The Economist Asia Edition July 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

Australia’s states closed their borders as new clusters of the Delta variant emerged across the country. Around 80% of Australians are now living under restrictions and their “travel bubble” with New Zealand has been suspended. Just 5% of the population has been vaccinated. Mixing different covid-19 vaccines could boost immunity against the coronavirus, according to researchers at Oxford University. A shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine four weeks after one of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s, and vice versa, produced a high level of antibodies. Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, dismissed senior officials for “incompetence and irresponsibility” related to pandemic prevention. Mr Kim did not admit that there had been a covid-19 outbreak in his country. Last week North Korea again told the World Health Organisation that it had recorded no cases. → For our latest coverage of…

the world this week

Politics Much of America’s Pacific north-west and Canada’s west coast baked in a heatwave. Police in Vancouver reported more than 130 sudden deaths, most of them old people or those with underlying conditions. The extreme temperatures were caused by a phenomenon known as a “heat dome”, in which an area of high pressure in the atmosphere stops air escaping. President Joe Biden backed down over his claim that he would not sign a bipartisan infrastructure bill worth roughly $1trn unless it was accompanied by more expansive provisions off the Democratic party’s wishlist, such as tax increases. Mr Biden had tied the two together after striking a deal with a group of senators from both sides last week, riling Republicans. Florida’s governor declared an emergency after a beach-front condominium building in Surfside, a suburb…

the long goodbye

WHEN WILL it end? For a year and a half, covid-19 has gripped one country after another. Just when you think the virus is beaten, a new variant comes storming back, more infectious than the last. And yet, as the number of vaccinations passes 3bn, glimpses of post-covid life are emerging. Already, two things are clear: that the last phase of the pandemic will be drawn-out and painful; and that covid-19 will leave behind a different world. This week The Economist publishes a normalcy index, which reflects both these realities. Taking the pre-pandemic average as 100, it tracks such things as flights, traffic and retailing across 50 countries comprising 76% of Earth’s population. Today it stands at 66, almost double the level in April 2020 (see Graphic detail). Yet the ravages of…

the real risk to america’s democracy

HAVING CAMPAIGNED for the presidency on a promise to rejuvenate democracy around the world, Joe Biden finds himself in a battle to defend it at home. In June, 200 prominent American scholars of democracy signed a letter warning that changes to state laws are “transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections”. Another longtime student of American democracy, the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said in January that if an election could be overturned by fact-free allegations from the losing side, “Our democracy would enter a death spiral.” Yet that is just what his party is facilitating. For Democrats the threat to elections is about who can cast votes. They decry changes to laws on identification, postal ballots and…

mercury rising

WHAT IS MOST shocking about the heatwave affecting the Pacific Northwest is not merely that it has hit a usually temperate area, nor that so many long-standing temperature records are being broken. It is that those records are being broken by such large margins. In Portland, Oregon, thermometers reached an unprecedented 46.6°C (116°F)—making it one of several cities in the region where previous records have been beaten by a full 5°C (9°F). Meanwhile, heatwaves are also raging in central Europe and even in Siberia. Heatwaves may generate headlines, but less attention is paid to them than they deserve. In 2018 roughly 300,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of extreme heat, mainly in India and China, a 54% increase since 2000, according to a report in the…

code red

IN HONG KONG these days few dare challenge China. Communist Party functionaries have told the city’s judges to advance China’s interests or hang up their robes. Rights of assembly to protest against such infringements have been suppressed. Yet, even as Beijing bulldozes Hong Kong’s liberal traditions, its kings of capitalism are thriving. Investment banks have cashed in as Chinese companies have turned the city into one of the world’s top destinations for initial public offerings (IPOs). Companies have raised $88bn in share sales in Hong Kong this year alone, second only to America, thanks to several large Chinese IPOs. Over the past decade Chinese property and tech groups have kept Asia’s US-dollar debt market booming. Look more closely, however, and Hong Kong’s financial centre is changing, too. Global banks say that…