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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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”.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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. “
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.
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.
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.
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.
FT Myanmar’s worst day yet.
The military upscales violent dispersal of protests with 18 peaceful protesters dead in one day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.