The Economist Asia Edition January 23, 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

The global death toll from covid-19 passed 2m, three months after it hit 1m. The Indian government launched a vaccination drive with the aim of giving 300m people an injection by August. Most Indians are hesitant about getting the jab. The Netherlands sought to introduce a curfew, its first since the second world war. It was complicated by the resignation of the entire cabinet over a scandal involving parents falsely accused of welfare fraud. Joe Biden decided to keep a travel ban on most countries in the EU and Britain in place, after Donald Trump tried to loosen the rules as one of his last acts as president. Britain was one of several countries to tighten border restrictions, suspending all travel corridors with countries with which it had reciprocal entry arrangements. For our latest coverage…

the world this week

Politics Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. Despite the small crowds, limited in size because of covid-19, the event marked a sea change in political tone. Mr Biden stressed “unity” in his speech, a stark contrast to Donald Trump’s “America First” theme four years ago. Mr Biden’s first official orders overturned many of his predecessor’s edicts, such as the ban on travel from some Muslim countries, and committed America to rejoin the Paris accord on climate change. In his final hours as president Donald Trump issued a flurry of pardons. Among those on the list were Steve Bannon, a nationalist former adviser, and Anthony Levandowski, who had been convicted of stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving car project. Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate,…

morning after in america

JOE BIDEN has been dreaming of moving into the White House since at least 1987, when he first ran for president. How those dreams must have differed from the reality this week. The official toll of American deaths from covid-19 has passed 400,000. By the end of his first 100 days it may have passed 500,000. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Instead of observing the triumph of democracy in eastern Europe from the Oval Office, as the victor of the election in 1988 did, Mr Biden must contend with democratic decay at home. It is not an auspicious start. Yet, unlikely as it sounds, in the next few months the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could improve dramatically. Mending America starts with getting the virus under control. Vaccinating the…

betting all the chips

WHEN MICROCHIPS were invented in 1958, the first significant market for them was inside nuclear missiles. Today about a trillion chips are made a year, or 128 for every person on the planet. Ever more devices and machines contain ever more semiconductors: an electric car can have over 3,000 of them. New types of computation are booming, including artificial intelligence and data-crunching. Demand will soar further as more industrial machines are connected and fitted with sensors. For decades a vast network of chip firms has co-operated and competed to meet this growing demand; today they crank out $450bn of annual sales. No other industry has the same mix of hard science, brutal capital intensity and complexity. Its broader impact is huge, too. When the supply chain misfires, economic activity can grind…

a marathon ahead

IT HAS BEEN described as a race between infections and injections. If so, infections are still winning. About 5m new cases of covid-19 a week are being recorded around the world. As we went to press, some 51 countries had begun to administer vaccines, according to Our World in Data, a website; over the previous week 17m people had been vaccinated, but the global total of doses was still below 50m. Only five countries had given the first dose to more than 5% of its population. The inoculation effort is generating frustration in countries like France, which got off to a slow start, and rejoicing in Britain, which has so far done well (see Britain section). Both the despair and the joy are premature. Plenty will happen in the months before…

the return

IN A DEMOCRACY the battle for power involves elections, media skirmishes and the occasional metaphorical stab in the back. In Russia it is literally a matter of life and death. To oppose President Vladimir Putin requires not only charisma and clear vision but also physical stamina and courage. Alexei Navalny possesses these qualities in abundance. The Kremlin has tried hard to neutralise him. Prosecutors have levelled a series of trumped-up criminal charges against him. State propagandists have amplified them, and added imaginary calumnies to the mix. Last year Russia’s security services slipped him a nerve agent in a botched attempt to murder him. Mr Putin no doubt hoped that after all this Mr Navalny would be scared into permanent exile. Instead, on January 17th, five months after falling into a coma…