The Economist Asia Edition December 5, 2020

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.

United Kingdom
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
51 期号


coronavirus briefs

The number of daily deaths in America approached their highest levels during the pandemic. The number of people in hospital with the disease surged in November and is now above 100,000. Los Angeles County, the most populous in the United States, entered a three-week period of tight restrictions during which people are urged to stay at home and wear face masks outside. Meeting other households is banned. Vietnam reported its first locally transmitted case of covid-19 in nearly three months. Many businesses reopened in Ireland after a six-week lock-down. People still cannot travel outside their county, however, except for work, study or health reasons. Hong Kong reduced the limit on the number of people who can gather in public from four to two. For our latest coverage of the virus please visit coronavirus or…

the world this week

Politics Britain became the first country to license a fully tested vaccine for covid-19. The medicines regulator gave its approval to the Pfizer/BioN-Tech jab following a “rolling review” process, used to assess promising vaccines during a health emergency. Data from the vaccination programme will continue to be reviewed as they become available. Priority distribution will start within a week. America is expected to approve a vaccine soon and the EU by the end of the month. Boris Johnson faced his biggest backbench rebellion since becoming prime minister over the confusing rules in the new regional tier-system that replaced lockdown in England. Parliament approved the plan. Customers may order booze in pubs only if it comes with a substantial meal. A pub renamed one of its beers “Substantial Meal”. President Emmanuel Macron of France…

make coal history

AROUND THE world the mood is shifting. Xi Jinping has adopted a target to cut China’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2060. Under Joe Biden, America will rejoin the Paris agreement, which it adopted five years ago. In the financial markets clean-energy firms are all the rage. This month Tesla will join the S&P 500 share index—as one its largest members. Remarkably, in a realm where words are cheap, there has been action, too. In America and Europe the consumption of coal, the largest source of greenhouse gases, has fallen by 34% since 2009. The International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental body, reckons that global use will never surpass its pre-covid peak. Yet coal still accounts for around 27% of the raw energy used to power everything from cars to electric grids.…

the colours of terror

GREEN MEANS humiliation, which may involve sexual abuse or the threat of rape. It is reserved for young men sporting dreadlocks, long hair or piercings. Yellow paint, when daubed on those who ask too many questions or argue with riot police, spells a beating. Those who try to run away or resist arrest are sprayed with red paint and subjected to torture so severe that it could leave them disabled for life. Colour-coding prisoners is standard practice in Belarus, a European country that has been ruled by Alexander Lukashenko for the past 26 years. What is new is that since August, when Mr Lukashenko declared himself president again after another fraudulent election, his goons have used colour codes to systematise the brutalisation of thousands of peaceful protesters, according to Nash Dom,…

alive and kicking

VAST, BUREAUCRATIC and amorphous, health care has long been cautious about change. However, the biggest emergency in decades has caused a revolution. From laboratories to operating theatres, the industry’s metabolism has soared, as medical workers have scrambled to help the sick. Hastily and often successfully, they have improvised with new technologies. Their creativity holds the promise of a new era of innovation that will lower costs, boost access for the poor and improve treatment. But to sustain it, governments must stop powerful lobbies from blocking the innovation surge when the pandemic abates. Covid-19 has led to the spectacular development of vaccines using novel mRNA technologies. But there have also been countless smaller miracles as health workers have experimented to save lives (see Britain section). Obsolete IT-procurement rules have been binned and…

towards a better nuclear deal

FOR THE past four years Iran’s enemies in the Middle East have had a friend in the White House. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for the region’s problems, sold arms to Israel and Arab states, and pulled America out of the deal that saw Iran limit its nuclear programme and agree to inspections in return for the lifting of international sanctions. In November Mr Trump retweeted news of the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s past nuclear-weapons programme. The killing appears to have been the work of Israel, which has a history of bumping off Iranian nuclear scientists. With the clock ticking on the Trump administration, it may have been an attempt to scorch the earth before Joe Biden takes over. When it comes to Iran, Mr Biden prefers…