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Computer-game tournaments go mainstream

Neymar, watch out FIREWORKS detonated, smoke wafted over the stage and confetti began to fall. Seventeen thousand fans cheered the European players of Team Liquid, with monikers like “MinD_ContRoL” and “MATUMBAMAN”, who had just triumphed over a Chinese side to win The International, a tournament held in Seattle’s KeyArena on August 7th-12th.

A trade dispute threatens America’s booming solar industry

LAST year California Solar Systems (CSS), a small installer of residential solar panels, decided to “Buy American”.

Marine contractors have made huge leaps in productivity

Ship shape THE Innovation, a 147-metre ship docked in Rotterdam, looks like a cross between an oil rig and a robot from a “Transformers” film.

Efficiency eludes the construction industry

NINE years ago the first concrete was poured for Berlin Brandenburg airport. It was expected to open in 2012, to cost €1.2bn ($1.8bn) and to welcome 34m passengers each year.

China’s digital-payments giant keeps bank chiefs up at night

IN WESTERN countries it is common to talk about American technology being dominant. From an Asian perspective that seems off.

American business leaders break with Donald Trump

“I’VE never known it to be an embarrassment for a business leader to be associated with an American president,” declares Max Bazerman of Harvard Business School.

Airline profits: ready to depart

WHEN Heathrow airport opened, in 1946, the only retail facilities were a bar with chintz armchairs and a small newsagent’s.

An Israeli pharma champion sickens

National pride and joy THE headlong plunge of shares in Teva, a pharmaceutical giant—down by over 40% since August 2nd—is causing consternation beyond the firm’s shareholders and employees.

Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Sky hits more obstacles

RUPERT MURDOCH’S penchant for mass-market media has made him billions of dollars. It also gets in the way of empire-building.

Mistrust in America could sink the economy

AMERICA is a grumpy and confused place. For an overarching explanation of what has gone wrong, a decline in trust is a good place to start.

A Google employee inflames a debate about sexism and free speech

SILICON VALLEY’S leading firms celebrate disruption, but not disruptive employees. Google has found itself at the centre of controversy after an anonymous software engineer, later revealed to be a young Harvard graduate called James Damore, published a ten-page memo on two internal company networks explaining why there are so few women in the upper echelons of the technology industry.

Helen Alexander, former CEO of The Economist Group, died on August 5th

Circulation wizard ROLE models for women in business are still too rare, not least in Britain. Last November an independent review backed by the government urged FTSE 100 companies to raise the share of women on their boards from 27% to 33% by 2020.

Europe’s no business as usual summer

“DON’T you know about our summer?” asks a spokesperson of a Swedish multinational, himself presumably on holiday as kids chirp in the background.

Western firms are coining it along China’s One Belt, One Road

“MUTUAL benefit, joint responsibility and shared destiny,” sings a choir of enthusiastic schoolgirls in a music video called “The Belt and Road, Sing Along” from Xinhua, a news service run by the Chinese government, that mixes shots of cranes and shipping containers with people enjoying foreign landmarks.

A rush for immunotherapy cancer drugs means new bedfellows

THE modern pharmaceutical firm lives or dies on the strength of its drug portfolio. As patents expire on lucrative medicines, they must replace the income that has been lost by inventing new drugs, or buying them in from outside.

Shark Week meets Worst Cooks in America

Another fat bundle FORGET your subscription to Netflix. Would you pay $5 a month for a collection of TV channels that gave you programmes such as “90 Day Fiancé”, “Pit Bulls and Parolees”, “My Cat from Hell”, “Worst Cooks in America” and “Shark Week”?

Is Emmanuel Macron serious about privatisation?

ONE reason for Italian anger over the decision on July 27th by Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, to stop Fincantieri, a shipbuilder from Trieste, winning control of a French shipyard at Saint-Nazaire, was that recent cross-border deals have mostly gone France’s way.

Hong Kong, the global capital of hustle, is gripped by self doubt

OF THE world’s three great commercial centres—New York, London and Hong Kong—two are on the defensive.

Can data predict fashion trends?

World of wardrobe IN THE film “The Devil Wears Prada”, the character of Miranda Priestly, whose role is based on a feared Vogue editor, scolds her new assistant for not understanding fashion.

The world’s largest online-travel company

NOT since the dotcom boom at the turn of the century have technology shares been on such a tear. On July 19th the S&P 500 index of information-technology stocks hit a record high, closing above its previous peak in March 2000 (see Buttonwood).