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The Economist Asia EditionThe Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition

October 19, 2019

The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
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51 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time8 min.
the world this week

Politics Turkey continued its invasion of northern Syria, despite Western pressure to stop. Turkey’s autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aims to crush Syria’s Kurds, who have been ditched by President Donald Trump. The Kurds have turned to Syria’s despot, Bashar al-Assad, for protection. Russia, which backs Mr Assad, strolled into abandoned American outposts. Mr Trump, who has been criticised even by fellow Republicans for creating a power vacuum in the Middle East, said he would impose sanctions on some Turkish officials and raise tariffs on Turkish steel. Later, he said the conflict has nothing to do with America. Kais Saied trounced his opponent in Tunisia’s presidential election. The former law professor and political outsider spent little on his campaign. Voters chose him in the hope that he will tackle corruption and take…

access_time5 min.
who can trust trump’s america?

THE PITHIEST summary of Donald Trump’s foreign policy comes from the president himself. Referring to the mayhem he has uncorked in Syria, he tweeted: “I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!” Mr Trump imagines he can abandon an ally in a dangerous region without serious consequences for the United States. He is wrong. The betrayal of the Kurds will lead friends and foes to doubt Mr Trump’s America. That is something both Americans and the world should lament. His decision to pull out 1,000 American troops has rapidly destroyed the fragile truce in northern Syria (see Briefing). The withdrawal created space for a Turkish assault on the Kurds that has so far cost hundreds of lives; at least 160,000 people have fled their homes. Hordes of Islamic…

access_time3 min.
beyond the summit

AS WE WENT to press on October 17th Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, announced that a Brexit deal had been reached. Any agreement made in Brussels would still have to be approved by Britain’s cantankerous House of Commons, which threw out the deal that was struck late last year and may scupper any future one, too. Nonetheless, the new—and welcome—willingness of both sides to compromise suggests that, whatever happens in the next few days, the odds of a chaotic no-deal exit have lengthened considerably. That is a relief for all parties, and particularly Britain, which stood to suffer the most from crashing out. Yet it is hardly time to celebrate. The outlines of a draft deal that were being circulated as the European…

access_time4 min.
omissions

SLOWLY BUT surely, climate change is taking a prominent place in the rich world’s political debates. Extinction Rebellion protests, backed by hedge-fund managers and barristers as well as students and celebrities, shut down parts of London for several days this month. The Green Party is now the second-most popular political force in Germany and the main opposition party. Some 57% of Americans, and 84% of self-declared Democrats, say climate change is a big threat. As public opinion shifts, politicians are reacting by adopting new policies. One of the most popular is to set targets to reach “net zero” carbon emissions within a defined geographical border. These targets have plenty going for them. They are easy to understand, galvanising and will spur countries to shift their energy mix towards renewables. They also…

access_time3 min.
the need for speed

IN 1991 CYRIL RAMAPHOSA went fishing with Roelf Meyer, his opposite number in the negotiations to end apartheid. When Mr Meyer got a trout hook stuck deep in his hand, Mr Ramaphosa proved the only one able to extract it, with the aid of an analgesic dram of Scotch. The tale is part of South African political folklore. For some it symbolises how the man who in February 2018 became the country’s president has long been able to forge relationships with any interlocutor—and to make sure they both get what they want, without too much pain. By the end of the constitutional convention, Mr Meyer later recalled, he felt that there was nothing the two of them could not resolve. Twenty-five years after the end of apartheid, South Africa is at…

access_time4 min.
nordic noir

IF A BANK is accused of money-laundering or sanctions-busting by Uncle Sam, the fallout is often devastating. Consider the case of Halkbank, a big Turkish lender, which was indicted this week by prosecutors in New York for evading sanctions on Iran. When the news broke, its share price sank and yields on its bonds soared as investors worried that it might face crippling punishment. Yet the surprising thing is that, notwithstanding America’s tough approach, dodgy business by international banks remains common, even in jurisdictions that you might think were squeaky clean. In particular, Europe seems to have a serious money-laundering problem that it needs to get a grip on (see Finance section). The most egregious recent case involved Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest lender. For a while a single office with a…

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