Standoffish North Korea discovers the limits of self-reliance

Standoffish North Korea discovers the limits of self-reliance

May 30th 2020SEOUL THE ECONOMY was not on the agenda when Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, appeared at a party meeting on May 23rd after his second three-week absence from public view in as many months. According to state media, the Supreme Leader promoted several military officials and laid out plans to beef up the North’s nuclear deterrent. That was exactly the sort of action Mr Kim should avoid,…

Gay people in Myanmar have adopted a secret language

Gay people in Myanmar have adopted a secret language

May 30th 2020YANGON WEDNESDAY HAS just turned into Thursday in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, and pleasure-seekers are on the prowl in a glitzy neighbourhood. Drivers slow down to inspect sex workers waiting by the kerb. Three of them, all transgender women, chat brightly. Your correspondent tries to eavesdrop but even her translator cannot understand. Theresa, the most forthright of the three, withdraws the lollipop from her mouth. “Yeah, we’re speaking…

Military tensions mount on the India-China border

Military tensions mount on the India-China border

Reports of Chinese incursions into India raise tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours May 29th 2020 WHEN INDIAN and Chinese soldiers brawled at Pangong lake in Ladakh earlier this month—a punch-up serious enough to leave many in hospital—General M.M. Naravane, India’s army chief, was unworried. Such “temporary and short-duration face-offs” happened from time to time at such remote stretches of the two countries’ 3,500km border, he said. Both sides had “disengaged”.…

Australia’s foreign-student bubble has burst

Australia’s foreign-student bubble has burst

May 28th 2020SYDNEY AUSTRALIA’S OLDEST university campus should be heaving on a sunny autumn afternoon. Before the pandemic, the University of Sydney hosted more than 70,000 students. At lunchtime they would cram into its cafés and crowd onto its lawns. Now its grounds are practically deserted. Although Australia has almost quashed covid-19, social-distancing rules forced the campus to close in March, and only a few stragglers have stayed on amid…

Asian countries try to build travel “bubbles”

Asian countries try to build travel “bubbles”

May 28th 2020 IN CONTRAST TO most of Europe and America, still buffeted by covid-19, swathes of East Asia and the Pacific have climbed through the worst of the turbulence and can glimpse blue skies again. Testing and tracing, prompt social distancing and swiftly mobilised health-care systems have brought impressive results: Vietnam claims no deaths, Hong Kong only four and Taiwan just seven. Japan has brought new daily infections down…