The Economist Asia Edition April 24, 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 EU’s medicines agency recommended that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should carry a warning about blood clots being a very rare possible side effect, but reiterated that the benefits of the jab far outweigh the risks. A regulatory body in Brazil approved the emergency use of a cocktail of medicines to treat mild and moderate cases of covid-19. The treatment is thought to reduce the chances of hospitalisation significantly. The country’s death toll surpassed 380,000. Sweden’s government warned that it might introduce stricter restrictions. “There is no room now to start living as if the pandemic is already over,” said the health minister. The State Department updated its travel advice for American citizens. Its “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory will apply to 80% of the world’s countries. → For our latest coverage…

the world this week

Politics Deep into a second wave of covid-19 infections, the government in India lowered the age for inoculation to 18, liberalised the approval of vaccines, handed more power to the states and redirected oxygen supplies. New recorded cases have soared past 300,000 a day, up from 20,000 in early March. Australia and New Zealand inaugurated a travel bubble, allowing passengers to travel between the two countries without the need to quarantine. A fully vaccinated employee at Auckland airport tested positive for covid-19 a day after travel restarted. An Indonesian submarine carrying 53 sailors went missing while participating in a training exercise near Bali. The navy lost contact with the vessel soon after granting permission for a dive. An oil spill has been found nearby. Vladimir Putin used his stateof-the-union speech to warn the West…

covid catastrophe

APRIL 14TH was a big day in India. Hindus and Sikhs gathered to mark the new year. Many Muslims celebrated the first day of Ramadan at late-night feasts with friends and family. In Haridwar, a temple town that this year hosts the Kumbh Mela, an intermittent Hindu festival that is the world’s biggest religious gathering, between 1m and 3m people shoved and jostled to take a ritual dip in the Ganges. And across the country, the number of people testing positive for covid-19 for the first time surpassed 200,000 in a single day. It has continued to surge since, reaching 315,000 just one week later—the highest daily figure in any country at any point during the pandemic. Deaths, too, are beginning to soar, and suspicions abound that the grisly official…

putin’s next move

ONE MAN commands a police state. The other is locked up and close to death. Nonetheless, Vladimir Putin fears his prisoner. Alexei Navalny may be physically weak: after most of a month on hunger strike, he was moved to a prison hospital on April 19th, perhaps for force-feeding. Yet he is still Russia’s most effective opposition leader. His jocular, matter-of-fact videos resonate with voters. One, a guided tour of a gaudy palace that Mr Putin denies owning, has been viewed more than 116m times. Mr Navalny has built a movement by mocking the Kremlin’s lies, and challenges Mr Putin’s party at elections. That is why he was poisoned last year, and then jailed on bogus charges. It is why his organisation has been branded “extremist” and is being ruthlessly shut…

september showdown

POST-WAR GERMAN elections have tended to be polite contests between middle-aged men and, more recently, a middleaged woman, trotting out worthy but similar centrist policies. The process reached its snooziest last time around, in 2017, when the two main parties went into the campaign having spent the previous four years yoked together in a “grand coalition”. That gave them even less scope to offer competing visions to unenthused voters. This year, happily, things will be different. For a start, there is a genuine chance that the election, to be held on September 26th, will produce Germany’s (and almost the world’s) first Green head of government in the form of Annalena Baerbock, a 40-year-old parliamentarian with no ministerial experience but plenty of energy, policy nous and a past as an accomplished trampolinist.…

the spac spectacle

SUSPEND YOUR disbelief. That seems to be what modern financial markets require of investors. GameStop, a tiny and humble retailer that was swept up in an online-trading mania earlier this year, is still worth $11bn. Digital animations are being sold through online tokens for millions of dollars. The stock of Dogecoin, a digital currency that was until recently considered to be a parody, is valued at almost $50bn. Crypto, meme-stocks, NFT s—each new financial fashion seems to bring its own terminology and the whiff of absurdity. Many investors would add to that list special-purpose acquisition companies ( SPAC s). They are an alternative way of taking firms public that bypasses the cumbersome initial public offering ( IPO ) process. The pace of deals has been furious. Between January and April some…