by Andrew Jack
From trade embargoes to arms blockades, sanctions have long been an extension of conflict by non-military means. Since the start of the twenty-first century, there has been growing use of “targeted” sanctions that draw on intelligence to pinpoint individuals for travel bans or asset freezes. The United Nations, the European Union and the US have announced a wide series of measures, while other organisations including the African Union and individual countries have also issued them with varying degrees of success.
There is fierce debate about the effectiveness of sanctions, with at least two organisations seeking to assess their mixed impact. Our interactive graphic draws on the global analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Targeted Sanctions Consortium, based in Switzerland. Read more
By Paul Hodges
Two remarkable global demographic developments have occurred since 1950. Yet only recently have their impact on companies and the economy begun to be properly understood.
Life expectancy has risen by 50 per cent since 1950 (red column) to average around 70 years today, due to advances in disease prevention and knowledge about healthier lifestyles.
Total fertility rates have halved over the same period (green shading). The average woman now has only 2.5 children, as increased life expectancy means large families are no longer so essential for economic survival. Read more
by Thomas Hale
Fears of an incipient housing bubble in London – and concerns about the UK property sector in general – are soaring as quickly as the prices themselves. But not all bubbles are created equal – especially when it comes to first-time buyers.
How might rising house prices affect first-time buyers? The graph below shows the average UK house price compared to how much of the average take-home pay first-time buyers spend on repayments.
The most striking thing about the graph is the way price correlates so strongly to the stretched nature of first-time buyer households until mid-2009, at which point the two lines start to move in opposite directions. Prices have begun to go up again, but first-time buyers have become consistently less stretched across the UK. Read more
(c) Getty Images
By Henry Foy
Ten things to know about the 48 hour London tube strike that began last night:
1. 3.4m people use the tube every day, according to Transport for London (TFL). Not today they didn’t.
2. The strike is all about jobs. Boris Johnson and TFL, which runs the Tube, wants to close all tube ticket offices by 2015, at a cost of 750 jobs.
3. TFL say the public support the plans. Eighty-two per cent of respondents to their survey backed the move to close ticket offices, it said. But the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, which is taking part in the strike, said a survey it commissioned found 65 per cent of tube users felt industrial action as a last resort was justified.
4. Forty-three stations, or 16 per cent of the total station network, were completely closed on Wednesday morning, TFL said. Read more
By Henry Mance
BSkyB and BT have both committed billions of pounds to sports rights over the past two years – as they seek to protect their positions as the UK’s biggest pay-TV provider and biggest broadband operator respectively.
So has either taken a lead?
The long view starts in July 2006, when Sky entered the broadband market.
It was slowly closing the gap on BT, adding about 400,000 more customers that its rival.
However, since the launch of BT Sport last summer, BT has added more broadband users than Sky – the first time in a half-year period since 2007. Read more
On Thursday Eric Schmidt gave a fascinating talk on technological innovation, in which he warned that broad range of jobs that once seemed beyond the reach of automation are in danger of being wiped out by technological advances.
I raised two questions to neither of which in my view did I receive a good answer. Read more