...
21/07/2016

Counterterrorism tactics urgently need rethinking

Recent terror attacks in France and Germany are forcing European counter-terrorist agencies to rethink their tactics. The evidence is now undeniable that mental illness and the trauma of migration are in many cases more important than ideology in driving terrorist attacks.European countries have devoted large resources to counter radicalisation by keeping watch over mosques, combating jihadist messages on social media, and most of all following citizens who have gone to Syria for training with ISIL and who may return to carry out terrorist atrocities.But as the territory controlled by ISIL shrinks, the number of attacks it claims in Europe has...

14/07/2016

An era of female power gathers force in Europe

Two weeks ago Britain was on its knees, with much of the population bewildered and the country facing bankruptcy after the surprise vote on June 23 to leave the European Union. On Wednesday a little known politician by the name of Theresa May made a deep curtsy before Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace and then swept into the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. Mrs May’s appointment to head the new government has settled the nerves of the nation, almost as if she was a latter-day Churchill in 1940. Much is expected of a woman who, although she has...
07/07/2016

Education is key to finding out why youth seek out ISIL

Around the turn of the year, five young men from some of Bangladesh’s wealthiest families began to disappear without explanation. One had been educated at the elite Scholastica school in the capital, Dhaka, where instruction is in English. Others went to the private North-South University. Two had studied at the Malaysian campus of Australia’s Monash University in Kuala Lumpur. In short, they were getting the best education.Last week it emerged that the missing youths were the gunmen who attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant, in an upmarket part of Dhaka, going from table to table killing those who could not...
02/07/2016

In Britain, things fell apart but can the centre hold?

Britain does not have many firm friends among European leaders but one of the few is the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte. His analysis of the decline of the country since last week’s vote to leave the European Union is bracing: “England has collapsed politically, monetarily, constitutionally and economically."It is hard to argue with Mr Rutte’s verdict. Despite a perverse rise in some shares on the London stock market, the economic outlook is poor and the trajectory of the pound can only be downwards. International banks and firms headquartered in London are moving ahead with plans to shift activities across...

30/06/2016

In Britain, things fell apart but can the centre hold?

Britain does not have many firm friends among European leaders but one of the few is the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte. His analysis of the decline of the country since last week’s vote to leave the European Union is bracing: “England has collapsed politically, monetarily, constitutionally and economically."It is hard to argue with Mr Rutte’s verdict. Despite a perverse rise in some shares on the London stock market, the economic outlook is poor and the trajectory of the pound can only be downwards. International banks and firms headquartered in London are moving ahead with plans to shift activities across...
23/06/2016

Obama’s presidency and the limits of US power

The paths that American presidents take to craft a legacy for the history books are well known. A new president usually stumbles in the first year in office, as the new team struggles with the levers of power. Sometimes, as in the case of Bill Clinton, allies in Europe roll their eyes and wonder why Americans love to put provincial amateurs in the White House. Eventually the team learns how to drive the machine, and usually notches up enough credibility to get re-elected.The second term is when the president may address some tougher challenges, as Mr Clinton tried – and...
09/06/2016

Nothing is really quite as it seems in the Brexit vote

On Tuesday a British woman wrote on the letters page of this newspaper that it was a certainty that Britain would vote to leave the European Union in the referendum, which is to be held in less than two weeks. The average British voter, she wrote, was “totally committed" to British exit from Europe, or “Brexit" in the campaign jargon.Opinion polls suggest this may be true. The Leave voters, who began the year as outsiders, are now marginally ahead, prompting a note of panic among the political, commercial and financial elites who generally back the status quo.The Remain campaign is...