World’s soveriegnty news clip for faith leaders, last week

June 13

FT WTO urges end to export controls on food

At least 30 countries have imposed export controls, according to the IMF. The WTO SG is afraid it will increase the prices of food. Ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference she also expressed hope that countries would agree there should be no limits on sales to the World Food Program, the UN division concerned with hunger and food security. She hopes ministers will set up a group on WTO reform. WHO has not brokered a global trade deal since it was founded in 1995 and is contending with complicated areas such as forced labor and sustainable development.

FT China restaurant attack stirs anger over gender violence

Female diners in a restaurant in north-eastern China were attacked as authorities raced to silence a backlash. The video footage of the incident has triggered outrage nationwide as tens of millions of people voiced frustration online over the lack of legal protection for women and anger at patriarchal social norms. The public fury in the wake of the attack also focused on passivity on the part of law enforcement.

FT Economic thinking is at a crucial inflection point

Soaring energy prices have encouraged comparisons of current challenges with the world’s economic and political struggles in the 1970s. The similarities end with the effects for political and economic thinking. Back then the government was projected as the problem, now the idea of the opposite is soaring. Other factors promote a greater emphasis on securing social cohesion and actively reshaping the structure of the economy.

June 14

FT Kenya’s political rivals limber up for poll showdown

Voters want change but two political veterans are seeking the win of the upcoming presidential election. The youngest of them and present Deputy-President lost the incumbent advantage after falling out with the President. The other candidate, 22 years his senior, is “political royalty”, now with the power of the President behind him. Both candidates are not from the dominant tribe.

FT Unions in U.S.A. hit at hedge funds in show of support for reform

A union executive said a group of academics had urged him this year to “add my voice” to an alleged chorus of opposition to hedge fund regulation from workers, before he realized that regulation of hedge fund activity is actually necessary.

FT Argentina farmers blocked from filling global food gap

Argentina produced a record 21.8mn tons of wheat last year, compared with 25mn tons grown in Ukraine. The government claims that the record prices are a “formidable” chance to meet demand, but maintains strict export quotas that were further reduced in March to shore up domestic supplies. Even an “unexpected profit” tax on companies is considered.

FT A Bretton Woods for the digital age is needed

In 1944 western nations came together at Bretton Woods and established economic rules for the postwar era. These would provide much needed stability and structure. The demise of the western dominance makes a new arrangement necessary. Failure to reach such an agreement risks ceding the future of global economic governance to authoritarian capitalism. Nation states must retain the ability to manage their own economic and fiscal policy. Creating a set of norms based on democratic values will facilitate the next evolution of the global economy, while at the same time protecting the principles that gave birth to the modern world.

June 15

Britain’s Northern Ireland plan: dubious and damaging

In an editorial the newspaper laments the government’s “decision to breach international law, proposing legislation to undermine the Northern Ireland protocol of the UK’s post-Brexit treaty with the EU”. There are problems with the protocol. There should be efforts to address citizen’s anxieties. But there are structures baked into the protocol to do that — and the government abandoned them. The loser in all this is Northern Ireland. Most voters at the May elections backed parties who supported the protocol. The main challenge for the EU is now to find a way to signal clearly that it will enforce the law and will not be swayed.

June 16

FT Why Ukraine’s EU candidacy should be approved

The newspaper dedicated an editorial to this thorny issue, summarizing the situation as part of a process “to preserve both Ukraine’s sovereignty and its European future — the prospect of not living under an authoritarian kleptocracy, but in a modern market democracy”. Candidacy of Ukraine for the EU should be approved “on condition it passes reforms to bolster the rule of law and curb corruption before any membership talks begin. To do any less would be a geopolitical error..”.  The newspaper concludes that the prospects of aspirants (there are more!) should be realistic. FT

FT Laos hit by fuel shortages, high food prices and default risk

A financial rating agency downgraded the prospects of Laos yesterday to non-investment grade, or “junk” territory. Risks would “remain high given very weak governance, a very high debt burden and insufficient coverage of external debt maturities” by foreign exchange reserves.

June 17

FT Ukraine’s drive to join EU gains impetus from leaders of Germany, Italy & France

The foreign leaders came to war-stricken Ukraine personally to support the immediate granting of EU candidate status for Ukraine. The Italian president called the candidacy “a path, not a point” and added that “every day the Ukrainian people defend the values of democracy and freedom that are the basis of the European project. We cannot delay the process of candidacy.”

FT Angola seizes Chinese stake in diamond miner

The Chinese company was linked to the former regime in Angola. The Chinese deal maker of 20 years ago has disappeared from public life in his country since 2015 corruption charges. The Chinese company said they have no relationship with him anymore and will pursue the matter with Angola in court. One observer said that Angola has been “investing heavily in improving their image” as a diamond producer.

June 18

FT The global economy is not going to be calmer any time soon

The world economy is racked by inflation and struggling with growth. But the situation is perhaps best summed up by one data point: strategies to deal with it differ per country/currency. This has all been hard for investors to follow. The big picture running through these decisions is that stagnation looks more likely than it did last week. Economic policymakers’ strategies ought to be data-dependent, not dogmatic. And that means, at a moment when the data keep moving, so will the policies. From that perspective the newspaper concludes in an editorial: “Expect turmoil ahead”.

FT UN climate change talks end in acrimony and accusations of betrayal

Rich countries led by the U.S.A. and the EU were accused of betraying poorer nations over who pays for combating climate change, after two weeks of tense UN climate talks in the German city of Bonn, the first major UN climate meeting since the COP26 summit in Glasgow. The unsatisfactory outcome ratcheted up pressure on the Egyptian host country to engender consensus before the COP27. The UN secretary-general lashed out at the fossil fuel industry for deploying “the same scandalous tactics as Big Tobacco”. The major global south country group is unanimously united in the fight.

FT Rwanda is making itself useful to the west

A European Court of Human Rights verdict stopped a UK transfer of low chance asylum seekers to Rwanda but the country has another high profile event due next week: to host the Commonwealth meeting after it joined the group in 2009. And the country proved more effective than other foreign forces in Mozambique in stopping regional turmoil over energy interests of France. Its claimed economic success is discussed but not dismissed. Abroad and by dissidents the leadership is pictured as “strongman intent on quelling opposition”. The government’s spokesperson: “We don’t need adult supervision”.



FT = Financial Times, TT = The Times, NYT = New York Times. Nearly Africa related items in the FT and most religious life oriented items in the three newspapers are included. The original articles may be editorials, news reports or blogs. The focus is on potentially enduring trends in sovereignty and statehood.

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