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The Economist Asia EditionThe Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition August 31, 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 Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, asked the queen to suspend Parliament soon after it returns on September 3rd. The move caught opposition parties, and many of Mr Johnson’s own Conservative MPS, off guard. The timing of the move, though perfectly legal, was designed to squeeze the already-tight timetable for MPS who want to block a no-deal Brexit. Parliament will not reassemble until October 14th, with votes on the Queen’s Speech in the following week. With Britain due to leave the EU on October 31st, Mr Johnson’s claim that any new deal can be passed in the remaining time is unrealistic. Reaction to the suspension of Parliament was split along Brexit lines. John Bercow, the Speaker of the Commons and a Remainer, called it a “constitutional outrage”. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of…

access_time5 min.
democracy’s enemy within

DEMOCRACIES ARE generally thought to die at the barrel of a gun, in coups and revolutions. These days, however, they are more likely to be strangled slowly in the name of the people. Take Hungary, where Fidesz, the ruling party, has used its parliamentary majority to capture regulators, dominate business, control the courts, buy the media and manipulate the rules for elections. As our briefing explains, the prime minister, Viktor Orban, does not have to break the law, because he can get parliament to change it instead. He does not need secret police to take his enemies away in the night. They can be cut down to size without violence, by the tame press or the taxman. In form, Hungary is a thriving democracy; in spirit, it is a one-party state. The…

access_time5 min.
who’s gonna stop no-deal?

ONE BY ONE, the principles on which the Brexit campaign was fought have been exposed as hollow. Before the referendum, Leavers argued that victory would enable them to negotiate a brilliant deal with the European Union. Now they advocate leaving with no deal at all. Before the vote they said that Brexit would allow Britain to strike more free-trade agreements. Now they say that trading on the bare-bones terms of the World Trade Organisation would be fine. Loudest of all they talked of taking back control and restoring sovereignty to Parliament. Yet on August 28th Boris Johnson, a leading Leaver who is now prime minister, announced that in the run-up to Brexit Parliament would be suspended altogether. His utterly cynical ploy is designed to stop MPS steering the country off the…

access_time3 min.
avoidable pain

THIS WEEK saw a landmark reckoning in court for a drugmaker involved in America’s opioid disaster. A judge in Oklahoma ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay $572m to fund a state plan to combat opioid addiction. Whatever the outcome of J&J’s legal appeal, this is a milestone in a public-health calamity that cost 47,600 American lives in 2017 and could well claim a further 500,000 over the next decade (see Business section). Faced with such devastation, states, counties and municipalities have served firms with roughly 2,500 lawsuits. The roots of the epidemic lie in the marketing of prescriptions by pharma firms almost 25 years ago. Opioids have long been known to be highly addictive and easy to overdose on. Almost one in five addicts dies within a decade. Yet newer…

access_time3 min.
slight club

NORTH KOREA has spent the past few weeks testing an apparently new missile. It seems to have only a short range, so does not much bother President Donald Trump, who says what matters is stopping North Korea from developing missiles that can reach America. But the governments of South Korea and Japan are naturally alarmed. The missile can manoeuvre in flight, making it harder for anti-missile batteries to shoot it down. And “short range” is relative: the weapon seems to have the capacity to slam a nuclear warhead into Seoul or Tokyo. How have South Korea and Japan reacted to this alarming threat? Not, as you might expect, by putting their heads together to work out what North Korea’s device is capable of and how they can best counter it, but…

access_time3 min.
plant power

MANY FOODIES pin the blame for farming’s ills on “unnatural” industrial agriculture. Agribusinesses create monocultures that destroy habitat and eliminate historic varieties. Farmers douse their crops with fertiliser and insecticide, which poison streams and rivers—and possibly human beings. Intensive farms soak up scarce water and fly their produce around the world in aeroplanes that spew out carbon dioxide. The answer, foodies say, is to go back to a better, gentler age, when farmers worked with nature and did not try to dominate it. However, for those who fancy some purple-ruffles basil and mizuna with their lamb’s leaf lettuce, there is an alternative to nostalgia. And it involves more intensive agriculture, not less. A vast selection of fresh salads, vegetables and fruit is on the way, courtesy of a technology called vertical farming.…

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