It was 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall on Sunday. The economy of the east still lags behind that of the former Federal Republic of Germany: gross domestic product per person is about 66 per cent of the level in the west, according to the IFO institute.

 

 

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Britain observes memorial Sunday this weekend. In total 7,145 armed forces personnel have lost their lives during operations since world war two. The majority in three theatres: the Malayan Emergency, Northern Ireland and Korea.

 

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Despite a 40-year ban on crude oil exports the US energy trade balance has steadily improved over the past few years as exports of refined products soar.

 

They cost billions of dollars, symbolise economic power and are photographed by millions, but the world’s tallest buildings also compete on a lesser known measure that pushes the limits of modern engineering: elevator speed. These ultra-fast lifts can reach speeds of 20 metres per second (45 mph) and feature technologies that use heat resistant brakes, mitigate excess vibration and adjust for air pressure to prevent ear blockages. Our graphic shows the top speeds of elevators in eight of the world’s tallest and most famous buildings, and how far they have traveled since this web page loaded Read more

US stocks tend to perform well in the period directly following midterm elections; only once since 1950 has the Dow not risen in the quarter following an election and that was in 2002 during George W. Bush’s first term. On average the index has risen by almost 10 per cent after midterm elections and rose by 8 per cent after the 2010 election during Obama’s first term.

The US went to the polls yesterday for the congressional midterms and the Republicans swept to victory and took control of the senate. Turnout tends to be much lower when there’s no presidential election to accompany the congressional vote, on average about 13 percentage points. Exit polls revealed that minority and younger voters were much more likely to stay home this year than they were in 2012.

Russia’s ban on importing EU agricultural products will cause the loss of more than 300,000 tonnes of apples grown in Poland, a quantity more than the whole crop of the Netherlands or the UK, and risks causing a European glut of the fruit.

Poland’s apple and pear growers face substantial losses due the Russian embargo on farm imports from EU nations and other western countries which this year imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Read more

The number of internet users hit 3bn on Monday, about 40 per cent of the world’s population. The first billion was reached in 2005 and the second in 2010. A fifth of all users live in China, and just under 10 per cent come from the US. The statistics come from Internet Live Stats which gets data from the UN, World Bank and the International Telecommunication Union. Anyone with access to the internet at home is counted as a user.

By John Burn-Murdoch and Gavin Jackson

In the latest instalment of The Baseline, our weekly feature on sports statistics, we looked ahead to the ATP Tour Finals, the climax of the men’s tennis season.

The tournament is played on a hard court surface, which goes some way to nullifying the relative advantages afforded to big serving and big returning players by grass and clay courts respectively. But where exactly does hard court fall between those two extremes, and what can this tell us about its impact on the playing styles of grass and clay specialists? Read more

An unmanned privately operated cargo flight to the International Space Station blew up on its US launchpad on Tuesday evening. Most space launches now take place in Russia which overtook the US in the mid-2000s and the number launched in China is catching up as well. China was second to Russia in 2012, having overtaken Europe in 2003.

 

Women make up 21.8 per cent of the world’s members of parliament. Rwanda tops the world rankings with 63.8 per cent female representation. The UK is in 64th place, 22.6 per cent, and the US is 85th with 18.3 per cent. The European parliament does slightly better: 35.2 per cent of its members are women.

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Emily Cadman

Are you a wealth accumulator, making good progress or burdened by debt? New research from think-tank the Smith Institute attempts to put a human face on all those distributional graphs of wealth inequality.

The report, published on Wednesday, calculates that property ownership in the UK, having risen dramatically in the last century, has peaked at 67 per cent of households and is likely to fall to 60 per cent by 2025. Read more

US broadband map

FT analysis of new Census Bureau data shows the scale of the task facing the Obama administration Read more

After a 13-year long war, UK forces and the US marines ended operations in Afghanistan on Sunday: in total 453 UK citizens lost their lives in the conflict and over 21,000 Afghanis are estimated to have died. The operational cost to the government is thought to be around £19bn. Read more

By Jurek Martin, Gavin Jackson and John Burn-Murdoch

In the latest instalment of The Baseline, our weekly feature on sports statistics, we looked at baseball statistician Bill James and the impact his insight and methods have had on not just one but arguably all sports.

Bill James began dissecting the numbers behind baseball in the late 1970s and among his acolytes was Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics and inspiration for Michael Lewis’ best selling book Moneyball. Such was Oakland and Beane’s success that the stats-driven approach has transcended baseball and now has its adherents in hockey, football, tennis, golf and dozens more of the world’s biggest sports Read more

Click-and-collect orders are set make up a greater portion of online sales. Mintel estimates that the value of orders, where you buy online but pick up goods in store, will grow 42 per cent year on year in 2014 but contribute less than 2 per cent to total retail sales. Shoppers are expected to collect some £7.4bn worth of online orders next year, equivalent to 17 per cent of all internet retail sales.

Martin Stabe

The European Central Bank on Sunday released the long-awaited results of its stress test.

The test, conducted on 130 euro area lenders, requires banks to have common equity tier one ratios of more than 5.5 per cent even under a “adverse scenario” of falling economic output, rising unemployment and declining house prices.

The stress test found 25 banks had capital shortfalls under the adverse scenario applied to banks’ balance sheets as of the end of 2013. However, that number fell to 13 once capital raised by the banks in 2014 was taken into account.

This sortable table shows a summary of the results of the stress test, including any shortfall after net capital raised since December 2013 is taken into account. Read more

Subscription revenues for video on demand services like Netflix are set to grow by nearly 30 per cent during 2014 but will still account for only 2 per cent of the total market for pay television. North America and Europe currently lead by market share with growth of 29 and 19 per cent respectively this year, but in emerging regions where on demand is more novel growth will exceed 50 per cent in 2014.

The amount of meat produced worldwide quadrupled in the 50 years before 2011. In per capita terms this means it almost doubled in the same period, in 2011 enough meat was produced for each person to have 42.2kg a year. The rise in global meat production coincides with the growth in productivity and income and highlights the pressure that the demands of that growth places on natural resources.

Even before the dispute with Russia began battering their economy, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled their country looking for a better life elsewhere. Ukrainians are now the largest group of migrants from non-European Union countries applying for residence in the bloc.

Eurostat said on Wednesday that the number of Ukrainians issued with EU residence permits rose by 48 per cent in 2013. Most Ukrainians moved to Poland looking for work. In total 236,691 permits were granted to Ukrainians, which means that the country has overtaken the US as the most common source country for migrants to the EU — India has also overtaken the US to take second place. Read more