The Economist Asia Edition May 8, 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 entire Indian delegation to the g7 summit in London went into self-isolation when some of their team tested positive for covid-19. The meeting marked a return to face-to-face diplomacy, albeit with distancing measures in place. The Indian Premier League, the world’s biggest cricket tournament, was suspended after several players tested positive. Canada approved the Pfizer jab for 12-15 year olds, the first country to endorse a vaccine for children under 16. America is ready to do the same. This month Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania will end most limits on the number of people allowed in shops, offices and so on. Rules on face masks and distancing will remain. As an incentive to increase the state’s vaccination rate, New Jersey is offering a free beer to anyone over 21 who…

the world this week

Politics Protests in Colombia raged on, despite the scrapping of an unpopular tax reform that had sparked them and the resignation of the finance minister who championed it. The government responded harshly; the protesters became increasingly violent in turn. At least 24 people have died and more than 800 civilians and police officers have been injured. El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, once again displayed his authoritarian tendencies. The legislative assembly, which his party controls, sacked five Supreme Court judges and the attorney-general. Their replacements have links to Mr Bukele, who now controls all three branches of the state. American officials complained, but softly. President Joe Biden’s administration wants Central American governments to help it curb migration to the United States. For the first time since 2005 members of the opposition in Venezuela were…

the digital currencies that matter

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE is upending finance. Bitcoin has gone from being an obsession of anarchists to a $1trn asset class that many fund managers insist belongs in any balanced portfolio. Swarms of digital day-traders have become a force on Wall Street. PayPal has 392m users, a sign that America is catching up with China’s digital-payments giants. Yet, as our special report explains, the least noticed disruption on the frontier between technology and finance may end up as the most revolutionary: the creation of government digital currencies, which typically aim to let people deposit funds directly with a central bank, bypassing conventional lenders. These “govcoins” are a new incarnation of money. They promise to make finance work better but also to shift power from individuals to the state, alter geopolitics and change how…

bearing harms

EVERY AMERICAN state requires you to have a licence to drive a car, hunt or become a barber. Yet by the end of this year at least 20 states will allow you to carry a handgun in public without a permit. So far in 2021 five have already passed “permitless carry” laws, and five more, including Texas and Louisiana, are considering them. If these became law, around a third of Americans would live in states where it was legal to carry guns around without any need for a licence or training. Anyone who considers the 181 mass shootings that have taken place in America since January, or the recent spike in violent crime, would be forgiven for wondering why some states want fewer restrictions on guns, rather than more. The pro-gun…

time’s up

AT 90, WARREN BUFFETT continues to lead Berkshire Hathaway, wearing the three hats of chief executive, chairman and chief investment officer. For years, the question of whom the feted investor would anoint as his successor to run the giant conglomerate has been the subject of boardroom gossip. The world now knows the answer, though only because of a slip of the tongue by Mr Buffett’s 97-year-old right-hand man, Charlie Munger, at the annual shareholders’ meeting on May 1st (see Business section). That forced Mr Buffett to confirm that his heir apparent as chief executive is Greg Abel, 58, a trusted lieutenant who runs Berkshire’s non-insurance businesses. The cack-handed way in which the succession plan became public fits a bigger pattern. Berkshire is a huge public company, with a stockmarket value of…

a state of one’s own

SOMALILAND’S FIRST stab at independence lasted less than a week. Pipers of the Royal Highland Fusiliers were ordered to play the new state’s national anthem at a ceremony in Hargeisa, the capital, marking the end of British colonial rule in June 1960. On discovering that it did not have one, the bandmaster cobbled together a medley of local folk tunes, and conducted it with brio. A day later, however, Somaliland’s parliament passed an act of union with Somalia, a former Italian colony to its south, and Somaliland officially was no more. It was a catastrophic mistake. Within a decade the new Somali Republic had collapsed. Its president was assassinated by his bodyguards. A Marxist junta seized power, led by Siad Barre, a general-turned-dictator. He abolished democracy and wrecked the economy by…