The Economist Asia Edition May 29, 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 number of officially recorded cases in India continued to fall, on one day dropping below 200,000 for the first time in weeks. Germany banned most visitors from Britain because of the spreading Indian variant of covid-19 in that country. French officials said people entering from Britain would have to quarantine, but stopped short of an outright ban. Research in Britain, meanwhile, found that two doses of either the Astra­Zeneca or Pfizer vaccine provide good protection against the Indian variant. An outbreak of the variant in Melbourne led to a new lockdown in the Australian state of Victoria, a disappointment for the city, which last year had one of the world’s longest lockdowns. Vaccination rates in Australia remain very low. Argentina entered a nine-day lockdown. Cases are surging amid a slow take-up of…

the world this week

Politics Belarus hijacked a Ryanair plane flying from one EU country (Greece) to another (Lithuania) with more than 100 people on board. The plane was in Belarusian airspace. Citing a “bomb threat”, the authorities sent a fighter jet to make it land in Minsk, the Belarusian capital. They arrested two passengers: Roman Protasevich, an exiled journalist, and his girlfriend. Mr Protasevich had rallied opposition to Alexander Lukashenko, the despot who stole Belarus’s presidential election last year. No bomb was found. Russia applauded Mr Lukashenko’s boldness; the EU mulled sanctions on his isolated regime. Switzerland said it was walking away from years of negotiations on a new treaty with the EU aimed at harmonising dozens of messy individual deals on trade, investment and the movement of people. Police in India visited Twitter’s offices after…

two states or one?

HAVE MORE time and effort ever been devoted to peace to so little effect? America began overseeing talks between the Israelis and Palestinians three decades ago. But the Holy Land remains contested by two peoples who cannot bring themselves to live together. The fighting in May that left 242 Palestinians and ten Israelis dead accomplished nothing except to clear the field for the next round of fighting. The peace process set up in the Oslo accords in 1993 aims to create two states that agree to disagree—using land swaps, security guarantees, a deal to share Jerusalem and a limited “right of return” for Palestinians. Israel’s prize was to be a thriving democracy and a sanctuary for Jews; for Palestinians it was the promise of self-rule. At times, peace has been tantalisingly…

innovation nations

AS THE RICH world reopens, the contours of the post-pandemic economy are becoming clear. The latest trend is a global surge in capital spending (see Finance section). Forecasters reckon that overall real investment worldwide will soon be a fifth higher than it was before the pandemic. America’s business investment is rising at an annual rate of 15%. By 2022 companies in the S & P 500 are forecast to be spending over a tenth more on factories, technology, R & D and the like. Barely a day goes by without a large firm boasting about how much it plans to splurge. AT&T says it will throw $24bn a year at its networks. Sony is piling $18bn into an expansion push. Semiconductor firms are engaged in one of the biggest capitalspending…

take one for the team

INFLATION IN GERMANY exceeded 2% in April. If the Bundesbank’s latest forecasts prove right, it could soon reach 4% for the first time in nearly 30 years. Inflation angst is rising among the country’s monetary hawks. The exigencies of the pandemic muted German grumbling about the European Central Bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy. But as inflation rises, so will reflexive German demands that the bank should taper its bond-buying. Such clamouring would be misguided. Europe’s recovery is more subdued than America’s, making the odds even better that the inflation spike will prove temporary. And the interests of the weaker members of the currency union, still crawling their way back to health, should come first. The hyperinflation of the 1920s etched inflation-phobia deep into the German psyche. After the second world war the Bundesbank…

fresh thinking about fresh air

IN 1842 EDWIN CHADWICK , a British social reformer, published his “Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population”. By documenting evidence of social and geographic inequalities in health, Chadwick showed that poor sanitation was associated with poor health. The report eventually led British cities to organise clean water supplies and to centralise their sewage systems, in turn reducing the prevalence of infectious diseases, in particular cholera. Similar reforms around the world in the 20th century tackled food safety and outdoor-air pollution. Now a new public-health priority is becoming apparent: making indoor air cleaner. Take schools. They are “chronically under-ventilated”, according to the Lancet covid-19 commission. A study of 100 American classrooms found 87 with worryingly low ventilation rates. Across Denmark, France, Italy, Norway and Sweden, researchers found that indoor-air…