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The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition September 12, 2020

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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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United Kingdom
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
coronavirus briefs

A promising trial of a vaccine that AstraZeneca is developing with Oxford University was temporarily put on hold after one of the volunteers fell ill. Social gatherings of more than six people were banned in England after a surge in the disease, notably among gregarious young people. The number of new daily infections in the United States fell below 30,000 for the first time since June. In South Africa new cases dropped under 1,000 a day. In July they averaged 11,000. Emmanuel Macron urged people to be “collectively much more responsible” as the number of deaths in France crept up to levels last seen in June. Wearing a face mask in shops and public buildings became mandatory again in the Czech Republic. The stipulation had been lifted in July. For our latest coverage of the virus…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, proposed a unilateral change to parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement related to the Northern Ireland protocol, which averts a hard border with the European Union. There is no precedent for Britain breaching international law in this way. It may be British brinkmanship, as talks over a trade deal continue. But Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, said it might result in no deal at all. A fire destroyed the largest camp for migrants in Greece, Moria on the island of Lesbos, leaving 13,000 people without shelter. Some 400 unaccompanied minors are being taken to the mainland. It is not clear what will happen to the rest. Plain-clothes thugs abducted one of the leaders of Belarus’s protests, Maria Kolesnikova. They drove her to…

5 min.
office politics

MOST PEOPLE associate the office with routine and conformity, but it is fast becoming a source of economic uncertainty and heated dispute. Around the world workers, bosses, landlords and governments are trying to work out if the office is obsolete—and are coming to radically different conclusions (see Briefing). Some 84% of French office workers are back at their desks, but less than 40% of British ones are. Jack Dorsey, the head of Twitter, says the company’s staff can work from home “forever” but Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix, says home-working is “a pure negative”. As firms dither, the $30trn global commercial-property market is stalked by fears of a deeper slump. And while some workers dream of a Panglossian future without commutes and Pret A Manger, others wonder about the…

3 min.
a shocking breach

IT IS STAGGERING to see a British minister brazenly admit to Parliament that the government intends to breach international law. Yet that is what Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, did this week—even if he sought to qualify the move as “very specific and limited”. The plan in the proposed internal-market bill is to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, a treaty ratified only in January, that relate to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Because it will remain subject to the European Union’s customs code and single-market rules, special treatment is needed for the province to avert a hard border with Ireland. Reflecting the fact that there is no precedent for Britain unilaterally breaching an international treaty in this way, the government’s most senior legal adviser promptly…

3 min.
don’t let putin swallow belarus

“FIRST THEY stole our country. [Now] they are stealing the best of us.” So said Svetlana Alexievich, a Nobel prize-winning writer, of the rulers of her native Belarus. Since mass protests erupted after a blatantly rigged presidential election in August, riot police and plain-clothes goons have been beating up peaceful demonstrators. On September 7th, in broad daylight, men without uniforms abducted Maria Kolesnikova, one of three women leading the protests and the only one still inside the country. They threw her into a van and drove her to the border with Ukraine, like gangsters trying to drive a rival off their turf. Defiantly, she ripped up her passport, so she could not cross. She is now in detention in Belarus. Ms Kolesnikova is being persecuted not only for her role in…

3 min.
burning up

FOR DECADES environmentalists have warned that the world is going to burn. Mostly, they meant it figuratively. But footage of fires sweeping through the Siberian steppe, the Amazon forest, parts of Australia and now, once again, California, make it easy to believe the planet is, literally, on fire. New infernos have been whipped up by strong winds and scorching temperatures across the Golden State. On September 7th PG&E, a utility serving northern California, shut off the power supply to tens of thousands of homes in an attempt to stop live lines from sparking more blazes. So far this year, California has seen more than 2.5m acres (1m hectares) burned and more than 3,700 structures destroyed—all before the autumn months when the Santa Ana winds normally stir up the worst of…