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Things aren’t going very well for Theresa May on Brexit. Top European officials doubt talks about future trade deals can begin as planned next month because there hasn’t been enough progress on the details of the split itself. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Britain was on a “learning curve” and reminded the British prime minister that there will “no free lunch” in Brexit talks. At the same time, the opposition Labour party is vowing to fight the proposed EU “repeal” bill that will pave the way for a new legal system after Brexit. — Andy Reinhardt
Giving and taking. Too many penny-pinching passengers are trying to bring too many bags on board—and causing delays. So Ryanair is rolling back its two free carry-ons policy to permit just a single bag in the cabin, while at the same time lowering the cost of checked bags from €35 to €25 and increasing the weight allowance to 20 kilograms (44 pounds). “Something’s gotta give,” Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said in a Bloomberg TV interview.
Grace under fire. German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered tips on how to deal with “alpha male” leaders such as Trump, Putin and Erdogan through cool preparation, hours after she was grazed by a tomato at a rally disrupted by noisy protest. Merkel, who projects herself as a force for stability in a world buffeted by turmoil, has maintained a dominant lead in the polls over Social Democratic challenger Martin Schulz.
Crashing to earth. Bell Pottinger was once a high-flying London public relations firm closely tied to Margaret Thatcher and the Tory party. Now it has virtually collapsed in the space of a few weeks after a racially-divisive social media scandal in South Africa. After losing a raft of clients and being expelled from the U.K.’s PR industry body, Bell Pottinger has put itself up for sale, although finding a buyer may be hard. “It’s probably nearing the end,” says co-founder Timothy Bell, who left the firm last year.
Social problem. Liberal Democrat party leader Vince Cable says the U.K. should increase taxes on property and inheritance or risk tearing itself apart due to growing inequality. Cable said social mobility has waned in Britain during his lifetime and that levies are needed on wealth accumulation. His concerns were echoed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby who decried Britain’s “broken” economic model in comments today.
Body image. French luxury titans and rivals LVMH and Kering agreed to curb the use of ultra-skinny models on runways and in advertising campaigns, bowing to a public outcry over unhealthy depictions of young women by the fashion industry. The Paris-based companies said they’d implement stricter guidelines for the treatment of models, including increasing minimum garment sizes for fashion shows as well as requiring them to have medical certificates attesting to their good health.
But do you want to live in Bahrain? The reputations of the U.S. and U.K. as good places to live and work are in freefall among some of the world’s most mobile and cosmopolitan people. An annual ranking of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family was topped by Bahrain, Costa Rica and Mexico, while Greece, Kuwait and Nigeria pulled up the rear. As recently as 2014, the U.S. ranked fifth; now it’s down to 43rd due to politics and the cost of health care and education.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt