The Economist Asia Edition January 9, 2021

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

Indonesia, Japan and South Korea were among the Asian countries imposing new restrictions in an effort to battle a surge in covid-19 infections in the region. Vaccinations in Japan are not expected to begin until the end of February. India’s drug regulator approved the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. It also cleared Covaxin, a vaccine developed by an Indian company that is still in the clinical-trial stage. A national lockdown in Germany was extended by three weeks, to January 31st. Strict curbs on travel were imposed in areas with the highest infection rates. Israel continued to lead the world in vaccination per person, inoculating 16% of its people by January 5th. Russia said it had vaccinated 1m people with the Sputnik V jab. Many Russians are refusing it; Vladimir Putin says he will have the jab,…

the world this week

Politics Despite the storming of the Capitol building by a mob of supporters of Donald Trump, more than 100 Republican congressmen and a handful of senators persisted in their challenge to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in America’s presidential election. The protesters were egged on by Mr Trump. Rather than condemn the violence he said they were “very special”. Mr Biden’s win was eventually confirmed by Congress. Earlier, ten former secretaries of defence, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, felt it necessary to write an open letter reminding the armed forces of their “solemn obligations” to support the constitution. Democrats won both run-off elections in Georgia for Senate seats, giving the party control of the chamber. Raphael Warnock was one of the victors. He is the first black person from the…

trump’s legacy

FOUR YEARS ago Donald Trump stood in front of the Capitol building to be sworn into office and promised to end “American carnage”. His term is concluding with a sitting president urging a mob to march on Congress—and then praising it after it had resorted to violence. Be in no doubt that Mr Trump is the author of this lethal attack on the heart of American democracy. His lies fed the grievance, his disregard for the constitution focused it on Congress and his demagoguery lit the fuse. Pictures of the mob storming the Capitol, gleefully broadcast in Moscow and Beijing just as they were lamented in Berlin and Paris, are the defining images of Mr Trump’s unAmerican presidency. The Capitol violence pretended to be a show of power. In fact it…

who gets the jab?

THE URGENCY of vaccination against covid-19 is growing by the day. Two new variants of the virus, spotted in Britain and South Africa, are spreading around the world (see Britain section). Although they do not seem to be more deadly, they are a lot more contagious, threatening to overwhelm hospitals with patients too numerous to be treated. Salvation lies in rapid vaccination. However, vaccines will remain scarce throughout 2021, even as deaths mount along with the sense that protection lies tantalisingly out of reach for billions of people (see Briefing). Getting the details right could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Getting them wrong will shatter people’s faith in their governments, in the benefits of public health and in the world’s ability to work together. Start with government, where accusations have already…

if you can’t beat them

THE FIRST surge in the price of bitcoin, to around $1,000 in 2013, minted cryptocurrency millionaires, provoked declarations of a bubble and left some early fans kicking themselves. One unlucky man in Wales searched a rubbish dump for a hard drive containing 7,500 accidentally discarded bitcoins, whose value had grown from almost nothing to $7.5m. Since then bit-coin has been on a wild ride. Fuelled by casual speculators and market manipulation, its price surged to about $19,000 in December 2017; over the next year it fell by more than four-fifths. Bitcoin’s most recent ascent has been its giddiest yet. Having tripled in three months its price is now over $35,000 and somewhere under Newport sits a computer part worth over $260m. Today’s bitcoin enthusiasm is striking because basement-dwelling libertarians are not…

diderot’s dream

WIKIPEDIA IS CLEAR on the matter: Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Yet on this particular question, few people seem to agree with the world’s most popular encyclopedia. The site approaches its 20th birthday, on January 15th, as the 13th-most-visited place on the web, offering more than 55m articles written in 300 languages. Worries about fake news, filter bubbles and market power have soured public opinion on the Utopian promises of the early internet. But Wikipedia—written by amateurs, freely available to all—stands as the great exception. It is the dream that worked. Or at least, mostly worked. Wikipedia’s crowdsourced model remains vulnerable to the occasional hoaxer or chancer. In August it emerged that many articles on the Scots version of the site had been written by an American editor who, by…