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The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition

July 31, 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.

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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
Frequency:
Weekly
$14.04
$549
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min
coronavirus briefs

America’s Centres for Disease Control reversed its earlier advice and said that people living in areas with a high prevalence of covid-19 should wear masks again in public indoor spaces. Meanwhile, the governors of California and New York said that state employees will be required either to take a vaccine or submit to weekly testing. Joe Biden prepared similar measures for federal-government workers. Lockdown measures were extended by another four weeks in Sydney. Tokyo reported a record number of new cases, though there was no big outbreak among participants in the Olympics. In Malaysia someone reportedly broke pandemic restrictions by flying a helicopter 180km (112 miles) from Kuala Lumpur to pick up 36 portions of rice from a restaurant. Police are searching for any grains of evidence. → For our latest coverage of the…

7 min
the world this week

Politics Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, fired the prime minister, suspended parliament for 30 days and assumed executive authority. The power grab, he said, was justified by the constitution and necessary to quell unrest over a sputtering economy and one of Africa’s worst outbreaks of covid-19. Many Tunisians cheered the move, which came after a day of protests aimed at the government. But international watchdogs raised concern over Mr Saied’s actions to suppress dissent, such as banning public gatherings of more than three people. Ennahda, the largest party in parliament, accused him of a “coup”. A court in Tanzania charged Freeman Mbowe, leader of the main opposition party, with “terrorist-related” crimes. Mr Mbowe had been campaigning for changes to the constitution. Critics accused the new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, of continuing the authoritarian…

5 min
dashed hopes

AT THE START of the century, developing economies were a source of unbounded optimism and fierce ambition. Today South Africa is reeling from an insurrection, Colombia has suffered violent protests and Tunisia faces a constitutional crisis (see Leader). Illiberal government is in fashion. Peru has just sworn in a Marxist as its president and independent institutions are under attack in Brazil, India and Mexico. This wave of unrest and authoritarianism partly reflects covid-19, which has exposed and exploited vulnerabilities, from rotten bureaucracies to frayed social safety-nets. And as we explain this week (see Briefing), the despair and chaos threaten to exacerbate a profound economic problem: many poor and middle-income countries are losing the knack of catching up with the richest ones. Our excess-mortality model suggests that 8m-16m people have died in the…

3 min
get poor quickly

TO GET RICH is glorious, Deng Xiaoping supposedly said. “To get as rich as Jack Ma is clearly not so glorious,” quipped an investor last November when the initial public offering of Mr Ma’s Ant Group was cancelled on the say-so of China’s financial regulators. A lot of foreign investors interpreted it as a slapdown to China’s best-known billionaire and thus a warning to the country’s other plutocrats not to get too big for their boots. But in the months since then the scope of the regulatory crackdown has grown ever wider. China’s two internet giants, Alibaba and Tencent, are being worked over by the antitrust authorities. Earlier this month Didi Global, a ride-hailing service, was caught in the net just days after it listed in New York. And in the…

3 min
relighting a beacon of democracy

THERE IS BUT one success story to come out of the Arab spring. Among the countries that toppled dictators a decade ago, only Tunisia emerged as a full democracy. Its free and fair elections, featuring Islamists and secularists, free-marketeers and communists, stand out in a region littered with despots. Liberals consider it a beacon of hope: if democracy could flourish in Tunisia, why not in the rest of the Arab world? Tunisians don’t see their country as much of a model. Ten governments in ten years have failed to curb graft, improve services or create jobs. The most recent one, led by Hichem Mechichi, struggled to deal with one of Africa’s worst outbreaks of covid-19. On July 25th tens of thousands of Tunisians, braving the heat and defying a lockdown, protested…

4 min
proteinotopia

WHEN ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST wrote of the Word becoming Flesh, he was drawing on ideas of reason and order derived from classical Greek philosophy. But he was also providing a succinct description of the most basic truth in molecular biology. In a wonderful and ancient mechanism called the ribosome, words—in the form of messages stored in DNA—are translated into flesh, in the form of proteins. Proteins are flesh both literally, in that they give meat the texture and bloodiness that carnivores savour, and figuratively, in that their actions lie behind all the strengths and frailties of body and mind. Both their manipulation and their mass production are fundamental to modern pharmacology. The huge market for statins rests on the way they interact with the workings of a protein called HMG-CoA…