From the paddocks of rural New Zealand and Australia’s beachside suburbs to Singapore’s high rises, people are facing a daunting new reality: living with coronavirus in their communities.

After more than 18 months of relentless virus elimination regimes, governments across Asia-Pacific are forging into the unknown, hoping vaccination rates are high enough to justify the easing of social distancing measures and reopening borders.

Among them are New Zealand and Singapore, two countries that were celebrated as gold standards in their initial pandemic response.

For many experts, Singapore has emerged as the crucial test case for signalling when vaccine coverage is

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Welcome back. It seems I was wise not to write about the market implications of the debt limit kerfuffle; a truce is set to put the whole mess off until the end of the year. Like everyone else, I watch the prices of US credit default swaps rise as these dumb arguments escalate, but always assume it is ultimately SFSN (sound and fury signifying nothing). Maybe one day I will be wrong. Email me: [email protected]

Energy

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The latest data leak detailing the financial affairs of the global elite makes clear how much progress has been achieved since the world began to clamp down in earnest on offshore tax evasion and avoidance in 2008 — and how much still remains to be done.

Leaders including King Abdullah of Jordan, Czech prime minister Andrej Babis and Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s strongman president of 13 years, have been named by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for using offshore tax havens to store and move their money.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and former UK prime minister Tony Blair are among

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PwC’s revenues in the Americas were flat last year as the audit firm was hit by a spending shutdown by clients at the start of the pandemic.

The consulting group’s global sales rose 4.9 per cent to $45.1bn in the 12 months to June 30, only increasing because of a surge in corporate activity as economies reopened in its final quarter.

Bob Moritz, global chair, said PwC’s business in the Americas, its largest region, was particularly susceptible to clients cutting back on costs because it relied heavily on discretionary spending by companies.

The results mirror those of PwC’s rival EY,

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North Korea restored its communication lines with South Korea on Monday following a period of intensive missile testing and megaphone diplomacy.

South Korea’s unification ministry confirmed on Monday that North Korea had answered a call made at 9am, adding that the resumption of contact “lays the foundation for stabilising the situation on the Korean peninsula and restoring inter-Korean relations”.

Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, told the Supreme People’s Assembly last week of

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A meeting with a group of manufacturing company executives cannot be guaranteed to surprise, but I recently found myself in a gathering that did exactly that.

The managers came from a mix of businesses. Some made cars, one made fertiliser, others produced steel or glass or perfume.

All present were troubled by the Covid-related shortages that have struck supplies of everything from computer chips to Ikea mattresses. The lack of workers in what has been called the Great Resignation

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