Without effective vaccines, China’s economy may not heal

Changes to zero-Covid policy could prove insufficient if lockdowns are expected to continue

China’s nearly three-year policy of enacting strict lockdowns to contain outbreaks of Covid-19 came with a heavy price for the world’s second largest economy.

The question for its president, Xi Jinping, and his inner court of advisers is whether a sudden relaxation of lockdown rules brought in this week will both prevent a recurrence of the shockwave of protests across the country and turn the economy around.

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Markets optimistic as China eases Covid rules, but experts warn of danger ahead

Amid signs that supply chain woes are improving, economists remain uncertain that China is ready to live with Covid

Global shares and the price of some key commodities have risen on hopes that the easing of China’s strict zero-Covid measures would help to bring down inflation, even as some experts warned that the country was not prepared to live with the disease.

China’s government on Wednesday announced a significant shift towards living with the virus. People with Covid-19 who have mild or no symptoms can quarantine at home, while officials have been instructed to stop launching temporary lockdowns. Testing will no longer be required for “cross-regional migrants”.

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Indonesia passes legislation banning sex outside marriage

Rights groups say amended criminal code underscores shift towards fundamentalism

Indonesia’s parliament has overhauled the country’s criminal code to outlaw sex outside marriage and curtail free speech, in a dramatic setback to freedoms in the world’s third-largest democracy.

Passed with support from all political parties, the draconian legislation has shocked not only rights activists but also the country’s booming tourism sector, which relies on a stream of visitors to its tropical islands.

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Zero-Covid policy is costing China its role as the world’s workshop

Beijing’s endless lockdowns are causing shortages for western firms such as Apple, and it may not be long before they move their supply chains elsewhere

The anti-lockdown unrest gripping China has forced the authorities in Beijing to respond by easing some restrictions in big manufacturing centres, as they map out a “new stage and mission” in the country’s deeply unpopular zero-Covid policy.

There are concerns that more freedom of movement could allow the virus to rip through a population where immunity is lower than in the west. Those health risks mean the “world’s workshop” is heading for a difficult winter, casting a shadow over the prospects for international trade.

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Billionaire Modi ally on verge of taking over independent Indian news channel

Gautam Adani’s takeover of NDTV is ‘serious threat to democracy’ in India, says news anchor

One of India’s few remaining news channels known for independent reporting is about to be taken over by a billionaire ally of the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

In recent years, NDTV (New Delhi Television) has earned a reputation as one of the last bastions of independent journalism among India’s mainstream media, which have increasingly been put under pressure to toe the government line under Modi, who came to power in 2014.

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Major funds exposed to companies allegedly engaged in Uyghur repression in China

Report finds stock indexes provided by MSCI include companies using forced labour or constructing surveillance state in Xinjiang

Many of the world’s largest asset managers and state pension funds are passively investing in companies that have allegedly engaged in the repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, according to a new report.

The report, by UK-based group Hong Kong Watch and the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University, found that three major stock indexes provided by MSCI include at least 13 companies that have allegedly used forced labour or been involved in the construction of the surveillance state in China’s Xinjiang region.

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G20’s dysfunctional family show little sign of working together in a crisis

Communique unlikely to stretch beyond usual platitudes despite the need for a global plan for recovery

The Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, was struck down by Covid, the Argentinian prime minister, Alberto Fernández, had gastroenteritis and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, either did or did not have chest pains that sent him to hospital. Given that Indonesia’s G20 slogan plastered all around Bali says: “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”, it was not an auspicious performance by the world’s leaders.

Unfortunately, there is precious little sign of recovery at the G20, either at a political or economic level.

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Chinese authorities unveil sweeping measures to rescue property sector

Hong Kong and Chinese markets soared on the announcement that the government would extend loans for distressed developers

Chinese authorities have unveiled sweeping measures to rescue the struggling property sector, as regulators seek to offset years of harsh pandemic curbs and a real estate crackdown that have stalled the world’s No 2 economy.

The banking regulator and central bank issued a 16-point set of internal directives to promote the “stable and healthy development” of the industry.

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Seasonal fruit pickers left thousands in debt after being sent home early from UK farms

Nepali workers who quit jobs and borrowed cash to come to UK are out of work just weeks after arriving

Nepali workers hired to pick fruit on British farms say they have been left thousands of pounds in debt after being sent home only weeks after they arrived.

The fruit pickers were recruited under the government’s seasonal worker scheme and say they were offered work for six months. But less than two months after arriving, they were told they were no longer needed and instructed to book flights home.

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Canada orders China to divest from country’s mining companies

Move comes after ‘multi-step’ review by Canada’s national security and intelligence agencies

Canada has ordered China to immediately sell its holdings in three Canadian mining companies, as the need for investments in the extraction of critical minerals clashes with growing concerns over national security.

On Wednesday Canada’s industry minister, François-Philippe Champagne, said three Chinese companies would be required to divest from junior mining companies.

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Supply fears as China lockdown hits world’s largest iPhone factory

Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, from which many workers have fled, now under seven-day Covid lockdown

Chinese authorities have announced a seven-day coronavirus lockdown in the area around the world’s largest iPhone factory, stoking concern that production will be severely curtailed ahead of the Christmas period.

Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, which employs about 200,000 people, produces the majority of Apple’s new phones, including the new iPhone 14.

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China iPhone factory quadruples bonuses to workers amid anger over Covid curbs

Apple supplier Foxconn raises daily bonuses to $55 to ease discontent after strict Covid measures prompted some workers to flee the site

Apple supplier Foxconn said it has quadrupled bonuses on offer for workers at its Zhengzhou plant in central China as it seeks to quell discontent over Covid curbs and retain staff at the giant iPhone manufacturing site.

Daily bonuses for employees, who are part of a Foxconn unit responsible for making electronics including smartphones at the site, have been raised to 400 yuan ($55) a day for November from 100 yuan, according to the official WeChat account of Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant.

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Visitors trapped in Shanghai’s Disney resort after lockdown announced

Videos appear to show guests rushing to locked gates as strict Covid restrictions return across China

Visitors to Shanghai’s Disney resort were trapped inside for the second time in 12 months after authorities and operators announced a sudden lockdown as part of China’s strict pandemic response.

In a repeat of scenes from across Covid-zero China, viral videos on Monday appeared to show guests rushing to the locked gates of the theme park in an attempt to escape the lockdown. It followed extraordinary scenes on the weekend, with a mass escape of employees from a locked-down Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, to walk up to hundreds of kilometres to their hometowns.

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Richard Branson refuses Singapore invitation to debate death penalty

UK entrepreneur turns down live TV debate and says government should instead engage with local activists

The British entrepreneur Richard Branson has rejected an invitation from Singapore’s home affairs minister to debate the death penalty, urging him to instead engage with local activists who oppose the “inhumane, brutal practice”.

Branson had been invited by the ministry of home affairs to debate capital punishment live on TV, after he described it as “a serious stain on Singapore’s reputation”, and condemned the execution earlier this year of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam.

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China braces for wave of workers fleeing iPhone factory in Covid-hit Zhengzhou

Cities near Foxconn plant draw up plans to isolate migrant workers who are returning to home towns

Cities in central China have hastily drawn up plans to isolate migrant workers fleeing to their home towns from the country’s largest iPhone factory, amid fears they will spread coronavirus after leaving the plant in Covid-hit Zhengzhou.

Videos shared on Chinese social media showed people who are allegedly workers at the Foxconn plant climbing over fences and carrying their belongings along a road. It was previously reported that a number of workers had been placed under quarantine because of an outbreak of the disease.

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