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The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition March 6, 2021

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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
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51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
coronavirus briefs

Joe Biden promised that there would be enough covid-19 vaccine for every adult in America by the end of May. This came after the White House negotiated a deal by which Merck will help produce the one-shot dose developed by Johnson & Johnson. Facing criticism about the slow speed of its vaccination drive, the French government said people aged 65 to 74 would now be able to get the AstraZeneca shot. People over 75 still must have either the Pfizer or Moderna jab. Colombia became the first country in Latin America to receive vaccines through the COVAX distribution programme, backed by the World Health Organisation. The governor of Texas ordered the lifting of most restrictions relating to covid-19, saying his state was open for business “100%”. Health officials warned that this was too…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics In Hong Kong, 47 activists were charged with violating the territory’s national-security law. As a court began hearing defendants’ petitions to be released on bail, hundreds of supporters gathered outside. The activists’ alleged crimes relate to an informal primary ballot held last year by prodemocracy politicians in order to produce strong candidates for the Legislative Council. The government saw this as a plot to gain control of the council and block its work. China's Communist Party began a purge of agencies involved in maintaining law and order, including the police, secret police, courts and the prison system. The aim is to cleanse their ranks of corruption and disloyalty to China's leader, Xi Jinping. Security services killed dozens of people demonstrating against the recent military coup in Myanmar. The repression of the protests…

5 min.
the lessons of fukushima

IT HAS BEEN ten years since a tsunami laid waste the Pacific coast of northern Honshu, Japan’s most populous island. The tsunami and the undersea earthquake which triggered it, the largest ever recorded in the region, killed nearly 20,000 people, destroyed over 100,000 homes and threw the lives of tens of millions into turmoil. The direct economic cost, estimated at over $200bn, was larger than that of any other natural disaster the world has seen. And yet for many around the world the event is remembered for just one thing: the ensuing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (see Asia section). The earthquake cut the plant off from outside sources of electricity. The tsunami easily topped the plant’s sea walls, flooding the underground bunkers containing its emergency generators—a foreseeable…

3 min.
st augustine’s economics

BRITAIN HAD a particularly bad bout of covid-19 and took an especially large economic hit as a result. In response the government provided more fiscal stimulus than almost any other in the world, paying millions of people’s wages and bailing out businesses to the tune of 16% of GDP . As Britain slowly lifts its lockdown the conversation has turned to balancing the books, and ahead of the budget on March 3rd the Treasury briefed that fiscal austerity was in store. Yet Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the exchequer, will wait to turn the screws. He delivered a surprisingly generous budget, and has postponed tax rises. Like a fiscal St Augustine, he wants continence—but not yet. The budget represents the synthesis of two opposing forces. On the one hand Mr Sunak…

3 min.
it’s complicated

JOE BIDEN has made no secret of his frustration with Saudi Arabia. A “pariah” with “very little social redeeming value”, he called its government in 2019. One of his first acts as president was to end American support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Last week he released an intelligence report that blamed the kingdom’s crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, for the murder of a journalist in 2018. But at that point Mr Biden’s ideals collided with America’s national interest. The prince may be a brute, but he is also in charge of an important American ally. In the end Mr Biden decided that the cost of punishing him would have been too high. This is all part of a larger cost-benefit analysis taking place in the White House. Mr Biden…

3 min.
the darkest corners

PURGES HAVE grown more common since Xi Jinping took over as China’s leader in 2012. To curb graft and snuff out any opposition to his rule, Mr Xi has been hunting in every corner of the country’s vast bureaucracy. Hundreds of thousands of officials have been punished. Thousands, many of them high-ranking, have been sent to prison. Remarkably, however, some people do not appear to have got the message. A new campaign has just been launched within the domestic security services (see China section). Weeding out the disloyal is its primary goal. Can there still be serious opposition to Mr Xi? There is certainly little sign of it on the streets. Many ordinary citizens express content with his rule. Under him, China has become far more influential globally. The economy has…