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The Economist Asia EditionThe Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition April 6, 2019

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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
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51 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time8 min.
the world this week

Politics After 20 years in power and weeks of mass protests, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s ailing president, resigned. The announcement sparked celebrations in the capital, Algiers. Some fear that the old guard will try to hang on to power. Abdelkader Bensalah, the Speaker of the Senate (and a Bouteflika loyalist), is next in line as president, according to the constitution. He has 90 days to organise new elections.The Iranian government ordered the evacuation of more than 70 villages in the province of Khuzestan because of flooding. Dozens of people have been killed in the past two weeks, during Iran’s worst rains in years. Iranian officials blamed American sanctions for impeding their aid efforts. American officials said Iran was mismanaging the crisis.Thousands of Palestinians marked the first anniversary of an uprising…

access_time5 min.
redesigning life

FOR THE past four billion years or so the only way for life on Earth to produce a sequence of DNA—a gene—was by copying a sequence it already had to hand. Sometimes the gene would be damaged or scrambled, the copying imperfect or undertaken repeatedly. From that raw material arose the glories of natural selection. But beneath it all, gene begat gene.That is no longer true. Now genes can be written from scratch and edited repeatedly, like text in a word processor. The ability to engineer living things which this provides represents a fundamental change in the way humans interact with the planet’s life. It permits the manufacture of all manner of things which used to be hard, even impossible, to make: pharmaceuticals, fuels, fabrics, foods and fragrances can…

access_time3 min.
a step in the right direction

IT HAS BEEN clear for months that the entrenched hostility of hardline Tory Brexiteers and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) meant that Theresa May’s Brexit deal would not pass in Parliament. This week the prime minister accepted reality by offering instead to negotiate with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, on alternatives that could win a majority. Cross-party talks between two leaders notoriously reluctant to compromise may well fail, but if that happens Mrs May has offered to be bound by whatever solution MPs themselves support in further rounds of Commons voting.There are two reasons to welcome this changed approach. The first is that, since Mrs May will surely have to erase some of the “red lines” she laid out over two years ago,…

access_time4 min.
so begins the real battle

AFTER WEEKS of angry protests, the streets of Algeria erupted again on April 2nd—this time in celebration. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had clung to power for 20 years, had at last stepped down. Joyful Algerians, many of whom have known only one leader, draped themselves in the national flag and spoke of a new era for the country. “Game over”, read one of the banners hoisted by the crowd.In fact the battle for Algeria is just beginning (see Middle East & Africa section). Mr Bouteflika, who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013, was merely a figurehead for a shadowy group of businessmen, politicians and generals who really run the country. His fall, therefore, is merely a symbolic victory. The old invalid is gone, but if Algeria is to move…

access_time3 min.
the land of the living dead

IS THERE ANY more miserable spectacle in global business than that of Europe’s lenders? A decade after the crisis they are stumbling around in a fog of bad performance, defeatism and complacency. European bank shares have sunk by 22% in the past 12 months. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are conducting merger talks with all the skill and clarity of purpose of Britain’s Brexit negotiators. Two Nordic lenders, Danske Bank and Swedbank, are embroiled in a giant money-laundering scandal. The industry makes a puny return on equity of 6.5% and investors think it is worth less than its liquidation value. Amazingly, many European banks and regulators are resigned to this state of affairs. In fact it is a danger to investors and to Europe’s faltering economy.The banks make two excuses,…

access_time4 min.
the beauty of breadth

GOOD KING WENCESLAS thought of the poor when the weather turned cold. Election season has the same effect on India’s politicians. With national polls looming in April and May, the two main political parties are competing to shower money on the indigent. The governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already started paying benefits to farmers who own less than two hectares (five acres) of land. The Congress party promises cash payments for the poorest 50m households. The new focus on the problem is admirable, but these ideas need rethinking.India has about 50m people living in extreme poverty, according to the World Poverty Clock, an Austrian research project. Many others are severely pinched. Yet India’s safety-net is both immensely complicated, with over 950 centrally funded schemes and subsidies, and stingy.…

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