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The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition May 15, 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

The United States reported its lowest number of new daily cases since June. Just over 22,200 cases were recorded on May 10th, down from a peak of more than 312,000 in early January. Daily deaths fell to 280 on May 9th; in January they peaked at over 4,000. America’s Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged 12 to 15. The World Health Organisation recommended the use of the Sinopharm vaccine, the first vaccine from China ever to be endorsed by the global body. Produced by a stateowned company, it will be added to the COVAX programme providing doses to poor countries. Hailed for its comparatively low number of infections and deaths, Taiwan tightened restrictions because of a small outbreak of locally transmitted cases. The country’s…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, were on the brink of war. The crisis began with clashes around the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s thirdholiest site. Israeli police fired stun-grenades and rubber bullets at rock-throwing Palestinians. Hamas and its allies then fired more than 1,600 rockets at Israel, which responded with hundreds of air strikes on Gaza. Scores of people, mostly Palestinians, were killed. Israel said it had killed Hamas officials. Adding to the turmoil, street fighting broke out in several Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs. Iran confirmed that it was talking to Saudi Arabia, its arch-rival, in an effort to resolve the many issues that divide them. The secret discussions were mediated by Iraq and started in Baghdad early last month. Meanwhile, an American Coast Guard ship fired…

6 min.
vaccinating the world

THIS WEEK we publish our estimate of the true death toll from covid-19. It tells the real story of the pandemic. But it also contains an urgent warning. Unless vaccine supplies reach poorer countries, the tragic scenes now unfolding in India risk being repeated elsewhere. Millions more will die. Using known data on 121 variables, from recorded deaths to demography, we have built a pattern of correlations that lets us fill in gaps where numbers are lacking. Our model suggests that covid-19 has already claimed 7.1m-12.7m lives. Our central estimate is that 10m people have died who would otherwise be living. This tally of “excess deaths” is over three times the official count, which nevertheless is the basis for most statistics on the disease, including fatality rates and cross-country comparisons. The most…

4 min.
stopping the cycle

IT WAS A confrontation waiting to happen, in a conflict the world would rather ignore. Israelis and Palestinians have once again goaded each other to the brink of war in the Holy Land. Hundreds of rockets, fired by Palestinian militants, have been aimed at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and southern Israel. Gaza, the Palestinian territory run by Hamas, a violent Islamist movement, has been hit even harder by Israeli air strikes. Arabs and Jews have clashed in the streets of Israeli cities. Dozens of people, most of them Palestinian, have been killed. The worst fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in years has Jerusalem at its heart, as so often (see Middle East & Africa section). In April, at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israel’s police chief fenced off…

3 min.
the bottleneck economy

THE GLOBAL economy is entering unfamiliar territory. After a decade of worries about inadequate demand and spending power in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, signs of insufficient supply are now emerging. A lack of goods, services and people means that red-hot demand is increasingly met slowly or not at all. There are already signs that supply bottlenecks may lead to nasty surprises which could upset the postpandemic recovery. Nowhere are shortages more acute than in America, where a boom is under way. Consumer spending is growing by over 10% at an annual rate, as people put to work the $2trn-plus of extra savings accumulated in the past year. More stimulus is still being doled out. The boom is creating two kinds of bottleneck. The first relates to supply chains.…

3 min.
the wrong sort of conservatism

CONSERVATISM, AS PRACTISED by the British Conservative Party, is a capacious creed, open to a wide range of interpretations. For Margaret Thatcher, it meant the moral and economic discipline of the free market; for David Cameron, liberal centrism and the embrace of globalisation. Boris Johnson’s interpretation has been hard to decipher, partly because it has been obscured by the chaos of covid-19 and partly because he has never shown any commitment to a set of political ideas. So the Queen’s Speech, delivered on May 11th, in which the government presents its programme for the next session of parliament, was of particular interest. It was the clearest expression so far of what might one day be called Johnsonism. That Mr Johnson is now thought quite likely to be in power for long enough…