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Coronavirus Politics Daily: Asia's factories lag, Finland misses Russians, Venezuelan gas lines

Asia's manufacturing is still sick: Hailed for successfully managing the public health challenges of the pandemic, some of Asia's exporting powerhouses are now coming to terms with the economic impact of the crisis. A series of surveys released Monday show that the continent's crucial manufacturing sector took another hit last month as global trade continued to contract. While China's manufacturing activity expanded in May, showing some signs of a modest economic comeback, some of the region's export heavyweights have suffered their sharpest economic downturns in over a decade, as new export orders from their main trade partners remain slim. South Korea, for example, has been hailed for its apt management of the health crisis, but its exports have now slumped for three months straight, with shipments contracting 23.7 per cent year-on-year in May. Similarly, Taiwan has recorded just 7 deaths from the virus, but its manufacturing activity fell again in May from the previous month, while the IMF predicts that the economic bloc made up of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam will grow at -0.6 percent this year, down from its earlier estimate of +4.8 percent. Analysts now say that the region's economic rebound could take way longer than previously predicted.

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Finland's Election Veers Right: Europe in 60 Seconds

Is Ukraine going to elect a comedian as president on Sunday?

Well, not exactly comedian. He's an actor, he is a television personality. He is a business man in the entertainment business, you might say. But yes, it's highly likely that Mr. Zelensky will be elected as new president of Ukraine to take office at the beginning of June, but we will have to return to that.

Are nationalist forces gaining strength in the Finnish election?

Well, yes they did fairly well, but roughly the same result as they had in the last election a couple of years ago, with somewhat less than they had in the first election, when they entered the scene in 2011. But it was still more than expected, in view of the fact that they had been splitting and they had been disagreeing and things like that. So it shows the enduring strength of those particular forces - around 17% of the electorate. I think that's roughly the European norm these days.

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