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Even though the US economy is "white hot", Rana Foroohar sees signs of trouble in the bifurcated American housing market. Just as there is now a “superstar” effect of winner take all in countries, industries, and even companies, so too is there one in the housing market. The 20-city Case-Shiller Index of home prices is just 2.4 per cent above its 2006 peak. And yet, there is a huge divide between the winners and the losers. Ten cities have set new highs and their prices are 23 per cent higher on average. The best performer, Denver, is a whopping 54 per cent above its pre-recession peak. Meanwhile, prices in 10 laggard cities are an average of 11 per cent below their pre-recession peaks.

But now several once soaring markets, including New York City, the San Francisco area, and Denver, have been softening. Construction activity has been slowing, too, which Rana says is a concern given the disproportionate role that home building plays in US economic growth.

Wolfgang Munchau counsels both sides of the Brexit negotiations to start preparing for a no deal scenario. He says that the damage can be minimised with a pragmatic approach.

David Fein, general counsel of Standard Chartered, argues that banks must start treating wildlife poaching as a global criminal enterprise and use the tools that have already been effective at fighting terrorist financing and human trafficking.

Eswar Prasad writes that India can avoid the wider emerging market slowdown by enacting a carefully thought out package of reforms aimed at boosting investment, and raising productivity. 

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow and chair of the UK's education select committee, warns that his party must tackle social justice to beat Labour's Jeremy Corbyn

What you've been saying

Inquisitorial systems operate more efficiently letter from Richard Lomax in London, UK
Jane Croft and Barney Thompson ( “Justice for all”) are right to suggest that cuts to the justice budget (40 per cent over the past five years) have put justice out of reach for very many people…..Adversarial justice systems are inherently more expensive. Comparisons with our near continental neighbours show that inquisitorial systems can operate more efficiently and more cheaply without compromising quality. They also tend to incarcerate far fewer offenders. They can do so because their conviction rates are higher. More resources are given to the prosecution, and magistrates are virtually all professional. They understand Cesare Beccaria’s old maxim that it is not the severity of punishment that deters so much as the certainty of detection and conviction.

In response to US Senate politics place Supreme Court legitimacy at risk, bjorntore writes
Why is the focus not on the role of the powerful Senate, where 30 states representing only 25 per cent of the population elects 60 of the 100 members of the Senate? For six years at a time! ….And the members of the House of Representatives are elected for only two years, leaving them dependent on the financing of their campaigns every two years! And a Presidency with exceptional powers and privileges! A country ruled by its citizens it is not a democracy? A 200 year old, obsolete Constitution for 13, mostly agricultural States! Break it up!

Strikes are also part of the Parisian experience (not to mention the rats) letter from Nikki Karani, Zurich, Switzerland
I enjoyed reading Harriet Agnew’s wry, insightful column ( “French windows”) on the contradictory aspects of Parisian life “behind the guide books”. To a foreign eye, Parisians may seem to be fastidious about certain things, such as dining rituals and formal manners, yet they are strangely lackadaisical about other fundamental aspects of everyday life. The city’s elegant monuments, boulevards, architecture and perspectives imbue Paris with its unique beauty and charm, but litter, urine and dog poop are a common sight. Rats have recently become a major problem….To Ms Agnew’s list of terms that define the Parisian experience (bad coffee, poor service and good conversation), I would add a fourth — la grève. Hemingway probably didn’t have constant strikes in mind when he described Paris as a “moveable feast”.

Today's opinion

All sides must prepare for a no-deal Brexit
A bad deal is worse than none for both the EU and the UK

Dark clouds gather over the US housing market
If the fall we are seeing at the top spreads, the impact could be significant

Inside Business: Lessons from GE’s monster writedown
The witchcraft of modern goodwill accounting encourages overpriced M&A deals

How India can avoid the emerging market blues
Questions are being asked about the government’s commitment to liberalisation

To fight the illegal wildlife trade, disrupt its business model
This trafficking is a transnational organised crime that impoverishes communities

Get ready for the end of the reception desk
Trends in office design include facial recognition technology to greet arrivals

Conservatives must tackle social justice to beat Jeremy Corbyn
Supporters and opponents should take Theresa May’s speech as a statement of intent

FT View

The FT View: Hong Kong’s move against free speech
De facto expulsion of the FT’s Asia news editor sends a chilling message

The FT View: The US republic’s moment of acute danger
Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation will test constitutional guardrails

The Big Read

The Big Read: Migration: the riddle of Europe’s shadow population
The number of undocumented migrants in the EU is unknown but some cities are realising that ‘get-tough’ policies do not work

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