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The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition November 21, 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
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
coronavirus briefs

The number of deaths in America passed 250,000 and the tally of cases hit 11m. New York City closed its schools again. California’s governor said he was “pulling the emergency brake” on reopening. South Korea, which has been widely praised for bringing the disease under control, tightened social-distancing measures after reporting 200 fresh cases for four straight days. With growing pressure on intensive care, Sweden lowered the number of people who can gather together to eight. In Denmark the agriculture minister resigned over the recent order to cull 17m mink, which had no legal basis. The quarantine rules for foreign poultry workers were relaxed in England to ensure there is enough turkey on the table at Christmas. Stuffed in their accommodation, they can mix only with fellow workers. For our latest coverage of the…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics Government forces in Ethiopia said they had captured key towns on the road towards Mekelle, the capital of the rebellious province of Tigray. The civil war has spilled across the border into Eritrea and led to an ethnic massacre. The government has resisted calls for talks or mediation. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled into Sudan. Russia said it would build a naval base in Sudan, adding to a “great power” rivalry that has already seen the establishment of American and Chinese naval and air bases on the Red Sea. Shooting broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara, after rebel forces blocked a key highway. The UN, which monitors a ceasefire, called for restraint. Egypt unearthed more than 100 intact sarcophagi and…

5 min.
the china strategy america needs

THE ACHIEVEMENT of the Trump administration was to recognise the authoritarian threat from China. The task of the Biden administration will be to work out what to do about it. Donald Trump’s instinct was for America to run this fight single-handed. Old allies were henchmen, not partners. As Joe Biden prepares his China strategy (see China section), he should choose a different path. America needs to strike a grand bargain with like-minded countries to pool their efforts. The obstacles to such a new alliance are great, but the benefits would be greater. To see why, consider how the cold war against China is different from the first one. The rivalry with the Soviet Union was focused on ideology and nuclear weapons. The new battlefield today is information technology: semiconductors, data, 5G mobile…

3 min.
the art of losing

ALMOST TWO weeks after the votes that made him a one-term president were counted, Donald Trump is still claiming that he won. In reality there is no room for doubt. Joe Biden beat him by almost 6m votes, amassing 306 electoral-college votes to Mr Trump’s 232. Yet reality is a stranger to Mr Trump, who was crying fraud before the first vote had been cast. He has since fired an official who contradicted his view that the election was stolen and encouraged his supporters to protest against the result. Most Republican leaders go along with the president. They include his attorney-general, Bill Barr, who told prosecutors to investigate “substantial allegations” of election fraud; Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who has championed the president’s right to go to court; and Lindsey…

4 min.
leaving too soon

BACK IN FEBRUARY President Donald Trump achieved what ought to be one of his enduring foreign-policy successes. In Doha, the capital of Qatar, bearded Taliban, some of whom had never previously allowed themselves to be photographed, accepted a peace deal with American envoys. America would withdraw its troops. In exchange, the Taliban agreed to cease attacks on foreign troops and to renounce terrorism. They also agreed to take part in further talks in Doha with the internationally recognised government in Kabul. For the first time in four decades, the deal held out the prospect of peace for Afghanistan. Since then, America has kept its side of the bargain. The number of troops in Afghanistan has fallen from almost 10,000 to less than half that now. The Taliban have been less consistent.…

4 min.
a better way not to pay

WITH DEBTS looming and dollars scarce, Zambia has wrestled in recent months with a predicament. It knew that failing to pay bondholders would be damaging. But paying only them, having failed to pay others in full, could be worse. Other creditors would “blow off my legs”, the country’s finance minister said. So on November 13th Zambia became the sixth government to default on its bonds this year—after Argentina, Belize, Ecuador, Lebanon and Suriname. Others may follow. Although financial markets have regained much of the composure they lost in March, many countries still have more debt than they can comfortably handle. Thirty-eight governments have a credit rating that denotes a “material” risk of default or worse, twice the number at the end of 2009. The debts of poor countries would be less…