The Economist - 20 October 2001

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"The trouble with mergers" - September 10, 1994

If nothing else it was overdue. It was starting to look tired. That was our own opinion, but we also heard it externally. So our website already uses the new branding and typefaces, all our apps use it too, and the newspaper is just the last product to come into line with that. Stephen Petch: Sometimes you need to re-examine things. What started out as a strict set of design rules in has become a bit flabby.

People no longer realise the intended purpose of the design rules. SP: The whole thing starts with the reading experience, so we needed to make sure the typefaces work.

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I think the new typefaces, Milo Serif and Econ Sans, work particularly well. They give the pages an airier, less forbidding feel. And a British feel too.

The previous typeface could be a bit overbearing. I was quite reluctant to go through the whole market-research process, but it was beneficial. When it came to updating the way the text reads, we found that most people prefer the changes. We became attuned to getting a lot of info into a small space.

Going back to the 19th century, The Economist always had data storytelling. But text won the fight against graphics somewhere along the line. We have already been putting out great quality, large data vis features on the website with no outlet in print. Now we have redressed the balance. I guess these things are subliminal. That was chosen by Edenspiekermann, the design agency that was part of the redesign early on.

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The Taliban, too, are fragmented. Far from being the monolithic Islamists they were in , they now span various groups with differing motivations. Alongside the diehard madrassa -trained Talibs are growing numbers of foreigners with al-Qaeda links. Local politics also infects the insurgency. In Helmand, for instance, the Itzakzai tribe, feeling excluded from power since , are big Taliban supporters.

October 22nd 1994

Many Afghans in the south would support any force offering a real hope of security and justice. On those counts, neither the Taliban nor the corruption-plagued Afghan government and its Western backers have yet made a convincing case. Join them. Subscribe to The Economist today. Media Audio edition Economist Films Podcasts.

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Sign up now Activate your digital subscription Manage your subscription Renew your subscription. Topics up icon. Blogs up icon. Current edition. Audio edition. As in the United States, whites may challenge any quotas in court, claiming they offend constitutional guarantees of racial equality.

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However, the constitution allows positive discrimination to correct inequalities; indeed, it demands quotas for women and the disabled. So the Supreme Court seems likely to uphold quotas; its president has publicly backed them. Would they work? Mr Jungmann dismisses the American argument that affirmative action mainly benefits people who are middle-class already. In education, some fear that ill-prepared non-white university students will be unable to keep up, and simply drop out.

And the intended beneficiaries of quotas? Brazil has far less overt racism than the United States, but its dark-skinned do suffer subtler forms of prejudice, and are increasingly ready to protest; as in July, at an up-market shopping mall in Rio, against shops accused of deliberately employing whites only; or at Sao Paulo's fashion fair, where black models denounced their modest share of the catwalk. As Mr Cunha notes, Brazil's politicians like others, be it said tend to act only under pressure; but its darker citizens are learning to press.

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