The Economist Asia Edition May 1, 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

Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other prefectures. Unlike previous restrictions, bars selling alcohol and shopping malls were told to close. Chile will keep its borders closed for another month, even though the number of new covid-19 cases is easing. America’s Centres for Disease Control revised its advice on wearing masks. Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear one outside, it said, except in crowded venues, like sports stadiums. Americans were allowed to receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab again after regulators ended their suspension of the vaccine. They had been investigating claims that it caused blood clots. America said it would donate up to 60m doses of the Astra-Zeneca jab to other countries. The vaccine has not been approved for use in the US . → For our…

the world this week

Politics India’s second wave of covid-19 gained strength. The number of infections detected hit new records, with some 380,000 on April 28th alone. The official death toll surpassed 200,000, though evidence grew that many more fatalities are going unrecorded. Shortages of beds and oxygen afflicted many hospitals. The government ordered Twitter to remove posts critical of its handling of the epidemic, sparking widespread outrage. India now accounts for around 40% of the world’s new recorded infections. An Indonesian general died in a shoot-out with separatists in Papua province, in Indonesia's half of the island of New Guinea. Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha was the first Indonesian general ever to be killed in action. Fighters from the Karen National Liberation Army, an insurgent group, captured an outpost on the Thai border from the Burmese…

the most dangerous place on earth

THE TEST of a first-rate intelligence, wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. For decades just such an exercise of high-calibre ambiguity has kept the peace between America and China over Taiwan, an island of 24m people, 100 miles (160km) off China’s coast. Leaders in Beijing say there is only one China, which they run, and that Taiwan is a rebellious part of it. America nods to the one China idea, but has spent 70 years ensuring there are two. Today, however, this strategic ambiguity is breaking down. The United States is coming to fear that it may no longer be able to deter China from seizing Taiwan by force (see Briefing). Admiral…

and now for the aftershock

AS THE WORLD enters the second year of the pandemic, two crises are unfolding. The more urgent and visible one is in poor countries like India, where a surge of covid-19 cases is threatening to overwhelm the state. India is recording more than 350,000 cases a day, and many more than that are thought to be going undetected (see Asia section). The suffering is grievous. Oxygen supplies at Indian hospitals are running far short of what is needed, and crematoriums are overwhelmed. The other crisis is more subtle. This is long covid, which is becoming apparent in rich countries like America, Britain and Israel that have largely vaccinated their way out of the pandemic, but which will affect poor ones, too (see Science section). Post-covid syndrome, to give it its formal…

biden’s taxing problem

GOVERNMENTS RAISE most of their money by taxing wages, but President Joe Biden has his eyes fixed on the rich, big business and Wall Street. He proposes to fund his $2.7trn infrastructure plan in part by raising the corporate-tax rate from 21% to 28%. And to help pay for more spending on child care and support for parents, he wants to roughly double the top rate of federal tax on capital gains and dividends. For Americans earning more than $1m per year, he would bring levies on capital income into line with the top rate on wage income, which he wants to put up from 37% to 39.6%. That is about double the rate that is currently levied on rich investors, who are only a small fraction of the population…

viktor orban’s university challenge

A GOOD UNIVERSITY prizes original thought. And Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, is certainly an original thinker. Since 2010, when his Fidesz party won two-thirds of the seats in parliament, he has been dreaming up innovative ways to turn Hungary back into an autocracy, while maintaining a democratic façade. On April 27th his government passed a law transferring control of the country’s 11 main state universities to a series of foundations that are likely to be run by his allies. The party has already asserted its grip over institutions such as the electoral system, the media, the courts and much of the economy. Now it wants total power over the ivory towers. Like most of Mr Orban’s illiberal reforms, the plan is complicated, brilliant and likely to be copied by aspiring…