The Economist Asia Edition April 3, 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 leaders of two dozen countries, including Britain, France and Germany, called for a new global treaty to fight pandemics. The declaration described covid-19 as “the biggest challenge to the global community since the 1940s”. A second wave of covid-19 continued to surge in India, with detected daily cases exceeding 60,000 several times. Pakistan is also suffering a new wave, in which the president, prime minister and defence minister have all tested positive. The African Union signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson to supply 220m doses of its single-jab vaccine to member states starting later this year. The head of America’s Centres for Disease Control said she felt a sense of “impending doom” about rising infections in the country. Joe Biden said that 200m Americans should receive a vaccination by May 1st,…

the world this week

Politics The European Union outlined a mechanism to stop exports of covid-19 vaccine components to countries that do not export to the EU , or already have higher vaccination rates. Underlining the disarray in the EU’s inoculation programme, Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, threatened to try to stop the bloc from buying an extra 100m doses of Pfizer’s jab if his country did not get a bigger share. He has begun talks with Russia to buy vaccine. Britain, meanwhile, said a domestic factory would produce the new Novavax vaccine, which will reduce the country’s reliance on overseas production. Despite surging infections Germany recommended that the AstraZeneca jab should be used mostly for the over-60s and limited among younger groups, because of concerns about blood-clotting. Angela Merkel said the country’s inoculation campaign “rests on…

message in a bottleneck

FOR THE best part of a week, the Suez canal was blocked by a 200,000-tonne metaphor. The Ever Given is not just one of the world’s biggest container ships, it is also the emblem of a backlash that accuses globalisation of going too far. Since the early 1990s supply chains have been run to maximise efficiency. Firms have sought to specialise and to concentrate particular tasks in places that offer economies of scale. Now, however, there are growing worries that, like a ship which is too big to steer, supply chains have become a source of vulnerability. A semiconductor shortage is forcing car firms to idle plants all over the world. China has imposed a digital boycott of H&M, a Western retailer that appears unwilling to source cotton from Xinjiang, where…

what has gone wrong?

LOOK AROUND the world at the devastation wrought by the covid-19 pandemic and something odd stands out. The European Union is rich, scientifically advanced and endowed with excellent health-care and welfare systems and a political consensus tilted strongly towards looking after its citizens. Yet during the pandemic it has stumbled. In the brutal and blunt league table of fatalities, the EU as a whole has done less badly than Britain or America, with 138 recorded deaths per 100,000, compared with 187 and 166 respectively—though Hungary, the Czech Republic and Belgium have all fared worse than either. However, it is in the grip of a vicious surge fuelled by a deadly variant. That underlines the peril of Europe’s low rate of vaccination. According to our tracker, 58% of British adults have had…

breaking the stalemate

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. He dominates political life. His loyal supporters praise his statesmanship, strength and skill. His critics condemn him for being divisive, domineering and dirty—he is currently on trial for corruption. Politics in Israel comes down to whether you are for or against the man known as Bibi. Voters, alas, cannot agree on someone to take his place, so gridlock has prevailed. Three elections in 2019 and 2020 failed to produce a stable government. A fourth, on March 23rd, seems to have ended in yet another stalemate. Several formidable rivals are trying to push Mr Netanyahu out. Although his party, Likud, won 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament, fully 13 more than any other party, his desired coalition is nine seats short of a…

put a plug in it

THE ORACLE of Delphi’s trance-like state is thought to have been induced by gases seeping into her chamber through a crack in the ground. Some say methane was part of the cocktail. If true, the gas has shaped the course of civilisations at least three times: in ancient Greece when wars were waged and kingdoms fell on the strength of the Oracle’s prophecies, in the 20th century when methane-fuelled machines helped power industrialisation, and today, when the gas is a central but under-appreciated part of the fight against climate change. Human activity emits far less methane than carbon dioxide, but methane packs a heavier punch. Over the course of 20 years, a tonne of the gas will warm the atmosphere about 86 times more than a tonne of CO2 . As…