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Iraqi security forces are sweeping villages and farmland north of Baghdad as part of an operation aimed at clearing remaining militants belonging to the Islamic State group from around the country's capital. A military helicopter flew over army units in the area as troops on the ground searched for weapon caches and bombs in farmland in Taramiyah on Tuesday. The area is about 50 kilometers, or 31 miles, north of Baghdad.


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A former Israeli prime minister is apologizing for the killing of 13 Arab protesters by Israeli police in 2000. Barak was responding to an op-ed written by a parliament member from the left-wing Meretz party who called on him to apologize for the October 2000 killings, which came in the opening weeks of the second Palestinian uprising, when he was serving as prime minister. Barak's campaign hinges on uniting liberal parties in a bid to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister.


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Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that Iran's interception of commercial vessels, including its seizure of a British tanker, in Gulf waters was a violation of international law and urged the global community to deter such actions. "Any disruption of the freedom of international maritime traffic is considered a violation of international law and the international community must do what is necessary to reject it and deter it," the Saudi cabinet said in a statement carried on state media.


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(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Americans are once again interested in debating economic systems. The 2016 presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, reignited a debate about capitalism and socialism that some believed had died with the Soviet Union. Younger Americans are now divided on which system they like best:Unfortunately, the debate over what these terms actually mean has become hopelessly muddled.  Without a Soviet bloc to provide an official alternative to capitalism, people cast about for examples that fit their desired narrative. Self-appointed defenders of capitalism will point to the economic failures of the USSR, China and North Korea, or to the more recent economic disaster in Venezuela as proof positive of socialism's defectsSocialism’s champions tend to rebut these charges by pointing to the successes of the Scandinavian countries. Sanders himself regularly praises Denmark, and occasionally Sweden, as examples of what he would like to achieve in the U.S., while others prefer Norway. But American socialists have, on occasion, received pushback from residents of those countries -- in 2015, Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen stated bluntly that Denmark was a market economy rather than a socialist one.So is Sanders right, or is Rasmussen? Are the Scandinavian countries socialist or capitalist? The truth, unfortunately, is much more nuanced and complex. There will never be a clear, simple definition of socialism or capitalism, because there are multiple ways that a government can try to intervene in markets.Markets aren’t perfect. They generate unequal outcomes, and often unfair ones, and they are subject to numerous inefficiencies. Governments can try to remedy these problems in a number of ways. They can provide services directly, as with the U.K.’s National Health Service. They can own businesses, as China does with state-owned enterprises. They can write regulations to restrain or promote various forms of market activity. They can sanction and empower various institutions like unions that counter the power of business. And they can use taxes and spending to redistribute income and wealth.But governments don’t have to do all of these things at once. In Scandinavia, for example, there are a lot of government-provided services, a lot of redistribution and strong unions, but a relatively light regulatory touch otherwise. In a recent report, J.P. Morgan Asset Management researcher Michael Cembalest breaks down the Nordic model using various indicators from the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. As he notes, the Nordic countries (in which he includes the Netherlands) generally have fewer capital controls and trade barriers than the U.S. They also score quite highly on indexes of property rights and business freedom:These indicators are compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that might have reason to want to give high rankings to rich countries in order to make business freedom look more attractive. But rankings from the OECD confirm the general picture of Scandinavia as a lightly regulated place. Interestingly, the indicators also show higher direct state control of industry in the U.S.:Labor markets are a different matter, however; Scandinavian countries generally make it harder to fire workers than the U.S. does. Unions and collective bargaining are also stronger. Interestingly, though, Cembalest finds that labor in Nordic countries claims a slightly smaller share of national income than in the U.S., suggesting that the impact of pro-business policies in those countries might outweigh the impact of labor protections when measured in purely monetary terms.The Scandinavian countries, of course, have much higher taxes and spend more on social services:Whether these various policy differences are large enough to constitute different systems is open to debate. Some economists consider them all merely different varieties of capitalism. The picture is complicated by the fact that countries change their policies over time. For example, in the 1970s, Sweden had a very large amount of redistribution, but since the late 1990s its fiscal system has become much less progressive. American socialists like Bernie Sanders may be pining for a much more interventionist Scandinavian model like that of the mid-20th century that has since changed dramatically.The spirited online debates about socialism and capitalism are, therefore, mostly useless. They ignore and obscure the multiple dimensions of policy, as well as changes over time, and thus make it harder rather than easier to think about concrete ways to fix the problems in the U.S. system. It would be helpful to have a new consensus terminology to describe the economic systems that various industrialized countries -- the U.S., France, Japan, China, and the countries of Scandinavia -- have developed over the last three decades. But one thing is for certain -- the dichotomy of social versus capitalism, inherited from the ideological battles of the past two centuries, is badly out of date.To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at nsmith150@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Americans are once again interested in debating economic systems. The 2016 presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, reignited a debate about capitalism and socialism that some believed had died with the Soviet Union. Younger Americans are now divided on which system they like best:Unfortunately, the debate over what these terms actually mean has become hopelessly muddled.  Without a Soviet bloc to provide an official alternative to capitalism, people cast about for examples that fit their desired narrative. Self-appointed defenders of capitalism will point to the economic failures of the USSR, China and North Korea, or to the more recent economic disaster in Venezuela as proof positive of socialism's defectsSocialism’s champions tend to rebut these charges by pointing to the successes of the Scandinavian countries. Sanders himself regularly praises Denmark, and occasionally Sweden, as examples of what he would like to achieve in the U.S., while others prefer Norway. But American socialists have, on occasion, received pushback from residents of those countries -- in 2015, Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen stated bluntly that Denmark was a market economy rather than a socialist one.So is Sanders right, or is Rasmussen? Are the Scandinavian countries socialist or capitalist? The truth, unfortunately, is much more nuanced and complex. There will never be a clear, simple definition of socialism or capitalism, because there are multiple ways that a government can try to intervene in markets.Markets aren’t perfect. They generate unequal outcomes, and often unfair ones, and they are subject to numerous inefficiencies. Governments can try to remedy these problems in a number of ways. They can provide services directly, as with the U.K.’s National Health Service. They can own businesses, as China does with state-owned enterprises. They can write regulations to restrain or promote various forms of market activity. They can sanction and empower various institutions like unions that counter the power of business. And they can use taxes and spending to redistribute income and wealth.But governments don’t have to do all of these things at once. In Scandinavia, for example, there are a lot of government-provided services, a lot of redistribution and strong unions, but a relatively light regulatory touch otherwise. In a recent report, J.P. Morgan Asset Management researcher Michael Cembalest breaks down the Nordic model using various indicators from the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. As he notes, the Nordic countries (in which he includes the Netherlands) generally have fewer capital controls and trade barriers than the U.S. They also score quite highly on indexes of property rights and business freedom:These indicators are compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that might have reason to want to give high rankings to rich countries in order to make business freedom look more attractive. But rankings from the OECD confirm the general picture of Scandinavia as a lightly regulated place. Interestingly, the indicators also show higher direct state control of industry in the U.S.:Labor markets are a different matter, however; Scandinavian countries generally make it harder to fire workers than the U.S. does. Unions and collective bargaining are also stronger. Interestingly, though, Cembalest finds that labor in Nordic countries claims a slightly smaller share of national income than in the U.S., suggesting that the impact of pro-business policies in those countries might outweigh the impact of labor protections when measured in purely monetary terms.The Scandinavian countries, of course, have much higher taxes and spend more on social services:Whether these various policy differences are large enough to constitute different systems is open to debate. Some economists consider them all merely different varieties of capitalism. The picture is complicated by the fact that countries change their policies over time. For example, in the 1970s, Sweden had a very large amount of redistribution, but since the late 1990s its fiscal system has become much less progressive. American socialists like Bernie Sanders may be pining for a much more interventionist Scandinavian model like that of the mid-20th century that has since changed dramatically.The spirited online debates about socialism and capitalism are, therefore, mostly useless. They ignore and obscure the multiple dimensions of policy, as well as changes over time, and thus make it harder rather than easier to think about concrete ways to fix the problems in the U.S. system. It would be helpful to have a new consensus terminology to describe the economic systems that various industrialized countries -- the U.S., France, Japan, China, and the countries of Scandinavia -- have developed over the last three decades. But one thing is for certain -- the dichotomy of social versus capitalism, inherited from the ideological battles of the past two centuries, is badly out of date.To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at nsmith150@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Ireland will work constructively with Boris Johnson to resolve the impasse over Britain's planned exit from the European Union, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Tuesday after Johnson was elected leader of Britain's governing Conservative Party. "Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming leader of the UK Conservative Party," Coveney said in a Twitter post. "We will work constructively with him and his government to maintain and strengthen British/Irish relations through the challenges of Brexit," Coveney said.


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Goldman Sachs on Tuesday raised its estimate of the likelihood Britain leaves the European Union without a deal to 20% from 15%, saying the "hurdle" to stop a hard Brexit will be higher following the election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Johnson was elected as leader of Britain's governing Conservative Party and the next prime minister, tasked with following through on his "do-or-die" pledge to deliver Brexit in just over three months time. "There will be less tolerance for another long Article 50 extension, with patience wearing thin in both Westminster and Brussels," Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note.


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(Bloomberg) -- Russians who send emails will have to disclose their identifies under draft legislation to tighten control over the internet that includes a ban on sharing content deemed illegal in messages.Internet providers will have to require email users to link their accounts to mobile phone numbers under a draft law submitted on Tuesday to Russia’s upper house of parliament by senators Andrei Klishas and Lyudmila Bokova.The Kremlin has been tightening control over the internet as support for President Vladimir Putin declines amid a groundswell of protests against the authorities on issues ranging from elections to trash collection and declining living standards. The new legislation follows a similar law on messaging services passed in 2017 that required them to identify users and block sharing of content deemed illegal by the authorities.“Email services providers should only allow messages to be transmitted from identified users,” the senators wrote in an explanatory note. The legislation is needed to counter terrorism and prevent the spread of “knowingly false” bomb threats, they said.The bill is “inappropriate and excessive,” said Vladimir Gabrielyan, vice president of Russia’s Mail.ru Group. “It involves significant inconveniences for users and discriminates against Russian market players,” since foreign providers will face no such requirements, he said.Sponsored LawKlishas and Bokova sponsored Russia’s “sovereign internet” law that passed in May and provides for internet traffic to be routed through domestic servers and exchanges, a measure critics say makes it easier for the authorities to block content. Putin signed laws in March to punish online media and individuals for spreading “fake news” or material that insults Russian officials.Last year, provisions of the so-called “Yarovaya Law” took effect, requiring communications carriers to store records of users’ phone calls and internet history for up to six months.The new proposal “will be difficult to implement,” because email is an open system, said Karen Kazaryan, an analyst at the Russian Association of Electronic Communications, an internet lobby group. “A user can send a message at random, using any server. If it was possible to regulate emails, there would’ve been no spamming and phishing globally.Russia faced a wave of false bomb threats earlier this year, often sent by email, that targeted schools, hospitals, offices and shopping centers, according to the state-run Tass news service.To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, Tony Halpin, Gregory L. WhiteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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French President Emmanuel Macron will speak to Britain's incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the coming days, said an official from Macron's Elysee presidential office, who declined to provide further details. Boris Johnson was elected leader of the governing Conservative Party and Britain's next prime minister on Tuesday, tasked with following through on his "do or die" pledge to deliver Brexit in just over three months' time.


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The European Union on Tuesday congratulated incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson but was firm that it would not heed his election promises of renegotiating Brexit. The bloc's executive European Commission was willing to work with Johnson, a spokeswoman said, but the limits were clear. "We look forward to working constructively with PM Johnson when he takes office, to facilitate the ratification of the withdrawal agreement and achieve an orderly Brexit," said the bloc's negotiator of the unprecedented divorce, Michel Barnier.


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