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

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.