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The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition October 10, 2020

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.

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The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
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51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
coronavirus briefs

The governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, refused a request from the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, to close non-essential businesses in parts of Brooklyn and Queens that have become virus hotspots, but imposed his own new restrictions. Bars and cafés in Paris were ordered to close again, this time for two weeks. The Irish government rejected a plea from senior scientific advisers to place the country in a strict lockdown, saying that the risk to jobs of closing the economy was too great. Some restrictions were reimposed; people were again told to work remotely. October 16th was set as the date for a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand to begin. It will be limited to New Zealanders at first; New Zealand recently declared itself free of…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics Donald Trump’s doctors were keeping a close eye on their patient, after the 74-year-old president checked out of hospital just three days after being admitted for treatment for covid-19. Around 20 other people in Mr Trump’s circle have also tested positive, including his wife, Melania, Stephen Miller, an adviser, and Chris Christie, a former governor who helped Mr Trump prepare for his first debate. The president described catching the virus as a “blessing from God”. The Commission on Presidential Debates said that the next debate between Mr Trump and Joe Biden should be held virtually. Covid-19 featured large in the vice-presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, a more orderly affair compared with the fireworks of the Biden-Trump encounter a week earlier. The Department of Homeland Security said that white supremacists…

5 min.
on the march

IN 1300 OR so Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant, introduced Europeans to a monetary marvel witnessed in China. The emperor, he wrote, “causes the bark of trees, made into something like paper, to pass for money all over his country”. Eventually the West also adopted paper money, some six centuries after China invented it. More recent foreign travellers to China have come back agog at the next big step for money: the total disappearance of paper, replaced by pixels on phone screens. China’s pre-eminence in digital money is likely to be on display in the next few weeks with the monster listing of Ant Group, its largest fintech firm, in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Measured by cash raised, it will probably be the biggest initial public offering in history, beating Saudi…

3 min.
no one in charge

MORE THAN 200 people, mostly soldiers, have been killed in the past ten days. Shells are falling on towns in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkish-made drones are loitering in the sky before blasting targets on the ground—and filming the destruction, to be posted on YouTube (see Europe section). This is not just a small war in a far-off place. It already involves bigger powers, and it could get much bloodier and nastier. Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed enclave populated largely by (Christian) Armenians. It broke away from (Muslim) Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union collapsed. Armenia supported it, and seized a huge chunk of Azerbaijani territory to connect with it, during a war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced perhaps 1m more. A ceasefire was reached in 1994, but there have…

3 min.
don’t rob them, count them

A PRESIDENT IN hospital, virus in the White House, a fight over the Supreme Court, leaked presidential tax returns: it is enough to make you reel. Amid the tumult of the campaign, it is easy to miss a less frenzied turn of events that has no less profound implications for America’s democracy. It concerns suppressing the vote. “Elections belong to the people,” said the Republican Party’s greatest president. What, then, would Abraham Lincoln make of his partymen’s efforts—in Florida, North and South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin and other contested states—to limit the number of people the coming election belongs to? Allegations of minority-voter suppression are hardly new. They are also often overheated and hard to prove. Yet Greg Abbott’s action in Texas stands out (see United States section). On October 1st the…

3 min.
land of the mask-free

THE GREAT thing about using a small country to support your argument is that your opponents are unlikely to know what is really going on there. Perhaps that is why Sweden, with 10.3m people, has become a much-cited example in the debate about how to deal with covid-19. Liberty-loving Swedes are supposedly pursuing a mask-free, lockdown-light strategy that will create herd immunity without bankrupting the economy. Sweden’s success, it is said, is a standing rebuke to the left-wing killjoys who love bossing folk around and shutting everything down. Sweden does indeed hold lessons—but they are less about freedom than about using trade-offs to generate lasting social cohesion. The country makes an odd paragon for fans of small government. The last time it pursued individualism red in tooth and claw, social policy…