When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: business


Tunisia Needs Real Reform To Break A Ruinous Economic Cycle

The European Commission has committed €100 million to support Tunisia in the effort against migration, with an affectional €900 million in funding for the country. But how does the agreement expect to find success with a formula that has long held a reputation of failure?

TUNIS — As pressure rises to break the deadlock over a possible IMF program for Tunisia, international players are rushing to find ways to get an agreement signed.

At the Italian government's request, the European Commission has committed what is likely to be an unconditional €100 million to support the fight against migration. The Commission has also announced €900 million in additional funding for Tunisia, if an agreement with the IMF is approved.

But as it stands, the IMF deal looks like a non-starter for Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed.

The current agreement between Tunisia and the IMF seems to rely on a time-tested and unsuccessful formula of drastic cuts and consumption taxes that could fuel inflation, increase poverty and hamper economic growth. It was wise to reject a repetition of regressive anti-growth prescriptions.

Watch VideoShow less

Psychwashing: When Employers Use "Well-Being" To Hide Workplace Business As Usual

Corporations are racing to adopt the language of the mental health movement. But is this anything more than a veil to cover up the deeper problems within the modern workplace?

WARSAW — Raises? Shorter working hours? Jobs that carry real meaning? Does anyone really need these things anymore? Nope, if you ask corporations, they would rather have their employees learn deep breathing or sign up for courses on how to effectively manage stress. Therapy and wellness culture has entered companies, but in a caricatured form.

Not so long ago, topics such as productivity and efficiency were all the rage in workplaces. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and it forced a reorganization of corporate priorities. All of a sudden, companies began to claim that they care about the mental health, well-being, and stress levels of their employees. But considering that what businesses still treasure most is their own bottom line, has this shift in language really changed anything?

“Mental health is now a corporate topic”, said professor Tomasz Ochinowski, a psychologist and organizational historian from the Department of Social Management at the University of Warsaw. “The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have definitely played a major role here”, he added, “but in a lot of ways, this is also a generational change”.

Keep reading...Show less

Why India Should Bet On A BRICS Future (And Let G20 Pass On By)

With the G20 in New Delhi around the corner, India risks finding itself the wrong side of history, and end up as an observer and not one of the drivers of a "once in a lifetime" change.


NEW DELHIIndia may believe it is in strategic competition with China over leadership of the Global South but the recent BRICS meet made it clear who is calling the shots. Watching from afar, the U.S.-led G7 nations could see that China was the key determinant of the summit’s accomplishments and that their own influence over the developing world had diminished substantially.

The biggest unsaid gain made by China was the deft shifting of its global geopolitical game – based on "common prosperity and cooperative security" — from east Asia to the 54-nation African continent. The attendance of some 35 African nations at the Johannesburg summit as South Africa’s invitees, followed by 50 African nations attending the third China-Africa Peace and Security forum in Beijing on Aug. 29 is testimony to the attraction President Xi Jinping’s "Global Development Initiative" (GDI) and "Global Security Initiative" (GSI) hold for the Global South.

The focus of the China-Africa Peace and Security forum was on peacekeeping (most of China’s 2,700+ peacekeepers are in Africa), counterterrorism, cyber security, humanitarian aid and military education.

Keep reading...Show less

This Happened — August 30: Warren Buffet Is Born

American businessman Warren Buffet was born on this day in 1930.

Get This Happened straight to your inbox ✉️ each day! Sign up here.

Keep reading...Show less
Nathalie Villard

Twisting Open The Secrets Of Portugal's Cork Empire

In the hands of the same family since 1870, the world's largest producer of corks almost disappeared in the early 2000s. Today, this gem of Portuguese industry has not only reconquered its historic market, but has made cork the darling of many other sectors.

PORTO DE SANTA MARIA DA FEIRA — In the courtyard, mountains of bark await their turn before moving onto the conveyor belts. Scanned from every angle, they are distributed according to the thickness of their cork layer, before an artificial intelligence system scans them with cameras and tells robots where to drill, turning the bark into small cylinders. Nearby, a dozen human operators perform the same work by hand and eye. "Their expertise is unique, and we reserve it for our best customers," explains Carlos de Jesus, marketing director for cork company Amorim.

Once cut into perfect-looking corks, they undergo a final test. Conceiçao Loja, bending over bags ready for shipment, spots some with micro-defects. "Does it change the quality of the wine? No. But if you're a prestigious château, you expect everything to be perfect," proudly says the technician with 37 years' experience under her belt.

It's impossible to miss the factories along the 25 kilometers that separate Porto, Portugal from Santa Maria da Feira, Amorim's stronghold. Similar to the one we surveyed on this March morning, they're everywhere, churning out over 6 billion corks a year, which is half of the world's entire production. But wine and champagne houses, the company's long-standing customers, are not the only ones to benefit: from shoe soles to surfboards, insulation panels to rocket noses, stadium floors to ship decks, Amorim cork is everywhere.

Watch VideoShow less
food / travel
Valeria Berghinz

Summer Paradises Lost: Seven Vacation Spots That Time Forgot

Luxury havens abandoned overnight, summer resorts that were the victims of bad business decisions. As summer ends, we look at seven abandoned vacation spots that were once the height of glamor before fading — or rusting — away.

This summer has seen record tourist numbers in many parts of the world. Yet amid the over-tourism, it's hard to imagine that all over the world there are resorts and beautiful destinations that have been completely abandoned.

Defunct tourist destinations have become popular attractions in their own right. The sight of a once grand structure, now eerie and destroyed, excites the imagination.

But why do once-popular sites get left to ruin? Sometimes the economy falls on hard times, draining the pockets of owners and investors. Other times, people simply become disinterested. Sometimes an environmental disaster washes away something that was once glorious.

From Italy to Indonesia, we rounded up seven former tourist destinations that have fallen on hard times so you can jet-set around the world from the comfort of your own home.

Watch VideoShow less
Carolina Drüten

How The Greek Shipping Industry Is Cashing In On Putin's War

Moscow relies on international shipping companies to ship its oil, especially tankers flying the Greek flag. To protect its lucrative business, Athens is resisting tougher sanctions — and thus playing right into Vladimir Putin's hands.

ATHENS — The world knows by now how much oil revenues help finance Russia's war against Ukraine. Around one-quarter of Russia's budget is still fed by its sale, compared with around one-third before the war. The country requires foreign companies to ship the oil internationally. Since the beginning of the Ukraine war, one European country has been profiting particularly well from the dynamic: Greece.

Greek tankers in particular ship the oil from Russia, especially from Russian ports in the Black Sea. Athens has also made sure to defend its business interests at the European Union level — and thus helped water down the sanctions against Russia, to the great dismay of Ukraine.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

"Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, Greece deliberately relocated its tanker fleet to Russian ports to transport Russian oil," says Robin Brooks, chief economist at the International Finance Federation (IIF).

In a recent analysis, Brooks examined the routes Russian oil takes through the Black Sea. "Other Western shipping companies withdrew, so margins went up, the business became very profitable," he says.

Watch VideoShow less
Wojciech Karpieszuk

Early Signs Of Business In Poland Shifting Away From Warsaw

As the Polish capital is outpaced by cities such as Kraków and Gdańsk for earnings, the question is posed of what the future holds for the Polish job market and Warsaw.

WARSAWPoland's capital is no longer the highest-earning city in the country, and has fallen behind Kraków and Gdańsk in terms of workers’ earnings. Is a revolution in the Polish job market taking place?

“This might be the first sign that we will stop being a Warsaw-centric country,” said Dr. Piotr Maszczyk, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and Public Sector Economics at the Warsaw School of Economics.

His comments come after the latest release of data by the Central Statistical Office on the average salary in the business sector, which looks at companies with more than nine employees.

Watch VideoShow less
Rachel Pereda

Free Curls In Cuba: An Afro Hairstyle Revival Of Identity And Politics — And Fashion

In the island nation, Rizo Libre (free curl) seeks to rescue Afro-descendant roots on the island.

Talking about Afro hair is not just a matter of aesthetics and fashion.

Oral histories suggest hairstyles braided by Black slaves had coded significance, and some people are said to have kept wheat seeds in their hair to sow later. For this reason, when they were forced to cut their hair, or straightened it with chemical products, in a certain way they also cut part of their identity and roots, part of their culture.

During the 1960s and the Black Power movement in the United States, embracing Afro hair became a symbol of resistance, an act to rescue Black self-determination and "Blackness as an identity."

Watch VideoShow less
Mariateresa Michele

Calling For The End Of Call Centers

Our Naples-based Dottoré takes a critical look at companies that rely on telesales.

Dear Companies that rely on call centers,

I am writing this post for you, not for my poor friends, because I feel it is my responsibility to tell you that you've got your marketing and communication strategy all wrong.

Watch VideoShow less
Dominika Wantuch

Barbie's Mom: How A Daughter Of Jewish Refugees From Poland Created An American Idol

The Barbie doll is known today as one of the world’s most iconic toys, featured in Greta Gerwig’s newly-released film. The doll was not expected to be a commercial success at all, but that didn’t stop creator Ruth Handler’s determination. Here is her story.

WARSAW —“She thought that mothers would buy their daughters dolls that look like whores!” That's what toy company Mattel told Ruth Handler, when she first pitched her idea for Barbie. But it wasn’t Ruth, but Mattel, who was mistaken. This is how Handler, the daughter of Jewish refugees from Poland, broke into the world of toys and created the most famous doll in the world.

When Ruth had the idea to create a doll with long legs, a tiny waist, ample breasts, full painted lips, made-up eyes, who exuded sex appeal, everyone was in shock.

Her husband, the co-owner of Mattel, told it to her straight: “No mother will buy dolls with a bust for her daughter." Her co-workers were even more skeptical, and called Ruth crazy, and overly risky. Her greatest support came from competing companies, who prophesied the complete collapse of the company after Barbie’s introduction in 1959. A former Mattel worker, who left the company just as Barbie was about to be introduced to consumers, asked: “Can you believe what these madmen at Mattel did? They showed up on television, and thought that mothers would suddenly start buying their children dolls that look like whores.”

But Ruth did not give in to criticism. She believed in herself, her idea and her business intuition. As a woman, she believed that this was exactly the type of doll that girls wanted to play with. A doll that looked like what they themselves wanted to look like. She believed that the world needed Barbie.

Watch VideoShow less
Frédéric Schaeffer

Dog Cloning, E-Collars, Cat Seafood: China's Over-The-Top Pet Market Is Booming

The Chinese pet market is booming, driven by young city dwellers who are increasingly reluctant to have babies. Care, food, yoga classes, strollers, specialized detectives and pet-cloning are all part of a 35 billion-euro industry.

BEIJING — Short-legged and white-haired, Juice (or "Guozhi" in Mandarin) may not be a pedigree dog, but he's got excellent learning skills and a real talent for acting.

At nine years old, the little mongrel has already made a name for himself in dozens of Chinese film and TV productions. But as he grows older, his owner, animal tamer He Jun, worries about the stress of long shooting days and dreams of finding an understudy to match his star actor. "We were hoping to keep his excellent genes for longer," explains Jun.

The problem: the dog can't reproduce, having been neutered at an early age. He Jun eventually found the solution by knocking on the door of Sinogene, the first Chinese biotech company to provide pet cloning services.

"I was a little nervous at first, as cloning is a brand new, cutting-edge technology for me," says Jun. But the fear was soon dispelled: "Little Juice learned quickly, and can be trained just as easily as the original Juice."

Watch VideoShow less