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Clownfall: Britain after Boris Johnson

Also: Who’s afraid of TikTok?

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Also: Who’s afraid of TikTok?
The Economist

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July 7th 2022

The Economist this week

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On our cover in most of the world this week we write about the downfall of Boris Johnson. For months Britain’s prime minister wriggled out of one scandal after another. Now, rejected by his own MPs, he has accepted that his premiership is over. He has resigned as party leader but asked to stay on as prime minister until a new leader is chosen. That would be a mistake. He should go immediately. The country’s problems run deeper than one man. Unless the ruling Conservative Party musters the fortitude to face that fact, Britain's many social and economic difficulties will only worsen.
In Asia we write about TikTok. Since its launch just five years ago the app has brought a warm glow to its 1bn-plus users, as well as an icy dash of competition to the social-media incumbents of Silicon Valley. With its rise, a part of the tech industry that had seemed closed to competition has been cracked wide open. Yet even as TikTok delights consumers and advertisers, others believe it has a dark side. ByteDance, its ­owner, has its headquarters in China, where the government is addicted to surveillance and propaganda. As TikTok’s clout grows and as elections loom in America, there is a brewing bipartisan storm in Congress over its supposed role as a Trojan horse.

Zanny Minton Beddoes

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The world this week

Russian troops captured the industrial town of Lysychansk, completing their takeover of Luhansk oblast in Ukraine’s east. The Ukrainian army is repositioning itself to defend more strategic sites in Donetsk, the other half of the badly bloodied Donbas region.

More from Politics this week

More Americans took flights over the July 4th weekend than at any time since the start of the pandemic. The Transportation Security Administration screened almost 2.5m passengers on July 1st alone, the most since February 11th 2020. But the rebound in travel has left airlines and airports, which cut staff during the pandemic, struggling to cope. Hundreds of flights were cancelled over the weekend, and thousands more delayed. Estimates of the number of people travelling to America in the coming months have risen, now that it has lifted requirements on testing for covid-19.

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