《The Economist》2021年12月18日及25日(经济学人杂志)【DOCX/PDF/MOBI/EPUB+MP3】

The year was once again dominated by the covid-19 pandemic, as new waves of infection swept across countries. India’s second wave proved far more deadly than the first one in 2020. By May the government was reporting 400,000 cases and 4,000 deaths a day, although the true numbers were much higher. After a shaky start in some places the roll-out of vaccines in the rich world was, by and large, a success, curbing hospitalisations (the Omicron variant may threaten that good work). Distribution of the doses remains uneven: poorer countries have received far fewer. The WHO warned recently that the donation of vaccines to Africa has been “ad hoc”, making it hard to plan inoculation drives.

Lockdowns came to an end, including one lasting 262 days in Melbourne. Many travel restrictions on land, sea and air were also eased, delighting a beleaguered travel industry. America reopened (to the vaccinated) only in November; before that international air travel in October was still 66% below its level of October 2019.

Companies began coaxing staff back to the office, some more forcefully than others. Banks were the most insistent; Morgan Stanley’s boss told employees that if they were happy entering a restaurant they should come into work. Surveys suggested that foot traffic in the centres of cities such as London and New York was still far below pre-pandemic levels. Zoom’s share price fell from $560 in October 2020 to $180 today.

Postponed from 2020, the Tokyo Olympics at last went ahead. Events were subdued, thanks to covid. Spectators from abroad were banned. Applause was quiet. The Japanese government grew unpopular over its handling of the pandemic, prompting the resignation of Suga Yoshihide as prime minister. He was replaced by Kishida Fumio.

A coup in Myanmar brought an abrupt end to its nearly ten-year turn towards democracy. The generals seized power in February after Aung San Suu Kyi won an election in late 2020. Hundreds were killed in post-coup protests. Some activists were rounded up; others resorted to guerrilla warfare. The junta held a closed-doors trial of Ms Suu Kyi on bogus charges, and jailed her.

Supporters of Donald Trump invaded Congress on January 6th, hoping to overturn the result of the presidential election he lost in 2020. Democrats accused Mr Trump of inciting the violence. Shortly before he left office Mr Trump was impeached, making him the first American president twice indicted. Again the Senate acquitted him. He is expected to run for the White House again in 2024.

Joe Biden’s inauguration brought a sense of calm to Washington after the chaos of the Trump years. Mr Biden soon found himself bogged down in congressional gridlock over trillions of dollars in spending on social programmes, but managed to pass a $1.2trn infrastructure bill. America rejoined the Paris accord on climate change.




《The Economist》2021年12月18日及25日(经济学人杂志)【DOCX/PDF/MOBI/EPUB+MP3】