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A rush to patent the blockchain is a sign of the technology’s promise

FOR fans of bitcoin, a digital currency, the year got off to a volatile start. On January 5th one bitcoin changed hands for nearly $1,150—almost as much as the record set three years ago.

A handful of startups are launching ride-hailing for children


“HELICOPTER parent” may sound like an insult, but given the chance, most parents would probably opt for the help of a chopper to zoom little ones between school, football practice and piano lessons.

Africa’s largest iron-ore deposit has tainted all who have touched it


Now everyone sees red ON THE flanks of the Simandou mountains in south-eastern Guinea live remote colonies of West African chimpanzees.

A controversial transaction sits at the heart of Liberty Media’s takeover of Formula One


ON JANUARY 17th shareholders of Liberty Media Corporation, an American firm controlled by John Malone, a billionaire, are expected to approve a transaction that many hail as the sports deal of the decade.

America leaves foreign firms out in the cold


WHICH is it? The home of free speech, the rule of law and the rich world’s most dynamic economy? Or a land of social decay, septic politics and the rich world’s worst roads and schools?

Adidas’s high-tech factory brings production back to Germany


Impossible is nothing BEHIND closed doors in the Bavarian town of Ansbach a new factory is taking shape.

Ford Motors courts Donald Trump by scrapping a planned plant in Mexico


IT WAS in the spring of 2016 that Donald Trump singled out Ford Motors, calling its plans to build a plant in Mexico an “absolute disgrace” and promising it would not happen on his watch.

Toshiba admits to a ruinous overpayment for an American nuclear firm


Ritual contrition THE probe in 2015 into one of Japan’s largest-ever accounting scandals, at Toshiba, an electronics and nuclear-power conglomerate that has been the epitome of the country’s engineering prowess, concluded that number-fiddling at the firm was “systemic”.

The three Rs behind global banks’ recovery


IN THE Bible, seven years of feast were followed by seven years of famine. For banks there have been ten lean years.

Nestlé looks for ways to boost stale growth as consumers snub unhealthy food


LARGE food companies have long been among the world’s most solid, with reassuringly consistent returns even in hard times.

A new industry has sprung up selling “indoor-location” services to retailers


“LOOK up there,” says Edward Armishaw of Walkbase, a Finnish retail-analytics firm, as he points to a small white box above a column clad in mirrors.

The Christmas spending bump flattens


The holiday season’s hold on Americans is getting weaker. In 1994, according to the Census Bureau, retailers earned $82bn (in 2015 dollars) more in sales during November and December than they would have without the seasonal effect of the holidays.

Our Schumpeter columnist pens a dark farewell


IT WAS in 1942 that Joseph Schumpeter published his only bestseller, “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy”.

In Japan, a new kind of business school is retraining jaded salarymen


THE Institute of Social Human Capital in Tokyo is an unusual sort of business-training school. Those who attend it (two-thirds are men) have mostly quit or taken redundancy packages from big Japanese firms, and are trying to start again.

A new industry has sprung up selling “indoor-location” services to retailers

“LOOK up there,” says Edward Armishaw of Walkbase, a Finnish retail-analytics firm, as he points to a small white box above a column clad in mirrors.

Indian business prepares to tap into Aadhaar, a state-owned fingerprint-identification system


THERE are two ways to sign up to Jio, a new and irresistibly priced mobile-telephony service which Mukesh Ambani, the boss of Reliance Industries, a conglomerate, launched in September 2016 and which is luring tens of millions of new customers each month.

Behind the bid for Sky is a less powerful Murdoch empire


IT WOULD seem to be a stunning comeback for Rupert Murdoch and his clan. Five years ago News Corporation was engulfed by scandal.

In Germany mature workers are answering to young supervisors


Who’s the daddy? “IF THEY resented me they didn’t talk to me about it,” says a young German manager at a media firm in Frankfurt.

Behind the bid for Sky is a less powerful Murdoch empire


IT WOULD seem to be a stunning comeback for Rupert Murdoch and his clan. Five years ago News Corporation was engulfed by scandal.

France’s corporate raider, Vincent Bolloré, makes a bid for Italy’s biggest broadcaster


NO BOSS in French business can match Vincent Bolloré for swagger and aggression. Variously described by the press in France as a stubborn Breton, a ruthless profiteer and a smiling killer, the 64-year-old corporate raider has acquired interests in media, transport, advertising, telecoms and more, scattered across Europe and Africa.


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