“Coronavirus fears rise as first Briton tests positive” was the Guardian newspaper’s ominous headline on Friday, 7 February, exactly half a year and a lifetime since the latest edition of Guardian Weekly. We all know how things have unfolded since then – but the future remains murky, to say the least. Six months on, governments are at a nebulous stage: past the initial shocks of the pandemic but still without a clear end in sight. We visit four countries – Portugal, the US, Jordan and Pakistan – to gauge how the world has adapted to this uncertain new normal. We also focus on England, where regional restrictions returned this week, to the dismay of many who hoped they had seen the worst of the crisis.
The Weekly went to press shortly before the shocking explosion that devastated the port area of Beirut on Tuesday – catch up with the latest news here. But for this week’s edition, Martin Chulov paints a bleak picture of Lebanon in despair, brought to its knees by corruption, inflation and political inertia.
Shortly before his brutal demise in August 2011 at the hands of Nato jets and Libyan rebels, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi made a telling speech. “There is a conspiracy to control Libyan oil and to control Libyan land, to colonise Libya once again,” the dictator said. “This is impossible, impossible.” Nine years on, Gaddafi may be long gone – but has his prophecy come true? As regional players hungrily eye the civil war-torn country’s rich oil reserves, Bethan McKernan reports on a looming showdown in north Africa.
During lockdown many of us have understandably turned to online-delivery services for our shopping. But now, as we watch our high street stores shutter up – possibly for good – have we paid too little attention to the retail behemoth driving this trend? On our Opinion pages, John Harris argues forcefully that Amazon’s sheer scale and remorseless efficiency mean it is not merely altering our shopping habits, but society itself.
Also in Opinion, Timothy Garton Ash hails the German chancellor Angela Merkel for brokering an EU budget and recovery deal that few thought possible, arguing that it proves there is plenty of power in the European Union yet.
When the going gets tough, where will the world’s super-rich get going? Underground, it seems. Bradley Garrett visits a former nuclear missile silo in Kansas that has been kitted out with all the creature comforts by dozens of billionaires who appear anxious to avoid the subterranean homesick blues when the armageddon comes.
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