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How grasshoppers triumphed over ants in Europe

Mar 26th 2020TO EXPLAIN A complicated story, it helps to have a fable. Those who watched the last euro-zone crisis often turned to Aesop’s story of the ant, who worked hard all summer ahead of the coming winter, and the grasshopper, who…

Russia’s economy is isolated from the global rout

Mar 26th 2020MOSCOWVLADIMIR PUTIN is no doubt feeling smug. The Russian economy ought to be in crisis, but it is not. Covid-19 is causing a global meltdown. The price of oil has slumped below $30 a barrel, half what it was two months ago.…

Why Dutch swear words are so poxy

Mar 26th 2020AMSTERDAMIN MOST LANGUAGES, if someone said you had cancer, it would be a diagnosis. In Dutch, it is more likely to be an insult. Kankerlijer (“cancer-sufferer”) is one of a long list of Dutch profanities and expletives derived…

Germany offers cash for everyone

Mar 26th 2020BERLINIT WAS SHAPING up to be a bumper year for the Hotel Esplanade in Dortmund. On February 13th its owners threw a big party to celebrate a €2.5m ($2.7m) extension, and to mark the moment that Katja Kortmann took over as…