Some Asian governments are fighting covid-19 with fun

Editor’s note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For our coronavirus tracker and more coverage, see our hub

NOT ALL Malaysians are afraid of catching covid-19, judging by the sometimes

The reflexive sexism of Malaysia’s bureaucrats

“MAYBE SOME men think it’s cute, lah, but…” Rather than finish her sentence, Chelsia Ng, a Malaysian musician, simply giggles. Other Malaysian women, however, were not as amused by the government’s recent advice to wives spending more time than usual with their husbands during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. The dutiful spouses should dress nicely, put on make-up, “avoid nagging” and—the trigger for Ms Ng’s mirth—talk in the same tones as Doraemon, a robotic cat from a Japanese animated cartoon. Women’s groups sla

Many of Asia’s Muslims are celebrating Ramadan in the normal way

Editor’s note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For our coronavirus tracker and more coverage, see our hub

IN NORMAL TIMES, Chawkbazar in the heart of old Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is heaving during Ramadan, the Muslim month of prayer, daytime fasting and night-time feasting which began a week ago. Thousands o

Japan’s new industry: turning down jobs

SELF-HELP books overflow with advice on how to say “no”, one of the trickiest words in any language. Doing so is a problem for Japanese university graduates in particular since, unlike their peers in many other countries, they are deluged with job offers: an average of three each last year. “They have no idea of how to deal with it,” says Shimizu Takahisa, a lawyer. His firm, Kawagoe Mizuho, is part of the mini

North Korea’s dictator has disappeared

HE IS DEAD, or brain-dead, or in a coma following botched heart surgery. He has been deposed in a coup. Maybe he has simply had a chin-lift or a tummy-tuck. Or he might just be hiding from the coronavirus at his seaside villa. Since Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, failed to make an appearance on April 15th at festivities marking North Korea’s most important public holiday (which commemorates the birthday of his

Bangladesh cannot afford to close its garment factories

Editor’s note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For our coronavirus tracker and more coverage, see our hub

THE BANGLADESHI version of lockdown, observes Rumi, a garment-worker, is quite ruthless: “Police and soldiers beat up people, rickshaw pullers and street vendors, anyone who comes out onto the street.” But when it co

India’s lockdown has brought unexpected benefits

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REPORTERS IN INDIA’S capital recently discovered hundreds of stranded migrants, thei

What next for countries that are nearly covid-free?

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OF ALL THE new rules police in Australia and New Zealand have found t

Life carries on as usual in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan

Editor’s note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For our coronavirus tracker and more coverage, see our hub

IT TAKES MORE than a global pandemic to faze the sports-mad, world-record-obs

Japan wants to catch whales. But who will eat them?

FROM BEHIND the counter of their tiny restaurant in Shimonoseki, Kojima Junko and her octogenarian mother place before Banyan some of the very last bits of the very last fin whale mankind is ever likely to catch. In the background, Billie Holiday is singing “No Regrets”. The four thin slices look and taste like well-done beef—wolfed down with microgreens and a baguette in the name of objective inquiry.

Scientific “research” was also the reason Japan’s government gave for continuing to kill whales in t

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