Business & Finance
The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition

October 17, 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

3 min.
a question of sport

ON OCTOBER 9TH World Rugby, the global governing body for rugby union, announced that it would bar transgender women—people born male, but who identify as women—from playing in the international women’s game. The decision drew condemnation from some quarters and praise from others; England’s rugby authorities have already said they will carry on allowing trans women to play at all other levels of the game within England. It puts World Rugby at odds with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose rules allow trans women to compete in women’s Olympic events, and with several other sports that have followed the IOC’s guidance. Trans women competitors have enjoyed success in sports including weightlifting, cycling and athletics. Yet World Rugby’s decision to exclude them was the right one. Other sports should follow its…

5 min.

The rules of the debate Lexington described the Commission on Presidential Debates as “non-partisan” (October 3rd). It is more accurately bi-partisan, run by Democrats and Republicans. The presidential debates used to be organised by a non-partisan group, the League of Women Voters, which in 1976, 1980 and 1984 chose the dates, locations and moderators. In 1980 the league let John Anderson, an independent candidate, participate in the forum. But in 1988 Democrats and Republicans presented a list of demands to take control of the debates. The league’s trustees decided to pull out, because the parties wanted to select the questioners, the composition of the audience, access for the press and other issues. It described the ultimatum as “a fraud on the American voter…it has become clear to us that the candidates’ organisations…

3 min.
suharto with a saw

ONCE UPON a time, a slight, upstanding, mild-mannered person came to inhabit the presidential palace in Jakarta, carried there on the shoulders of millions of Indonesians who recognised in the former furniture-maker a man of the people. Today’s incumbent, by contrast, remains remote and aloof, surrounded by courtiers from the capital’s intertwined business and political elites. The previous president used to talk of using political capital to help ordinary folk. His informal blusukan walkabouts forged his famous connection with voters and allowed him to learn first-hand about their problems and how to fix them. The current one has just pared back protections for workers and, this week, sent the police out to crack the heads of those who took to the streets in protest. The two men are, of course, one:…

4 min.
hearing test

Soon-to-be Justice Barrett borrowed a tactic from Justice Ginsburg SENATE CONFIRMATION hearings for Supreme Court nominees are an odd mix: bloviation and softballs; hopeless yet relentless inquiries into controversial cases; deflections and mini civics lessons from jurists in the hot seat. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s endurance run before the Senate Judiciary Committee ticked these boxes. But President Donald Trump’s nomination of a deeply conservative appeals-court judge to replace the late liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the fraught last stage of a historically divisive general election campaign brought new pique to the Hart Senate Office Building. Democrats had no chance of averting a committee vote in Ms Barrett’s favour and—barring a quartet of new infections among Republicans—have little hope of stopping her when the full Senate votes in the coming weeks. But…

3 min.
shaken collins

Maine’s Senate race reflects the declining appeal of bipartisanship SOMETIMES SENATORS decide matters of national importance, such as confirming a Supreme Court justice, or whether to convict an impeached president. Sometimes their concerns are more prosaic. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new bell tower in Auburn, Susan Collins, a Republican seeking a fifth term as Maine’s senator, reminds guests that she helped secure $246,000 for the surrounding infrastructure. The previous day in Waterville, Mike Roy, the city manager, said Ms Collins secured funding to help improve its centre. Ms Collins’s Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, the speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives, hopes that national concerns prevail. At an outdoor dinner beneath a tent in Farmington, she told the crowd that “we feel very left behind” by Ms Collins’s “decision...to side with”…

5 min.
a consequential contest

Elections are a chance to restore peace to a bitterly divided country LAST OCTOBER, after an election marred by accusations of fraud, Joan Fernández joined thousands of Bolivians in protests that toppled the socialist government of Evo Morales. His joy quickly gave way to disillusion. After Mr Morales, who had been seeking a fourth term, resigned on November 10th and fled to Mexico, Jeanine Áñez, a right-wing senator, became president. Her only goal, she said, was to prepare fresh elections. Instead, she became a candidate, used the justice system to go after her rivals and flubbed the government’s response to the pandemic. “They used us to get rid of Evo and then they abandoned us,” says Mr Fernández, a college student from Villa Armonía (Harmony Town), a working-class neighbourhood in La Paz,…