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The watchers

FINANCIAL statements are both infrequent and backwards-looking, so getting a sense for how a business is performing in the present can be nearly impossible.

Not all shows must go on

Wish you weren’t here IN NOVEMBER Youssou N’Dour, from Senegal, and others will perform at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

A long haul

“DUEL”, one of Steven Spielberg’s early films, features a lorry apparently controlled by demonic forces rather than a driver.

The bane of brilliance

WHO wouldn’t want to be a star employee? The salary is nice, as is the chance to climb to the top and tell others what to do.

Streaming on screens near you

COMING soon on your Netflix service: a Portuguese-language sci-fi thriller shot in Brazil; the second series of “Narcos”, about a Colombian drug cartel; a British series about the life of Queen Elizabeth called “The Crown”; and new episodes of “Black Mirror”, a dystopian vision of the future that originated on Britain’s Channel 4 but was snapped up by the streaming service for tens of millions of dollars.

Something’s in the air

ASIDE from oxygen-quaffing mountaineers and scuba divers, few consumers give a thought to the normally stable world of making industrial gases.

Family values

FAMILY businesses are different from other sorts—they are held together by strands of DNA as well as the logic of profit.

Nothing to see here

OTHERWISE law-abiding citizens confiscating drivers’ keys, kettles that reek of crabmeat, and twenty-somethings unable to afford apartments; these phenomena seem unconnected.

Amateur’s hour

And the world laughed with her A MAN broadcasts via Facebook Live the moment a sniper gunned down five policemen in Dallas.

Things fall apart

NOT much goes Silvio Berlusconi’s way these days. The billionaire ex-crooner and ex-prime minister has spent two years trying to sell AC Milan, a football club he bought in 1986.

Don’t Buff it up

WARREN BUFFETT has long dabbled in politics. In the mid-1970s he developed a taste for exclusive Washington dinner parties.

Peugeot rallies

CARLOS TAVARES, appointed to run PSA Group two years ago after a bail-out by China’s Dongfeng Motor and the French government, once claimed that he would rather have pursued a career as a racing driver than as a businessman.

All systems stop

Waiting for an upgrade EARLY in the morning of August 8th, streams of bleary-eyed passengers arrived at London’s Heathrow airport, hoping for a smooth ride across the Atlantic with Delta Air Lines, America’s second-largest carrier.

Boxed-in unicorn

SPENDING $3.3 billion on an unprofitable business might seem an undisciplined splurge. By buying, a shopping website, Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, has joined the ranks of investors betting on so-called “unicorns”, or private startups valued at over $1 billion.

Revenge of the nerds

AS THE new year dawned Mark Zuckerberg informed the world that his resolution for 2016 was to run 365 miles over the coming year—and challenged his legions of Facebook followers to do likewise.

Pay check

TO PROMOTE team spirit among their loyal, lifelong employees, Japanese bosses live in modest houses and take the metro to work.

Cocoa nuts

THEY have “brew bars”, single-origin beans and hessian sacks from exotic lands. Sound familiar? Posh chocolate shops are springing up in the hip neighbourhoods where coffee culture long ago took root.

No logo

Ashes to ashes THREE years ago, the government of Togo, which has a gross domestic product of $4 billion, received a letter from Philip Morris International, a tobacco giant which last year earned revenues of $74 billion.

Look before you leap

CAN entrepreneurs make up for a lack of roads? In Rwanda, where most of the population live in cut-off villages, the government wants to skip straight to drones.

WeChat’s world

Time for a shot of WeChat YU HUI, a boisterous four-year-old living in Shanghai, is what marketing people call a digital native.