The Economist Asia Edition January 30, 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 cumulative number of recorded infections worldwide reached 100m. The true figure is thought to be much higher. In Britain the recorded death toll passed 100,000, the world’s fifth-highest and far ahead of other European nations. England’s lockdown will last until at least March 8th. Restrictions at the country’s borders were tightened. With infections falling, Cyprus is to ease its lock-down, allowing schools to reopen on February 8th. The White House banned non-American travellers from South Africa, where a virulent strain of the disease has been discovered, from entering the United States. The International Olympic Committee said that the postponed games in Tokyo, scheduled to start on July 23rd, will definitely go ahead. For our latest coverage of the virus please visit coronavirus or download the Economist app.…

the world this week

Politics The spectre of vaccine nationalism stalked Europe as a row erupted between Britain and the European Commission over supply of the Astra-Zeneca-Oxford vaccine. Because of manufacturing problems at one of its European factories, AstraZeneca has said it will deliver less to the EU than it had planned in the coming months. The commission wants some of the shortfall to be made up with vaccine allotted for Britain. That risks breaching contractual obligations. But there are threats from the EU that if AstraZeneca does not agree, then supplies to Britain of other vaccines made in Europe, in particular the Pfizer jab, may be affected. Large protests took place in Moscow and many other Russian cities, following the arrest of Russia’s leading opposition figure, Alexei Navalny. There were thousands of arrests. More rallies…

who will go nuclear next?

THIRTY-ONE countries, from Brazil to Sweden, have flirted with nuclear weapons at one time or another. Seventeen launched a formal weapons programme. Just ten produced a deliverable bomb. Today nine states possess nuclear arms, no more than a quarter-century ago. Yet the long struggle to stop the world’s deadliest weapons from spreading is about to get harder. In the past 20 years most countries with nuclear ambitions have been geopolitical minnows, like Libya and Syria. In the next decade the threat is likely to include economic and diplomatic heavyweights whose ambitions would be harder to restrain. China’s rapidly increasing regional dominance and North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal haunt South Korea and Japan, two of Asia’s largest powers. Iran’s belligerence and its nuclear programme loom over the likes of Saudi Arabia and…

shot in the foot

THE MOOD in the European Union is grim. Only 2% of its people have been vaccinated, compared with 7% in America and 11% in Britain (see Europe section). The slower the roll-out, the more die and the greater the economic harm will be. Hence news that AstraZeneca (AZ), an Anglo-Swedish vaccine-maker, may supply less than 40% of the doses the EU expected in the first quarter has sparked fury. Amid the recriminations, politicians are arguing that, if AZ refuses to make up some of the shortfall with supplies from its plants in Britain, then the EU should retaliate by stopping exports to Britain from plants in continental Europe. That would be a grave error. There are better ways for Europe to speed up vaccination. They need to be taken as urgently…

the folly of buy american

MODERN PRESIDENTS of the United States do not sit in the Oval Office for long before reaching for the pen. Since entering the White House on January 20th Joe Biden has signed nearly 40 executive orders and proclamations. Many are welcome; some are crucial. He is overturning some of the harshest immigration restrictions imposed by Donald Trump and restoring America’s support of the Paris agreement on climate change (see United States section). One of Mr Biden’s edicts, however, is an early economic-policy mistake: the tightening of rules obliging America’s federal government to prefer domestic suppliers to foreign ones. It could be a sign of worse errors to come. The “Buy American” agenda is long-running. A law passed in 1933 requires the federal government to prefer domestically produced goods to foreign ones;…

time for abbas to go

MAHMOUD ABBAS really knows how to show Israel the stuff he is made of. When the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, mulled annexing parts of the West Bank last year, the Palestinian president stopped accepting transfers of tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The move left the PA short of hundreds of millions of dollars and forced tens of thousands of civil servants to take salary cuts. Yet even after Israel suspended talk of annexation in August, Mr Ab-bas persisted with his protest. Only in November, facing a self-inflicted cash crunch, did he quietly relent. This is what passes for leadership in the occupied territories. Though Israel bears much blame for the suffering of its neighbours, the pain is compounded by the self-defeating policies of…