Editorial notes see here. Main web page see here. Periodic summary see here. For 2020 see here.

July 22

FT The EU wants to double its share of the global chip market by 2030 to prevent supply chain disruptions.

Insulating itself from geopolitical fights might end up in squandering public money. Is this industrial and market logic? The bloc lags far behind Asia when it comes to making the highest-end chips. Advocates of the current model argue that given the global nature of the semiconductor supply chain. It is better to concentrate on core capabilities. Others point to the underinvestment at the time that outsourcing was still the aim. The sector will easily double in the decade to come.

NYT Franceʼs ideals are a harder sell among its multi-culture youth.

France has long sought to create a secular, colorblind republic. But a clash between a government minister and a youth conference shows how those values are being questioned by a new generation. The clash ended with the government side claiming the youth was not properly instructed on national values, while the youth claim the authorities are ethnically biased.

July 21

FT Gabon’s well-preserved rainforests are Africa’s green superpower.

Ahead of a key UN summit, the idea of ‘natural capital’ is gaining ground as a tool to avert environmental disaster. With well preserved rainforests, Gabon is seeking markets to boost its role as a carbon absorber. In 2010, Ali Bongo, who was elected president after his father’s death, stunned the foreign timber industry by banning the export of unprocessed logs. Despite incidents this policy remains and gives the countries forests an edge over Cameroon and Congo. The idea that Gabon and other countries should be paid for the carbon they trap is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Prospects for tourism also loom. Uganda and Rwanda have shown the way in that sector.

FT South Africa’s president must act to defend the country.

In an editorial the newspaper remarks the irony that the looting happened in support of the former president accused of state looting. Thankfully the violence seems to come to a halt and also citizens stepped in to clear the damage. Like the president the newspaper takes the violence to be orchestrated. The president should not step down. “If that means forcing an ANC split, so be it.”

FT The time to embrace central bank digital currencies is here — but they have to work for society as a whole.

It is crucial the public good of a payment system does not morph into the private monopoly of businesses. The state must not abandon its role in ensuring the safety and usability of money. The idea that it should is a libertarian fantasy.  Cryptocurrencies are speculative assets. The fact remains that digital money gets more important. The aim should be to have faster, safer and cheaper money systems, available to all citizens.

July  20

FT Government Egypt targets top Egyptian business over terrorism claims.

The owner family is accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The saga about the listed company with 4,000 staff epitomizes the unpredictability that the private sector faces. At the same time the military’s footprint across the economy increases and the private sector finds itself competing with the country’s most powerful institution. It casts doubts on the attractiveness of the Egyptian economy, let alone the lost opportunities of the population.

FT Spyware needs more and better oversight.

There is no justification for spying on activists and journalists. The current possibilities with spy software make setting a standard urgent. The spyware makes it possible to completely take over cellphones. No information is safe for it. Typically the article approaches the problem with demanding government imposed rules on the Israeli producer, while borders pose no limit to the software product.

July 19

FT Cuba and Haiti must find their own way forward.

Foreign intervention  has a long, inglorious history. Political crises erupted in two Caribbean islands this month, exposing failing governments and hungry people. The roots of the problems are different. Both states have depended heavily on donors for much of their recent history, which has impeded reform. The countries need to be encouraged to find a consensus interim government which can hold credible elections and an honest search for peaceful change.

TT Genocide fears after Ethiopian PM vows to crush ‘weeds’ of Tigray.

Abiy Ahmed used words such as “weeds”, “cancer” and “disease” to describe the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which once ruled Ethiopia but was designated a terrorist organization by the central government in May. He also said to “take care the wheat will not be crushed”. His comments may be the precursor to a large-scale offensive against the insurgent group. They have also caused alarm as they mirror the type of rhetoric that is historically used before a genocide.

July 17

FT South African president claims unrest and looting are coordinated.

Government ministers have previously pointed to signs of what they have called “economic sabotage” by “sinister elements”. The government is under fire over what analysts have said were failures to act on warnings of unrest after Zuma was jailed last week.

FT French justice minister faces probe for misusing his position.

The minister, a celebrity defence lawyer, was placed under formal investigation yesterday after being questioned by France’s Cour de Justice de la République, a special tribunal that deals with ministerial misconduct. Before his appointment as minister he protested investigation against him, withdrew his complaint after being named justice minister but in mid-September ordered a disciplinary inquiry into two judges.

FT In Russia long distance train upgraded for 21st century global logistics needs.

The 4,300km track is viewed by the Russians as vital for logistics between Europe and Asia. Rail transport is marketed as a faster, safer, more ecologically friendly alternative to shipping. It is twice as quick than the 45 days needed for shipping between Europe and Asia. And it is half the price. Russia faces competition from China which is developing its own Belt-and-Road rail initiative.

July 16

FT African start-ups need investors closer to home.

Africa, long defined by fragmentation, is an emerging center for innovation in finance, logistics, health and retail, which will slice the costs of doing business. With a median age of 19, the entrepreneurial energy in enormous. Most established African business leaders prefer traditional sectors such as food-processing, import monopolies, mining and hydrocarbons. Yet, the next Bill Gates could well be an African.

FT South Africa turmoil blamed on ANC failings.

The country has come closer to social breakdown than at any point since the end of apartheid almost three decades ago. This is not only about Zuma but has a longer history. The ruling party has been criticized for presiding over years of institutional decay and its failure to tackle inequality. The lockdown has amplified that.

FT Hariri quits as Lebanon falls further into crisis.

The prime minister-designate has quit after almost 10 months of failed attempts to form a new government. The leaders cannot agree on filling the positions in the executive, that are traditionally carved up between the dominant religious groups.: Sunni Muslim, Shia and Orthodox Christian.

July 15

FT EU unveils sweeping plan to cut carbon footprint of its countries.

The bloc wants to become a first mover on sustainable environment and puts carbon trading (producing companies pay for pollution) at the heart of its strategy. Fierce talks can be expected among the EU’s 27 states. The measures will also be examined closely by the bloc’s trading partners as their companies face penalties on exports of carbon-intensive products such as steel and cement.

FT Poland rules against EU on judiciary.

Poland’s constitutional court has ruled that the country does not have to obey orders from the EU’s top court relating to its contested judicial overhaul, escalating a feud between Warsaw and Brussels over the rule of law.

FT Elections fuel Mexico ‘narco state’ fears.

The presidents party won most of the recent elections is accused of links with organized crime, which is rampant in the country.

July 14

FT Deadly violence spreads in South Africa after Zuma jailing.

Prison sentence fuels anger about lack of jobs and pandemic hardship. The country’s domestic spy agency is investigating whether former agents have orchestrated the violence. The government is criticized for inability to prevent the violence.

FT Afghanistan warlords rally forces to fight resurgent Taliban.

In 2001, the US teamed up with the Northern Alliance, a coalition of Afghan militia leaders, to drive the Taliban out of Kabul. Two decades later, the warlords are calling for a “second resistance” against the Islamist onslaught. Their political clout increases and outside powers have to deal with them direct.

FT U.S.A. president assumes role as 21st century buster of corporate trust.

The “nuts and bolts of political economy” are tested in a way that reminds of the early 20st century efforts of Theodore Roosevelt. Analysts argue that even when failing to achieve the full objects the presidents set of decisions will change the government business relations for good.

FT Putting rights before profits. The drive to stop financing oppressive politics.

The fact remains that yields of bonds in disputable countries are attractive. The ESG (Environmental Sustainable Governance) criteria are limited in their scope. Investors are looking for yield and see them sometimes in countries with a very bad human rights record. The EU recent rules require fund managers to disclose how they account for the ESG impacts of their investments. And from 2023 they will have to provide details on the human rights records of the countries they lend to, boosting transparency.

TT In Cuba former ruler Raúl Castro (90) brought back to help quell protests.

The state media frame the protest as “provocations organized by counter-revolutionary elements . . . financed by the United States, with destabilizing aims”. The return of the retired ruler suggests unease among the political top over the presidents policies. One decision was to refuse foreign vaccines and handle the Covid crisis in a domestic way.

July 13

FT The former South African president and the battle against strongman rule.

The author argues that international politics is currently disfigured by a plague of leaders (“even in the U.S.A.”) who want to govern unconstrained by the law. The difference between successful strongmen and those whose ambitions are thwarted is, more often than not, the strength of the judicial system. Strongman leaders and would-be autocrats understand the danger of independent courts. Losing an independent judiciary makes it impossible to hold leaders to account for corruption or abuse of power.

FT Pragmatism leads smaller EU states to seek ties with Syria.

Cyprus and Serbia are reconnecting diplomatically. The big EU states don’t move on what would be a victory for the Syrian Assad regime, but will face a decision when the situation within the country will continue as it is now. Assad  controls 70 % of the country; elsewhere Turkey remains influential. Particularly those who fear Turkey’s influence are most interested in engagement with Assad.

FT Young Palestinians pile pressure for change on Israel and the Palestinian leaders.

They are part of a new Palestinian generation whose calls for justice echo the values of equality that fuel global campaigns such as Black Lives Matter. They make use of social media, gained momentum after the recent Gaza conflict and leave both the new Israeli government as the traditional Palestinian politicians In limbo.

FT Jordan court jails former minister and royal over alleged plot.

After the early April alleged coup attempt a half-brother of the king was forced to sign a pledge of allegiance to the monarch. He was not taken to the court but a distant relative of the king and the kings chief of staff were.

FT South Africa sends in troops to quell unrest following former presidents imprisonment.

Zuma’s foundation last week described the unrest as the “reactive righteous anger of the people . . . which others have characterized as violence”. The political opposition considers ANC to be partly responsible. “This is essentially their internal war being waged on our streets”.

TT How social media warps our perspective.

As humans, we are very bad at perspective. We are very bad, particularly, at comprehending the statistical insignificance of whatever it is that happens to upset, outrage or infuriate us today, in the context of everything else that does not. We have always had this flaw, but social media hacks it, mercilessly. It magnifies the detail over the grand perspective.

July 12

FT Abiy’s party wins majority in Ethiopia poll marred by insecurity, opposition boycotts and a looming famine in Tigray.

The victory in the June vote secures Abiy Ahmed a five-year term and the ability to change the constitution. The election board claims a turn out of 90 % of 37 million registered voters.

FT For sustainable finance to work in industrialized societies, we need central planning.

Project-by-project analysis, for instance, is a dead-end. Tackling climate change requires transforming at least five provisioning systems: energy, transport, buildings, industry and agriculture. Market economies have existed throughout history. Only once, the western industrial revolution, did sustainable market gchange happen without push from above.

July 10

FT Jailing of former president presents defining moment for ANC political party in South Africa.

While the party retains its prestige as an anti-apartheid institution, it was remade by Zuma into a patronage politics vehicle that enabled measures of state capture. It will not be easy for the present president to insist on independent institutions.

FT Fears of anarchy as Haiti reels from president’s assassination.

With poverty getting worse and government institutions no longer functioning, the country now has to answer the questions raised after the killing of the president. His security operative did not respond to save him. The country has had a continuous history of political mismanagement. The last time a president was killed (1905) the U.S.A. occupied the country for 15 years. Something that is now unlikely.

FT France to halve forces fighting Islamist militants in Sahel.

The operation started in 2013 to prevent Mali falling into the hands of the  jihadi’s. It is considered now to have failed and the extremist groups have successfully exploited long standing communal conflict to take hold of large areas despite the French efforts and that of their allies.

FT US withdrawal from Afghanistan endangers my country and the world.

The author, a member of the Afghan government negotiating team, reminds that struggle in Afghanistan never stays within the country. She also reminds of the toppling of the Taliban in 2001. It made the country peaceful until the 2003 invasion in Iraq. So outside struggles also influence Afghan realities. The current withdrawal will benefit the Taliban and its fundamentalism regime.

July 9

FT Former president South Africa starts jail term for contempt of court.

The former presidents political party ANC said yesterday: “Without doubt this is a difficult period in the movement, but the supremacy of South Africa’s constitution is respected. Next week, the constitutional court will hear Zuma’s challenge to rescind the sentence, while a judgment is expected today on a separate attempt to interdict the order in a lower court.

July 8

FT The G20 must invest in a healthier, greener post-pandemic world.

The author is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization. At the occasion of the G20 finance ministers meeting in Italy, he argues that vaccine solidarity is important but preventive measures for a healthier environment are also important and in fact a budget safer for future occasions. One key measure to fight global warming is the ban of subsidies of fossil fuels.

FT Central banks face tough choices over digital currencies.

Digital currencies are here to come in the next years. Your cell phone becomes your wallet or even your email. Distance becomes irrelevant. But only if the process is safe. Central banks face tough choices there on four points: privacy, logistics (the  banking sector losing business) , innovation (new entities like big tech entering), internationalization (will Central Banks back the value of currencies).

FT Haiti declares emergency after leader assassinated.

A gang killed him at home. The former banana exporter turned politician, had been ruling by decree since October 2019 when parliamentary elections were scrapped. His legitimacy was questioned, with the opposition and many legal experts arguing his presidential term had expired. Opinions about the opposition leaders are as bad and the country my enter a new period of political chaos.

July 7

FT Ethiopians deserve a future they can be proud of.

The author is chair of the Royal African Society. His grandmother was from the never colonized African country with a millennia old culture of written language and coinage. He recalls the sadness over the present violence and the inability of the PM to advance over the period of minority enforced stability of the previous regime. The PM’s most recent statement about peace gives him “a glimmer of hope”.

FT Jailing former president would send signal against impunity in South Africa.

His conviction would be for a lesser crime, but it draws a line in the send. However, without an overhaul of his political party, judicial action will not be enough.

FT China casts anxious eye over Afghanistan as U.S.A. and its partners withdraw.

Afghanistan, for millennia known as the “graveyard of empires”, saw foreign ambitions and the blood of their soldiers drain into the sand. Will China become the next power to write a chapter?  An Indian diplomat commented: “We can vouch that China will fund the rebuilding of Afghanistan through the Taliban via Pakistan. China is Pakistan’s wallet.” The central logistic location of the country is important for safe Belt and Road Initiative investments. Additionally China will require the upcoming Taliban regime to severe ties with Uighur oriented groups.

July 6

FT Tigray rebels remain defiant in Ethiopia conflict.

The federal government’s unilateral ceasefire, branded a “joke” by the rebels, might be ineffective at stopping fighting. The rebel organization TPLF demands withdrawal of all troups from outside the region. Also famine looms for all the IPP’s and refugees, in a country where famine is known to be a weapon. “This federal government ‘humanitarian’ ceasefire does not look sincere,” said William Davison, senior Ethiopia analyst at Crisis Group.

FT Swiss grassroots anger stymies green projects.

The country’s complex approval process, which is deeply rooted in Switzerland’s highly devolved political system, grants federal approvals with provincial disapproval. The country committed to close down its 3 nuclear power plants, cancelled the broad cooperation with the rest of Europe, but renewable energy projects are rare. This bodes for future problems.

FT Unleashing China’s household wealth.

Chinese households will have $46.3tn of investable assets by 2025. But fears over a strong renminbi and risks of a bubble in domestic markets mean Beijing is taking a cautious approach to letting assets flow.

FT G20 must rise to the challenge of global crises.

Rich need emerging nations’ trust to advance on pandemic, inclusive economic growth and climate. The G20 was forged to co-ordinate the global response to the Asian and global financial crises. Today’s triple challenge is deeper than both.

July 5

FT Former president South Africa launches legal challenges to avoid jail.

Mr. Zuma claims to be physically unable to survive jail. He also calls on his supporters to resist attempts to jail him. The high stakes court case rattles the political establishment in the country.

FT What the current U.S.A. president can learn from the U.S.A. president in 1971.

Back in 1971 the Bretton Woods arrangement was cancelled to enable global competitiveness of the  economy. The role of the independent central bank was also reinforced. A start was made with integrating China in the world economy and reducing the Pax America arrangement. Today challenges are far more complex but these issues are the same.

July 3

FT Ethiopia PM is a Nobel peace laureate at war.

The newspaper documents the PM’s bio which reflects Ethiopia constraints, laudable initiatives and religious identity politics and concludes that his future is far from clear.

FT Dozens feared dead in Eswatini, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, following crackdown on dissent.

The ruler since 1986 has medieval prerogatives. Political parties in parliament are also not allowed. Violence erupted after suspicious killings. Government claims that there is no martial law but claims of mass casualties and overcrowded hospitals emerged. Neighbor South Africa called for “total restraint”.

July 2

FT Chinese president at centennial of Communist party warns China foes of ‘great wall of steel’.

The president warned of the ‘sanctimonious preaching’ of outsiders.  The hour long speech held no innovative plans but stressed that the country “must uphold the firm leadership of the communist party, on which China’s success hinges.” In Taiwan it was observed positively that the speech had no timeline [for unification] or change in rhetorical framing.

July 1

FT China free of malaria after decades-long fight.

The World Health Organization calls this a “notable feat” given the high prevalence of the disease in the country 80 years ago. An expert stressed the “resounding message to the heartlands of the disease that eradication is eminently possible”.

FT President of China risks destabilizing China’s Communist party.

Reversal of checks and balances sows seeds of potential instability. Haunting memories of the cultural revolution (1966-76) and the Great Leap Forward (1958-62) — to name but two catastrophes from before the more checks and balances emerged in which tens of millions of people died — should warn Beijing and the wider world of the risks.

June 30

FT Former president South Africa hit with 15-month jail term after snubbing corruption inquiry.

FT South Africa and Australia to host giant radio telescope.

FT In Iran the hardline leaders are realizing they must bridge the gulf between the theocratic regime and Iranians’ desire for liberties.

FT The U.S.A. should back a new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

June 29

FT President places Communist party center stage in China.

FT Chinese women add to demographic struggle with fight to work beyond 50.

FT Sweden government resigns over inability to provide affordable housing.

FT Democracy in European countries adjusts to accommodate the far right.

NYT Ethiopian Forces Retreat in Tigray, and Rebels Enter the regional Capital.

June 28

FT Jihadis join the Sahel gold rush.

FT Scandals tarnish image for clean government in the Netherlands.

FT South Africa confident of coping with Covid rate rises.

FT Ethiopia rejects claims of famine in Tigray.

June 26

FT How Europe should deal with Russia.

NYT Confident in Its Impunity, the Myanmar Junta Ignores Diplomacy.

June 25

FT Japanese emperor breaks protocol by expressing concern about Covid risk of Olympics.

FT Hong Kongers rush to buy final edition of banned Apple Daily newspaper.

FT Estonian PM warns of authoritarian creep during pandemic.

FT Chinese scientists accused of obstruction over Wuhan data.

FT India PM in talks to revive contested province Kashmir democracy.

June 24

FT Africa sinks under Covid third wave as inoculation drive stalls.

FT A blueprint for central bank digital currencies.

FT Germany and France propose reset for EU relations with Russia.

FT Russia claims it fired shots at UK war ship.

FT China bolsters ties with Myanmar junta.

NYT Market Airstrike in Tigray Region of Ethiopia Kills Dozens, puts pressure on Ethiopia government.

June 23

FT What the parable of Obamacare teaches its opponents in the U.S.A.

NYT Vatican Expresses Deep Reservations Over Gay Rights Bill in Italy.

June 22

FT German political leader warns against cold war with China.

FT Spain seeks unity with pardon for jailed separatists from Catalonia province.

FT China lashes out after G7 leaders and NATO criticize ‘assertive behavior’.

TT We need leaders to fight cultural groupthink as appears in the gender ideology discussion.

June 21

FT Ethiopian PM faces pivotal test in parliamentary election.

FT Election win give hardliners gain a lock over Iranian politics.

TT Honesty about past will strengthen former colonizer bond with Africa.

June 19

FT Nigeria luxury property booms despite economic gloom in the country.

FT US senior general plays down fears China will attack Taiwan.

FT Obituary of Kenneth Kaunda (97), Zambia’s independence leader who helped shape southern Africa.

FT Russia political strategist ‘An overdose of freedom is lethal to a state’.

TT Tycoon takes on £50bn Congo dam project.

June 18

FT Iran elections frontrunners are poles apart.

FT Sweden’s government on brink as PM faces vote of no confidence.

FT China farm boss trial viewed as warning to private sector.

FT U.S.A. Supreme Court throws out challenge to more comprehensive health care system.

FT Gangs replace rules in the new global order.

June 17

FT African youth vs the gerontocrats.

FT U.S.A. warns Russia of ‘devastating’ repercussions if opposition leader dies in jail.

FT U.S.A. plan to keep China in check relies on Philippines.

FT North Korea raises alarm over food shortages.

FT The graveyard of empires calls to China on extending their Belt and RoadInitiative to Afghanistan.

June 16

FT Pandemic pushes Algeria to the brink.

FT Belarus accused of ‘weaponizing’ migration.

FT PwC to add 100,000 staff in five years as Environmental & Sustainable Governance consultancy services bear fruit.

June 15

FT Central banks confront digital currency dilemma.

Regulators and central banks are fighting for control of the monetary system as cryptocurrencies become an increasing challenge to fiat currencies, threatening to blunt the levers of monetary policy. There are broadly two options: regulation and competition. Potential benefits include making cross-border payments cheaper and faster and giving access to the monetary system to all individuals. National digital currencies could also trigger a reshuffling of the world’s most dominant currencies. The big concern is privacy in the case of nationally run cryptocurrency.

NYT Vatican Warns U.S. Bishops: Don’t Deny Biden Communion Over Abortion.

“The concern in the Vatican,” said Antonio Spadaro, a Catholic spokesman, “is not to use access to the Eucharist as a political weapon.” Pope Francis preached this month that communion “is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners.” Pope Francis explicitly opposes abortion, which they consider among the gravest sins, and incessantly speaks out against it. But that is not the same as punishing Catholic lawmakers with the denial of communion.

June 14

FT Myanmar junta heaps charges on detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The detained leader is reportedly kept at an unknown place and will be trialed by the military leaders for remarkably futile charges. Much of the protest seems to be died out in the country “where the junta has arrested thousands and used deadly force to crush an uprising”.

FT After the elections the president of Mexico can better the lot of most citizens with a return to pragmatism.

The recent elections delivered a mixed bag of results for both sides of the political divide. Neither side delivered a knockout. All of it looks like a convincing reflection of the governments performance since the presidential party took hold 2, 5 years ago. The main problem in the country is rampant criminality. The country also has what the newspaper calls “golden opportunity” due to its strategic geographic location.

TT In Britain class is a bigger social contract problem than race.

“Class” presents the biggest barrier to ambition and talent. Why is it that for successful soccer players, even if articulate and thoughtful but from working-class families, the most likely path to the upper echelons of society still is via sports? The author, former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, had his hand in legislation to tackle the problem. He calls it an attempt of being a meritocratic nation. He argues that family wealth is still a big factor to prevent moving up.

June 12

G7 pledge to provide 1bn vaccines for poorer nations branded inadequate.

The pledge is less than half the countries have reserved for their domestic needs. One analyst remarked that a more reliable strategy would be to urgently scale up and diversify production, through technology transfer and clearing intellectual property barriers. There is also concern about the infrastructure needed for distribution from the factory to the arm of the recipient.

June 11

FT Twitter’s fight with Nigeria is an omen of things to come.

This is the conflict between the “cloud nation” and the nation state. It is a contest in which many citizens, despite their reservations about extraterritoriality, side with rules set in Silicon Valley over those meted out by their own parliaments and judiciaries. Yet, the prerogatives claimed by the tech supplier (deleting a Nigeria president tweet) should not necessarily be celebrated.

FT BioNTech looks beyond Covid with push into Africa.

The German biotechnology company aims to establish its vaccine production facilities on the continent of Africa as part of a long-term effort to tackle diseases beyond Covid-19. The efforts have the support of the EU. The firm hopes to establish filling facilities within the next 12 months. The company was supported by the Gates Foundation for a tuberculosis vaccine of a similar structure.

June 10

FT Germany hit by EU legal action.

Brussels has launched legal action against Germany’s constitutional court after its judges attempted to challenge the supremacy of EU law and a ruling by the EU’s top court over European Central Bank bond buying.

FT Testing times for Israel’s man of the moment.

The new coalition PM abandons his former liaisons for support of the fringe left and the Jewish state’s only Islamist Arab party. As a personality he is considered not calculated, but carefully calibrated. Successful in business but less effective in his former political contributions, based on orthodox Jewish views of statehood. What will evolve seems unclear.

FT El Salvador approves bitcoin as legal tender.

“Historic!” the 39-year-old authoritarian president wrote on Twitter. Analysts were cautious given cryptocurrency’s volatility, and some said it could put a pending IMF program at risk. Venezuela in 2018 unveiled plans for an oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, to skirt US sanctions, but it has flopped.

FT Australia urges G7 support for WTO reform.

Australia underlines that their region is the epicenter of renewed strategic competition. The risks of miscalculation and conflict are growing. WTO reforms would enable the appeals body to be at the heart of its decision-making process. It is the most practical way to address economic coercion and the restoration of the global trading body’s binding dispute settlement system.

TT The culture war over gender, race and language is running out of steam in the U.K. social contract.

A study traces the nearly exponential explosion of newspaper articles about gender issues in the past few years. When will this end? The author has two answers. The first: never. The second: sooner than you might think. Western countries had a centuries long  battle over religion. As late as 1829, the government narrowly avoided a constitutional crisis in its attempts to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act. In Europe similar struggles evolved between the power of the state and the church. Unsurprisingly, as secular, individualistic modern society  started to dominate in the Sixties, battles over faith were replaced with battles over personal identity. It is significant that, like the Reformation, the moral change of the Sixties arrived at a time of huge change in communications technology. But the personal identity subject seems to be less lasting. A study found that newspaper coverage of trans issues peaked in 2019.

June 9

FT Nigerians blame Shell for ‘community problems’ in Niger delta.

The company closes down onshore oil operations on the risk profile of the delta, which has been wracked by communal tensions and criminality for generations. Activists maintain that Shell has a responsibility to solve the problems in the Niger Delta caused by their activities. Others say the core problem is lack of governance. A recent court case in Shell home country the Netherlands ruled that the company needs to do more.

FT German solar company pursues Lesotho debt.

The company has begun seizing Lesotho’s assets abroad in order to enforce €50m in contractual damages after the contract over a 20 Megawatt solar plant was cancelled.

FT UAE shifts focus from muscular foreign policy to economic drive.

Diplomats are tasked to prioritize attracting investment to the oil-dependent nation. One analyst commented that after the decade long engagement in influencing conflict UAE had come to understand there was “no hard win anywhere at the moment”. Part of the effort is to soften tensions with its foes.

June 8

FT Nigeria acts on criticism of Twitter ban.

The government ordered a “temporary” ban of Twitter on Saturday after the company deleted a post by President Muhammadu Buhari that promised the government would crack down separatist protest. Activists see a trend towards authoritarianism by the government of the 78 year old president who ruled the country in the ‘80’s as a military dictatorship.

FT Green companies must convince wavering consumers.

Behavioral shifts are expected to help contribute around 20 per cent — or even closer to 40 per cent in a positive scenario — to meeting international “net zero” goals. To achieve climate change, marketers will need to ensure new habits move beyond “cool” territory.

June 7

FT Italian PM sets tone in cooling ties between EU and China.

Draghi’s move marked a decisive Italian shift towards a foreign policy he has described as “strongly pro-European and Atlanticist, in line with Italy’s historical anchors”. The Italian position is important with elections around the corner in the other large EU countries, Germany and France. Former PM Prodi remarked about the unfolding reluctance in EU-China relations “both sides must change their attitude . . . now it’s formally impossible to do anything”.

FT Mali, once hailed as paragon of democratic virtue falls from grace as junta tightens grip.

African Union’s suspension of Mali shows the deterioration of the situation in the country. Strongman Colonel Assimi Goïta staged two coups in a year, which shatters Mail’s foreign image. Foreign allies neglected the tensions on grassroots level. One analyst remarked: “Most of the international actors who would usually condemn power grabs by Mali’s military in the most virulent terms indulged the same in Chad. This . . . makes it difficult for the international community [to] take the moral high ground in Mali.”

FT How Egypt’s army became an economic force.

The new capital east of Cairo is the flagship infrastructure project out of thousands the military has taken charge of. The expansion of the military’s role in the state and the economy is crowding out the private sector and scaring away foreign investors. Its advocates say: “The army can enhance the economy . . . they are very disciplined, less corrupt.” Critics say it is not generating sufficient productive jobs to tackle rampant youth unemployment. Moreover, the military, which controls much of Egypt’s land, can use conscript labor, is exempt from income and real estate taxes and answers only to the president.

June 5

FT Global spread of high-security bio labs raises fears of new pandemic.

Lax controls at some locations could lead to another pandemic. At least 59 maximum biosafety level 4 (BSL4) labs are planned, under construction or in operation across the world, spanning 23 countries including the UK, US, China, India, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire.

June 4

FT Making chocolate can give Ghana a taste of success.

Of the $130bn global chocolate industry, less than $2bn goes to Ghana. The country produces 20 % of all raw cacao beans. The obstacles, from shoddy infrastructure to lack of manufacturing and market knowhow, are formidable. Yet unless Ghana can crack the problem, many Ghanaians will be condemned to poverty in perpetuity. The remedy is not to raise the price of cocoa but to process  and market it. In Asia, almost no economy of any size clambered out of poverty without manufacturing. Most African economies, as Ghana’s president says, are locked in neocolonial trading relationships. Breaking those patterns is incredibly hard. For countries aspiring to lift their people out of poverty, it is also essential.

FT CEOs should heed difficult activists.

In the early 20th century women campaigned for women’s suffrage and their tactics can be realistically compared to uncompromising activists today. New ideas tend to start on the fringes. The most powerful ideas become mainstream in the end. Executives love to talk about innovation and “first-mover advantage”. If they are serious, they should spend more time thinking about where today’s fringes suggest tomorrow’s mainstream will be.

FT Fears mount for poorer nations as food price rises hit 10-year high.

Global food prices surged 40 per cent in May. The Mideast and west Africa are at risk. It will hit particularly hard in poorer countries that are reliant on imports for staples. Most analysts expect prices to climb further.

FT Genome breakthrough opens door to creating cells unlike anything in nature.

Scientists have re-engineered the genetic code of microbes to create a synthetic cell with capabilities unlike anything in nature, opening up the possibility of new materials for everything from plastics to antibiotics.

June 3

FT Twitter removes post by Nigeria’s president.

The tweet threatened a violent crackdown on unrest in the country’s south-east, referencing the civil war of the late 1960s that left more than 1m people dead in the region. Buhari, who campaigned on a new approach to security, has seen his popularity crumble, also due to economic problems.

FT Russia’s elite gathers in yearly global summit with hope of better foreign ties.

The Russian answer to Davos is feeling the effects of the Russian geo-political role. Moreover the mood is more anticipating the June 16 Russia-U.S.A. president meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

FT Global deal nears on climate risk disclosure by listed companies.

The obligation to disclose the risks they face from climate change in a standardized way could be agreed in November’s UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The governor of France’s central bank claims it is “the most dramatic change he has witnessed in his career”.

TT Xi Jinping plots propaganda war to make China ‘credible, loveable and respectable’.

The world must learn that the “Communist Party is truly striving for the wellbeing of the Chinese people, and understand why Marxism works, and why socialism with Chinese characteristics is good”. Xi: “We must pay attention to have the right tone. We are not only open, confident but also humble and modest.”

June 2

FT A windfall for poor countries is within reach by reallocating IMF special drawing rights (SDR’s).

Why should rich nations not lend all of their unneeded SDR assets? That would be $380bn.

FT Top tennis player shows that the game matters and not the PR obligation.

The real value lies in what happens in the stadium, not the press room. The Japanese player, no. 2 worldwide, refused duties that make her nervous. Sports authorities need to recognize the social changes now under way with a new generation more self-conscience taking up the sporting challenges.

FT Spanish court rules leader of Polisario Front free to go home.

The diplomatic rift between Spain and Morocco widened yesterday when a Madrid judge ruled the leader of the Western Sahara independence movement being treated in a Spanish hospital was free to leave the country. Rabat claims sovereignty over the region, roughly the size of the UK. A 30-year ceasefire with Polisario broke down at the end of last year. Ties between Rabat and Berlin have also been strained since Germany called for a closed door UN Security Council meeting after the Trump administration recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for normalization of ties with Israel.

FT U.S.A. president pledged to address racial wealth gap.

On a visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma, 100 years ago the site of one of the most brutal attacks on a black community in the country’s history, another promise is made to improve on racial relations. The big words of the U.S.A. president contrast with the recent inability to respect black human life and fall short of handling the ongoing election system maneuvering for partisan benefit that has racial effects.

TT Rogue regimes are mastering techno-tyranny.

Some rulers are kept in power for decades, of course, by the use of force, by surveillance, by the threat of reprisal, by state control of the media. But there is another reason for their abnormally long survival rates: the mastery of modern technology. Digital surveillance and cryptocurrencies is part of the new method of repression. Only the hijacking of personal data and the manipulation of individuals will really guarantee the longevity of a techno-tyrant. The old East German Stasi shows where this leads: into a dark corner where the only exit is emigration, exile and a long wait for the system to implode.

June 1

FT China’s wolf warriors are at work to ward of blame for Covid.

This style of “wolf warrior” diplomacy is an inevitable product of a domestic system that demands allegiance beyond truth. A lot of aggressive messaging abroad may even be primarily intended for ordinary citizens or bosses back home. The goal is to show that the party/government is standing up for China. Over the past year, China has succeeded in changing the narrative over Covid-19. It benefitted from the past U.S.A. president careless approach. Joe Biden’s more cautious approach is paradoxically more threatening to Beijing.

FT China allows couples to have three children.

In the past a rigid one child per couple rule was maintained that was loosened to 2 per couple in 2015. Demographers have said rising incomes, urbanization and the increased costs of raising children had led to a long-term decline in fertility rates that would be difficult to reverse by regulation.

May 31

FT In South Africa Magashule under fire in battle for ANC’s soul.

The former ANC secretary-general is suing the party, after it suspended him for refusing to step down over an investigation into allegations of corruption. At stake is not only competing visions of how to resurrect South Africa’s post-pandemic economy, but also attitudes to post-apartheid institutions battered through so-called “state capture”, or the systematic looting of public resources.

FT Migrant waves reignite debate over Europe’s ageing workforce.

The OECD predicted last week that Spain would by 2050 become the member state with the highest old-age dependency ratio — the proportion of over 65-year-olds to the working age population — after Japan and South Korea. Right wing politics neglects this while the left is afraid to profile it for being unpopular.

May 29

FT Germany offers €1bn for Namibia genocide.

German soldiers killed more than 60,000 indigenous Herero and Nama tribes people between 1904 and 1908 amid an uprising against German colonial rule. The announcement comes after six years of talks with Namibia, which came close to foundering last month over whether the funds should be labelled reparations, a term Germany feared could open it up to other legal claims. The deal was rejected by the traditional leaders of the Herero and Nama, who said it was too little to compensate for the suffering of their ancestors, including the taking of the majority of their land. The deal could set a precedent for other countries.

FT Russian hacking groups  target 150 global foreign policy bodies.

The U.S.A. government said last month the group was part of the Russian foreign intelligence service. Microsoft commented: “It’s clear that part of play-book is to gain access to trusted technology providers and infect their customers.”

May 28

FT France admits French responsibility in Rwandan genocide.

Standing in front of a memorial where 250,000 mainly Tutsi victims of the genocide are buried, French president Macron said the country had “a duty to look history in the face and recognize the part of suffering it inflicted on the Rwandan people by keeping silent for too long”. The statement stopped short of a formal apology. In 2006, Rwanda expelled the French ambassador and in 2008, it switched the national curriculum from French to English. Rwanda joined the British Commonwealth the following year. Rwandan president Kagame said yesterday. “The truth heals.”

FT U.S.A. is right to impose sanctions on Ethiopia.

Atrocities have been committed by Ethiopian troops as well as by fighters from Eritrea, who were given virtual carte blanche by the Addis government to act as they pleased. There are also credible accounts of atrocities perpetrated by forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the party now fighting a guerrilla war against the central government. Ending the violence in Tigray is the first step to revive the hope that Ethiopia as a country has shown.

May 27

FT Palestinian unity upends Middle East status quo.

Having rejected a two-state solution — an independent Palestine alongside Israel — Israel’s politicians face having to manage a de facto single state. Israel has never been held accountable for keeping the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem after it conquered them in the 1967 six-day war. This month’s rebellion may change that. Trump thought the conflict was about real estate. Netanyahu thought he had changed the region by rallying Arabs against Iran. Today’s events  show Israel’s military superiority does not contain the Palestinian determination.

FT Climate pressure rises on Big Oil after setbacks for Shell and Exxon.

Shell is stopped by a court of its home country to deliver on cleaner energy for more results to global climate change and Exxon is told lessons by groups among its shareholders for the same purpose.

FT Switzerland abandons talks on closer ties with EU in a move to defend sovereignty.

The country has long benefitted from 120 bilateral agreements. The EU wanted an overhaul which became more urgent after the U.K. left the EU. The Swiss have now  pulled the plug on a new framework agreement for a deeper partnership with the EU, amid unbridgeable differences over wages, subsidies and immigration.  The EU warns of the consequences. Some Swiss see it as a victory for direct democracy.

May 26

FT Mali leaders arrested in second coup in a year.

The military officer behind an August coup, also interim vice-president, ordered the arrest of the president and prime minister since they did not consult him about a cabinet reshuffle that excluded key junta members. International partners condemned the move and called for immediate release of the arrested.

FT ‘Social explosion’ in Chile lights a fuse under constitution.

The elections to elect a new body to rewrite the country’s constitution are labelled the institutionalization of the 2019 social explosion. 42 % of the elected are independents, while only 40 % of the electorate casted a vote. There was a clear preference for new faces. The forces now successful are not expected to be able to unite for one presidential candidate in the next presidential elections. Hence the center right is expected to continue its hold on government.

May 25

FT U.S.A. government self-declared deadline on police reform to be missed.

A new bill would ban police chokeholds, create a national registry to track police misconduct, make it simpler for prosecutors to seek criminal and civil penalties for police abuse, and ban “no-knock” warrants that allow police to enter properties forcibly. The delay in passing reflects lack of political resolve among the law makers.

FT Defiant Aung San Suu Kyi appears in Myanmar court.

This was the first time the arrested democratic leader appeared in public after she was arrested in late January and the military took over on February 1. She declared that her banned National League for Democracy would exist as long as the people supported it. The judge adjourned the case until June 7.

FT China to tighten rules after death of athletes in long distance run.

The Central Committee for Discipline Inspection, which oversees the Chinese Communist party, said the pursuit of quick profits and weak government oversight had created mounting safety concerns for such events.

FT U.S.A. to put sanctions on Ethiopians and Eritreans over war.

Sanctions will affect those “responsible for perpetrating” a war in the Tigray region. Ethiopia criticized the US decision. The foreign ministry said: “The attempt by the US administration to meddle in its internal affairs is not only inappropriate but also completely unacceptable.” The Ethiopian government has said it is committed to investigating human rights abuses carried out during the fighting by an assortment of national, regional and neighboring forces.

May 24

FT Kenyan court ruling against state legal overhaul in the making sets the stage for election battle.

Advocates of the overhaul, which Kenya’s parliament had already passed, say it would lessen the chance of ethnic violence at elections by more evenly dividing the spoils of victory. Critics say it is barring the presidents rival (and deputy) from taking over the helm after the president has consumed the maximum of terms.

FT Ethiopia raises $850m in first telecoms auction.

A bid for a second license was rejected as too low and the license will be retendered. According to the PM the awarded license is the biggest foreign direct investment in the country’s history. The result was suppressed due to restrictions put up for mobile money services and infrastructure choices. The current instability in Tigray is also believed to have an effect. Ethiopia runs a double digit economic growth for 20 years, “based on an Asian-inspired, state-led development model that prevented foreign capital from controlling the commanding heights of the economy such as banking and telecoms.”

FT Belarus arrests opposition activist after forcing flight he boarded from Greece to Lithuania to land in Belarus capital.

The president boasts the action as an “irrevocable command to turn the plane around and land it”. All this to arrest a journalist on board who played a senior role in reporting on last year’s protests.

May 22

FT Don’t let anyone tell you political sleaze (indifference to misconduct and regulation) doesn’t matter.

That an issue may not matter to voters now does not mean it does not matter at all. Sleaze — as opposed to outright and clear corruption — is unlikely, in itself, to topple a government, but consistent poor conduct erodes faith in an administration and in politics more generally. The less the government believes its conduct is being scrutinized the less it is likely to be careful. In an administration already too careless of the rules, that is in no one’s long-term interest.

FT Better preparing the world for next pandemic, better laws and institutions needed.

Reform of WHO and a new framework of laws and institutions is needed. A WHO GA panel recommends setting up a Global Health Threats Council of world leaders that would co-ordinate emergency responses, with a new treaty providing a stronger legal basis for action. Combined with more autonomous and preventive investigative powers of the WHO this could dramatically reduce the expenses of a next pandemic.

FT Palestinians expose Israel’s illusions.

A fortnight of violence has exposed Benjamin Netanyahu’s illusion that Israel can be at peace without a resolution of the Palestinian conflict. It has also demonstrated the pent-up anger at decades of occupation.

FT U.S.A. government  proposes global tax rate of at least 15%, reducing the target by 6 %.

The Biden administration’s latest move takes it closer to the range of about 13 per cent, which was discussed at the OECD before the US launched its proposals last month. Biden hopes the promise of a more stable international tax system will stop the proliferation of national digital taxes and break the mould of tax avoidance and profit shifting.

May 21

FT India blames China for 2020 clashes in the Himalaya’s.

India’s foreign minister said the country was “ready to compete” with China for influence in its neighborhood and beyond, citing India’s interests “deep in the Indo-Pacific” as well as west towards Africa and Europe. “The issue is, how do I manage a relationship if the basis of the relationship has been violated by one side?” The foreign minister denied that India would join any formal alliance with the US to contain China. “It is not cold war 2.0”.

NYT Ethiopia Expels New York Times Reporter.

His press credentials had already been canceled since March, one day after he returned from an approved reporting trip in Tigray. The expulsion comes one month before much-delayed Parliamentary elections. In recent days, some of the government’s prominent supporters have called for demonstrations to push back against criticism of Ethiopia’s handling of the war in Tigray, and against what they portray as a campaign of concerted foreign meddling.

May 20

FT Spain’s migrant surge is a warning shot for fortress Europe.

Europe has been outsourcing much of the border protection from migrants to countries across its borders. It has also shown to be vulnerable when migrant streams appear to be used politically, Libya 2011, Turkey 2015 and now Morocco. The latter country apparently reacts to Spain hosting medical treatment for an independence leader of Western Sahara. To its credit Spain has done some more sophisticated (= diplomatic) approach of the migration issue. Of late the country moves in the direction of anxieties in other European countries that want to create a fortress of affluence.

May 19

FT Urban crime wave threatens U.S.A. government.

Murders are up 25 % in 2020 as compared to 2019. The fall in murders from 1994 until 2014 coincided with a ban on heavy assault weapons. On the negative side the campaigns to “defund the police”, supported by current president Biden, led to increase crime. Social inequalities also add to a surge in crime.

FT Belarus authorities raid independent news outlet Tut.by in crackdown on dissent.

According to the government the crackdown is for tax evasion.

May 18

FT Pandemic gives Africa a chance to free itself from aid dependency.

The U.S.A. government’s support for intellectual property waivers has opened up possibilities. This seismic shift in positioning has gathered momentum and support for vaccine manufacturing in Africa. Covid-19 has shown that Africans must move faster towards real self-sufficiency in diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine production. No one will help us if we do not attempt to help ourselves. It is up to us as Africans to decide if we are to accept mere observer status or be a main player at the table. Africa needs to get rid of the “do-gooder” syndrome. It needs a re-imagining and re-engineering of the international architecture, of how it interacts as people and as systems.

FT EU eases US trade tensions by shelving plans to increase tariffs.

The two sides added that they were ready to “hold countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account”.

FT US Supreme Court to hear abortion case challenging Roe vs Wade.

The newspaper talks down on activists against abortion as “self-described “pro-life”. The new case will play out by mid-2022. Pro-abortion activists (self-described as “pro-life”) fear that it will affect the Roe vs Wade ruling, which turned the U.S.A. into a pro-abortion environment in the ‘70’s.

FT EU to back African vaccine production.

The EU move comes as the coronavirus crisis adds urgency to longstanding efforts to cut African countries’ dependence on imports of drugs to combat diseases. It argues is a better way to improve poor nations’ access to Covid-19 vaccines than the patent waivers proposed by the US. The Africans see the efforts as complementary.

May 17

FT Geopolitics spells the demise of the global chief executive.

The era of borderless enterprise may be past. Geopolitical tensions are rising, leaving business in the line of fire. One CEO: “Can we have peace in the company when the world is in turmoil? All of the confidentiality issues may start to look a bit different.” Decision-makers may have a strong national allegiance that puts them at odds with their company.

FT China’s demographic challenge looms large.

The country’s fertility rate is 1.3, lower than most industrialized nations. Simply relaxing birth control isn’t enough. There isn’t a social safety net that enables women to have children.

NYT Syria’s surprising solar boom: Sunlight powers the night in rebel Idlib.

An unlikely solar revolution of sorts has taken off in an embattled, rebel-controlled pocket of northwestern Syria, cut of by the government from the grid. People have embraced solar panels and batteries because it is the cheapest source of electricity around. One metal workshop made a rotating base to follow the sun for better harvest.

May 15

FT What does Scotland’s most eminent historian make of the case for independence?

Sir Tom Devine, author of the 700 page book The Scottish Nation, voted for independence in the 2014 referendum, although he had preferred home rule. “The history of European multinational states shows the rot tends to start from within, and then spreads out to the peripheral nations.”

FT The strange malaise of Europe’s social democrat parties.

The financial crisis over a decade ago seemed an ideal time to reinvent themselves, but it failed. The same is true in the pandemic crisis. The problems are structural. The traditional coalition of industrial working class and urban middle class is more unbalanced in terms of economic interest and social values. These parties are still tied up in choices of the past. And at the same time the new U.S.A. government shows a more social democrat mood in their inventions.

May 14

FT McDonald’s  in the U.S.A. boosts pay to lure staff as employers struggle to fill vacancies.

The employer has trouble finding enough staff while it intends to hire more. The move puts pressure on other employers to do more. Some have huge plans to hire more staff, signaling the economic take off after the pandemic crisis.

FT U.K. and U.S.A. send joint message to world on rights and corruption.

Both the U.S.A. treasury and foreign minister commend that U.K.’s stand, which is a welcome sign for its government in the absence of a quick trade deal after Brexit and the tensions over the Northern Irish border. It claims that Brexit enabled a more nimble policy approach on sanctions to fight corruption. This does not show up in all moves, like the U.S.A. sanctions on Russia, as an unnamed U.S.A. official told the newspaper.

May 13

FT The risk of a new war in the Middle East.

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has boiled over once more as Israeli jets pound the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip and this group launches hundreds of rockets into the Jewish state. The new violence roots outside Gaza, in Jerusalem where Israeli police entered the compound that houses al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site. The violence is aided by the meek responses of the US and European capitals to the creeping colonization of the West Bank, as well as Gulf states that engaged with Israel, to counter Iran but also under sponsorship of the previous U.S.A. government.

FT Kurdish activists resist Turkey government crackdown.

The HDP political party attracted 5.9 million voters from the 14 million Kurdish minority. It is the latest incarnation of a movement that began in 1990 to push for greater cultural and political rights. The government’s AKP also attracts Kurdish votes but their support among Kurds is decreasing more rapidly than HDP support. It is believed that after banning by the government, the party will reform.

FT Republican party in U.S.A. axe Trump critic from senior role.

The economic and geopolitical conservative congress woman, daughter to former vice-president Cheney, fell in disgrace after she criticized former president Trump’s continued campaign to discredit the legally approved election that he lost. While other Republicans approve of her political position they claim she is “out of the mainstream of the Republican party”. The former president uses the opportunity to continue his public influence campaign with strongly divisive communications.

May 12

FT Djibouti thrives amid spying and intrigue.

It’s about location and stability in the tiny African nation, home to just 1 million. A third of the world’s daily shipping passes here and it is surrounded by less stable countries. Foreign powers like to have a base here. The 73 year old president since 1999 recently got a new term with almost unanimous support.

FT Iraqi Kurdistan’s authoritarian turn.

The oil rich region of 5 million has an authoritarian drift of a quasi-state dominated by two families. The semi-autonomous position was carved out through support to Western military intervention and turned more authoritarian in recent times. Independent critics of government have been convicted for security reasons.

May 11

FT South Africa to lease floating power stations.

The immediate energy crisis is met with a 20 year contract to a preferred Turkish bidder of floating LNG power plants, Canpowership. Two giant coal pants commissioned over a decade ago remain unfinished while a contract for a Russian nuclear power plant was legally struck down.

May 10

FT Transformation is good but has to be managed.

The pandemic is changing business and society practices and there is opportunity in just that. Online activity has its own efficiency in many ways as compared to activity needing physical appearance. It looks like Schumpeterian creative destruction. But it needs to be managed to be sustainably productive. Real-world rules and regulations must be made to apply to the online world as well.

May 7

FT The west is in a contest, not a cold war, with China.

The G7 foreign ministers this week produced a communiqué and annexes running to dozens of pages. No corner of the geopolitical landscape escaped their attention. But ‘making multilateralism work’ is not the snappiest of slogans. Conviviality is not a substitute for organizing purpose. The few who take the trouble to wade through the communiqué are unlikely to find a clear route map for the world’s democracies. But today is not a cold war. Economic interchange with the Soviet Union was negligible. For all the recent decoupling, China remains deeply embedded in the global economy. Beijing and Moscow want a return to a 19th-century global order. But the G7 answer to that is still in the dark.

FT Peru Marxist presidential hopeful rattles business community.

Castillo, a 51-year-old school teacher and union leader, emerged from political obscurity to win the first round of the election last month on an unashamedly Marxist ticket and calls former Marxist leaders in the region a select “group of presidents who gave the continent dignity”. He also holds a commanding lead over his rival in next month’s runoff vote. Yet, the parliamentarian situation he will find after winning will still be  challenge for major change.

FT Pharma industry fears U.S.A. president COVID19 vaccine patent decision.

His administration’s decision to support a temporary waiver of Covid-19 vaccine patents prompted predictable outrage in the pharmaceutical sector but praise from the WHO chief. The U.S.A. said it still “believes strongly” in intellectual property protections. A waiver is promoted to fight the pandemic.

May 6

FT South Africa ANC party bars top Zuma ally.

The party’s SG was suspended after he ignored a call to voluntary step aside for allegations of corruption. The SA president last week admitted the ANC allowed systematic looting over the past decade “under our watch”, the most direct acknowledgment yet of the party’s failings in the so-called state capture era. The broader fight against corruption is a new chapter but the fight is likely to continue.

May 5

FT Covid second wave fears rise in Africa as inoculation programs lose pace.

Medical authorities see the situation in India with concern. In addition the supply from that country changed from generous to stand still. Side effects from vaccines and vaccination hesitance are also concerns, as are the spreading of new variants if vaccination is insufficient to stop a new wave.

May 4

TT Former British foreign minister Hague argues: for a country to survive, it needs an identity.

Others might equate it with nationalism or xenophobia. In reality, a shared sense of identity is vital for a nation to enjoy internal cohesion and to act effectively. He quotes Fukuyama for six necessary attributes: physical security, quality of governance, the facilitation of economic development, a wide radius of trust, a strong safety net to combat inequality, an atmosphere of reason and acceptance. To achieve that education, save and clean environment and active citizenship are the key tools.

May 3

FT In France a dictator legend of 200 years ago is alive and as divisive as ever.

From a historical viewpoint, the recent petition in the country (see April 30) serves as a reminder of the rich tradition of military interventions in French politics, since the legendary Napoleon came to power. It’s the petitioners quest for a larger-than-life savior, capable of transcending divisions and revitalizing the national spirit. Also outside Europe Napoleon’s legend draws some power hopefuls attention. They may be reminded that the present French culture war is as divisive as they think it is uniting.

FT EU and allies renew push to counter China influence.

The West wants to offer alternatives to Belt and Road Initiative of China. A patchwork of separate but coordinated bilateral and multilateral initiatives is most likely emerging while it is questionable if pushing back China is necessary or desirable.

TT 97 year old former foreign minister of the U.S.A. warns of ‘colossal danger’ to world from a US-China cold war.

Henry Kissinger considers the first cold war with Russia as more one dimensional. China is far more economically capable and has significant military clout. The two global powers in his view should seek coexistence rather than competition. The solution is in diplomacy.

April 30

FT In England Post Office scandal exposes the risk of automated injustice.

As one of the few institutions in Britain with its own powers of investigation and prosecution the post depended on automated information as sufficient evidence to blame staff, while the IT technology was outsourced, the software not made user friendly and the management found scapegoating easier than investigation. Said the judge about holding technology infallible and ignoring contrary evidence: “It amounts to the 21st-century equivalent of maintaining that the Earth is flat.”

FT Covid wards in India are like scenes from Dante’s ‘Inferno’.

In early January the pandemic seemed retreated. Instead of ramping up vaccination the country allowed for massive political and religious activity and a more dangerous variant of the virus emerged. The country allowed itself to export vaccines to 74 other nations while today only 5 % of the population is vaccinated. Other countries close borders and the hospitals are overcrowded and under sourced.

FT France to punish generals over anti-immigrant call to arms.

Most generals who signed the petition were already retired. There were 18 active military, four of them officers, under the thousands of signatories. Also the main opponent of the current president endorsed the call, fueling worries of the Defense minister that she hardly understands the neutral status of the military.

April 29

FT South Africa’s ANC allowed looting, president admits.

The president denied that the party itself is corrupt. He refers to infighting and factionalism that provided fertile ground for state capture.

FT China ties prove double-edged sword for EU.

EU exports to China have grown at a double-digit pace since the pandemic struck a year ago. Yet observers note that: “the tone from China is different, so we have to take a different approach”. Human rights concerns are increasingly coming into view.

FT The difficult quest of the U.S.A. to fund a growing state.

America’s openness to big government is not in doubt. The nation’s willingness to pay for it very much is. The government wants to tax capital gain to equalize the treatment of income tax. The newspaper argues there are better, less symbolic, ways to pay for the growing state, like value added tax and a reversal of the erosion of estate tax.

April 27

FT Nigerians suffer at hands of ‘thriving’ kidnapping industry.

Boko Haram is globally identified as violence machine but in fact a tiny minority of increasingly unidentified incidents. A combination of explosive population growth, rampant unemployment, underfunded and incapable security forces, and easy access to small arms has made banditry a booming industry. And not only in the north of the country. The banditry crisis is also exposing raw ethnic tensions which are never far from the surface in Nigeria.

FT Ethiopian telecoms license sell-off falls flat.

The biggest remaining telephone state monopoly was designated to be partly privatized but there only two bids. The intended showcase plan of the government suffers from criticism of the restrictive nature of the bidding and perceived political risks by investors due to the crisis in the north of the country.

FT Italy PM outlines €248 bn vision for recovery.

The former international banker vows to combat ‘corruption and stupidity’ with the deal. He wants to bridge the divide between its wealthy industrialized north and poorer south, improving gender equality and narrowing generational inequality. Thus trying to ward of the traditional advantages of rampant criminality, the Mafia.

FT EU tries to mend border problems in the Balkans.

The seemingly eternal problem retains instability in the region and thus helps to drag in outside powers and sharpen tensions. A contentious and anonymous document is circulating but the fact remains that the region is trapped in a strategic no man’s land. The project to include all of it in the EU “is proceeding so slowly as to render it increasingly irrelevant as an answer to the region’s troubles”.

April 26

FT The idea the state has been shrinking in the west for 40 years is a myth.

Government spending has been steady and rose for social security. Government debt and regulation has grown, company bail outs have grown from individual to industry wide (banking crisis) and during the pandemic even normalized for all business. The enormous growth of stock trade is not a sign of government retreat but more of government support. Stock buyers bank on trust in state support.

FT A new deal for the young in affluent countries: fixing the housing crisis.

The newspaper starts an editorial series on a new social contract it “believes” is necessary. The series will deal with housing, pensions, jobs, education, climate and tax. The first on housing examines how house prices became unaffordable for starters without outside help. The main solution is more building and local councils benefiting from site development, while the rent sector should also be reformed to give security to tenants.

FT India flies in emergency medical supplies.

The huge population of the country experiences a surge in Covid cases and appeals to allies to help it deal with the existential crisis.

FT Turkey hits at the U.S.A. for Armenian genocide recognition.

For the majority of Turks, calling the 1915 massacre and pogrom “genocide:  would impugn their nation’s founding myths and leaders, and would be tantamount to admitting a historical lie. The U.S.A. action indicates Turkey’s diminishing strategic importance in the region, according to a think tank cited.

April 24

FT Germany’s non-ideological left shows appetite for political power.

The new leader stated that she wants to make an offer to the whole of society: an invitation to lead the diverse, strong, wealthy country toward a good future. And added that honestly is needed: “change is necessary”. Originally focused on environmental change, the party is now soliciting government leadership. Its benefits from the stepping down of Merkel as Christian Democratic leader.

FT Death of Chad leader spells uncertainty for Sahel.

Déby was a military tactician through and through and that was a reason Paris and Washington liked him so much. He successfully made himself useful if not indispensable for the global power brokers and change happens shortly after changes in Libya that is also affecting Russia’s Africa policy. The rebels also had ties to deserted Chadian military. What happens to the rest of society does not matter them all much.

FT An ordinary man who became a global symbol, the background of a verdict against a police officer in the U.S.A.

Police brutality became problematic when recorded and spread. It exposed racial prejudice. If this is a way of justice applied, the future of rule of law is uncertain. Still, this case is worth remembering.

April 23

FT Chad’s warrior dynasty will do little to end Islamist threat.

Déby’s allies in the west spent generous words for a man who presided over a fearsome security apparatus that suppressed all opposition, whose authority did not go much further than the barrel of the gun. Claimed to be effective in their regional struggle against Islamists the reckoning will now come in a nation four times as big as Germany with 16 m citizens, ranking 187 on the U.N. development list.

FT Is Myanmar on the road to becoming a failed state?

The country half the size of Chad has ethnic groups in conflict with central power for many decades. The military thought they could do away with the popular civil leader in a coup. Peaceful protest started to become violent and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights warns for the echo of Syria 2011. The regional group ASEAN put up a summit but did only invite the coup leader. The civil leaders call on international help but denounce the failed state rhetoric.

TT Chad rebels trained by Russia march on heart of Africa.

The killed president’s funeral is a high stakes event with French president and foreign minister attending. Meanwhile rumors prevail that parts of the army are in revolt. The rebels work from bases in Eastern Libya and are trained under the custody of its power brokers, among them Russians. Said one commentator: “The Russians know how to make sense of chaos”.

NYT U.S.A. Preparing to Declare That Atrocities by Turkey Against Armenia Were Genocide.

This step would be an indication of the government’s human rights objectives. Modern day Turkey has always admitted the bloody character of the conflict but warned that calling it genocide would trigger a response from them. The Armenians welcome the decision and see it as an historical precedent. At least 29 other countries have taken similar steps in the past— mostly in Europe and the Americas, but also Russia and Syria.

April 22

FT Verdict in U.S.A. is milestone in the country’s approach on police accountability.

About 1.000 persons are killed by police each year. Since 2005, 140 cases occurred of police being arrested on charges of murder or manslaughter as a result of an on-duty shooting. Of the 97 cases that have concluded, only seven resulted in murder convictions. More than half were dismissed or resulted in acquittals. Some were reduced to lesser offences. While laws vary by state, prosecutions generally crumble on the provision that officers may use deadly force if they reasonably believe themselves to be in imminent danger. In California, the law has been rewritten: “reasonable” became “necessary”.

April 21

FT Chad president and ally to west killed ‘on the battlefield’.

Déby, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, had extended his 30 years in power by winning a sixth term in elections this month. His army was considered very effective in the struggle against terrorism. The country will go into a 18 months interim period before elections will be held. Déby’s son took over as an interim.

FT Regulators join forces to rein in Big Tech.

Germany, Australia and UK unite to take on likes of Google and Facebook and warn industry that promises will not be enough in the fight against unfair competition. The three regulators said the pandemic had exacerbated dangerous concentration trends, and said they were taking an increasingly skeptical view of the benefits of tie-ups.

FT Corporate America’s woke moment (social justice) won’t last.

The substance of CEO liberalism is civic: it is racial justice and the electoral franchise that most exercise the bosses. Precious causes, but cost less. It is when the definition of virtue expands to matters of tax, wage settlements and union rights that executives will regret making ethics as well as returns the measure of their work.

NYT In a Charged Environment, France Tackles Its Model of Secularism.

The century old compromise how to deal with religious conviction and organization falters due to increased pluralism in society. The minister of citizenship set up a think tank of 6 persons considered experts, four of them known for strict adherence of the French model of secularism. It comes at a moment in which law making is just concluding and not the other way around.

April 20

FT The fourth estate needs more active support.

An independent press goes hand in hand with protecting rule of law. In recent years a free press has become threatened in more European countries in cases where power positions were focused.

FT ‘Defund the police’ slogan provokes U.S.A. policy debate.

Previously a fringe concept, the slogan is becoming mainstream due to incidents of colored people mistreated by the police. Polls show that most Americans are against the idea but police budgets are determined locally and that is where changes can happen.

TT Church of England head demands ban on Non-Disclosure Agreements after BBC exposed racist abuse incident.

The church head Justin Welby said: “In every large group of people you’ll find people with racist ideas. But within the church and institutions of the church we have to stamp that out”. Welby wants sinful racist people in church “to come into contact with the God of love and forgiveness who changes them and transforms them”. The TV program interviewed the churches former race relations advisor.

TT President Xi of China put forward his vision for a fairer world order that challenges the “hegemony” of big countries, in a thinly veiled attack on America.

Xi proposed his own concept of global governance by “a community with a shared future for mankind”. “In state-to-state relations, the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual trust must be put front and center,” Xi said. He rejected any foreign intervention with his country’s internal affairs.

NYT ʻFollow the Party Foreverʼ: China Plans a Communist Centenary Bash.

The government pushes pomp and propaganda ahead of the anniversary, but at the same time stepping up efforts to limit dissent. The Ministry of Civil Affairs is leading a nationwide crackdown against “illegal” nonprofit organizations, including religious and social groups, as part of efforts to ensure a “good environment” for the centenary.

April 19

FT Egyptian women attack new family laws.

Females are considered to be protected by males and institutions like schools, hospitals and religious institutions insist on male participation in female triggered decision making. It is argued that other Muslim majority countries are more advanced on gender rights. In words the country’s president promotes female rights and the government has 8 female ministers.

FT South Africa recommends restarting J&J shots.

Lifting of the pause should be conditional on “strengthened screening and monitoring of participants who are at high risk of a blood-clotting disorder”. So far J&J shots were the only vaccine provided in the country. To date no blood-clotting incident has been reported among the countries 0,3 m health workers that have been vaccinated.

FT The U.S.A. should invest in human infrastructure.

Does caring for humans count as infrastructure? It’s a big debate in the US right now. The government not only wants to mend transport and facilities but also care systems. Industry is more and more automated but care can use those who lose their job. Done well care jobs can reinforce productivity in other sectors and the health of society. In rich and poor countries alike, investment still focuses primarily on physical capital. It’s time to recognize that, perhaps more than any other form, human capital is the infrastructure of the 21st century.

FT The limits of China’s taming of tech.

The authorities gave tech companies one month to fix anti-competitive practices in order to create a commercially open and competitive internet. But such antitrust measures do not extend to state-owned monopolies. Chinese multinationals are using the advantage of a protected home market to build up resources that they then deploy in competition with western counterparts abroad.

TT Five Eyes on China cut to four as New Zealand puts trade first.

The Anglophone countries partnership on China was recently broadened and began to issue statements as a single entity. The NZ foreign minister declared that bilateral ties with China were put first, invoking traditional symbols to underline the new direction.

April 17

FT Allies of jailed Myanmar elected leader set up ‘unity government’ against junta.

The parallel government will include representatives of Myanmar’s ethnic minority groups in senior roles. However, the formation of the civilian unity government coincides with escalating violence by the junta, a deteriorating economy and a widening of the conflict into more states.

NYT Hong Kong Court Sentences Jimmy Lai and Other Pro-Democracy Leaders to Prison.

A Hong Kong court on Friday sentenced Mr. Lai to 12 months in prison for his role in a peaceful demonstration in 2019 against Beijing’s encroachment over the semiautonomous territory. A few other leaders even higher sentences. The sentences fell short of the maximum of five years in prison the defendants had faced.

April 16

FT In Iran hard liners benefit over moderates for the successful weathering of sanctions.

The hardliners claim that relations with western states are not part of their security and economic doctrine. Even Europe is not attractive any more as they have no power. An early renewal of the nuclear deal is therefore unlikely. The presidential election in June are a testcase. Hardliners hope for a high turnout, despite that being beneficial for the reformist side.

NYT Eritrean Troops Continue to Commit Atrocities in Ethiopian region Tigray, the U.N. top humanitarian official tells Security Council in private briefing.

Ethiopian PM Abiy gave assurances of the leaving of the Eritreans after he flew to Eritrea last month. Instead the troops began to hide their identity by wearing Ethiopian uniforms.

April 15

FT Tanzania’s president draws line under Magufuli era.

With the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and an apparatus still packed with Magufuli appointed the new president in front of top figures in the country publicly announced to move back to international standards on the pandemic. Replacements in the administration are focused on winning back foreign investment trust.

FT U.S.A. declares end to its war effort in Afghanistan.

This time a withdrawal is not dependent on conditions on the ground. The effort started after 9/11 and peaked 100,000 combat troops in 2010. 2,500 still to withdraw today. Peace talks faltered and the opponents of the sitting government are expected to benefit. The U.S.A. will continue other support and a narrow anti-terrorism mission.

FT Ecuador’s leader faces struggle against social and economic ills.

The new president’s conservative party is only the fifth party in parliament and bound to face a hard time finding coalitions with his ideological opponents having a majority there. In the background the earlier president Correa (2007 – 2017), who presided over a reduction of inequality, still makes himself felt. Residing in Belgium and convicted in absentia for corruption, he wished the new president luck saying: “This is not the end but a start.”

FT U.S.A. calls on Japan to support Taiwan at White House summit.

The Japan PM is the first foreign leader to visit Biden. Foreign secretaries of the countries already issued a statement on the escalated situation of China vs Taiwan. Some in Japan don’t wish to repeat this on the top level, which would be the first such statement of the two countries since 1969.

FT In the era of social media, it is hard to persuade people to abandon a conspiracy theory.

The trend to belief in conspiracy seen in the U.S.A. has a global significance and thrives in the pandemic era and individualization of communication. Getting involved can be instant, getting rid of it an uphill battle. In addition some of the groups promoting de-radicalization have proved controversial in and of themselves. Societies can be robbed of their basic shared set of facts, also known as “social contract”.

FT Do China’s ‘wolf warrior’ diplomats have any bite?

The article gives examples of China’s attempts of countering outside human rights criticism. A tweet of its embassy in Ireland recently had the remark: “The wolf is the wolf, not the lamb. BTW, China is not a lamb.” It is argued that these activities mainly focus internal demands while more covert advocacy is far more successful towards China’s adversaries.

April 14

FT China’s high stakes engagement with Iran.

China recently visited all important Middle East countries except Israel and boldly offered direct Israel-Palestinian talks. This looks like a “great rejuvenation” policy to fill the void of a West in terminal decline, as China sees it. Part of it is energy control in its military context.

FT Crisis in Syria cracks bedrock of support from Alawi minority.

Alawi’s, a historically marginalized sect that makes up just 15 per cent of Syria’s 17 m population, dominate the state apparatus for many decades. The state has turned into a rent seeking military machine, unable to sustain economic opportunity. Traditional support for the regime also falters.

April 13

FT Sibling rivalry bodes ill for the future of Jordan.

The country’s strategic position in the region is under siege and Jordan claims the Saudi’s are involved. The custody of the Jerusalem’s Islamic sites plays in the background. Internally the question is if the country can longer afford the social contract whereby East Bankers are guaranteed state jobs in the military and civil service while Palestinians run a weak private sector.

FT Europe will confound its critics yet again.

In reality, the threat of an existential crisis destroying the EU is receding. In reality, the EU is a careful and evolving balance between national and supranational power, and between technocracy and democracy. This is strength, also in comparison to other regions and countries in the world.

April 12

FT A new Washington consensus is born.

Once demonstrators saw IMF, World Bank and WTO as a three-headed troll ravaging the world’s poor. Here is the new Washington consensus: Spend big on public health. Fiscal probity is no longer about austerity but about value for money and spending more where the value can be found.

April 10

FT U.S.A. government global corporate tax plans are brave and bold.

Increasing the US corporate profit tax to 28 per cent from 21 per cent would raise an estimated $2tn of additional revenue over 15 years. This can help pay for renewal of infrastructure. The second proposal is more complicated to achieve: a global minimum corporate tax. Perhaps tax havens will take it as a nudge in the right direction. The third proposal is to tax large international companies partly on the share of their sales in host markets would be a major global reform. Thee author considers the plans as enhancing productivity.

FT Boycotting China hosted Olympic Games is not the answer.

It would ruin individual athletes careers and have limited effect, as shows experience with previous similar boycotts. Concerned nations can also limit their officials attendance and media coverage of opening and closing events as a protest.

FT Only a few months ago, the IMF forecast lasting damage because of the pandemic. Now it says the advanced economies will emerge largely unscathed.

The new upbeat is caused by increased positive attitude towards global cooperation. The second signal is the willingness of governments to sustain citizens through the pandemic. A third factor is the performance of science to deliver vaccines. The big question mark is how emerging economies will survive the pandemic.

FT German Federal Government set to curb states’ pandemic powers.

The country struggles with its very decentralized political structures now that the pandemic figures bode ill for the effects of governance.

FT Cuba’s aged leader Castro exit heralds changing of revolutionary guard.

The 89 year old is expected to hand over to a 60-year-old protégé. During the previous party congress five years ago Castro suggested that his generation of the politburo to retire with him.

April 8

FT U.S.A. must summon the courage to reverse course on China.

The U.S.A. won the cold war but China may understand better why Soviet communism failed. The Soviets had not enough regard for their own population. China did recover from that mistake (Mao-ism), while the U.S.A. spends trillions on unnecessary wars and has its own population lagging behind. The new U.S.A. administration doubles down on Trump’s failed China policy.

FT Turkey rebukes China ambassador in rare dispute.

Turkish president Erdogan sees himself as a champion of Muslim causes but in recent years kept quiet on the Uyghurs. Now the Chinese embassy responds to Turkish politicians tweeting about the 30th anniversary of the Uyghurs uprising. In the background a prospective extradition treaty with China plays a role that is being considered for ratification by the Turkish parliament. This treaty is part of Chinese “wolf-warrior” PR strategy to deal with critics.

April 7

FT Mozambique faces an ignored war.

The insurgency began years ago with a local Islamist sect’s clash with the state. There are loose links with ISIS that is keen to brand itself through it. Separatist feelings are broader and also related to resource ownership. Moreover the central government could have sees the signals of eminent attack weeks ahead. This is “breathtakingly shocking and arguably verging on the negligent”.

FT Pakistan military chief took initiative to opens talks to ease India tension.

The back-channel talks are being facilitated by the United Arab Emirates. Any long-lasting peace between the nuclear-armed rivals would redefine the strategic map in Asia. There is nervous flip flopping going on in the background, but strategic regional advantages also look attractive for peace to arrive.

FT Jordanian intrigue points to outside meddling.

“This is a family matter and they are dealing with it in a family way,” said foreign minister Safadi at the weekend. But this neglects that the main plotters had clear contacts to the Saudi rulers. They in turn took the holy cities of Mecca and Medina  from the current Jordan rulers in 1925 — as the price of Saudi detente with Israel.

April 6

FT Latin America’s selective pursuit of justice weaponizes the law.

“For our friends: justice and grace. For our enemies: just the law”. This 19th century saying goes for much of Latin America today. In Brazil the anti-corruption judge convicting the former president, joined the next government. This is just an example of legal weathervanes on the continent that show clear evidence of connection to government rather than independence from government.

FT IMF to boost balance sheets of developing countries.

The fund creates Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s) of 650 bn, much higher then after the 2009 financial crisis. SDR’s are related to a countries economic size but skewed in favor of small countries. Countries can trade with SDR’s, exploiting their economic value.

FT Nigeria’s graduates live hand to mouth as jobs crisis worsens.

Over 5 years the country has produced an monthly average of 300.000 university graduates. Employment —-cannot keep up and the government needs to promote more industries. The crisis triggered a nation wide

banditry which is counterproductive to the same.

April 5

FT In Ethiopia Tigray atrocities jeopardize the pan-Ethiopian drive.

The U.N. recorded over 500 cases of sexual crimes, considering it a tip of the iceberg. Eritrean assistance of the central government is accused but also the Ethiopian army and the Tigray rebels. Even the appointed interim government considers the atrocities a threat to centrally led government of the 110 million citizens nation, 6 % of them Tigrayan.

FT Jordan accuses demoted crown prince of ‘foreign’ plot to destabilize kingdom.

A major sovereignty crisis erupts as a former crown prince is publicly accused of destabilizing his half-brothers reign of the kingdom. His mother sees the accusations as slander. He himself defends himself on social media.

FT Indonesia Sovereign Wealth Fund vows to avoid 1MDB snags.

The example of corruption in the Malaysia SWF hangs low but the fund’s CEO Wirakusumah vows to avoid it. UAE last week pledged $ 10 bn, a tenth of what Indonesia wants to achieve. The U.S.A. and China are courting the country in its favor.

FT In the U.S.A. the grip of former president Trump on the Republican party is still growing.

The blue collar words and while collar behavior of the Republicans forms a constituency that is united in anti-regulation and racial fears. The Republicans work towards the mid-terms that traditionally work in the opposition’s favor and benefit from the “elite leftism’ smell of the Democrats.

NYT In France a student union facilitates closed minority meetings which government sees as a national threat.

The influence of the over a century old subsidized student union that once lobbied for the independence of the country’s most important colony, Algeria, is noticeable as the French senate voted against its “safe space” forums that the students union organizes in the fight against discrimination. It is a pushback against what conservative intellectuals describe as the threat from progressive American ideas on race, gender and post colonialism.

April 3

FT PM defies calls to step down in the Netherlands.

The elections winner narrowly escaped a vote of confidence, but was faced by a vote of censure, following coalition talks that exposed him as trying to silence the major critic that made his former government step down.

April 1

FT Ukraine and Russia accuse each other after Donetsk battle.

The 7 year conflict of the Ukrainian government and Russia backed separatists has erupted. Russia claims the other party violates the ceasefire, claiming to France and Germany there is no alternative to it. The U.S.A. stated it supports Ukraine’s sovereignty “and Euro-Atlantic aspirations”.

FT China now stresses the WHO report on origin of covid virus rules out lab theory.

While the WHO claims restricted access to crucial data on the origins of the corona virus China maintains the report points to a further worldwide search. It considers it a possibility that the virus arrived in the country via frozen food. The WHO head said more research is needed for the lab theory to be outlawed.

March 31

FT WHO chief keeps open possibility virus came from lab leak.

The core of the evidence found by a recent WHO expert field visit pointed to the possible transmission of Covid-19 to humans from animals, either directly or through an intermediate animal host. More research is needed to outlaw lab leaks, said the WHO chief. He further concluded that the expert visit

March 30

FT A second cold war is tracking the first.

It is premature to say that a second cold war is unlikely. Russia may be weak and China technology oriented. The U.S.A. is probably hooked on hegemony, whereas the other two need muscles to accommodate the political advantage on the home front. The EU hoped to strike a trade deal with China in parallel to human rights action, in vain. Prejudice can shape the stalemate.

FT China lending to Africa falls as a debt crisis is feared.

The trend was already set before the pandemic. China fears insolvency as has already happened in Zambia. Ethiopia last month asked for debt relief under the G20 program. An observing institute stresses that the reason for Chinese restraint is fear of failing market. Popular misconception that Chinese behavior directed by asset capture and strategic advance is untrue.

FT Mozambique violence risks regional instability.

The region with the violence is far from the capital, in the past a backwater. Not the scene of Africa’s single biggest investment enterprise. Violence is already going on for decade for reasons of claims of neglect. 2,600 have been killed since 2017. Analysts say that figures from Tanzania and Mozambique probably lead the insurgency together. About half of Cabo Delgado’s population is Muslim, compared to a fifth of Mozambicans overall.

March 29

FT Atrocities of dirty war in Tigray set to haunt Ethiopia.

As foreign media access is loosened, testimonies are bubbling to the surface. But both the federal government as Eritrea claim the break away regional movement TPLF caused the atrocities. Witnesses heavily point to Eritreans. Also the appointed interim government admitted that the border strip is still in Eritrean hands, despite the announcement of their withdrawal.

FT Fresh sanctions may barely dent Fortress Russia.

The country has guarded itself successfully against sanctions. Financial orthodoxy and effective import substitution made it possible not only to weather sanctions but also oil price slump. Though he is often compared with erratic autocrats, Putin has long been relatively careful on macroeconomic policy.

FT The puzzle of a ‘middle class foreign policy’ for the new U.S.A. administration.

Americans blame their squeezed income on China trade. There is a striking difference in the new governments words on foreign and domestic politics. Biden wants to have his foreign policy to be beneficial for American middle class. This proves a real puzzle. Also, because allies now more than before carve their own track.

FT Turkish Cypriots’ two-state stance damps reunification hopes.

Hopes for revived unification talks faltered as the foreign minister of the breakaway part of the country said that Greek Cypriots and the international community must accept the “undeniable reality” of “two separate national entities, two separate states, two separate democracies, two separate peoples”.

March 26

FT Turkey sacrifices women’s protection.

In 2012, Turkey became the first country to ratify the Istanbul convention to combat violence against women. Now the government claims the convention is misused for promoting homosexuality and threatens cultural family values. Equality of sexes would be “against nature”. The government in this way is courting conservative religious groups.

FT India deals blow to global Covid fight by blocking vaccine exports.

The country experiences a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases and is preparing to expand its vaccination campaign to people aged 45 and above on April 1.

FT AstraZeneca and the lessons of vaccine hesitancy.

Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new. The roll out of the AstraZeneca jab is a disaster. The vaccine is a potential workhorse for the developing world – cheap, scalable and easy to store. Suspicion of vaccines is often a proxy for lack of trust in government, a profit-driven pharmaceutical industry or a scientific motive. An anthropological approach is advised to combat fears that does not treat vaccine skeptics as unscientific idiots. Instead, rumors should be seen as “collective problem solving”.

March 25

FT Suez Canal blockage threatens severe disruption to global trade supplies.

A giant container ship blocks the 120-mile long Suez Canal that handles 10 % of both seaborne goods and oil worldwide and even more between China and Europe.

FT Rural South Africa faces long wait for jab roll out.

High death rates in the country are linked to bad infrastructure and mismanaged rural hospitals.

FT At a time of shortages Taiwan company is conducting the global economy.

The company is a global market leader on the most complex chips. In the background is the growing economic conflict between China and the U.S.A. But also other countries are concerned about the dependency on the unknown but very vital Taiwanese company TSMC.

FT The sanctions war between big powers over human rights abuses in China.

Europe belatedly joined the U.S.A. in sanctions for China for its Uyghur and Hong Kong human rights violations and is promptly met by counter sanctions.

March 24

FT US to begin first child allowance experiment.

Since 2003 a Democrat member of congress has been campaigning for direct payments to parents to help support their children, something that most developed countries already do. Finally this is coming off, described as the most significant expansion of the American safety net since 1935. It is reasoned that its expenses will be compensated as children from better of families are doing better in life.

FT Water-sharing pact damps India-Pakistan tensions.

India and Pakistan officials were expected to meet yesterday to discuss a water-sharing pact, in a sign of improving relations between the nuclear-armed rivals following a ceasefire in Kashmir brokered by the United Arab Emirates. The Pakistan army chief delivered a conciliatory speech last week, saying it was time to “bury the past and move forward”. Peace would help “unlock the untapped potential” of south and central Asia, he added.

March 23

FT Canada envoys refused entry to spy trial in China.

The dispute between Ottawa and Beijing that began with the December 2018 arrest of Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada. China held two Canadians for spying in due course, claiming they violated Chinese law.

March 22

FT Sacking of bank governor rattles investors in Turkey.

The government sacked the national bank head for his more conventional monetary policies that enabled an economic recovery but also creates the room for the government to push through their own plans.

FT Britain will urge European Union to avoid vaccine war.

The EU is threatening to close its borders for export of vaccines as the company AstraZeneca are readily available in Britain and in short supply in the EU.

FT India and China: An explosive cocktail of rising temperatures and aggressive road and dam-building threatens the economies and security of the eight countries in the region.

Both countries have extensive programs for electricity supply by dams. These projects carry a lot of geological risks that also threaten the downstream countries. In addition it is a geo political risk.

FT The new U.S.A. government’s brief window to end middle class stagnation.

The election of the new president can be thanked to the pandemic. Economic prospects after that are very positive. However the underlying inequality is a tough case to handle. This requires a new economic agenda.

March 20

FT U.S.A. and China cross swords at ‘reset’ meeting with top officials in Alaska.

The U.S.A. criticized China on human rights issues while China accused the U.S.A. of “cold war mentality”.

FT South African Monarch who ruled through transition from apartheid.

King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu of the Zulu nation died aged 72. He reigned for half a century, through the overthrow of Apartheid and dawn of democracy. He turned to the cultural revival of his people in a bid to reconcile tradition with modernity in the new South Africa. He is also implicated for claims of unlawfully extracting rent, dispossessing women in particular.

March 19

FT Tanzania leader dies after two-week illness.

The president, John Magufuli, died aged 61 after disappearing from public life for more than 2 weeks. The vice-president takes over control. Many rumors surround the last few weeks of the president, who many consider to be a divisive figure and was known for his Covid19 skepticism.

FT Supply chain ‘sovereignty’ will undo the gains of globalization.

States not so long ago pursued agility but nowadays resilience is more in fashion. Threats have replaced challenges. Nations prove vulnerable through their complex global supply chains. Geopolitics and globalization used to run on parallel tracks. The former is gaining from the financial crisis onwards. But nations need to realize resilience cannot be outsourced.

FT China’s war on the credit boom.

The government wants to reduce risks in the financial system by curtaining lending practices. More top-down control by the state of the private banking sector could strangle the private sector and dent long-term economic growth as market.

FT Spy agencies from Great Britain push for curbs on Chinese ‘smart cities’ technology.

The country wants to “remain open” to trade and investment from Beijing, but protect itself from deals that would have “an adverse effect on prosperity and security”, like surveillance systems of citizens.

FT Move to ban a political party in Turkey prompts fury.

Turkey’s pushes to close its second-biggest opposition party. Western countries warned the government that the move violates human rights and threatens democracy.

March 18

FT Peace in Syria remains a mirage after 10 years of war.

Three conflicts converge: minority dominance nationally, the ethno-sectarian conflict led by Iran and a regional war of great powers. Rebels came close to toppling the regime in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Assad was trapped in a shrinking rump state until first Iran and then Russia came to his rescue. He now draws support from licensing war profiteers to effectively expropriate refugee property.

TT High self-esteem breeds laziness and failure.

It is often explained the other way around and it is one of the dangerous ideas to emerge from the 20th century. It is common sense to think priggishness breeds success. Self-esteem supposes that the right to feel good about ourselves precedes the actual doing of any good. It is informed by the quasi-theological idea that human beings are innately good. Self-esteem is anti-social: a means of removing ourselves from the human networks to which we belong.

March 16

FT Poorer nations require support to avoid a lost decade.

The situation after the 2008 debt crisis should be avoided, when emerging markets suffered. This is a perfect moment for the U.S.A. government to show its commitment to multilateralism. The U.S.A. is doing a lot to boost its own economy. Supporting new programs at the IMF will ensure help for emerging market countries as well.

FT Libya takes ‘historic step’ to end chaos.

The vote of confidence from rival members of parliament is important. The new government should lead the country to elections on December 24. The issue of disarming militia is still unresolved and there is still no Minister of Defense. The peace deal has led to regional rapprochement of countries on opposing side of the conflict.

FT Mozambique uses private foreign security contractors against Islamists.

The country’s multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas investments are at stake in a conflict that has more to do with local grievances than foreign Islamists. The army was in disarray last year after the Islamists advance. A Russian contractor was quickly defeated. The South African groups were more successful. They claim to work under government approved contracts and not to have committed human rights violations. Evidence make that doubtful.

March 15

FT Palestine and Israel peace must rest on international law.

Respect for international law cannot be superseded by unilateral and partisan politics. Occupied territories are not merely “disputed”. Ensuring an end to the occupation should be the foundation of a permanent solution. The recent ICC ruling to investigate incidents is a good development. So are elections on both sides of the frontier.

FT By targeting house prices, New Zealand shows the way.

The focus should be on the role of “easy money” in creating instability. Created to advance growth and jobs, it primarily benefited the booming of the financial sector. Research looking back 140 years in 17 major nations has shown that housing booms are happening increasingly before crisis. NZ designation to its national bank to target stability in housing is complicated but necessary. Affordable housing is essential “commodity” for a viable, peaceful society.

FT Nigerian pirates rampage off west Africa coast.

This reminds of the Somalia pirate crisis 10 years ago, but Nigeria is not a failed state. The pirates are mostly from the Niger delta. The slump in oil prices may be an incentive. Former pipeline saboteurs are looking for new opportunity. The Delta is very inaccessible. An EU coordination pilot has not been successful. Sovereignty is a sensitive issue, considering the colonial past.

March 12

FT European Union attempts to win over critics of China trade accord.

The deal was criticized by other countries but now too by human rights organizations, as China has such a bad human rights record.  The EU claims it needs “to find a balance of interests, an economic competitor in the pursuit of technological leadership, and a systemic rival”.

FT Democracy is a risk China is not prepared to take.

The government left no doubt that the recent political changes leave participation in politics only open for patriots, possessors of a “love” defined by the Chinese Communist Party and policed by the state security apparatus. The changes may be caused by the protests, but more so by the overwhelming victory of the opposition in the November 2019 election.

March 11

FT Tanzania president’s absence prompts speculation of illness.

The newspaper reports that the president “has not been to church for two successive Sundays in spite of his devout beliefs”. It is rumored that Magufuli is hospitalized in Nairobi, Kenya. The president has a history of heart problems but also campaigned for ignoring the Covid official approach.

FT Pope’s visit brings hope to Iraqi Christians and beyond.

The visit was loaded with symbolism, wanted to boost the morale of the believers, the cause of pluralism and the prove the sheer weight of this cradle of civilization. The visit to the Iranian-born spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shia majority, who has a dramatic prestige through his role in the years after 2003, was the high point, according to FT. Their message of the visit is countering the narrative of many Arab despots.

FT Houthis call shots in push for Yemen peace.

They launched an offensive to capture Marib, the only Northern area they don’t yet control. One commentator qualified Trump’s designation Houthy as terrorists and Biden’s cancellation without conditions equally stupid. A Saudi official said: “The Houthis must have a role and a say in Yemen in the future but as a minority they can’t expect to dictate to the majority.”

March 10

FT The decline of democracy is not America’s responsibility.

Outside efforts (war, sanctions, example) bear little fruit. Despair at democracy’s decline is natural. Amazement at its survival is more fitting.

FT The growing army of amateur investors.

Fueled by fee-free smartphone apps such as Robinhood and with the help of other social media this is a global trend that is transforming markets. Few in the investment industry took this seriously. Now the amateurs have demonstrated an ability to move markets, the industry wants to understand and plug in to. Some expect it to crash but others see a generation driven innovative activity.

March 9

FT Senegal opposition politician released after mass protests.

The politician, a tax official sacked four years ago after accusing the presidents brother of irregularities, was arrested for disturbing public order en route to court to defend himself for rape charges. Two other politicians were charged with crimes in 2019 which prevented them for participating in the presidential elections. Eight people died in the mass protest with more protests planned. Also in Senegal, feelings about France are fueling the discord.

FT Afghanistan government rails against U.S.A. power-sharing plan.

In a bid to end one of the “forever wars” the U.S.A. presses the Afghan government for “high-level diplomatic effort” with the UN and countries including China, Russia and Iran to “discuss a unified approach” to peace in the war-torn central Asian country. The Afghan government wants to have elections first and their opponents threaten to take up arms again. Chaos may return if the U.S.A. sticks to the former U.S.A. administration pledge to leave by May.

FT In rich countries trade unions are back, an unexpected result of the pandemic.

For 40 years trade union membership was in steep decline, especially among the young. Issues are diversifying. It’s not only about pay but also work quality issues: pacing by robots and monitoring by algorithms. The shift reflects a quiet change in economic orthodoxy. One issue is whether the unions themselves are fit for the future.

TT Deal with the obesity crisis to help curb next pandemic.

In a scientific ranking on pandemic preparedness in 2018 Burundi ranked 177th and Vietnam 50th while the two countries emerge out of the Covid19 statistics best. The reason is obesity in richer countries  that ranked high in the same research.

March 8

FT French interests play role in Francophone Africa’s democratic erosion.

The stepping down of a president after two terms in Niger is a rare exception. France is focused on the terrorist fight. The former colonial power’s influence had kept the countries from developing better democratic institutions.

FT Ecuador’s indigenous leader jubilant as his party enters political mainstream.

He did not make it to the run off of the presidential elections but the big gains in parliament gives him a pivotal role as no party has an absolute majority.

FT A wishful view of China will not benefit the competition.

The Chinese have a perception that the U.S.A. is in decline, they value their own chances in that respect and have an ambitious president. They think they can get away with intellectual property theft, closed home markets and dubious labor circumstances and let their mercantilism take over domination.

March 6

Tensions surround Pope’s visit to Iraq.

“Inside the Pope’s heart, I feel there’s a sort of a call to come to a region that’s in flames,” says the local Cardinal. The pope travels the length of the historic country. Security is the responsibility of the government of Iraq. The trip builds on the Pope’s long time efforts to strengthen relations with the Muslim world, extending his message of “fraternity and social friendship” outlined in his 2020 “Brothers All” encyclical. “

March 5

FT Bubbles can also lead to golden ages of productive growth.

This happened seven times the last 1.000 + years. The legal revolution from 1000, the trade revolution from 1600, the industrial revolution from 1770, the steam revolution from 1820, the electricity revolution from 1870, the mass production revolution in the 1900’s and the information technology from the 1970’s. An AI led revolution is looming. To make it green we need new institutions. Our taxation system should cut the burden on labor and long-term investment returns, and further shift on to materials, transport and dirty energy.

March 4

FT Upcoming G7 in GB: democracies must put their act together.

Like the new U.S.A. administration plan to promote an alliance of democratic countries, it runs the risk turning into anti-Chinese fronts. Note that also Australia, South Korea and India are invited. It is debatable whether the 10 countries have enough in common to be fully united on democratic values or on strategy towards China.

FT The paradox of human progress.

The famous wrong projection of Malthus may turn against humanity in another way. Our ability to create food surpluses and messenger RiboNucleic Acid vaccines is enabled in a destabilizing environment. Pathogens love disequilibrium. Our way of life is better for exchange of knowledge than the life of hunter gatherers but perfect for pathogenic spread.

FT U.S.A. ditches regime change foreign policy that according to the new Secretary of State “however well intentioned, haven’t worked” during the last decades.

Still Mr. Blinken claims his country is “uniquely capable of bringing countries together to solve problems no country can solve on its own.” Also, he claims China filled the voids of the last four years but not for the better. “The world does not organize itself.”. This leaves the impression that an alternative policy has not been invented.

March 3

FT Translators working for AFP and FT held in Ethiopian region Tigray.

The incidents happened shortly after the federal government allowed press to travel to the region. A NYT translator was also arrested but later released.

FT Opportunity knocks in EU as France finds a pro-European head of government appointed in Italy.

The former European bank head Draghi has wide support at home and credit throughout the EU. This is a welcome addition to France as the centrally located nation promotes greater European integration.

FT Google and others have to prove AI technology can be used for good.

Algorithms are opinions embedded in code, said one researcher. They shape our economies and societies in important but mostly invisible ways. Google is exposed as it fired dissident researchers. Societal acceptance is an issue for some companies. Comparison is made with conferences to reach an ethical basis for DNA science. Practicing best principles is not simple.

TT Iraqi Christians hope for miracle from Pope Francis’s visit.

The visit follows massive emigration of Iraqi Christians (1987, 1.4 m; today 0,25 m). The pope is expected to address that problem and visit biblical historic places. He will also have a private audience with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, 90, the country’s most senior Shia leader. The visit reminds of the courageous successful papal visit to CAR in 2015.

NYT Myanmar Ambassador to U.N. adhering to elected government does not want to leave.

A possible show down looms at the U.N. The coup leaders  appointed a new person. The U.N. acknowledged that both diplomats “can come into the building” and that who is recognized as Myanmar’s representative “will be an issue up for member states.” More precisely the 9 member credentials committee headed by a Tanzanian diplomat.

March 2

FT It is not up to consumers to police modern slavery.

The truth is that even companies don’t control the supply chain. Legislation is one way to enforce an improvement of the position of workers and other factors. And this includes legislation at the place of origin of production.

FT Big enterprise poses a threat to the Chinese state.

Alibaba chief Ma went out of sight. This is no surprise as he always said he would do anything the state would ask of him. The Chinese president wants to encourage private enterprise while asserting total Communist party control over the actions, incentives and even thoughts of entrepreneurs.

FT Poorer countries need more global assistance.

Rich countries could turn to the capital markets for pandemic relief. If they are serious about returning to multilateralism they should offer less fortunate countries a new round of special drawing rights (SDR) through IMF.

TT Burma: Asian nations to condemn using live ammunition against unarmed protesters and demand Suu Kyi’s release but reject sanctions against junta.

Many will consider the suggestion that the military could negotiate with a democratically elected government as legitimizing the coup.

March 1

FT Myanmar’s worst day yet.

The military upscales violent dispersal of protests with 18 peaceful protesters dead in one day.

February 27

FT U.S.A. clears path to global deal on taxing big tech groups.

The change of heart on the part of the U.S.A. would eventually enable levies on large technology companies, in an effort to prevent them from paying little or no tax on their sales.

FT Nigerian investors ignore warnings and plunge into bitcoin.

The Central Bank of Nigeria warns against losing meagre savings on a highly speculative asset. Nigerians turned to bitcoin when the government froze bank accounts of protest against police brutality leaders last autumn.

FT Bandit abduction of 317 girls adds to pressure on Nigeria government.

While banditry affects the entire country, from the rugged north-west to the oil-rich Niger Delta region in the south, some northern governors have entered into peace talks with the bandits. The president said “criminals are criminals”and warned the governors against “ethnic profiling”.

TT Russia calls the shots in Libya and not their contractors.

With Turkey backing the other side, neither seems to plan to go and with their superior military power seem to dominate, thus incapacitating the national dynamics.

NYT Young generation puts ʻOld Menʼs Clubʼ that dominates Japan on notice.

Sexist remarks of a leader of the Olympic movement dislodged him. Male seniority conventions are still strong in many stratifications of society. Broader change is likely to come only slowly.

February 26

FT African price for Russia vaccine blunts attacks on ‘unethical’ west.

A price war is developing with manufacturers trying to hide. Africa is seen as a major market.

FT Armenia military accused of coup plot.

Following the defeat of Armenia against  Azerbaijan politics hit out after senior army officers demand PM resignation.

FT Myanmar protests imperil economy as banks close.

Bank staff are joining civil disobedience protests following the military coup. Fears for suffering poor are part of the threats.

FT Xi takes credit for China anti-poverty success.

The one party state in a propaganda push claims to have elevated 750 million people out of extreme poverty since 1990, though the poverty level standard is lower than the recommended level of the World Bank for lower middle-income countries.

FT Geopolitical supremacy will depend on computer chips.

Semiconductors vie with vaccines as the must-have resources for any nation state.

February 25

FT Rich countries should reassign funds to Africa to beat Covid.

The writer, under-secretary general of the UN, argues that the U.S.A. can support the continent in a way that saves lives and delivers a return on investment.

FT China focuses on Africa as Belt and Road lending decreases.

Lending to Africa made up 37 per cent of the total in 2017 – 2020, higher than its 21 per cent share of the total in the years 2013-16. Nigeria is on top.

February 24

FT Nigeria sharpens focus on infrastructure.

Critics voice corruption concerns and experts think it barely makes a dent in the 30 year needs to catch up, but the rail link from the north to Niger could be a game changer for the country.

February 23

FT South Africa ‘state capture’ inquiry tested as Zuma faces jail.

The former president refuses to appear to testify. Soon the high court needs to decide to jail him in order to comply. If that fails, lawlessness in the courts will be the result, according to the deputy Attorney General.

FT Brazil president replaces chief of state oil company by army General.

A rise in oil prices provoked anger. The market responded by a slide in stock price. Fears are that the President will take a more interventionist approach before next years elections.

February 22

FT Colombia’s treatment of Venezuelan refugees is a global model, says UNHCR High Commissioner.

Copying best practices of the past the country grants access to social rights before more permanent solutions can be found. Colombia is a contemporary example passing this test. A sign of hope in a world of 80 million refugees.

FT Uber judgment in Britain set to reshape the gig economy.

The taxi app is told to treat their mobility providers as personnel, arguing the company defines the business conditions for its subcontractors.

FT Why once successful countries get left behind

Growth is a race to the top. It means exploiting new opportunities that generate enduring advantages in high-productivity sectors. If you loose or not engage in them, you are out.

February 20

FT The billionaire turned philanthropist Microsoft co-founder offers four ideas to engage business to fight climate change.

After explaining that current policy ideas are insufficient to balance modern lifestyle Bill Gates suggests business to mobilize capital to reduce Green Premiums (difference between fossil fuel sustained efforts compared to clean activity), buy green products, invest in R&D and help shape public policy.

FT The west holds another round of pledges to maintain their social model.

The U.S.A. president during a podcasted conference told the G7 countries to“prepare together for long-term strategic competition with China”. He argued this is a contest between democracy and autocracy. Like Trump, he told the Europeans to raise their defense spending.

FT Tanzania shuns vaccines.

Leading politicians deny the global standard to fight the pandemic and turn to alternative treatment. The health minister publicly produced and consumed a smoothy with  ginger, onions, lemon and pepper as a medicine. The public denial is a global risk as the virus variants travel without borders.

FT Rapper’s jailing fuels anger in Spain.

The singer involves in the regional independence movement. The government accuses him of insulting the monarchy. This indictment echoes response to protest in Thailand.

FT Australia’s Big Tech fight does not provide a model.

Taxing nationally involves in intercorporate competition. A multi-faceted and multinational approach is needed to ensure tech giants do not distort competition or abuse their dominance. Governments and regulators need to co-operate across borders to police the biggest tech companies.

February 19

FT Reality bites for new U.S.A. administration to loosen Saudi ties.

To deliver the election promise is a challenge that is only topped by the China and Russia problems. The centrally located energy supplier will not change its human rights record, while it opposes a change of U.S.A. policy on Iran.

FT World Bank’s private sector arm gets first African head.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, has appointed Makhtar Diop, a Senegalese former finance minister, as its managing director. Traditionally this position went to a European.

FT Indian farmers’ protests highlight PM’s flaws.

While farm reform is important, building consensus is too with a population of 40 % involved in farming. Government has shown an instinct for the right reforms but its conspiracy focused and authoritarian response to criticism is counterproductive.

TT Ethiopian worshipers risked lives to save Ark of the Covenant kept in Axum St Mary of Zion church from soldiers.

At the end of November the city of Axum was retaken by the government forces. Up to 500 people were killed in the proximity of the church. Government forces and their Eritrean allies showed no mercy to find TPLF forces. Three months later the foreign ministry admitted that “rape, plunder, callous and intentional mass killings” could occur in a conflict where “many are illegally armed”.

February 18

FT UN to raise allegations of UAE rulers daughter.

In a 2019 video from the bathroom in the villa where she is kept the daughter (in her mid 30’s) claims to be imprisoned. The ruler with business and sport interests in the U.K. sees the matter as private.

FT The digital renmimbi rolled out by China brings the surveillance state closer.

The system is a step further than corporate digital payment systems. It puts all financial transactions on the radar of the state. Beijing is far ahead of a long tail of national governments that are starting to experiment with the idea.

February 17

FT Africa should strive for its own ‘Nordic values’.

The author’s experience in Ghana and across Africa is that the inclusion of women in leadership groups significantly advances debate and decision-making at the most senior levels of business. This in turn leads to better returns for investors in the private sector and improves the performance of public sector companies.

FT China explores curbs on rare earth exports to U.S.A.

Defense applications trigger the search for options. Including rare earths in the export control regime would motivate Beijing’s rivals to accelerate their own production capacity. Raw material is sent to China for its higher tolerance for pollution.

FT Saudi Arabia presses foreign groups to move HQs.

For many companies this would mean moving their regional headquarters from Dubai, which so far has a better infrastructure. The Saudi’s are involved in a heavy top-down effort to diversify their economic base.

FT Indonesia picks executives of sovereign wealth fund.

They have “cut their teeth in the private sector”. This shows Jakarta wants “to strike a professional tone and pay attention to governance structure.” Unlike most sovereign wealth funds, which typically manage a country’s surplus reserves, Indonesia is seeding the new vehicle with up to $6bn.

February 16

FT The risks from a dash to chip nationalism.

Rethinking of global technology supply chains is a natural response to the current political climate. State subsidy and direction can create new industries, but it can also lead to flabby and inefficient also-rans.

FT South African scientists lead virus response.

The country’s national laboratory capacity is an important contribution to the global pandamic response. The capacity was already available from the HIV/Aids response.

FT Spain’s center-right felled in Catalonia poll.

The separatist parties, who have some of their leaders imprisoned, won a majority and likely fuel the feelings for independence despite the constitutional restraints.

TT Ancient monastery ‘looted and bombed’ in Ethiopia.

The acts look like cultural cleansing with the Eritrean troops involved.

February 15

FT Emerging nations have better post-pandemic prospects.

Emerging nations are advancing a range of reforms to raise productivity and boost growth.

FT Egyptian women’s struggle for rights.

There was a brief period of more public sphere but the motivation was a determination to punish “immorality” rather than a commitment to protecting women’s safety. In Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, women have made legal gains in recent decades. Often, however, achievements have been presented as gifts from rulers keen to burnish their modernizing credentials.

FT Sahel leaders consider talks with jihadis to end decade of extremism.

France has always rejected talks but also threatens to pull back its effort. Leaders think the conflict will not be solved militarily.

February 12

FT U.S.A. faces test in turning high moral rhetoric into global pragmatic policy.

Words need to be followed by actions, choices need to be made if democracy is promoted and at home there are also questions re. rule by example.

FT Tensions rise in Ecuador as poll results roll in.

A candidate of a well-organized minority might win a place in the decisive run off at the expense of a candidate who was considered to be in a more promising position.

FT China bars BBC world news channel.

The media dispute started by the UK media watchdog barring China global television network as it found it was editorially controlled by the Chinese government.

FT Botched Moscow visit is a wake-up call for the EU.

The embryonic foreign ministry of the EU so far only has credit for the Iran nuclear deal and maintained Crimea annexation sanctions. The candor EU representative was efficiently humbled by his hosts, exposing perceived global clout. The EU’s real leverage stems from its policies on trade, regulation and market access.

TT Industrial farming combines care of the soil with much better food.

It is a peculiar business, seasonal and erratic; output is difficult to assess statistically. When you delve beneath the surface the sector looks leaner and greener. If you compare the overall productivity of the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector with the rest of the economy, it turns out that it’s one of the strongest performers. The next big thing these days is something called regenerative farming.

February 11

FT The tragedy of Ethiopia’s conflict in Tigray.

There are credible accounts of massacres on all sides, including from militiamen from the neighboring Amhara region and troops from bordering Eritrea. Witnesses report house-to-house killings, rapes and the looting of commercial buildings and churches. Some Tigrayans smell a plot to divide their region between Eritrea and Amhara. Without a broader national dialogue, the tensions that erupted in Tigray will erupt somewhere else.

FT Islamist party plots greater influence in Israeli parliament.

The leader wants to emphasize policy by strategic behavior towards those who want Netanyahu as premier and those who vow to send him to the opposition to face his corruption trial as a backbencher.

FT Spanish Catalan separatists look to Scotland in fight for referendum.

The situation differs a lot. In Catalonia there is a very divided population, part of which feels very Spanish. Also, the united Spain is enshrined in the constitution. In Britain there is less centralist momentum.

February 10

FT Plunge in migration risks global revival, says OECD.

OECD, the think tank of rich countries, laments the plunge in migration due to the pandemic. Its indigenous ageing and shrinking population can in many cases not fill the gap, risking economic revival.

FT South Africa’s vaccine plans in tatters after variant concerns emerge.

The country had last week received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine. Initial study results show little protection for moderate cases of the variant in South Africa. Peer review and severe cases still forthcoming. Modification of the vaccine is likely.

FT WHO’s trip to Wuhan, China, fails to solve mystery of virus origins.

With the foreign ministry and global press receiving the medical experts it proves to be a political process. The experts had to reassure the press that they were ready to face all questions. They arrived one year late and with time limitations on field work. The Chinese government attitude reminds of the Boeing corporate approach in the 737 Max accident investigation.

February 9

FT Anglosphere sees eye to eye on China.

Unlike Germany & France the English speaking countries find themselves in a confrontational group towards the increasingly assertive China. And China feels this too. The government commented aggressively about it.

FT Democratic Republic of Congo on alert after Ebola outbreak.

A farmer whose wife survived Ebola earlier died. It happened  in the north-east of the country. This might be the start of the 12th outbreak of the virus in the African nation since the first cases were detected in 1976.

February 6

FT Libya edges nearer to unifying as interim government picked in Geneva talks.

There will be a three-member presidency council, led by a diplomat with eastern support base. A businessman and politician from Misurata will be prime minister. The solution is the outcome of political deal-making and not national reconciliation.

WTO leader will likely be Nigeria candidate.

The Korean candidate steps down after a prolonged leadership battle. Earlier the U.S. blocked the Nigerian candidate.

FT U.S.A. returns to UN Human Rights Council.

The previous government left in part because of perceived Israel bias. The new government emphasized the potential of the Human Rights Council to bring to light the worst human rights records. It can serve as an important forum for those fighting injustice and tyranny.

February 5

FT Classic globalization cracks, but now we enter the era of e-globalization.

A Romania based software company reached 35 bn valuation in New York with something that can be done anywhere where intelligent minds reside in a peaceful and efficient environment. Perhaps the company is swallowed by big tech, but it can just as well create its own breeding soil.

IMF urges Arab leaders to take action or risk new ‘lost decade’.

The former Lebanese finance minister, now regional IMF head, stressed that “work should start now on high-quality investment in green infrastructure and digitalization.” He further lamented the rampant youth unemployment. Education and a national contract of shared responsibility and decision making are important.

February 4

FT Ukraine shuts Russia-linked TV channels.

The president hails free speech but shuts down three domestic TV channels legally owned by a pro-Russia oligarch. His party also ousted a pro-Russia parliamentarian hit by U.S. sanctions as he promoted “fraudulent and unsubstantiated allegations” against Joe Biden.

FT Hungary and Poland set sights on social media ‘censorship’.

Judit Varga, Hungary’s justice minister, said last week Hungary would not tolerate intrusions on free speech and “deliberate, ideological” censorship by anonymous corporate censors on social media. The EU vice-president on digital policy wants to get EU wide regulations in place.

NYT Is Indiaʼs response to farmer protests part of a pattern?

Social media curbs are criticized causing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a rare statement that “these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity”.

February 3

FT Containing China is not a feasible option.

The one issue Trump and Biden unite is the belief that China should be contained. Most countries want good relations with both the U.S.A. and China. Defending freedom takes more than what the U.S.A. produced in the last 20 years. Keep in mind that China’s party rule is supported by a cohesive polity.

TT Doctors in Burma go on strike in protest at coup.

The democratic leader has been charged for importing and using handheld radio’s! Rumors she was charged with treason (a capital offence) seem false. The doctors use similar protest signs as the Thai and Hong Kong protesters.

TT Here’s how the next world war might start.

There is an AI arms race under way that has fundamentally changed the way we look at the vulnerability of organizations and states. That’s a force for good if it buys politicians more time to assess the threat. But not if the data has been poisoned.

February 2

FT Myanmar coup reverses a fragile democracy.

The military take over with a claim of election fraud halts the imperfect democratic process that started 10 years ago when military rule gave way partly. In the meantime the democratic leader has a proven domestic popularity. Her detention will be followed globally.

FT Ethiopia follows Chad in appeal for virus crisis debt relief.

This also follows Zambia’s default in late 2020. The debt relief scheme requires borrowers to reach agreement with private creditors as well as official lenders.

FT Sahel pullback reflects French frustration.

The French president considers the lack of success in fighting terrorism as a problem of embeddedness, while the International Crisis Group suggests that military dominance in the response is a reason of the French “foundering”.

FT Lagos calls for federalism in Nigeria to boost investment in regions.

In the first three quarters of 2020 foreign direct investment into Nigeria trailed Ghana. Lagos lost the investment in a private hospital to Ghana as it could not offer benefits in the prerogative of the central government. Yet, for the governor’s power he has not much to show for, said one consultant.

February 1

FT Cabling Africa: the great data race.

Traffic speed is exploding but still very low. Cable networks are being built. But there is more in infrastructure that is needed for reliable services. Global providers realize the enormous potential of the continent.

January 30

FT Has the pandemic burnt itself out in India?

With the rate of new infections falling sharply, the country might be at an early stage of herd immunity.

FT Taiwan economic growth outpaces China.

This happens for the first time over a full year since 1990. Electronic exports soared but also domestic demand. The country applied a very successful anti-Corona policy.

FT Europeans vent anger over vaccination turmoil.

Jab supply faces problems, not only by delays at producer level, but also distribution suffers in many countries. Both the Union and the country governments are under critique.

January 29

FT The battle over Scotland is under way in the United Kingdom.

62 per cent of Scottish voters voted against Brexit in 2016. The Scottish nationalists threaten to hold another independence vote. Central government is giving mixed signals. There is a risk of what happened in Spain with Catalonia.

FT Kyrgyzstan president denies plans to create dictatorship.

With revolutions in 2005, 2010 and last year and 30 PM’s in 29 years the elections gave a majority for changing to presidential rule. The winning man Mr Japarov laughed off jibes from critics that he was a “Kyrgyz Trump”.

FT Philippines president Duterte support holds firm despite mishandling of pandemic.

Some allude his ratings to cash handouts to poor but another reason is that the opposition does not show a viable alternative to the popular strongman posture of the president.

TT Britain being taught the wisdom of self-sufficiency through COVID.

The perceived wealth through globalization has its flaws as the country becomes more dependent on foreign decision making. Hence the need for industrial policy has surfaced.

January 28

FT Israel PM warns of ‘arms race’ between mutations and virus.

The PM claims it’s just a question of time before a strain is hit that the current vaccines won’t work on.

FT Tunisia cabinet reshuffle backed as protests rage.

Weak coalitions in the fragmented parliament have been unable to push ahead with measures to speed up economic growth and solicit IMF loans. The conflict also shows the disagreements between PM and President.

FT How China tackles fintech risk and regulation.

The author is a senior executive in China and argues for balanced regulation to secure fairness and oppose monopoly like behavior.

FT Big Tech’s reckoning over paying for news.

The newspaper editorial argues that a viable fourth estate is essential for democracy. The article follows the decision of the Australian government demanding Big Tech to pay for news in support of traditional media.

January 27

FT China’s mobilisation campaigns are a blunt force.

The government avoids resembling efforts to the Mao-past. Improving basic livelihoods is replaced by driving urbanization through resettlement. The idea is that it would increase consumption to reinforce the rise of a middle class. Integrating them into the capitalist state economy will be another challenge. The stakes are high as the government wants to demonstrate state power.

FT Nigeria’s military chiefs replaced amid worsening security crisis.

President Buhari has long delayed this move and even longer that Boko Haram is “technically defeated”. Security problems are much larger. Large parts of the country, particularly in the northeast and north-west, are outside government control.

FT India Farm protests overwhelm police.

Organizers claim that 100,000 tractors and other vehicles travelled to the capital as part of the months long protests. The farmers protest liberalizing the agricultural market. The government offered delaying the law making; the farmers want the government to repeal the laws.

January 26

FT Russian opposition leader is a real threat to current ruler.

The FT columnist considers Navalny a threat to Putin as his rallies nationwide, is young(er) and persistent.

FT Some fixes for the flaws in American democracy.

After the tumultuous elections an investor lists some possible improvements of the democratic institutions of elections and offices of governance and legislators.

TT A reclusive billionaire from Georgia retires from politics for the second time.

His claim is that Georgia is now “a genuine democracy”. He claims to donate most of his fortune to charity and that he will not return to politics: “Even if Hitler awakens from the dead.”

January 25

FT Africa can teach America how to reform after the Trump era.

Humility is one feature that would be helpful. Biden said that “democracy is fragile”. Perhaps they misapprehend their freedom myths. In Africa the movement can be noticed in the other direction: from tyranny to more sturdy institutions.

Indonesia’s Mr Fixit shows how to get a job done. 

A Christian born on the island of Sumatra, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan is involved in many things from raising funds for the new sovereign wealth fund to co-ordinating one of the world’s biggest vaccination programmes.

January 22

FT Ethiopia conflict stirs aid access concerns.

The federal government security operation proclaimed completed has exposed ethnic fault lines. UNHCR sees “fresh signs of destruction” at two camps hosting nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees in Tigray who have fled Eritrea.

FT German head of government warns of Biden arguments but expresses optimism for U.S.A. ties.

Merkel claims Europe will have to take on more military and diplomatic responsibility in the world. But under Biden there will be “much more scope for political agreement”.

FT Spain’s central government resists regions’ calls for more powers.

The conflict is over controlling the pandemic. Some regions want stricter measures, while the government still studies what caused the collapse of its previously successful policy and sticks to central government prerogatives.

NYT Ethiopia troops hunt former leaders in their tribal homelands.

Former Ethiopia foreign minister is killed in the fighting but the big leaders are still at large. The Tigray separatist army is not as big as analysts assumed. The central government works with neighboring Eritrea that was once engaged in a bloody war with the former Ethiopia leadership.

January 21

FT New U.S.A. president needs to repair state institutions.

A first priority is some semblance of bipartisanship. The Rule of Law also involves facilitating the outgoing president’s impeachment process. The world must hope to see him succeed.

FT India’s precarious investment climate.

A record on foreign investments masks the overriding trend is still through joint ventures or by taking minority stakes in companies owned by powerful Indian entrepreneurs. Also, international ruling on two tax cases is not being accepted by government. India snubs the opportunity for diversification of foreign investment from China.

TT France will not apologize to Algeria for what president Macron calls a “crime against humanity”.

The discussion is triggered after a commissioned report is published that documents the problem. Occupation of Algeria started in 1830 and ended in 1962 after a bloody war of liberation. Around 2 million people of Algerian descent live in France and are considered a safety risk.

TT Unilever commits to help build a more inclusive society.

By 2030 all 60.000 suppliers to the company should pay a living wage to workers and under-represented groups and youth get billions of extra support every year.

NYT Chinaʼs Oppression of Muslims in Xinjiang, Explained.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington tweeted that treated Uighur women were “no longer baby-making machines.” The Communist Party for geo-political reasons has ruled the region of different ethnic composition with a heavy hand since it took over control in 1949. In 2009 there was violence In regional capital Urumqi. From there China has stepped up control, culminating in detaining over 1 million people for “vocational training”. The global response to the repression in Xinjiang has been relatively muted.

January 20

FT Shipping costs quadruple to record highs on China-Europe ‘bottleneck’.

Thousands of containers are stranded empty in Europe which cripples the supply chain from the other side, China.

FT Insulting royals leads to 43 year prison sentence for a female protester in Thailand.

Since November 54 new cases have been taken up in an apparent new boost of confidence by the authorities. The king lives most of his time in extreme luxury in Germany.

January 19

FT Turkey pushes into Africa with the number of embassies raised from 12 to 42 in ten years.

The strong state regional power has multiple goals and sees the opportunity of Africa as a pivotal force.

FT Belarus loses right to co-host world ice hockey tournament.

Covid19 but also political instability was cited as the reason. The main sponsor, a central European car maker,  for 28 years announced it would stop if the plans would go ahead in the country that detained 30.000 protesters since last summer.

FT Tunisia says city protests have been quelled.

The only country in the region to have successfully survived the Arab spring fails to make economic progress, with youth unemployment hitting 36.5 per cent last year.

January 18

FT Museveni win in Uganda poll prompts debate about rigging.

The opposition leader claims gross manipulation of the results. Facebook shut down some government related accounts. The incumbent claims the elections are the most “cheating free” elections since the colonial occupation ended, along with threats to deal with those who “disrupt our peace”.

FT Africa’s healthcare system at risk from second wave of Covid19 pandemic.

The head of the AU’s Africa Centre for Disease Control appealed to African leaders to subsidize masks because “for now [they] are the best vaccines that we have”. “What is driving a surge is very clearly human behavior.”

FT Why the European Central Bank should go Japanese.

The Japanese opted for long term low bond yields as an alternative to QE (Quantitative Easing) to maintain economic activity afloat.

FT Boeing’s deal with the Department of Justice highlights the limits of USA corporate liability justice.

This response to the crashes of two 737 Max jetliners that killed all 346 passengers and crew underscores serious problems with efforts to use corporate criminal liability when something goes seriously, tragically wrong with the company’s products.

January 17

TT Top political theorist to Chinese president already in 1991 wrote a book about the fate of America.

Wang Huning predicted that America would pull apart due to “individualism, hedonism and democracy”. There is wide support in the U.S.A. today that China poses an economic threat, a security threat, a human rights threat. The attitude in Beijing is hubristic.

January 16

FT A tenacious challenger set on power in Uganda.

The Rockstar got his taste of crowd drawing in the country where the median age is just 16. Hence, he neglected his mother’s advise to stay away from politics. Now, even his trade mark red beret of this great-grandchild of a tribal leader is banned. Yet, informally he will admit he is short in political alternative, but just wanting to trigger a vote against the incumbent.

FT The Arab spring: a lost decade.

From early 2011 change happened one month after another in neighboring countries. Developments from there highlighted the struggles in transforming people power into institutionalized political policy. Many fled causing a brain drain. One commentator: “Utopian” thoughts of regime change are delusional”. Still, all those interviewed agreed the uprisings had been inevitable.

FT Dutch government quits over scandal.

“The rule of law must protect the citizens against an almighty government and that has gone horribly wrong here,” according to the Dutch PM. Tax authorities had wrongly accused 22.000 families of tax fraud and also used racial profiling in support of their mishandling.

FT Mission improbable: a critical assessment of the prospect of an entrepreneurial state.

The Italian-American economist Mazzucato, who has the pope as one of her fans, in her recent book argues for a more active state. She takes the space competition as a example of producing non-related spin offs. The reviewer lists projects that show contrary results.

January 15

FT New U.S.A. president needs an America-first foreign policy.

Globalisation looks too much like a rich person’s game. Losers from trade deals are rarely comforted by the fact that they may have produced big gains for the economy overall. The days of foreign adventurism are over.

FT Conspiracy theorists destroy a rational society.

Conspiracy theories can infect the real world. Scepticism is a virtue and critical scrutiny is essential. Also, re-emphasize the importance of experts.

FT Court to hear Ukraine claim against Russia.

The Strasbourg-based court will not rule specifically on the legality of Moscow’s land grab, but it will hear Ukraine’s claims of illegal extension of Russian law on the peninsula. Among the Ukraine claims are violations of religious freedom.

FT WHO team arrives in Wuhan (China) after delay.

Finding the origin of the Covid19 virus has turned in a political blame game.

January 14

FT Uganda elections justify a comparison with the U.S.A. democratic problems.

One reform that democratic forces might pursue, especially in countries with electorates divided along ethnic lines, is to devise systems that are not winner-takes-all.

FT Qatar and Saudi Arabia end 2017 standoff.

The deal effects most conflicts in the region from Libya to Turkey. Tiny Qatar looks like having survived against heavy odds but the religious-ethnic state leadership concepts continue to sustain the Middle East power balance.

FT Boom time for firms spreading fake views.

For a long time propaganda was thought to be coming from political parties. With the online openness enterprises offer reputation for hire.

NYT Big ethnic massacre in Western Ethiopia.

Minority tribes are targeted. PM Abiy has visited the region in late December in an effort to ease tensions. Central government ability to intervene said to be hampered due to the ongoing Tigray operation.

January 13

FT Uganda election leaves bitter taste for opposition leader Wine.

Being elected in parliament by a land slide he now takes on the incumbent leader since 1986, with all disadvantages except his age. Like Wine Uganda’s population is young. Will it make a difference in tomorrow’s polls?

January 12

FT The limit on free speech in the era of social media.

German chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Twitter’s indefinite suspension of Trump. Alexei Navalny, the Russian anti-corruption blogger, said it could be “exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world”. Legal restraints in the US might run into First Amendment problems. The role of conventional TV is overlooked.

FT South Korean president continues to offer olive branch to his Northern neighbor.

The message came amid questions over how the Biden administration would tackle North Korea, one of many thorny foreign policy challenges for the U.S.A.

FT Venezuela tries become a bit more market friendly.

There are a few signs that deregulation takes place but perhaps the effect of sanctions is provoking them.

TT Saudi Arabia tries to revive its global platform city.

A coastal stretch of 100 miles would have no cars and be zero emission, yet provide high tech business and leisure environment. There is no evidence that lessons were taken from similar experiments elsewhere.

January 11

FT AI suffers pandemic backlash.

Algorithms are increasingly informing authority decisions while privacy concerns are less heeded. This creates opportunity for mistakes and discrimination that are not always appreciated.

FT Nationalist ex-prisoner wins election by a landslide in Kyrgyzstan.

The country plays a role in China-Russia rivalry. Elections also brought a victory for a more presidential system in this only multi-party state in the region.

FT Iran seizes South Korean tanker.

The country tries to unlock over $7bn in Iranian cash held by South Korea.

FT U.S.A. set aside rules not to engage with Taiwan directly.

The move enrages China that has in the past successfully isolated the island state.

January 8

FT Trump shows how disinformation can lead to chaos.

With Turkey tweeting advise to restraint after DC violence, other political systems get free evidence for their majority domination approach. And Trump may not need a formal office to proceed his campaign.

FT France is a post-imperial power in search of a role.

Its drive is with Europe to add something different to the China-USA power struggle. It’s approach is more military than diplomatic. Its necessary partner Germany is more cautious.

FT Blame game evolves in USA over DC democracy assault.

Social media take the brunt and internet legal freedom achieved at the start 25 years ago targeted. Reseach shows that it is more likely to blame an organized misinformation campaign and amplification in TV networks.

January 7

FT One of Germany’s parties looks for a new leader, more than a national or party issue.

Chancellor Merkel retires, leaving a legacy that avoided populist tendencies while remaining socially responsible. The moment is strategic: there is new great power rivalry and profound technological change.

FT Europe stops calling Guaidó Venezuela’s interim president.

Following the National Assembly assuming its post-election mandate the opposition leader is renamed “primus inter pares” among the opposition by Europe.

FT With citizen’s protests showing fatigue Belarus leader works on its relationship with Russia.

On Russian state TV Lukashenko states the protests pushed the two countries tightly into one team. Russia offers the regime business opportunities but also shows signs of wariness.

FT China blocks WHO team on way to Wuhan to find origin of Covid virus.

Visa’s were not approved while the country states the “right procedures” must be followed.

TT United Nations needed more than ever.

The argument that diplomacy becomes irrelevant as compared to leader-to-leader dialogue does not merit historical development. The global forum is irreplaceable for all cross border and human rights issues.

January 6

FT Covid shows how that the state can do more to address inequality.

Previously the new unleashed public policy responses were unimaginable. Though not sustainable indefinitely, they do illustrate the power of government to intervene to mitigate distress.

NYT Reuters Journalist is Released by Ethiopian Police.

Five other journalists of thirteen detained remain in custody. Only one journalist has been charged for postings on Covid.

January 5

FT Europe has handed China a strategic win with recent trade deal.

The deal was pushed by Angela Merkel despite human rights worries. It concerns commitments on the side of China that it already paid in 2001 while entering the WTO. It neglects the towering demonstration of communist party dominance in foreign and domestic disputes, from Xinjiang to Australia.

FT Old tensions still alive in Bosnia show that nationhood cannot be forced.

The 1995 Dayton Accords agreement contained a constitution based on ethnic power-sharing between the three predominant groups. This cemented ethnic divides to dominate public life. Even to become a fire fighter you need to demonstrate being part of one of the groups.

TT Far left activist Glenn Greenwald now labels big tech not Trump as subverting democracy.

Big tech, he writes has unprecedented power over the dissemination of information and conduct of political debates. He likens them to witch-hunts and a global inquisition. The charge that Trump was a despot in the making, he wrote on his blog, is wildly misguided. He refuses to protect Biden with favorable information.

January 4

FT Baptist preacher Warnock in pivotal U.S.A. Senate run off elections .

The 11th child of two Pentecostal preachers has no political experience. If he and the other Democrat candidate win, it would help the Biden presidency as the party would take the Senate majority. The Republicans smear Warnock’s candidacy.

FT Taiwan benefits from pandemic haven status.

Successful efforts to limit the spread of corona virus has made Taiwan one of the safest places on earth. This creates an influx of citizens who usually live abroad. Immigration quadrupled. The government gave a boost to attract foreign talent.