Assertive Transparency: The Philippines’ Counter Gray Zone Innovation

2023 has been a game-changer in the West Philippine Sea, and the world is only just starting to grapple with its implications.   This century has seen two great innovations in counter gray zone statecraft--at least in the maritime space--and the Philippines authored both of them. A decade ago, Manila initiated an incredible lawfare coup by taking China to court in The Hague, ultimately walking away with a arbitration victory so sweeping that Beijing could do little in response except try to dismiss it as "illegal, null and void". Yet while the election of a more friendly Philippine government may have eased the ruling's bite somewhat, China has not been able to escape its long-term consequences. The 2016 decision [...]

December 3rd, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Hamas attack has abruptly altered the picture for Middle East diplomacy

Iran wants to make it impossible for Saudi Arabia to strike deal with Israel, while others in region cannot afford mayhem in Gaza People waving Palestinian flags in the centre of Tehran on Saturday. Israel is pointing its finger of accusation at Iran over attacks by Hamas. Photograph: Sobhan Farajvan/Pacific Press/Shutterstock   As the death toll rises, and the security consequences multiply, Israel is pointing its finger of accusation at Tehran for orchestrating the attacks by Hamas. The attacks may have been born of anger, specifically at the months-long behaviour of the Netanyahu coalition, including the provocations at al-Aqsa mosque, but Iran and the forces it supports have a longer-term strategic goal: to thwart the US-led effort to achieve a normalisation [...]

October 9th, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Where is Li Shangfu? China’s missing defence minister highlights Xi’s total grip on power

China’s latest missing minister underscores the move to centralised rule, and how questioning Xi’s judgement has become increasingly dangerous   China’s defence minister Li Shangfu has not been seen for three weeks Photograph: Caroline Chia/Reuters     Three weeks after he was last seen in public, there is still no official confirmation about what has happened to Gen Li Shangfu, China’s defence minister and the latest senior official to be seemingly swept up in China’s political purges. Last week, Reuters reported that Li, along with eight other senior officials, was under investigation for the corrupt procurement of military equipment relating to his time at the helm of the equipment division of the Central Military Commission, the military’s ruling body, between September [...]

September 19th, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China-Philippines dispute could escalate into superpower conflict, say analysts

Screengrab taken from a video released on 8 August showing a Chinese coastguard ship using a water cannon near a Philippine vessel. Photograph: China Coast Guard/Reuters   A territorial dispute between China and the US-aligned Philippines is at increasingly high risk of escalating into a conflict involving the two superpowers, analysts have said, after Chinese coastguards used a water cannon on a Philippine boat. Global concern about China’s naval activities is growing as the country expands and modernises its military, and shows increasing aggression in its claims over the South China Sea and Taiwan. Joint drills with Russia – during which a flotilla sailed near Alaska this weekend – have also heightened concern over military coordination between Beijing and Moscow. On [...]

August 16th, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Trump’s latest indictment finally holds him to account for 2020 election plot

Past efforts to hold Trump accountable for the violence and his broader election subversion campaign have fallen short   Unlike Donald Trump’s first two indictments, the former president’s third set of criminal charges stands out as the first major legal effort to hold him accountable for attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Pro-democracy experts welcomed the indictment, announced on Tuesday by the office of special counsel Jack Smith, as a victory for the rule of law that could help fortify America’s election systems in the face of ongoing threats from Trump and his allies. The indictment charges Trump with four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to [...]

August 2nd, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Humanity at the climate crossroads: highway to hell or a livable future?

The choice in the new IPCC report is stark: what we do in the next few years will determine our fate for millennia A flash flood on the Tule River in Springville, California, earlier this month. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images After a 10,000-year journey, human civilisation has reached a climate crossroads: what we do in the next few years will determine our fate for millennia. That choice is laid bare in the landmark report published on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), assembled by the world’s foremost climate experts and approved by all the world’s governments. The next update will be around 2030 – by that time the most critical choices will have been made. The report is [...]

March 26th, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Professor says role of Fijian military remains unclear

Colonel Litea Seruiratu (fourth from left) reviews detachment of female cadets at Xavier College in Ba. Photo: Supplied/Fiji army   A professor in comparative politics says the Fiji constitution needs to clear up the role of the military. Jon Fraenkel of Victoria University in New Zealand says the 2013 constitution revived the provision that existed in the 1990 constitution which gave the military responsibility for looking after the well-being of the Fiji people. But he told Pacific Waves this needs clarifying. "Of course, when that was first introduced in 1990, it was as part of an ethno-nationalist constitution that was seeking to codify indigenous paramountcy in the states. At that point, I think the Fiji military contemplated briefly assuming power in [...]

February 1st, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Expert’s warning to US Navy on China: Bigger fleet almost always wins

A Type 54A frigate of the Chinese navy leaves the Baltic Sea via the Kiel Canal. Joerg Waterstraat/SULUPRESS.DE/dpa/AP Seoul, South KoreaCNN —  As China continues to grow what is already the world’s largest navy, a professor at the US Naval War College has a warning for American military planners: In naval warfare, the bigger fleet almost always wins. Writing in the January issue of the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, Sam Tangredi says if history is any lesson, China’s numerical advantage is likely to lead to defeat for the US Navy in any war with China. Tangredi, the Leidos Chair of Future Warfare Studies at the US Naval War College and a former US Navy captain, looked at 28 naval wars, from [...]

January 17th, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis:Macau casinos deal themselves a tough hand with big non-gaming investment pledges

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing face mask walks in front of Casino Lisboa, operated by SJM Holdings during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Macau, China, December 29, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu HONG KONG— As casinos in Macau begin new licenses to operate in the world’s biggest gambling hub on Jan. 1, the stakes are high on whether they will be able to successfully deliver on a government mandate to diversify away from their cash-cow: gambling. For the last 20 years, Sands China, Wynn Macau, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China and SJM Holdings, have raked in billions of dollars from their casinos in the Chinese special administrative region, turning the once sleepy fishing village into a glitzy boomtown. But their 10-year, [...]

January 3rd, 2023|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Crisis unfolding in the wards of Beijing – many line the hospital floor

Elderly patients on the floor in Chaoyang Hospital, Beijing   With China's strict zero-Covid policy scrapped, the virus has swept through the country, leaving over 50% of the population of Beijing thought to have been infected - and the city's hospitals are feeling the strain. A crisis is unfolding in the hospitals of Beijing. Inside the eastern Chaoyang Hospital, COVID-positive patients fill the wards. Almost everyone is elderly and only the lucky ones have beds. Many more line the hospital floor. This is clearly a place where the virus is surging, and the system is straining. A patient is wheeled into Chaoyang Hospital, Beijing   Signs of the crisis are also visible outside the hospital, with frequent ambulance arrivals as well [...]

December 27th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Indonesia’s new sex laws and what they could mean for tourism

Tourism operators in Indonesia are still trying to recover from the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now the country's parliament has passed new laws that some fear could turn tourists away once again - because having sex out of wedlock is set to be outlawed. GETTY IMAGES The controversial laws, which critics have labelled a "disaster" for human rights, also ban unmarried couples from living together and restrict political and religious freedoms. There were protests in Jakarta this week, and the laws are expected to be challenged in court. The new criminal code is set to take effect in three years and apply to Indonesians and foreigners living in the country, as well as visitors. It has been widely reported [...]

December 7th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The global economy is in the midst of an epochal shift as 2023 looms: Here are the five things shaping our future

Photo: AFP or licensors   Analysis - Prepare for more pain. The first Tuesday of the month has been a regular source of anguish for many Australians and tomorrow promises more of the same. But relief may well be in sight. The pace of interest rate hikes already has slowed and, with no Reserve Bank meeting in January, we may be approaching a period where Philip Lowe and his compadres can afford to sit back and survey the damage Much of the rest of the developed world is following suit. The big kahuna of America's central bank, Jerome Powell, last week said out loud that the pace of hikes would be slowing, maybe even as early as this month, sending Wall [...]

December 5th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Retailers turn to robots in cost inflation fight

LONDON : At a vast warehouse in the southern Dutch city of Roosendaal, automated cranes and driverless vehicles silently stack clothes for the French and Italian stores of retailer Primark, reducing the need for hard-to-come-by labour. With goods packed more densely up to its roof, the new warehouse, which spans the size of over 15 football fields, reduces the need for extra sites - and workers - leading in time to a lower cost base. While retail has been slower to adopt automation than sectors such as autos and electronics, it has been picking-up the pace - from the introduction of basic self check-out tills in stores to the use of robots and AI in supply chains. Now tight labour markets, [...]

December 4th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Xi unlikely to tolerate dissent as momentous protests shake China

Chinese leader will see widespread demonstrations against zero-Covid policy as threat to CCP’s authority Just five weeks after being elected to a historic third term, President Xi Jinping suddenly faces cracks in the facade of unchallenged authority that he so successfully presented to the world at the 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist party. For groups of protesters, apparently without central coordination, to take to the streets across China and to social media, and for some then explicitly to call for Xi and the Communist party to stand aside, is a seismic shock. The echoes with Iran are superficially present, even if the two political cultures and the proximate causes of the unrest are entirely different. Equally the rush to [...]

November 28th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

A just transition depends on energy systems that work for everyone

Climate justice activists at Cop27 demand community-based renewable projects that work for the people, not corporations Activists at the UN’s COP27 climate talks in Egypt are pushing for an end to “energy colonialism”. Photograph: Dominika Zarzycka/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock The west’s dash for African gas has become a rallying point at Cop27, with climate justice activists calling out the hypocrisy of rich polluting nations who are scrambling to keep energy prices down by pushing for more fossil fuel projects in Africa. This short-term fix to the energy price crisis created by Russia’s war on Ukraine will lock some of the poorest, most climate-affected countries in the world in polluting fossil fuel projects with few economic or energy benefits for the communities whose land, [...]

November 14th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Early lessons from the US midterm elections as votes are still being counted

The ‘red wave’ expected by Republicans and feared by Democrats failed to materialize Control of the US Senate and House of Representatives is still up in the air the morning after election day. Photograph: Samuel Corum/Getty Images The mere fact that there are so many unknowns on the morning after election day is a sign that the night didn’t go as many had expected. The Republicans have not yet taken control of the US Senate or the House of Representatives and if they do, it won’t be by any huge margin. The final result won’t be the Republican landslide that Democrats feared or the big surprise that Democrats had hoped for. But there won’t be much time for commiseration or celebration. [...]

November 10th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Life expectancy improves in some countries after big drops in 2020 – but US and others see further falls

The COVID pandemic triggered an unprecedented rise in deaths around the world, leading to falls in life expectancy. In research last year, we found that 2020 saw significant life expectancy losses, including more than two years in the US and one year in England and Wales. In a new study published in Nature Human Behaviour, we have now shown that, in 2021, life expectancy rebounded somewhat in most western European countries while eastern Europe and the US witnessed additional losses. However, only Norway beat its pre-pandemic life expectancy in 2021, and everywhere is worse off than it would likely have been without the pandemic. We knew the outlook for 2021 was mixed, with the excitement of vaccine rollouts tempered by huge [...]

October 28th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Impact of Kerch bridge blast will be felt all the way to the Kremlin

Vladimir Putin opened road section in 2018 and Moscow had threatened reprisals if it was attacked   Twelve miles long and taller than the Statue of Liberty, the Kerch bridge to the occupied Crimean peninsular was the jewel in the crown of Vladimir Putin’s infrastructure projects – described in the Russian media as the “construction of the century”. When the Russian president opened its road span on 15 May 2018, driving an orange Kamaz truck across the bridge, he boasted of its significance. “In different historical epochs, even under the tsar priests, people dreamed of building this bridge. Then they returned to this [idea] in the 1930s, the 40s, the 50s. And finally, thanks to your work and your talent, the [...]

October 8th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

NZ’s biggest firms may soon have to disclose climate risk, but will it help address the problem?

A Westpot home flooded in July 2021. Photo: RNZ / Anan Zaki Analysis - Climate change has many catastrophic consequences, including droughts, floods, wildfires, heat waves, rising sea levels and biodiversity loss. These all have adverse implications for social cohesion, economic development and financial stability. Regrettably, the goals of advancing a better environment and a flourishing economy don't always line up. Driving greater awareness of climate-related risks among large firms and powerful financial institutions is therefore of paramount importance and urgency. Responding to this challenge, economists, environmentalists, activists and politicians have sought ways to ensure financial decisions factor in climate change. To that end, policymakers are now considering the introduction of mandatory climate-related disclosures for firms and financial institutions. In essence, [...]

October 5th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

After feverish week, global investors lick wounds and brace for more chaos

Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, US on Sep 13, 2022. (File photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly)   NEW YORK/LONDON : Global investors are preparing for more market mayhem after a monumental week that whipsawed asset prices around the world, as central banks and governments ramped up their fight against inflation. Signs of extraordinary times were everywhere. The Federal Reserve delivered its third straight seventy-five basis point rate hike while Japan intervened to shore up the yen for the first time since 1998. The British pound slid to a fresh 37-year trough against the dollar after the country's new finance minister unleashed historic tax cuts and huge increases in borrowing. "It's hard to [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What to expect from the reign of King Charles III

Charles, then pictured as Prince of Wales (right) by the The Imperial State Crown in the House of Lords Chamber, in the Houses of Parliament, in London, on May 10, 2022. Photo: Ben Stansall / POOL / AFP   Analysis - The news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II marks the beginning of the reign of King Charles III. The transition period has already seen questions raised about whether we can expect the new king to be "interventionist". These concerns are based on several incidents over the years. As Prince of Wales, Charles was outspoken on political issues and was found to have been lobbying ministers on issues of his own personal interest. More recently, concerns were raised about a [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

New Zealand’s new cut-down Covid response is a missed opportunity – here are 5 ways to improve it

Our Covid response has changed, but it shouldn't be abandoned. Photo: RNZ/Adobe Stock/123RF   Analysis - New Zealand's decision to end most Covid health measures is welcome, as it removes controls that are in most cases no longer essential. But the new Covid management phase looks like a short-term reaction to declining case numbers rather than a longer-term strategy. New Zealand has achieved one of the best health outcomes of any country by taking decisive action from the start of the pandemic. We argue now is the time to build on that success with a strong, science-informed strategy to get us through the next pandemic stages and lift our resilience against future emerging infectious disease threats. Such a strategy would need [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

analysis: China just imported a record amount of beef. Next on its shopping list is coal

Australia is well-placed to benefit from China's appetite for beef and coal.(ABC Landline) China's appetite for beef is breaking records this year and according to analysts, the next big item on its shopping list will be coal. In July, China imported 274,000 tonnes of beef from around the world, valued at a record $2.65 billion ($US1.8 billion). Global Agritrends president Brett Stuart said the beef charts for China looked like a plane taking off. "What's shocking is when you look at the average import price in July, it was the highest price ever," he said. "So not only did China buy a record amount of beef, they paid a record price per pound on their import price." China is not only buying record amounts of beef, it [...]

September 7th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Frozen U.S.-China cooperation presents new hitch for global warming

A tree stands in the dried-up bed of the Ai River in Dandong, China. | REUTERS   UNITED NATIONS – Beijing is freezing its cooperation with Washington on global warming, but experts are hoping that, for the sake of humanity, the cold spell between the world’s two largest emitters is only temporary. The unraveling relationship comes not long after China and the United States announced a surprise agreement to strengthen climate action at the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in 2021. U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week, however, has prompted Beijing to end cooperation with the United States on several key issues. “It’s obviously worrying and raises concerns,” Alden Meyer, a senior associate at [...]

August 7th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern strikes a softer tone on China

Analysis - Today's speech by Jacinda Ardern to the China Business Summit in Auckland was full of soothing words for Beijing. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone The headline-grabber was Ardern's comment that "a few plans are afoot" for New Zealand ministers to return to China - and that the prime minister herself hopes to return to the country "to renew and refresh in-person connections". This might come sooner than we think. While China's current elimination approach to Covid-19 heavily restricts in-person travel, New Zealand's own experience shows how quickly these settings can change. After abandoning its own zero-Covid policy, New Zealand this week fully reopens to all visitors. Expressing a willingness to travel to China - even if it is not [...]

August 3rd, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan risks upsetting Beijing to no advantage

Analysis: House speaker’s arrival is likely to inflame relations between the US and China without making Taiwan safer Nancy Pelosi begins controversial visit to Taiwan amid tensions with China – video In the era of US-China geopolitical competition, Joe Biden has been keen to ensure great power politics do not lead to uncontrollable escalation. Yet the trip to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, is threatening to break what administration officials call “guardrails”. She is the highest-ranking member of Congress to visit the island since 1997. The move, which is a welcome and a bold assertion of democratic principle to Pelosi’s supporters, has certainly rattled Beijing in a politically sensitive year for China’s ruling Communist party. [...]

August 3rd, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Is Jacinda Ardern rethinking her China strategy?

Analysis - Is New Zealand suddenly softening its more pro-Western foreign policy - and its tougher line on China? Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   After months of inching towards the West, Jacinda Ardern's set-piece speeches on her Europe trip last week seem to have been crafted to try and keep observers guessing. At the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit in Madrid, the New Zealand prime minister gave a speech that - in tone at least - seemed designed to evoke memories of the direction that her Labour predecessor David Lange had taken in the 1980s. Lange built his foreign policy on the trinity of Labour's nuclear-free policy of 1984, France's bombing of the Rainbow Warrior [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Luxon moves National out of a political danger zone

Analysis - National's Christopher Luxon moves quickly to defuse what could have been a vote-losing disaster while Health Minister Andrew Little's problems just keep piling up. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a NATO summit in Madrid and goes to Brussels where an historic free trade agreement with the EU is unveiled. A social media post led National leader Christopher Luxon to issue a statement saying abortion laws would not be re-litigated or revisited under a future National government. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   A five-word Facebook post by a National MP put the party in a political red zone this week and party leader Christopher Luxonhad to move quickly to defuse a potentially disastrous, vote-losing situation. "Today is a [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

NZ invite to Nato summit not reward for shift in foreign policy

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's acceptance of an invitation to speak at this week's Nato leaders' summit in Madrid has fuelled a narrative that New Zealand's independent foreign policy is falling victim to a new Cold War. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   According to this view, Ardern's participation is a reward for recently aligning New Zealand's foreign policy more closely with the US and its allies against Russia and, to a lesser extent, China. This narrative claims this shift has been exemplified by sanctions against Putin's Russia, humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine and public questioning of China's growing involvement in the Pacific. These developments purportedly show American power has forced New Zealand to abandon its preferred strategy of hedging between [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

A new Pacific reset? Why NZ must prioritise climate change and labour mobility

Analysis -The frequent use of the term "shared values" to describe developments in the Pacific tends to obscure a distinct shift in New Zealand and Australian relations with their Pacific partners over the past two decades. Australia's minister for foreign affairs Penny Wong discussed Pacific affairs with her New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta in Wellington on 16 June. Photo: POOL / Stuff / Robert Kitchin   This shift has seen a move away from ready acceptance by Pacific nations of policy prescriptions reflecting "developed country" priorities, towards a greater insistence on New Zealand and Australian support for policies generated by those Pacific partners themselves. This shift has now been recognised by New Zealand's foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta, and more recently by [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Is Brexit working? Four key tests

The UK’s economic performance and record on trade, migration and justice since leaving the EU will determine whether Brexit is a success Anti-Boris Johnson protesters deliver their verdict in Westminster last week. Photograph: Maureen McLean/Rex/Shutterstock Is Brexit working? For diehards on each side, the answer is obvious. But for those who are interested in objective analysis, it’s vital to have a way at least to ask the question. That’s why we at UK in a Changing Europe set out, four key “tests” by which to assess the consequences of leaving the EU. We observed that, while Remainers and Leavers disagreed vehemently about whether to remain in the EU, there was considerable common ground about what we, as a country, should be [...]

June 13th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China’s population is about to shrink for the first time since the great famine struck 60 years ago. Here’s what it means for the world

The world’s biggest nation is about to shrink. China accounts for more than one sixth of the world’s population. Yet after four extraordinary decades in which China’s population has swelled from 660 million to 1.4 billion, its population is on track to turn down this year, for the first time since the great famine of 1959-1961. According to the latest figures from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, China’s population grew from 1.41212 billion to just 1.41260 billion in 2021 – a record low increase of just 480,000, a mere fraction of the annual growth of eight million or so common a decade ago. While a reluctance to have children in the face of strict anti-COVID measures might have contributed to the [...]

June 11th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

There may be trouble ahead for Boris Johnson despite confidence vote win

Another Partygate inquiry, two byelections, a possible reshuffle … life isn’t about to get any easier for the PM   Boris Johnson chairs a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, the day after surviving a no-confidence vote by Conservative MPs. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images Boris Johnson is safe – for now. Under Conservative party rules, his win by 211 votes to 148 in a no-confidence vote of Tory MPs means he will not face a similar challenge for 12 months. But life is not necessarily about to become much easier for the prime minister, for a number of reasons. Here are the main challenges ahead. Two crunch byelections Any post-vote mini-honeymoon Johnson may potentially enjoy could end with a [...]

June 8th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Government under pressure at home as Ardern tours the US

Analysis - The prime minister swings through the US on her 'back in business' tour while back home opposition parties continue their relentless criticism of government spending. The change of government in Australia raises questions about how trans-Tasman relations will be affected and China is on the move in the South Pacific as it seeks to extend its influence in the region. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appearing on the Late Show during her US visit. Photo: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her United States tour this week with trade and tourism at the top of her agenda. She's leading a trade delegation that's looking for opportunities and in New York they met with representatives from BlackRock, the world's biggest investment fund [...]

May 31st, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

After the Texas school shooting, Joe Biden says America needs to act now on gun violence. Here’s what he can — and can’t — achieve

Analysis - When a gunman stormed an elementary school in Connecticut almost a decade ago, killing 20 young children, Americans were horrified. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP   The Sandy Hook massacre sparked calls for the United States to finally move on stricter gun laws, with many fearing that, if the loss of 20 children was not enough to spur action, nothing would be. And, yet, 10 years later, the country finds itself in the same position. For the families of the 19 third and fourth graders and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School in Texas, the suffering is unimaginable. And an all-too-familiar wave of grief and rage is sweeping across the country. US President Joe Biden has vowed to "turn this [...]

May 26th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How Albanese’s practical pivot on climate paved the way for a Greens surge

Analysis: As Labor focused on opportunities for working people in the transition to renewables, the Greens mounted a formidable on-the-ground campaign The Greens' Queensland senate candidate Penny Allman-Payne celebrates on election night. The party fielded a formidable ground game in the 2022 contest – an operation Labor will seek to replicate. Photograph: Dan Peled/Getty Images Given the complex dynamics of the 2022 election campaign, many postmortems, from many points of view, will ultimately be undertaken. But one of the more intriguing questions to emerge after Saturday night is whether Labor fully understood the gathering momentum of the Greens voter recruitment exercise in metropolitan Brisbane once it was clear the Liberal vote in the inner city had collapsed. Labor certainly knew it [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Sri Lanka is the first domino to fall in the face of a global debt crisis

The south Asian country is the first to buckle under economic pressures compounded by Russia’s war on Ukraine, but it won’t be the last Weeks of unrest in Sri Lanka forced the resignation of the prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the country reels from the pandemic, costly debt and rising food and fuel prices. Photograph: Eranga Jayawardena/AP The departure of Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, follows weeks of protest and a deepening crisis. There is no bankruptcy system for states but if there was then the south Asian country – down to its last $50m (£40m) of reserves – would be first in line to use it. A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week started work with [...]

May 10th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern continues to forge a more US-friendly foreign policy

International analyst Geoffrey Miller reads between the lines of Jacinda Ardern's speech to this week's US business summit in Auckland. File image: Jacinda Ardern Photo: Pool image / Robert Kitchin /Stuff   Jacinda Ardern is slowly but surely shifting New Zealand's foreign policy towards the West. That was the underlying theme of a keynote address by New Zealand's Prime Minister this week. Ardern mentioned China only once by name when she spoke to the US business summit in Auckland on Monday, but Beijing was clearly on her mind throughout the 3000-word address. Some of the hardest-hitting passages came early in the speech and appeared deliberately indirect and oblique, leaving it up to listeners to make up their own minds on the [...]

May 5th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Australia election: Enter a lacklustre advert for democracy

Analysis - Australians have just learned their election will be held on 21 May. At a crucial time for the country, Nick Bryant sees a contest that will be defined, to a large part, by what it lacks. Scott Morrison famously defied opinion polling to win in 2019. Photo: AFP There has long been something Biblical about the prime ministership of Scott Morrison, a Pentecostal Christian who declared on the night of his bolt from the blue victory in the 2019 election: "I've always believed in miracles". Since then, much of his term in office has read like chapters from the Old Testament. There have been fires, floods and the pestilence of a global pandemic. Even his defiant stance towards China [...]

April 15th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Did Russia really use chemical weapons in Ukraine? Experts are sceptical

Analysis: Little evidence thus far that civilians in Mariupol had fallen ill because of chemical attack   Several people reported seeing ‘white smoke’ from the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol before falling ill. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Ukraine forces holed up in the besieged city of Mariupol announced late on Monday the Russians had used “a poisonous substance of unknown origin” – but in the following 24 hours, evidence to corroborate this was a chemical weapons attack has proved harder to find. A scant initial report, circulating on social media, described victims as having “respiratory failure” and a rather specific diagnosis of “vestibulo-atactic syndrome”, nominally inner-ear problems leading to dizziness and perhaps vomiting, eye twitching and loss of balance. Liz Truss, the [...]

April 15th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

New phase of Ukraine war brings no obvious route to end fighting

  Analysis: west faces dilemma as Moscow and Kyiv prepare for trial of strength in Donbas Destroyed Russian military machinery on the highway between Kyiv and Zhytomyr. Russia has been forced to abandon its attempt to capture Kyiv. Photograph: Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock   How does the war end in Ukraine? At the moment it is far from obvious – which is why both sides are girding for a trial of strength in Donbas after Russia was forced to abandon its attempt to capture Kyiv. Russia’s current military activity appears to back up what are in effect reduced war aims: targeting the entire Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts claimed by the so-called separatist republics, both recognised by Vladimir Putin just before the war broke [...]

April 12th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Settings, sanctions and Ashley Bloomfield

Analysis - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decides the country will stay in red for a while longer, the government ramps up sanctions against Russia but the opposition wants more, and Ashley Bloomfield resigns. Photo: Pool / NZME Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began the week by playing her cautious card, announcing after a Cabinet meeting that the anticipated move to orange in the traffic light settings wasn't going to happen. Her message was that we're doing well but it's not quite time to relax restrictions. Ardern said the rolling average of cases had declined 36 percent in two weeks, RNZ reported. But while cases were dropping in Auckland, Wellington and Tairāwhiti regions like Canterbury, Northland and Waikato weren't experiencing the same decline. [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Is this the ‘end of the beginning’ for Russia in Ukraine?

Analysis - In late 1942, after a victory over German forces in North Africa, Winston Churchill told a Lord Mayor's luncheon that: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning". A destroyed Russian tank on the outskirts of Kharkiv in Ukraine. Photo: AFP   So might we think of the developments in Ukraine over the past several days. There is a growing consensus from both official sources and other experts that Russian forces have, or are on the cusp of, culminating in Ukraine. What does this mean? Military doctrine defines culmination as "the point at which continuing the attack is no longer possible and the force [...]

March 23rd, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Nuclear weapons offer protection against opposition – and Putin knows it

Analysis: For a couple of hours last Friday the world seemed plunged into an existential danger not felt since the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant back in the 1980s. Ukrainian servicemen involved in the defence of Kyiv line up for some food. Photo: AFP or licensors   Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba sent out an alarming tweet saying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was under Russian attack and on fire. In an ominous warning, he said it had the potential to be 10 times worse than the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. As it turned out, a training building was destroyed but the reactors were mercifully untouched. The very fact Russian forces were willing to conduct a battle in and [...]

March 8th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Russia appears to have no way out as Putin goes ‘all in’

Analysis: Rising stakes seem to lure the president deeper into the Ukraine war, with polls backing him and his officials compromised Western officials believe the risks are high for Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images The first week of Vladimir Putin’s invasion into Ukraine has not gone to plan, with the Russian military admitting the deaths of 500 soldiers (Ukrainian estimates are higher) and western sanctions dealing a body blow to the Russian economy that will only grow worse in the coming weeks. And yet the Russian leader seems even more invested in his campaign to conquer Ukraine, lured in by the growing stakes of the most ambitious and dangerous gamble of his 22 years in power. “Putin’s in the corner,” [...]

March 4th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

New Zealand begins to reconnect with the world

Analysis - An end to Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) allows Kiwis to come home and raises hopes that tourists could soon be here as well, the government reacts to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the big clean up begins after a violent end to the occupation of Parliament's grounds. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits Parliament's grounds after protesters were moved. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   A fundamental change to Covid-19 management was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at her post-Cabinet press conference on Monday and it signalled New Zealand's border could fully reopen much sooner than expected. Ardern said Kiwis in Australia could return on Wednesday without having to isolate, several weeks ahead of the planned timeline, and [...]

March 4th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Western powers have realised Russia is largely immune to sanctions

Analysis: Only the financial equivalent of unleashing a nuclear arsenal will dent Russia’s foreign assets war chest A branch of VTB bank in Moscow. Economists have said sanctioning banks is largely ineffective. Photograph: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters   The war against Russia is one western countries want to fight with only economic sanctions, not guns. Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, despite its long gestation and planning by Vladimir Putin and his supporters in the Kremlin, was supposed to end quickly once financial retaliation began. Yes, there would be military skirmishes on the ground, but little more than a few casualties were expected once a range of penalties began to bite. The western powers have quickly realised that unless they are willing to fire the [...]

February 25th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Buying time: The good and bad of New Zealand’s Omicron plan

Analysis - After a summer spent enjoying the waves at beaches up and down the country, New Zealanders face a new wave crashing on our shores. The Omicron wave. We've seen the swell coming for weeks now and it's almost upon us. Photo: AFP But that fact we can face this Omicron wave with some level of confidence - and having enjoyed those summer beach waves - are in large part due to New Zealand's now tried and true Covid strategy: Buy time. From the time we heard the name of this latest variant in November 2021 and saw its rapid rate of spread (about 70 times the rate of Delta), we've also heard the calls to not bother with restrictions, [...]

February 15th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

America faces greater division as parties draw safe seats for congressional districts

The US is poised to have a staggeringly low number of competitive House seats, an alarming trend that makes it harder to govern and exacerbates political polarization When millions of American voters head to the polls this autumn to vote for congressional candidates, the vast majority of their votes won’t matter at all. It’s an idea that’s anathema to the very idea of US government – that politicians are accountable to the people. But America is poised to have a staggeringly low number of competitive seats in the US House, an alarming trend that makes it harder to govern and exacerbates political polarization. States have now redrawn 327 of the US House’s 435 districts so far as part of the once-a-decade [...]

February 13th, 2022|Categories: Analysis, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ukraine crisis a test that Britain – and Johnson – dare not fail

Analysis: Diplomatic network hoping to show UK is not turning into a global irrelevance Boris Johnson in Kyiv with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/PA   The Russian threat to Ukraine may be the first major foreign policy crisis since Brexit in which the UK can play to its strengths, and show that Britain with its military muscle is not turning into the global irrelevance that many had predicted. That at least is the hope in parts of Whitehall. The two other big post-Brexit foreign policy moments – the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the announcement of the Aukus security partnership in the Indo-Pacific – did not exactly see Britain in the cockpit in the same way. The UK departed [...]

February 3rd, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption was so violent, and what to expect next

Analysis - The Kingdom of Tonga doesn't often attract global attention, but a violent eruption of an underwater volcano on 15 January has spread shock waves, quite literally, around half the world. Powerful undersea volcano eruption in Tonga on Friday Jan 14, 2022. The latest eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano came just a few hours after Friday's tsunami warning was lifted. Photo: Tonga Geological Services/ EyePress News via AFP   The volcano is usually not much to look at. It consists of two small uninhabited islands, Hunga-Ha'apai and Hunga-Tonga, poking about 100m above sea level 65km north of Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa. But hiding below the waves is a massive volcano, about 1800m high and 20km wide. The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano [...]

January 18th, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Fossil scan reveals secrets of New Zealand’s extinct marine reptiles

Analysis - New Zealand's fossil record of land dinosaurs is poor, with just a few bones, but the collection of ancient extinct marine reptiles is remarkable, including shark-like mosasaurs and long-necked plesiosaurs. Artwork of a Plesiosaur Photo: AFP   Plesiosaurs first appeared in the fossil record around 200 million years ago and died off, alongside dinosaurs, 66 million years ago. They are best known for the fanciful but appealing idea, suggested by British scientist Sir Peter Scott, that the fabled Loch Ness monster was in fact a plesiosaur that somehow outlasted all other giant reptiles and remained undetected throughout human history. In a recent research project, we used medical CT imaging to scan plesiosaur fossils collected in New Zealand back in [...]

January 3rd, 2022|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

International student numbers hit record highs in Canada, UK and US as falls continue in Australia and NZ

International students are heading to Canada, the UK and the US in record numbers despite the pandemic, new research by the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University shows. But Australia and New Zealand continue to experience a dramatic drop in new international students. The Mitchell Institute report on the global impact of the pandemic on international students. Author provided   Our report, Student, interrupted: international education and the pandemic, examined five major destinations for international students: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US. We found the first waves of the pandemic caused a large fall in new international students. But countries that have opened to international students have rebounded strongly. The research reveals a complex situation where the pandemic affected [...]

December 29th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

2021 in review: Biggest political moments

Between Covid and National's dramas, it's been another big year in politics. The Beehive, New Zealand's Parliament. (Source: 1News)   1News digital political reporter Anna Whyte looks at some of the year's most memorable moments. The year of the vaccine, Delta, a long lockdown and traffic lights Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern dubbed 2021 'The Year of the Vaccine' – ending on a high of reaching a 90 per cent vaccination rate of the eligible population. But it was also the year New Zealand's Covid response was forced to pivot from elimination to the new traffic light system, after Delta took hold and it proved unachievable to shake, leaving Aucklanders locked down for months. The border was slammed shut again to Australia, [...]

December 28th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Is there any good news at all on Omicron? Yes, there are small signs of hope

Analysis: scientists are only starting to understand new Covid mutation but there is encouraging news from the laboratory, South Africa and on antiviral drugs Crowds, masks and artificial snow in Covent Garden, London, earlier this month. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA It’s hard to find much good news among the waves of grim statistics that have washed over the nation since the emergence of Omicron. Once again, the NHS is threatened and again, the prospect of a new year lockdown looms. We seem to have gained nothing in the battle against Covid-19 during the past 12 months. Such an interpretation is harsh, however. Yes, we are again facing a serious medical crisis, but a number of factors suggest there may be some ground [...]

December 20th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Brexit: UK signs free trade deal with Australia

IMAGE SOURCE, RICHARD SOWERSBY/BBC Image caption, The deal will reduce extra costs and taxes on exports and imports between the two countries The UK has signed a free trade deal with Australia which it says will benefit consumers and businesses. It is described as the first post-Brexit deal negotiated from scratch and not "rolled over" from trade terms that the UK enjoyed while in the EU. The government estimated it would unlock £10.4bn of additional trade while ending tariffs on all UK exports. However, some UK farmers have expressed concern that they could be undercut by cheap imports. The government said the deal was also a gateway into the fast-growing Indo-Pacific region and would boost the UK's bid to join the [...]

December 18th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

New Caledonia votes to stay with France, but it’s a hollow victory that will only ratchet up tensions

Analysis - "Loyalist" New Caledonians handed France the decisive victory in the third and final referendum on independence it wanted in Sunday's vote. Supporters of independence demonstrate as they hold Kanak flags the morning after the self-determination referendum in Noumea, New Caledonia. Photo: AFP   "Loyalist" New Caledonians handed France the decisive victory in the third and final referendum on independence it wanted in Sunday's vote. But it was a hollow victory, with pro-independence Kanaks delivering Paris a massive rebuke for its three-decade decolonisation strategy. The referendum is likely to be seen as a failure, a capture of the vote by settlers without the meaningful participation of the Indigenous Kanak people. Pacific nations are unlikely to accept this disenfranchising of Indigenous [...]

December 14th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Geoffrey Miller: China strategy dominates New Zealand’s foreign policy year

Analysis - Ambiguity and contradiction over China have been hallmarks of New Zealand's foreign policy throughout 2021. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta in April said New Zealand would not sign up to future joint statements from the 'Five Eyes' that criticised China. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   In this respect, the government's hawkish new defence assessment, coupled with conflicting comments by ministers about New Zealand's view on a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, was a fitting end to the year. The assessment, released on Wednesday, bluntly called out China as "seeking to reshape the international system". In tone and in substance, the document comfortably put New Zealand on the same page as the Australia and the [...]

December 12th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Australian PM behind in polls and beset by division, faces tough road to re-election

Photo: AFP   Morrison had planned to use the last sitting of 2021 to pass bills that would create sharp differences with the opposition Labor Party, including a controversial religious freedom bill that was promised after same-sex marriage became law. Instead, the final two weeks of parliament saw his coalition fractured, as his own lawmakers crossed the floor to vote against the government, forcing a delay to the religious freedom bill and other legislation, possibly until after the election. "The events of the past few days have shown the government may be effectively unable to govern until the next election," Haydon Manning, a professor of political science at Flinders University in South Australia said. "It can't pass legislation and the prime [...]

December 6th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19: Seeds of vaccine mistrust sown by neglect of Northland

Analysis - Back in March, a car fitted out with a loudspeaker was doing laps around Whangārei announcing that Covid-19 was fake; a big lie made up by the government to control people. The pre-recorded message was loud and clear and would play on repeat around lunchtimes, bringing an eerie, dystopian vibe to the town centre. More than 100 people protested the vaccine mandate for healthworkers outside the Whangārei Hospital last month. Photo: RNZ / Samantha Olley   The broadcasts were accompanied by stickers on shops and bus shelters around town. Sometimes leaflets with similar messages were slipped into public toilets or letterboxes. The claims, which have been widely discredited as nonsense, were also spouted loudly by a group crowding the [...]

December 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Luxon takes the controls – can the former Air NZ CEO make National straighten up and fly right?

Analysis - Massey University Professor of Politics Richard Shaw breaks down the uphill battle Christopher Luxon faces as he leads the National Party into a new era. National Party leader Christopher Luxon. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Hands up if you know anything about Christopher Luxon other than he was once CEO of Air New Zealand, he's been hailed as the new John Key, and he's the MP for Botany. Anyone? Luxon takes on the role of leader of Her Majesty's Opposition - the sixth since Jacinda Ardern took the reins across the political aisle (or seventh if you count Nikki Kaye's day-long stint between Todd Muller and Judith Collins) - at a time when the toughest of all political [...]

December 1st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What was Judith Collins really thinking?

Analysis - Judith Collins loses the National Party leadership after disciplining her potential rival Simon Bridges, the prime minister sets 3 December as "freedom day" and there's a mixed reaction to the government's plans for re-opening the international border. Judith Collins lost the leadership of the National Party after sending Simon Bridges to the backbenches for something he said five years ago. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver What was Judith Collins thinking? Did she believe she could neutralise Simon Bridges without a backlash or did she know there was going to be trouble but thought she could survive it? Or did she set aside the consequences and do what she believed to be right? Whatever her motives, sending Bridges to the [...]

November 28th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: the new coronavirus variant seems highly transmissible, but the big question is whether it causes severe disease. Either way, poorer nations will be hit hardest A child receives his Pfizer vaccine against Covid in a township near Johannesburg. Photograph: Denis Farrell/AP   In early August Gideon Schreiber and a team of virologists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel began playing around with the spike protein of the Sars-CoV-2 virus – the protein that allows the virus to enter our cells – to see if they could predict future mutations that could yield dangerous new variants of Covid-19. At the time, Schreiber noted with concern that there were a variety of ways in which the spike protein could evolve. [...]

November 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

‘Can-do capitalism’ is delivering less than it used to. Here are 3 reasons why

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's catch-cry is 'can-do capitalism' but is it enough?(ABC News: Eliza Laschon)   The good news is supposed to be that when the government gets out of the way "can-do capitalism" will have us roaring back to where we were before. That's the Prime Minister's newest slogan, and we had better hope for more. The unpleasant truth is that before the pandemic Australia's economy was disturbingly and unusually weak. Can-do capitalism wasn't doing what it should. Reserve Bank chief economist Luci Ellis put it this way a few days after Morrison talked about freeing the engines of the economy to do their work. "In the decade or so leading up to the pandemic, there was a nagging sense [...]

November 24th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

New Zealand’s climate change regulation is messy and complex – here’s how to improve it

Analysis - Like other countries, New Zealand has both international and domestic targets to reduce emissions, but they run on different timelines and are based on different assumptions, Nathan Cooper writes. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas This week, public submissions close on New Zealand's first emissions reduction plan which proposes policies for staying within the emissions budget for 2022-25 and keeping on track for future budgets. New Zealand also pledged to cut emissions by half by 2030 when it announced its upgraded nationally determined contribution (NDC) during the recent COP26 climate summit. This is part of the global effort, under the Paris Agreement, to limit warming to 1.5deg C above pre-industrial levels. The co-existence of international commitments, domestic laws and carbon [...]

November 23rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Risks of increasing Covid-19 disinformation, extremism in New Zealand

Analysis - Last week's Covid-19 protest outside Parliament served as a warning that New Zealand is not immune to the kinds of anger seen overseas. Covid-19 protest at Parliament on 9 November 2021. Photo: RNZ / Emma Hatton   As Labour Party whip Kieran McAnulty put it: "I think everyone needs to be aware that things are starting to escalate." McAnulty himself had been abused by some with strong anti-vaccination views, and there has been increasingly violent rhetoricdirected at government politicians and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. As a result, security for MPs has been stepped up. As the recent report from research centre Te Pūnaha Matatini showed, there has been a sharp increase in the "popularity and intensity of Covid-19 specific [...]

November 18th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Cop26: the goal of 1.5C of climate heating is alive, but only just

The Glasgow deal makes incremental progress on the climate crisis but largely kicks the can down the road Demonstrators raise a banner in front of a giant globe in the final hours of the UN Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian   So, with the final deal settled, does Cop26 look like a success or failure? The unsatisfactory answer is both, but it’s more the latter than the former. In relative terms, the agreements and deals made by the 196 nations in Glasgow nudged the world a little closer towards the path to keeping global temperature rises below 1.5C and avoiding the worst of the climate crisis’s impacts. But in absolute terms, there is still a mountain to [...]

November 14th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

So what has Cop26 achieved so far?

Agreements on deforestation, methane and coal were welcome news. Less so was some countries’ absence from major initiatives Members of the Amazonian Minga people protest at Cop26. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters Pledges In terms of national carbon pledges, India provided the best news last week, with prime minister Narendra Modi announcing that the country – currently a major polluter – intends to generate half its electricity from renewables by 2030 and achieve net zero emission status by 2070. Most experts rate the latter target as extremely ambitious and, according to the journal Nature, many suspect it is more likely that India’s plan is to reach net zero only for carbon dioxide by 2070, with other greenhouse gases coming later. Nevertheless, the move [...]

November 8th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

President Xi Jinping’s pledge to redistribute wealth brings back bad memories for luxury brands in China

FILE PHOTO   Chinese President Xi Jinping's national campaign for "common prosperity" has cast a shadow over an industry that counts the country as one of its biggest markets: luxury goods. Xi's push to redistribute wealth in the world's second-largest economy has unsettled some luxury market investors. The sector still bears scars from a sweeping government crackdown on corruption several years ago and is now relying on Chinese consumers more than ever. Shoppers in mainland China are vital to brands such as LVMH, Hermes and Gucci. Last year, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold worldwide, China's case numbers remained relatively low and the country's share of the global luxury market roughly doubled, according to consultancy Bain. The firm predicts that China [...]

October 30th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Brute force and breathtaking determination

Analysis - The government's mandatory vaccination regime is backed by businesses but provokes a curious response from National, and Nanaia Mahuta's announcement that councils will have to join Three Waters is described as "an act of breathtaking determination".   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   After a cabinet meeting on Tuesday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that vaccinations would be mandatory in any workplace that required a certificate of vaccination for entry. It's a vital part of the next phase of protection against Covid-19, the "traffic light" system that will come in when all DHBs have reached 90 percent full vaccination and lockdowns end. Under the system even close contact businesses such as hospitality, hairdressers and gyms [...]

October 30th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why Chinese companies are investing in French wine and German robots

In recent years, Chinese companies have been substantially increasing their investments in the European Union. From the vineyards of Bordeaux to robot manufacturers in Germany and construction machinery makers in Italy, these companies have been on a buying spree of unprecedented proportions. In the EU, the rapid growth has fuelled fears about the impact of these investments on jobs, technology and Europe’s long-term industrial capacity, sparking calls for more oversight. In this context, some see the investment screening mechanism the EU put in place in 2019 as targeted at Chinese companies. During the pandemic, growing concerns that vital European technology and knowhow could be vulnerable to foreign takeover because of the economic downturn led the European Commission to issue guidelines for [...]

October 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

COVID-19: Cases are rising fast – but who’s getting infected at the moment?

UK— Scientists say there could be a "perfect storm" this winter as COVID-19 cases rise just as immunity levels start to wane for the elderly and clinically vulnerable. Infections have averaged more than 40,500 per day over the past week and have risen by a third in a fortnight. Last week, the Office for National Statistics estimated that one in 60 people in England had the virus - one of the highest rates seen the pandemic began. The high numbers previously attributed to infections among schoolchildren have now spread to those in their 30s and 40s. Dr Stephen Griffin, chair of the virus division of microbiology society at the University of Leeds, said the lack of restrictions for meeting indoors during [...]

October 20th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Kidnap of foreign missionaries confirms the power held by gangs in Haiti

The kidnapping of 17 foreign missionaries in Haiti marks the latest escalation in a wave of criminality in the impoverished and politically fragile Caribbean state, which has long seen waves of gang-related crime coincide with heightened political turmoil. According to some estimates, Haiti’s powerful gangs, numbering about 90 criminal organisations in total, control territory amounting to half of the sprawling capital of Port-au-Prince and cost the country over $4bn a year. Often more heavily armed than Haiti’s hollowed-out police force, the country’s gangs have become more aggressive in recent years as they have become more powerful. Some have joined forces to create dangerous alliances, such as the G-9 and Family gang network in the capital formed under the aegis of notorious [...]

October 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

No change likely for Auckland, Waikato but alert levels now on borrowed time

ANALYSIS: This week, and probably for a few more after, we will see the last gasp of alert level decisions. Hopefully by the end of the first quarter of next year, the memory of alert levels will be receding from sight as life gets back to more normal and there is a general acceptance of Covid-19 in the community. However, on Monday afternoon at 4pm there will be decisions being made on Auckland, Northland and Waikato. Northland seems a no-brainer. It looks like it should go back to alert level 2. There haven't been any extra cases pop up there for a few days. Waikato, similarly, seems like a no-brainer – except in the other direction. There were another four reported [...]

October 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Auckland in crisis as Covid-19 cases surge

Analysis - Auckland's outlook is bleak as cases surge and the government starts preparing for worst-case scenarios, hospitals get ready to deal with the crisis and home isolation will have to be used to help ease pressure on the already stressed MIQ system. After mixed messages from the government last week about its Covid-19 elimination strategy, the virus delivered its own: forget it. Director-General of Health Dr Ahsley Bloomfield, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone     As cases in Auckland continued to grow and the number of unlinked cases increased, the city's bleak outlook and the danger to the rest of the country became clear. "It's a question of time before we [...]

October 15th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19: New strategy could overwhelm contact tracing system

Experts have criticised country's contact tracing and testing systems as the Government transitions away from elimination. ANALYSIS: The Ministry of Health hasn't increased contact tracing capacity since it was criticised by an expert review in June, even though the new Covid-19 suppression strategy could see the tracing system overwhelmed. POOL PHOTO: ROBERT KITCHIN The Government will have to rapidly increase its capacity to contact trace, after failing to do so despite the recommendations of several critical reviews of the tracing system.   Philip Hill, a public health expert at the University of Otago and one of the authors of a series of critical reviews of the contact tracing system, told Newsroom the ministry appeared to be "at odds" with a ministerial directive [...]

October 10th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Beyond coal: End to deforestation sought at COP26 climate summit

Analysis - World leaders attending the COP26 UN climate summit should focus not only on abandoning fossil fuels but also on setting ambitious goals to end deforestation - and expand funding and rules to drive forest protection, environmentalists are urging. Photo: Unsplash / Imat Bagja Gumilar   More than 100 world leaders have confirmed they will attend next month's COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow in person. One key aim for the conference is moving finance out of polluting fossil fuels - especially coal - which are responsible for the lion's share of climate-heating emissions. But green groups say the importance of carbon-storing forests in curbing global warming is being overlooked by many nations - especially in their climate funding - [...]

October 9th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Taiwan and China: line that Biden must tread is finer than ever

Analysis: the fallout from a conflict triggered by miscalculation or accident could be catastrophic Military helicopters, one trailing a Taiwan flag, rehearse for Taiwanese national day celebrations. Photograph: Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock   A surge of Chinese aerial sorties over the sea separating mainland China and Taiwan has served as a reminder that the strait has the potential to be one of the most dangerous places on Earth. According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) made a total of 149 sorties in four days over the southern section of the Taiwan Strait, including flights by a dozen bombers and many jet fighters. The planes did not enter Taiwanese airspace, but they did fly inside Taiwan’s air-defence zone, [...]

October 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19: Why this will be the most important alert level update of the lockdown

ANALYSIS: Monday afternoon’s 4pm post-Cabinet press conference will be the most significant alert level update of this lockdown. Obviously all those in Auckland – and now in parts of Waikato – will be keenly listening to see if Monday signals the end of a lockdown that is now into its eighth week. But more than that, it now looks likely to herald a new way of managing Covid-19 that accepts some level of cases in the community without the need for hard lockdowns. During her morning media round today, the prime minister has explicitly used the word ‘transition’ in relation to New Zealand’s Covid-19 management strategy. Ardern said that whatever is announced, it isn't likely to be a straight level 2 [...]

October 4th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How the supply chain crisis is affecting six big economies

From container ship queues in the US to power cuts in China, the post-Covid pickup in activity is taking a toll   US retailers are telling people to shop early for Christmas because of likely shortages caused by the supply chain crisis. Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images   As the Covid-19 pandemic eases and national economies emerge from suspended animation, demand for energy, labour and transport has surged. That sudden acceleration is putting a huge strain on the just-in-time, cross-border supply chains that keep factories open and shelves stocked. From Liverpool to Los Angeles, Beijing to Berlin, the world is in the grip of a supply crunch. Here, Guardian correspondents report on how the fallout is affecting six big economies. United States [...]

October 2nd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

As Gladys Berejiklian fell from the top of the power list, Scott Morrison literally raced out ahead of her with his own agenda

Gladys Berejiklian, the woman touted last year as the one who had "saved Australia", could not save herself this week.(AAP: Mick Tsikas, ABC News: Chris Gillette)   Just 24 hours earlier, the Financial Review's annual power list had been trumpeting the fact that, for the first time in the 21-year history of the list, the Prime Minister was not perceived as the nation's most powerful person. Instead, it was four premiers — Gladys Berejiklian, Daniel Andrews, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mark McGowan — who were regarded as the ones running our lives. But by lunchtime of publication day, Berejiklian — so often held up as the Gold Standard of pandemic management by Scott Morrison — was gone. The woman touted as the one who had [...]

October 1st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Marine heatwaves in winter could have dire impacts on fisheries and herald more summer storms

Analysis: The ocean around New Zealand is getting warmer, and extreme warming events have become more frequent over the past years. Photo: 123RF     These marine heatwaves can have devastating impacts on ocean ecosystems. When they happen in summer, they usually receive a lot of attention. But those happening during winter, when the ocean is cooler, are often ignored. Yet, these winter events can affect the spawning and recruitment of fish and other sea animals, and in turn have significant impacts on aquaculture and fisheries. To monitor the occurrence of such extreme events around New Zealand, we developed a marine heatwave forecast tool as part of the Moana Project. The tool has been operational since January 2021 and it forecasts [...]

October 1st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Is New Zealand really like North Korea?

Analysis - Sir John Key stirs up the pandemic debate and stands by his North Korea comparison, the government scorns National's plan for ending lockdowns and re-opening the border, the new MIQ allocation system is described as a "virtual disaster" and there's a poll that should trouble both the main parties. Sir John Key took a stick to the government over its handling of Covid-19. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook   During a week packed with significant political events one gained more publicity than any other: Sir John Key took a stick to the government over its handling of Covid-19 and described New Zealand as a "hermit kingdom". The former prime minister's article was published in Sunday papers and the next [...]

October 1st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Aukus: Australia defends role in security pact amid French condemnation

Australia has defended its decision to scrap a multi-billion dollar submarine purchase from France in favour of a new security pact with the US and UK. Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected accusations that Australia had lied, saying France should have been aware it was prepared to break the deal. France says the Aukus pact has led to a "serious crisis" between the allies. In an unprecedented move, it has recalled its ambassadors from the US and Australia as a sign of protest. Under the Aukus pact, Australia will be given the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines as a way of countering China's influence in the contested South China Sea. The partnership has ended a deal worth $37bn (£27bn) signed by Australia [...]

September 20th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Slow but steady has seen the EU win out in the vaccine race

Ursula von der Leyen says the union’s vaccination programme is now a success after its stumbling start European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen delivers her second state of the union speech before the European parliament in September. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex   We did it,” said Ursula von der Leyen in her annual state of the union address last week. With more than 70% of its adult population now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Europe is, “against all critics, among the world leaders”. Moreover, the Commission president said, the EU had exported half its vaccines: “We delivered more than 700 million doses to the European people, and we delivered more than 700 million doses to the rest of the world. We are [...]

September 20th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Cold war echoes as Aukus alliance focuses on China deterrence

Analysis: security partnership is wide-ranging and may come to define future approach to Indo-Pacific security   US officials said the Aukus alliance was about ‘sustaining and improving deterrence’, but the west will need China’s help in other global problems, such as the climate crisis. Photograph: Oliver Contreras/EPA     For those who study the history of the cold war, Washington’s new initiative with London and Canberra – known by its acronym “Aukus” – has overtones of the name UKUSA, an intelligence-sharing agreement signed 75 years ago now more commonly known as the Five Eyes partnership. When the seven-page full text of UKUSA agreement was finally released in June 2010, Time magazine called it one of the cold war’s most important documents [...]

September 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Aukus deal showing France and EU that Biden not all he seems

Analysis: the western alliance is the main victim – and China will win out unless US can soothe Paris’s anger Emmanuel Macron, second left, in 2018 with the then Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, second right, on a submarine in Sydney. Australia has torn up plans to buy French submarines. Photograph: Brendan Esposito/AFP/Getty Images   Fury in Paris at Australia’s decision to tear up plans to buy a French-built fleet of submarines is not only a row about a defence contract, cost overruns and technical specifications. It throws into question the transatlantic alliance to confront China. The Aukus deal has left the French political class seething at Joe Biden’s Trumpian unilateralism, Australian two-facedness and the usual British perfidy. “Nothing was done [...]

September 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Alliance with Australia and US a ‘downpayment on global Britain’

Comment from White House shows there is a price to be paid: support for US-led stronger posture against Beijing Boris Johnson, the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, and the US president, Joe Biden, at the G7 summit in June. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock   Britain’s post-Brexit foreign policy is taking shape, and the early moves are hardly very surprising: a tripartite defence alliance with the US and Australia – handily compressed to Aukus – clearly designed to send a message to Beijing. The three start work by sharing with Canberra what is ultimately an American technology: supplying nuclear reactors to power submarines with the likely assistance of Britain’s Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, a relationship that may also allow the Australians to ditch [...]

September 16th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How 9/11 changed New Zealand’s foreign policy

Analysis - This week's anniversary of the 11 September attacks on the United States in 2001 is also an opportunity to recall the impact the tragedy - and the response to it - had on New Zealand's wider foreign policy. US President George W. Bush speaks to the press during a meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on 21 March 2007 in the Oval Office. Photo: AFP   New Zealand immediately supported the US invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, with an initial deployment of Special Air Service (SAS) combat soldiers. A Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan province followed in 2003. Amidst the recent US withdrawal, and the Taliban's renewed takeover of [...]

September 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Power Play: Auckland may have to hunker down for a bit longer yet…

Analysis - Ministers will decide today the level of restrictions New Zealanders will have to live under - but the signs are not looking good for Auckland to move out of level 4, or even a change for the rest of the country.   A deserted central Auckland in the midst of the August 2021 lockdown. Photo: RNZ / Robert Smith   Cabinet will consider whether Auckland will move to level 3 at midnight on Tuesday, and whether everyone else is ready to move out of level 2. "Mystery" cases and three sub-clusters in Auckland, where the virus is spreading beyond household and close contacts, remain a cause for concern; alongside the three people who presented to Middlemore Hospital with Covid-19, [...]

September 12th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: As West ponders aid for Afghanistan, China and Pakistan quick to provide relief

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan's Taliban, in Tianjin, China July 28, 2021. Li Ran/Xinhua via REUTERS ISLAMABAD– As international donors gather in Geneva on Monday to discuss humanitarian relief for Afghanistan under Taliban rule, neighbours China and Pakistan have already reached out with aid and discussions of future assistance. The economy in the war-torn country is in crisis and a humanitarian crisis is looming, experts say. Yet the United States and other Western nations are reluctant to provide the Taliban with funds until the Islamist militant movement provides assurances that it will uphold human rights, and in particular the rights of women. The country’s roughly $10 billion in [...]

September 12th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Languishing, burnout and stigma – Delta’s possible psychological impacts

Analysis - As New Zealand remains under different levels of restriction, the psychological toll of the Delta outbreak may start to show, even as lockdown eases for everyone outside Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas We know that stress and isolation associated with a lockdown can exacerbate underlying mental illnesses. But even for people with no existing concerns, the impact can show in more subtle ways, on a continuum between flourishing and languishing. Imagine a t-shaped cross with symptoms of mental illness on the horizontal axis ranging from severe to none, and mental health on the vertical axis, ranging from high (flourishing) to low (languishing). Under this model, it's quite possible to experience a mental illness but still be flourishing or [...]

September 9th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Has any NZ prime minister faced as many crises as Ardern?

Analysis - Has Jacinda Ardern really faced more crises than other New Zealand prime ministers, or is she simply the leader in a time when rolling news and social media puts her centre stage? Jacinda Ardern announces the attack at LynnMall was terrorism. Photo: POOL / Stuff / Robert Kitchin   Why are more things happening in the news right now, my daughter asked. The daily dread of the 1pm Covid update is like a screensaver to my seven-year-old. But now the prime minister was explaining that a terrorist, who had been on a watchlist for five years, was shot within minutes after a frenzied stabbing attack. Friends and work colleagues were asking the same question on text and Microsoft Teams [...]

September 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Secret deals and the pressure of pandemic politics

This week began with an intriguing Stuff report: The government was close to finalising a plan to quickly procure surplus vaccines from a friendly nation, with a potential deal being signed in the next few days. Judith Collins in a largely empty debating chamber. Photo: Pool / ROBERT KITCHIN / STUFF   "The details of the potential transaction are being tightly held by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, with even trusted advisers being kept in the dark for fear of details leaking," the report said. It would be similar to the deal done by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in mid-August when one million Pfizer shots were purchased from Poland, the report added. By the end of the week the government had [...]

September 4th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Can the Taliban revive Afghanistan’s shattered economy?

As the group prepares to announce a government, it may have to count on its former foes to finance its future People wait outside a bank to withdraw cash on Thursday after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul. Queues can stretch for hundreds of metres. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The Taliban took Afghanistan in a lightning advance through its capitals, exposing the weakness of the Kabul government and humbling the US and its allies. This week’s withdrawal of western forces is their greatest victory. As they prepare to announce their government, reviving Afghanistan’s shattered economy may be the group’s biggest challenge. What has happened to the Afghan economy since the Taliban took over? Amid the country’s worst drought in decades and deteriorating [...]

September 3rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Australia’s two biggest states have abandoned Covid zero, but it’s still a long path to freedom

Analysis - More than half of Australia's population is now living in states that don't expect to return to being coronavirus-free before vaccination levels dramatically improve, if at all.   (File photo) A drive-through Covid-19 testing station in Melbourne. Photo: AFP   The Victorian government yesterday conceded its outbreak of the Delta variant is highly unlikely to be beaten back to zero, meaning its long lockdown is set to stretch well into spring. It's the second state, after New South Wales, to determine that even though cases are still growing, it has nothing left to throw at the Delta variant. Delta has proven to be a formidable foe, even against the tools that worked to suppress outbreaks across the country last [...]

September 3rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What are the limits of dissent as NZ locks down, vaccinates and prepares to ‘open up’?

Analysis - As New Zealand grapples to bring a Delta outbreak under control and to accelerate the vaccination rollout, social cohesion is vital for a successful elimination strategy. Photo: Pool / NZME   Political consensus on elimination has endured so far. Unlike the anti-mask and anti-vaccination movements elsewhere, most New Zealanders continue to back the prime minister's decision to place the country under the strictest lockdown. But strains on public consensus are beginning to show, with a less-than-ideal Parliament, some pushback against lockdowns and agitation to "open up". These debates will become more pressing as the government moves towards difficult discussions about an exit strategy and targets for vaccination rates. Dissent and debate within Parliament At the highest level, the country [...]

September 2nd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How Did the United States Cover Up Its Role in El Salvador’s Civil War

In the 1980s and 1990s, fierce military conflicts erupted between the right-wing military junta and the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador, the Central American country. Today, the war is history, but it left an incurable wound of war and many unsolved mysteries -- what role did the U.S. government play in the war, and how much truth has been covered up? Two American advisers with Salvadoran trooper   I. Outbreak of war In February 1980, El Salvador's widely respected Archbishop Oscar Romero wrote an open letter to the U.S. President Jimmy Carter requesting him to suspend military aid to the military junta of El Salvador that was blamed suppressing its people and protecting the interests of Salvadoran [...]

August 31st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19: Cases among essential workers could spell end of elimination strategy

ANALYSIS: Concerns from some of our top Covid modellers, Shaun Hendy and Rodney Jones, that case numbers have not fallen yet should send a shiver down the nation’s collective spine. The number of daily cases in Auckland’s Delta community outbreak continues to climb, despite earlier suggestions we should have seen the ‘peak’ by now. Earlier this week, Government officials said they anticipated the outbreak would start to peak about day 8-10. On Saturday, there were 82 new cases – the highest daily total to date – totalling 429 cases over just 11 days. MARK MITCHELL Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Friday that there had been transmission of Covid-19 in three essential workplaces.     The country is currently at alert [...]

August 29th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: Sluggish vaccine rollout deserves an explanation

Analysis - Monday's media conference contained a self-evident yet sobering admission: many of those caught in the Delta outbreak were not vaccinated as they were not yet eligible. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday. Could the government have provided it sooner? Photo: Ross Giblin / Stuff / Pool   The Ministry of Health later confirmed just three of the 107 people who had so far tested positive for Covid-19 were double jabbed; 14 had received one dose. The revelation is unsurprising given prior to the outbreak most people under the age of 50 were blocked from booking an appointment. Since last week's Delta incursion, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been unapologetic [...]

August 25th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Biden pours salt into wounds of relations with Europe at G7 meeting

Analysis: US president dashes hopes he might acknowledge damage done by handling of Afghan withdrawal US troops oversee the evacuation of Afghan citizens at Kabul international airport. Photograph: EPA In the end it took only seven minutes for Joe Biden to pour salt into the wounds of his fractured relationship with European leaders, telling them firmly on a video call that he would not extend the 31 August deadline for US troops to stay in Kabul, as he had been asked by the French, Italians and most of all the British. The rebuff follows Biden’s earlier decision in July to insist on the August deadline previously set in 2020 by Donald Trump for the withdrawal, a decision the US president relayed [...]

August 25th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: With Delta there are no second chances

Analysis - New Zealanders are back in their bubbles after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a three-day alert level 4 lockdown for the entire country, and a seven-day period for Auckland following the confirmation of a community case most likely infected with the Delta variant. New Zealand is returning to its first full national lockdown in more than a year. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers     This is the first community case since February and it's more than a year since the last country-wide lockdown. The infected man was unvaccinated and is thought to have been infectious since Thursday. He travelled to the Coromandel for the weekend, and tracing is now underway to establish all close and casual contacts and [...]

August 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China, Pakistan and Russia set to increase Afghanistan influence

Analysis: three countries have all signalled a readiness to engage with Taliban authorities to some degree Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, speaks to Taliban representatives including their leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar, in 2019. Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP   Regional powers will see their influence increase dramatically in Afghanistan as the US executes a hasty, haphazard withdrawal and the Taliban return to power after 20 years. Russia, Pakistan and China have all signalled a readiness to transition smoothly into engaging with Taliban authorities with varying levels of enthusiasm. But the Taliban’s return has also stoked fears in those countries that Afghanistan will once again become a haven for foreign terrorist organisations that could carry out attacks on their own soil. In [...]

August 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Appetite for convenience: how the surge in online food delivery could be harming our health

Analysis - With the simple touch of a smartphone, online food delivery services conveniently offer takeaway food straight to your door. Online food delivery services have leveraged the pandemic to promote junk food on social media, researchers found. Photo:   Contact-free delivery has surged in popularity as lockdowns have limited physical access to restaurants and food outlets. Industry reports suggest Australians are spending three times more on online food delivery than before the Covid-19 pandemic. Globally, online food delivery is set to become a $US200 billion industry by 2025. While these delivery apps provide easy access to a variety of foods, they may be harmful for our health. Online food delivery services increase access to fast food During January and [...]

August 15th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Case of the mystery sea snakes: why are reptiles washing up on New Zealand’s shores?

A famously snake-free country, Aotearoa and its beaches are wrangling with the sporadic arrival of yellow-bellied sea snakes   A yellow-bellied sea snake was spotted at Tapuae Estate Beach, just south of New Plymouth. Photograph: Aloaiza   It looked like a rope or a question mark – a black scribble on the sand. The creature had washed up on a Northland beach in May and was found by a steely local 11-year-old, who popped it into a bag, took it to his local corner shop and requested a box. The purveyor told him it was a sea snake, so the boy put it in a bucket and took it home. The snake did not survive the trip. “I didn’t know what [...]

August 14th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

US deserves big share of blame for Afghanistan military disaster

Analysis: White House accused of unfairly pointing finger at Afghan military after decades of mismanaging war effort The Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a briefing on Thursday in Washington. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP   As one provincial capital after another has fallen to the Taliban, the message from Washington to the Afghans facing the onslaught has been that their survival is in their own hands. “They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation,” Joe Biden said. Jen Psaki, the White House spokeswoman, added: “They have what they need. What they need to determine is whether they have the political will to fight back.” But despite more than $80bn in US security assistance since 2002 and an annual military budget [...]

August 14th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Can Labour tackle the housing crisis like its lauded party predecessors? What you need to know

Analysis - The Human Rights Commission has released initial guidelines on what the right to a decent home means in Aotearoa, which it says will now inform an inquiry into successive governments' failure to meet international obligations. Photo: Vinay Ranchhod   The move has reframed the country's housing crisis as a human rights issue and some are now urging the government to replicate what the first Labour administration did to address the issue in similar times of economic crisis. But how is access to adequate housing a human right? Can a modern Labour government confront the issue in the same way party predecessors did in the 1930s and '40s? Housing and human rights According to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, [...]

August 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

IPCC report’s verdict on climate crimes of humanity: guilty as hell

Analysis: report exposes the failure to act on the climate crisis – political leaders are now in the dock A view of the Komsomolskaya coal mine in Vorkuta, Russia. Humanity’s emissions of fossil fuels have caused dangerous global heating. Photograph: Alexei Reznichenko/TASS   As a verdict on the climate crimes of humanity, the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report could not be clearer: guilty as hell. The repeatedly ignored warnings of scientists over past decades have now become reality. Humanity, through its actions, or lack of action, has unequivocally overheated the planet. Nowhere on Earth is escaping rising temperatures, worse floods, hotter wildfires or more searing droughts. The future looks worse. “If we do not halt our emissions soon, our [...]

August 9th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why remote work is a big problem for the economy

New York (CNN Business) Americans are trickling back to their pre-pandemic workplaces, but most offices are still largely empty. And that's affecting local economies in a major way. Love it or hate it, commuting is good for the economy. You pay train conductors' salaries with your subway fare. The dry cleaner by the office and the coffee shop around the corner all count on workers who have been largely absent for nearly a year and a half. In 2020, the number of people working from home nearly doubled, to 42% of America's workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And although many workers may prefer that setup, staying home is likely to delay the recovery of the vital office-adjacent economy. [...]

August 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill and what’s left out – visual explainer

Bill maintains a large portion of Biden’s proposals for roads, public transit and high-speed internet – but cuts some of the more contentious spending items The bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill proposes $66bn of new spending on passenger and freight rail projects over the next decade. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP A bipartisan group of US senators have proposed billions of dollars of new spending on roads, public transit, affordable high-speed internet and clean drinking water, among other things. This latest bill, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is significant because it’s an iteration of President Biden’s infrastructure plan – but pared down so that it can garner enough Republican support to get through the Senate and be signed into law. The $550bn [...]

August 4th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Return of Suhayra Aden stirs up debate

Analysis - Harsh words from National's Judith Collins as the government announces Suhayra Aden can return to New Zealand, another big vaccine delivery clears the way for the programme to ramp up but will public response become a problem? Judith Collins has described New Zealand's decision to take in Suhayra Aden as "disappointing". Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   The government announced on Monday that Suhayra Aden and her two young children would be repatriated to New Zealand, setting off a debate about what would happen after the woman who left Australia to follow Islamic State arrived here. Aden is 26, she was born in Auckland and left with her family for Australia when she was six. She was a dual [...]

August 1st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Malnutrition among children is rife in Nigeria. What must be done

Nigeria’s northern region has a disproportionate number of malnourished children. TEFAN HEUNIS/AFP via Getty Images   Malnutrition is one of world’s major public health and development concerns. In Nigeria, the situation is dire. Currently, UNICEF says 5 in 10 children under five years old suffer from the effects of being malnourished. This has an overarching impact on the lives, future and productivity of Nigerian children. Ogechi Ekeanyanwu, from The Conversation Africa, asked Blessing Akombi-Inyang, a maternal and child health expert, to explain the reasons for this high rate of malnutrition. Why is malnutrition so endemic in Nigeria? The main reason is malnutrition’s close association with poverty. One of the consequences of poverty is the lack of access to nutritious food, which [...]

July 29th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why governments will have to consider the costs of long Covid when easing pandemic restrictions

Analysis - With governments worldwide under pressure to ease pandemic restrictions as vaccination rates rise and impatience with border restrictions grows, new threats become clearer. If long Covid-19 is chronic and much more common than death from Covid-19 (as the current data strongly suggest), the costs rise further, Richard Meade writes. Photo: AFP One of the costliest, it is now feared, could be a tsunami of "long Covid" cases. Long Covid is a serious ongoing illness that follows an acute episode of the disease. It is characterised by extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, post-exertional malaise and an inability to concentrate ("brain fog"), among many other symptoms. The focus, therefore, needs to shift towards protecting quality of life as much as saving lives [...]

July 28th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: U.S., China positions ossify at entrenched Tianjin talks

U.S. and Chinese flags are seen before a meeting between senior defence officials from both countries at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo WASHINGTON - With no indication of a U.S.-China leaders' summit in the works, nor any outcomes announced from high-level diplomatic talks on Monday, relations between Beijing and Washington appear to be at a standstill as both sides insist the other must make concessions for ties to improve. U.S. officials had stressed that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman's trip to the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin to meet Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials was a chance to ensure that stiffening competition between the two geopolitical rivals does not veer [...]

July 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: U.S. manufacturers take a double hit from labor and materials

A worker machines a screed tower link at the Calder Brothers' facility in Taylors, South Carolina, U.S., July 19, 2021. Picture taken July 19, 2021. Brandon Granger/Calder Brothers Corporation/Handout via REUTERS CHICAGO- Calder Brothers Corp is under pressure to raise wages after rivals lured away some of its workers. A few others were also considering jumping ship, but co-owner Glen Calder said the South Carolina-based construction machinery company managed to persuade them to stay by promising a better career. With willing workers in short supply across the United States and companies frantically vying for them, Calder knows his firm cannot hold off pay increases. At the same time, however, soaring prices for the raw materials used in the asphalt paving machines [...]

July 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How US military pullback in Iraq could benefit Iran

image captionAmerica now has only about 2,500 regular troops left in Iraq     First Afghanistan, now Iraq. As Iraq's prime minister visits the White House for talks with President Joe Biden, an announcement has been made that all remaining US combat troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year as part of an ongoing "US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue". This prompts two key questions: what difference will this make on the ground, and does this open the door for a return of Islamic State (IS), the group that terrorised much of the Middle East and attracted recruits from as far afield as London, Trinidad and Australia? Eighteen years on from the US-led invasion of Iraq, America only has [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

COVID-19 rules for the Tokyo Olympics share key principles, but the approach differs between sports

Athletes are being tested every day for COVID-19.AP: Lee Jin-man   With the Olympic Games underway in Tokyo, a shadow hangs over the competition as the host city is in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Already several athletes have tested positive inside the Olympic Village, and more than 100 people accredited for the Games have coronavirus. As everyone metaphorically holds their breath for the next 16 days, hoping that the outbreak does not spread within the village, the question is: what happens if an athlete tests positive during competition? The IOC's executive board released details earlier this month, setting out how the Games would handle the issue. There were three key principles agreed in deciding the process for [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Australia is racing to make mRNA COVID vaccines here — but can we do it without big pharma?

Pfizer and Moderna have been pioneering mRNA vaccines during the pandemic. Supplied: WA Health   Australia is one of many nations seeking to make the type of COVID-19 vaccine pioneered by Pfizer and Moderna during the pandemic – but can we make doses onshore anytime soon without help from big pharma? The federal government has not put a dollar figure on how much it is willing to invest in this space. And it has technically made no commitment to doing anything. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said receiving the proposals was a "key step" in setting up "a sustainable, sovereign vaccine manufacturing capability to Australia". "[This] will protect Australia against future pandemics and support Australian industry to benefit from the long-term [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Australia’s Covid lockdowns could speed up interest rate hikes

New Zealand has done something which will have a profound impact on its economy. Now Aussie mortgage payers wait for their moment of truth. Australia’s Covid lockdowns could speed up interest rate hikes and raise mortgage payments. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel CarrettSource:News Corp Australia   When we think about interest rates within our collective consciousness, they are generally perceived as something that is extremely slow to shift direction. Like a giant supertanker that takes miles to change direction, once a course in the direction of rates has been set there is a great deal of inertia propelling them in that same direction for years to come. This has been very true of Australia’s own Reserve Bank. After raising rates for the last [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Farmers’ howls echo around corridors of power

Analysis - It's nearly a week since the Howl of a Protest took place throughout the country, and we're still talking about the rural revolt. What are the farmers' concerns? Are they legitimate? Has the rural-urban divide has become too deep, and will any of this have an impact on politics in Wellington? Farmers protest in Queen St, Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone What's behind the rural revolt? One of the best pieces on what's behind the rural revolt is today's article by Laura Walters: How real is the rural-urban divide? She argues division is being stoked between farm and town, including by the media and those who wish to explain the protests as farmers being out of touch. Instead, [...]

July 23rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Geoffrey Miller: Special APEC summit on Covid-19 a quiet success

Analysis - The special virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit was officially referred to as an 'informal leaders' retreat on Covid-19'. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hosted the APEC Informal Leaders' Retreat in Wellington yesterday. Photo: Getty Images / Hagen Hopkins / POOL   From the outset, host Jacinda Ardern dampened down expectations for the meeting, warning reporters not to expect any significant breakthroughs. In that respect, New Zealand's Prime Minister was right. A joint statement issued after the meeting included vague commitments to accelerate the production and distribution of vaccines. There was also agreement on the need to restore international travel links and strengthen supply chains that had been disrupted by the pandemic. Perhaps surprisingly, three of the biggest and most [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19: Most NZers plan to get vaccinated, but more info wanted

Analysis: New Zealanders' intention to get a Covid-19 vaccine is at its highest since last year, at 81 percent of the adult population, according to our latest research. Photo: AFP   Ministry of Health surveys, which have been tracking public acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines since last year, also confirm the potential uptake has increased to 80 percent in May, up from 77 percent in April and 69 percent in March this year. Our longitudinal survey, conducted between March and May, shows an increase by six percentage points among those who will "definitely" take the vaccine to protect themselves and their communities, to 67 percent in May compared to 61 percent in March. The increase is visible across gender, age, education and [...]

July 14th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why has Cuba exploded in protests? It goes beyond the U.S. embargo and the pandemic

Analysis: Cuba has been promising economic reforms for years that have not materialized. “People don’t have hope in getting out of the crisis,” said an economist. Demonstrators in support of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel's government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality in Havana on Monday. Yamil Lage / AFP - Getty Images Although she did not take part in the historic protests that rocked the entire island of Cuba on Sunday, Caridad Montes, 50, says she understands why they took place. “It’s very simple," said Montes, a Havana resident. "They are tired of the hardships and want changes for the better." Cuba has been grappling with acute shortages of food and medicine throughout the pandemic. People make lines for blocks to buy whatever [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: China’s RRReminder that economies remain fragile

Headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - China's decision on Friday to give its economy a 1 trillion yuan ($154 billion) shot in the arm has given investors a reminder that even the largest economies are likely to the need the occasional pick-me-up while the coronavirus pandemic lasts. In one of its trademark Friday night moves, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) cut its reserve requirement ratio (RRR) - the money banks have to park at the central bank for safety - by 50 basis points (bps). It is the first such step since April last year when COVID was rapidly spreading around [...]

July 10th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Ardern’s chance to set the stage for busy few months of diplomacy

Analysis - What is New Zealand's most important role in a quickly changing geopolitical world? It could be mediating between China and the West. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 1 April 2019. Photo: AFP A keynote speech by Jacinda Ardern next week will set the tone for a busy few months of foreign policy activity, culminating in New Zealand's virtual hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in November. The coming months also include the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York in September and the COP26 climate change summit, to be held in Glasgow in late October and [...]

July 10th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Who’s eating New Zealand?

If you imagine New Zealand's sheep meat as a plate of 10 meatballs, Kiwis would get to eat half of a meatball. So where's the rest going? In the first story in a new series, Farah Hancock crunches more than 30 years of data to find out who's eating New Zealand. New Zealand produces enough food to feed about 40 million people but given our population is just 5 million, who are these people we're feeding and what are they eating? And in the land of milk and honey, how much is left behind for Kiwis? RNZ has looked at some of our biggest merchandise export earners and some of our highest profile products to see who has been eating and [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in politics: Covid-19, hate speech plans and Three Waters spark trouble for govt

Analysis - New rules are coming for masks and scanning, but the question is asked: has the government itself become complacent? The prime minister gets herself in a muddle with proposed hate speech laws and takes a lashing from the media, a former National minister berates his own party and the Three Waters proposals run into problems. Top from left: Jacinda Ardern, Kris Faafoi, Chris Finlayson and Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ / Getty Images   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday there would be stronger rules around mask wearing and QR scanning. Ardern said use of the app was consistently low across the country. Of the 2600 potential contacts of the infected Sydney man who visited Wellington a fortnight ago [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Afghanistan: America’s ‘longest war’ ends amid accusations of betrayal

Analysis: Washington did not learn the lessons of Vietnam and more death and suffering are inevitable An Afghan national army soldier stands guard at Bagram on the day the last of the American troops vacated the airbase. Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters   The US war in Afghanistan was not supposed to be another Vietnam. “I don’t do quagmires,” said Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the original US invasion, who died last week. In the end the former US defence secretary did two quagmires, airily assuming Afghanistan was “won” in the spring of 2003 when he sent American troops to fight in Iraq. US combat troops were in Vietnam for eight years, but they have been in Afghanistan for 20. It has been [...]

July 4th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19: Delta symptoms appear to differ from other variants – here’s what to look out for

ANALYSIS: We’ve been living in a Covid world for more than 18 months now. At the outset of the pandemic, government agencies and health authorities scrambled to inform people on how to identify symptoms of the virus. But as the virus has evolved, it seems the most common symptoms have changed too. Emerging data suggest people infected with the Delta variant – the variantbehind most of Australia’s current cases and highly prevalent around the world – are experiencing symptoms different to those we commonly associated with Covid earlier in the pandemic. The most reported symptoms for Covid-19 are now headaches, sore throat and runny nose, according to British researchers, as the delta variant sweeps across the globe. Humans are dynamic. With [...]

July 2nd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Delta Covid variant may be edging race against vaccines

Analysis: research suggests ‘scarily fleeting’ contact could infect, and that places with high jab rates are susceptible Sydney and some of its surrounding areas have imposed a strict two-week lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of the Delta variant. Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images     The transmission advantage of the Delta variant that is spreading at pace globally is a sign that the race between vaccination and the virus could tip in favour of the latter unless countries ramp up their immunisation campaigns and practise caution, scientists say. The variant, first detected in India, has been identified in at least 92 countries and is considered the “fittest” variant yet of the virus that causes Covid-19, with its enhanced ability to [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

In nationalizing Juneteenth, the U.S. is still late to the hemisphere’s party

People demonstrate during a Juneteenth rally in Brooklyn in June 2020. (John Minchillo/AP) On Thursday, President Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. The day marks the end of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news that enslaved people were free two months after the Confederate surrender that marked the symbolic end of the Civil War. In the years that followed, Black Americans embraced the announcement of liberation for enslaved Texans as a moment of national emancipation. “As Black Texans moved across the country, they brought their day of jubilation with them,” my colleagues wrote. “And embracing that moment has become a fitting way to mark the end of a war fought [...]

June 20th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Many Iranians plan to boycott vote for a president without power

After serving two terms, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani leaves office in 2021 with the country still trapped in an economic crisis with many Iranians calling for fundamental political change. © via Reuters - Sputnik Photo Agency Following the end of President Hassan Rouhani’s two terms in office, Iran goes to the polls on June 18 to elect a new president. But in a country where the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards hold more political, social and economic power than the president, many Iranians are boycotting the vote and demanding fundamental changes to the system. Come June 18, Shahin Mohammadi* is certain she won’t be making her way to a polling station in her first-ever election boycott. "I've always voted, in every election, but this time [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Biden pushes China threat at G7 and NATO, but European leaders tread carefully

Biden calls on foreign leaders to protect against 'phony populism’ CNN)US presidents don't normally go to Europe and keep talking about China. But Joe Biden thinks he's convinced his new European friends of the need to stand up to Chinese autocracy, human rights abuses and economic rule-breaking. China is nothing short of a foreign policy fixation in Washington. So it doesn't take a genius to know what Biden may want in return for patching up the trans-Atlantic wounds of the Trump era. He said he "walked away" from the G7 summit in the UK convinced that the group recognizes that Beijing is part of a growing threat to global democracy. The summit agreed to set up an alternative to China's Belt [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Expect China to be furious at being cast as a threat to the west

Analysis: Political divergences within Nato’s 30 members – from the US to North Macedonia – may well threaten ambitions for its strategy on China President Biden greets Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, at the Nato summit in Brussels on Monday.Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) was established on 4 April 1949, its mission was to counterbalance armies from the Soviet Union that were stationed in central and eastern Europe after the conclusion of the second world war. After Emmanuel Macron, the current leader of one of its founding members, France, called it “brain-dead” in 2019, some analysts said the alliance will have to look for a new unifying mission to keep itself relevant in the new [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Christchurch Call and Countering Violent Extremism: helping or hindering?

Analysis - Two years after the Christchurch Call was initiated, the United States has finally joined. The Christchurch Call meeting at the UN in New York. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch However, while the recent increase in focus on prominent far-right extremist content is good to see, could the Christchurch Call, and wider counterterrorism measures, end up hurting the communities they are supposed to help? As a policy, the Christchurch Call has the potential to adversely impact minority groups and limit legitimate political speech. The Christchurch Call, founded two months after the terror attack in Christchurch in 2019 claimed the lives of 51 people, is a commitment for governments and tech companies to remove violent extremist content from online platforms. This [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Visa changes: too little, too late?

Analysis - The government has announced 10,000 working holiday-makers and seasonal staff can get visa extensions, but some say the numbers are a drop in the ocean and come too late - 11 days before visas are starting to expire. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone Migrants on Working Holiday and Supplementary Seasonal Employment visas due to expire between 21 June and the end of December will have their visas automatically extended for six months. Business NZ welcomed the change, which included another deferral of the three-year stand-down period for lower-paid workers and border exemptions for the dairy industry. The horticulture sector said the visa extensions could help stop the bleed of workers to Australia but it still needs more staff. Horticulture [...]

June 12th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

UK and US gird for a titanic struggle – if they can avoid falling out first

Analysis: Mundane conflicts over sausage exports have no place in high-flown plans for new Atlantic charter Joe Biden and Boris Johnson appear together for a photocall at the G7 summit in Cornwall. Photograph: Hollie Adams/EPA Whatever precise pressure US diplomats put on Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, ahead of Joe Biden’s rather chaotic first photocallwith Johnson at the G7 summit at Carbis bay, both sides were keen at their bilateral meeting to put the ugly genie back in the bottle. The US side claimed there was nothing it had been saying to the British in private about the sanctity of the Good Friday agreement that it had not said in public, adding there had been no presidential directive to the [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

AI is taking over job hiring, but racism concerns persist

Job applications are increasingly being screened by algorithms built to automatically flag attractive applicants to hiring managers. | AFP-JIJI LOS ANGELES – Since graduating from a U.S. university four years ago, Kevin Carballo has lost count of the number of times he has applied for a job only to receive a swift, automated rejection email — sometimes just hours after applying. Like many job seekers around the world, Carballo’s applications are increasingly being screened by algorithms built to automatically flag attractive applicants to hiring managers. “There’s no way to apply for a job these days without being analyzed by some sort of automated system,” said Carballo, 27, who is Latino and the first member of his family to go to university. [...]

June 8th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: China criticism played down amid trans-Tasman solidarity show

Analysis - A joint statement issued by the prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia after talks in Queenstown drew an irate response from China this week.   Photo: 123RF , Joe Allison / Pool / AFP     Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison held their first face-to-face meeting since the pandemic began and there is no doubt it was a success. "Never since the days of sleepovers by John Key at the Sydney mansion of Malcolm Turnbull has there been such trans-Tasman bonhomie," said Newstalk ZB's political editor Barry Soper. "Any differences were left on the welcome mat as they presented their united front." Morrison seemed determined to dispel any notion that their respective positions on China had harmed either [...]

June 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Australia turns up heat on NZ’s relationship with China

Analysis - Is New Zealand navigating the China-West, politics-trade relationship in a craven way? Increasingly that seems to be the view from overseas, and especially Australia. New Zealand's relationship with China has been in the spotlight while Scott Morrison has been meeting Jacinda Ardern in Queenstown. Photo: 2021 Getty Images   This critique was boiled down to its essence in last night's Australian Channel 9 18-minute documentary, Kiwis might fly, which you can watch on YouTube here: Dollars VS Decency: Is China taking over New Zealand? This is the broadcast that controversially advertised itself with the question about whether New Zealand was becoming "New Xi-land". The gist of the report is the allegation that New Zealand has gone soft on China [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Vaccine inequality exposed by dire situation in world’s poorest nations

Analysis: the failings of the Covax programme, logistical issues and governments’ own inadequacies are making a bad situation worse The Pfizer vaccine is administered at a care home near Klerksdorp, South Africa. Photograph: Michele Spatari/AFP/Getty Images Only 1% of the 1.3 billion vaccines injected around the world have been administered in Africa – and that comparative percentage has been declining in recent weeks. It is a stark figure that underlines just how serious a problem global vaccine inequity has become. But the answer for the developing world is not as simple as delivering more vaccines. From Africa to Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean, the same issues have been replicated. On top of finding enough doses, there have been logistical difficulties [...]

May 31st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Nanaia Mahuta’s words matter – but is there more than meets the eye?

Analysis - New Zealand's foreign minister is ruffling feathers. Nanaia Mahuta's comments on China in a Guardian interview this week brought a veiled rebuke from Beijing - and a new wave of international headlines. It was a fresh reminder that the foreign minister's words are being closely watched - and not just by China itself.   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas Mahuta is undoubtedly ruffling feathers. But if what appears to be her underlying strategy succeeds - moving Wellington back towards Beijing, while doing just enough to keep traditional Western allies on board - then she might just have created a new diplomatic model for others to follow. There are other reasons why interest in [...]

May 31st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Tens of thousands of avoidable Covid deaths: is Cummings right?

Analysis: Scientists agree with the former adviser’s claim, with one calling the estimate ‘conservative’ Dominic Cummings leaves his home in London on Sunday. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/AP     One of the most shocking allegations made by Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings during Wednesday’s joint parliamentary committee hearing was his claim that “tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die”, because of the way the government handled the Covid pandemic. His claims have some support from scientists, who have estimated that the toll from government delays could be as high as 33,000 lives. Throughout the pandemic, scientists have accused the government of delaying the introduction of Covid restrictions, at the cost of lives. In June 2020, Prof [...]

May 28th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

US Navy deployment could leave an aircraft carrier-sized gap in Asia’s tense waters

(CNN)United States Navy commanders face a potential shortfall in their Asia sea power in the coming weeks as tensions simmer with China in the region's waters. According to two unnamed US officials, the Japan-based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is expected to head to the Middle East in the next few days to support US troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan. But analysts say the move could leave a gap in US carrier coverage in East Asia at a time when Beijing is turning up the heat over the South China Sea and Taiwan. China may also point to the US deployment as evidence for its claims that Washington cannot live up to its military commitments in Asia, said Collin Koh, a research [...]

May 28th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Reserve Bank expected to hold steady on policies, OCR

Analysis - The Reserve Bank (RBNZ) is expected to reach for the same song sheet it used in February and April when it releases its latest quarterly monetary policy statement (MPS). The RBNZ last year adopted a "least regrets" policy, meaning it would do whatever needed to support the economy and financial system through the Covid-19 pandemic (file image). Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone That means the central bank will hold its official cash rate at 0.25 percent, and leave other key policies - the Large Scale Asset Programme (LSAP) and Funding for Lending Programme (FLP) - unchanged. The RBNZ last year adopted a "least regrets" policy, meaning it would do whatever was needed to support the economy and financial system [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Budget 2021: Foreign affairs funding largely on ice as new priorities emerge

Analysis - There are some new clues to be found in the Budget that illustrate the foreign affairs and trade agenda of the Labour government, under new ministers Nanaia Mahuta and Damien O'Connor. Perhaps Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta's real success has been ensuring no cuts have been made to the foreign affairs appropriation. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone The headline item and only new spending for Vote Foreign Affairs was a $344 million appropriation to redevelop Scott Base in Antarctica. Of course, this is significant new money - and a substantial boost on previous plans to spend only $200m. But the Antarctic rebuild was also well-known as one of Winston Peters' many pet projects. As such, the cash arguably represents [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Six months of big change hasn’t changed the political environment

(CNN)Poll of the week: A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds President Joe Biden's approval rating stands at 53% with a disapproval rating of 41%. A Gallup poll puts the split at 54% approving and 40% disapproving. This is largely in-line with the average of all polls, which finds Biden has an approval rating of 53%. What's the point: The Biden presidency entered its fifth month this past week. A lot has happened since Biden took office: We've seen a failed impeachment trial, a major economic and coronavirus relief package signed into law and the continuation of a mass vaccination campaign leading to more than 60% of adults with at least one a Covid-19 shot nationwide. All of this has happened -- [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Australia v NZ: You can tell a lot about a country by the way it budgets

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Finance Minister Grant Robertson during a pre-Budget lunch hosted by Business NZ at Eden Park, Auckland on May 13. Photo / Dean Purcell   ANALYSIS: You can tell a lot about a country by the way its government budgets. The New Zealand budget was delivered on May 20. In terms of overall economic policy settings it mirrors Australia's. New Zealand has remained largely free of Covid-19, with no major outbreaks. The Lowy Institute believes New Zealand has done better at containing the pandemic, but, like Australia, experienced major economic disruptions and a big increase in government debt as a result of its fight against the pandemic. Like Australia, New Zealand's unemployment rate grew rapidly following lockdowns [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Both sides in Israel-Gaza conflict lay groundwork for victory narratives

Analysis: flare-up regarded by some as example of domestic politics driving violent escalation   The escalation in Israeli-Palestinian tensions came as the country’s longest-serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, faced a serious threat to his rule, having failed to form a governing coalition. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/Rex/Shutterstock  As a ceasefire begins between Israel and Palestinian fighters in Gaza, the longtime foes are poised to turn their attention away from military action and on to constructing competing narratives of victory. Already, the groundwork is being laid. Unnamed Israeli defence officials are being quoted in local media as saying they are satisfied with the damage inflicted. And a militant source in Gaza said: “For us, the battle achieved its goals.” In big picture terms, nothing has [...]

May 21st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Budget 2021 is dyed the deepest red – the type of budget Labour MPs and members wanted

Analysis - On election night 2020 the sense of triumph around Labour was palpable, the grins as wide as the Waikato. Today's Budget is why. After years of compromise, contradiction and incompetence, this is the sort of Budget Labour party MPs and members have wanted to deliver. Labour's majority win in last year's election that allowed it to govern alone means Budget 2021 is dyed the deepest red.   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister - and Minister of Finance - Grant Robertson. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas     The headline announcement of benefit increases is, for once, a genuinely once-in-a-generation move. On top of the $25/week increases under National and then the previous Labour-led government, this increase [...]

May 21st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Biden holds firm on Israel support as US progressives turn up pressure

Analysis - With his muted response to the Gaza conflict, President Joe Biden is largely sticking to a time-worn US playbook despite pressure from progressive Democrats for a tougher line towards Israel and from America's allies for a more active role to end the violence.   Thousands of protesters and activists shut down a street as they voice anger at Israel and support of Palestinians in New York City. Photo: AFP By citing Israel's right to defend itself against a rocket barrage from the Hamas-ruled enclave and only nudging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward a ceasefire, Biden has effectively given Israeli forces more time to press their offensive against Palestinian militants there. US officials hope both sides will reach a point [...]

May 20th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

NZ could play mediating role in Gaza conflict – but does it want to?

So far, the New Zealand government has been remarkably silent about the Gaza-Israel conflict. Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta could be helping meditate for peace, Geoffrey Miller writes. Nanaia Mahuta has largely echoed the calls of others calling for de-escalation in the crisis. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   The growing Gaza crisis is testing Nanaia Mahuta's recent assertion that New Zealand has an independent foreign policy. The conflict between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza could be a golden opportunity for Mahuta to take the lead and forge her own path on the world stage. New Zealand could be following Norway's example and helping to broker a ceasefire and mediate wider peace attempts in the region. But if anything, New Zealand's response to [...]

May 18th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Biden just dethroned the Welfare Queen

(CNN)President Joe Biden has been compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson and has even been called the "Anti-Reagan." But there's another legendary political character that people should cite to explain why Biden's governing approach during his first 100 days in office is such a radical break from the past. That character is a Black woman of indeterminate age who has 12 Social Security cards, mooches on benefits from four fake dead husbands and collects welfare payments under 80 bogus names while getting food stamps. She is, of course, the infamous Welfare Queen. That's how Ronald Reagan described her when he introduced the character during a presidential campaign rally nearly half a century ago. Reporters investigating Reagan's 1976 Welfare [...]

May 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The latest violence between Israel and Palestinians will end when both sides can declare victory. But it will be no more than a truce

(CNN)The current explosion of violence between Palestinians and the state of Israel is yet to inflict as many casualties as the devastating 2014 Gaza conflict, but in many ways is a bleaker and more foreboding episode. Confrontation is not confined to aerial bombardment and rocket fire over Gaza and southern Israel but has spread to the streets of Israeli towns, to neighborhoods of Jerusalem and across the West Bank. Ominously it is fueled by deepening polarization, where the voices of militancy on both sides are the loudest, and those calling for coexistence are scarcely a whisper. On the lawn of the White House on September 13, 1993, then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin stood alongside PLO leader Yasser Arafat and declared: [...]

May 16th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Gaza weapons boast may come back to haunt Hamas

Analysis: attacks will challenge Israeli establishment to deal with a threat made suddenly very real Rockets are launched towards Israel from Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images In the rounds of fighting and violence between Hamas and Israel in Gaza in the last dozen years, one thing has always appeared baked into the proposition. For all their industriousness and attempts at innovation in developing weapons and ways of attacking, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been at best largely ineffectual when it comes to targeting Israel from inside the Gaza Strip. From the early rocket systems to labour-intensive attack tunnels and incendiary balloons, the efforts were crude. Even when the rockets became more sophisticated by the [...]

May 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Don’t interfere, China tells New Zealand

Analysis -Judith Collins brandished an obscure report this week as she continued to beat the separatist drum, describing it as a divisive government document which set out a clear vision for a future under two systems.   Judith Collins said He Puapua spells out a 'two systems' vision for New Zealand. Photo: Dom Thomas   The report is called He Puapua, and few people had previously heard of it. It was completed in 2019 after being commissioned by the government as it looked for possible ways to respond to the UN Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples. The previous National-led government signed up to the declaration in 2010. In 2014 it was decided steps should be taken to respond to [...]

May 7th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

US support for Covid vaccine patent waivers puts pressure on EU and UK

Analysis: Joe Biden’s support for idea is vital but it won’t happen without backing of other rich nations Joe Biden has upset the pharma cart and the apples are rolling all over the ground. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters   It was a “seismic decision” by Joe Biden, the US president, say campaigners who have fought for the demolition of patent protection on vaccines and drugs for decades. The US administration has amazed supporters and critics alike by throwing its considerable weight behind the pleas of South Africa, India and about 100 developing countries at the World Trade Organization to overturn patents on Covid vaccines in the interests of getting more of them, more cheaply and faster, to huge populations in need. Patents [...]

May 6th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The true cost of demand for cheap clothes, to you and the environment

It turns out that the fashion industry produces more carbon emissions than the airline and shipping industries combined. The programme Talking Point finds out if it is possible to dress affordably and more sustainably too.   Workers in Singapore sorting through second-hand clothing to be exported.   SINGAPORE: These are items Singaporeans can get more cheaply now than 10 years ago. In fact, clothing prices have fallen to their lowest in a decade, according to the Consumer Price Index for last year — thanks to an explosion of retailers, including Zalora and Pomelo, competing on online platforms since 2010. With prices going from as low as S$3 to S$15 for trendy clothes, Singapore’s e-commerce revenue from apparel and footwear jumped more [...]

April 20th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The Conversation: Covid-19 cost more in 2020 than the world’s combined natural disasters in any of the past 20 years

People, some wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, enjoy the sun in an outside seating area in Luxembourg gardens, in Paris. Photo / AP   ANALYSIS: By Ilan Noy and Nguyen Doan - Victoria University of Wellington What have we lost because of the pandemic? According to our calculations, a lot — and many of the worst hit countries and regions are far from world media attention. Typically, damage from any disaster is measured in separate categories: the number of fatalities and injuries it caused, and the financial damage it led to (directly or indirectly). People, wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ride electric scooters, in Paris. Photo / AP Only by aggregating [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19: How India failed to prevent a deadly second wave

  IMAGE COPYRIGHTHINDUSTAN TIMES/GETTY IMAGES Family members of a person who died of Covid-19 react during a cremation In early March, India's health minister Harsh Vardhan declared the country was "in the endgame" of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Vardhan also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership as an "example to the world in international co-operation". From January onwards, India had begun shipping doses to foreign countries as part of its much-vaunted "vaccine diplomacy". Mr Vardhan's unbridled optimism was based on a sharp drop in reported infections. Since a peak of more than 93,000 cases per day on average in mid-September, infections had steadily declined. By mid-February, India was counting an average of 11,000 cases a day. The seven-day rolling average of daily [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China and US pledge climate change commitment

IMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS image captionBoth the US and China have agreed on co-operating together to tackle climate change   China and the US say they are committed to working together and with other countries on tackling climate change. It comes after several meetings between Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart John Kerry in Shanghai last week. They both agreed on further specific actions to reduce emissions, a joint statement on Sunday confirmed. US President Joe Biden is holding a virtual climate summit this week, which China says it is looking forward to. However it is not yet known if Chinese President Xi Jinping will join the world leaders who have pledged to attend. "The United States and China are [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid vaccine side-effects: what are they, who gets them and why?

Most side-effects are mild and short-lived, and some groups are more likely to get them than others   The MHRA noted 79 cases of blood clots with low platelets, including 19 deaths, following more than 20m doses of the AstraZeneca jab. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images What are the most common side-effects from the Covid vaccines? According to Public Health England, most side-effects from two Covid vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca – are mild and short-lived. These include soreness where the jab was given, feeling tired or achy and headaches. Uncommon side-effects include having swollen lymph nodes. Early reports that some people had severe allergic reactions, particularly to the Pfizer jab, led the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

US decision to pause J&J jabs is another blow to global Covid fight

Analysis: rare side-effects mean that confidence in both the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines is now shaken   The US is investigating six cases of blood clotting, from 6.8m doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images The call in the US for a pause in the use of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine is another blow to hopes of vaccinating the whole world as fast as possible. Health agencies recommended that US states pause use of the jab while investigations take place into six cases of women who have experienced rare blood clotting events combined with low platelets in the days following vaccination. J&J announced it would also “proactively delay the rollout of [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Military buildup near Ukraine sows confusion over Russian intentions

Analysis: there are several reasons Russia would want to raise tensions, but an attack appears unlikely A still image from a video from 6 April shows tanks and military vehicles in the Voronezh region of Russia.Photograph: Reuters Russia’s fortnight-long military buildup to the east and south of Ukraine has helped it mass an estimated 80,000 troops in the border region in an attention-grabbing exercise that is increasingly occupying western thinking. Tanks and other artillery units have also been arriving at Voronezh, east of Ukraine, according to Janes, a military intelligence firm, and a staging ground for about 3,000 troops been established to the south of the city. A nervous government in Kyiv says Russian forces in the Voronezh region number 40,000. [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Iran nuclear deal talks: the key issues on the Vienna negotiating table

As talks resume, Iran and the signatories to the 2015 agreement face a web of sanctions to untangle Representatives from Iran, the UK and the European Union meet at the Grand Hotel in Vienna. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock What is happening in Vienna? A joint commission responsible for overseeing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is looking for a way for the US to rejoin the agreement – abandoned under Donald Trump – and lift its sanctions on Tehran, and for Iran to end its retaliatory breaching of the limits placed on its nuclear programme. Throughout this week experts from the deal’s remaining signatories – Iran, France, Germany, the UK, Russia, China and the EU – have been meeting in Vienna’s Grand Hotel and [...]

April 11th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How an arcane budget provision could let Democrats advance their agenda

Senate parliamentarian’s decision widens path for Democrats to enact Joe Biden’s sprawling infrastructure plan Joe Biden in Washington DC on 6 April. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images A novel interpretation of an arcane parliamentary procedure has presented congressional Democrats with an unexpected – and tantalizing – new opportunity to advance some of their most ambitious legislative goals despite their slim majorities and fierce Republican opposition. This week, the Senate parliamentarian determined that Democrats can employ a fast-track process known as budget reconciliation more times than previously understood, potentially allowing them to pass multiple legislative packages without any Republican support before next year’s midterm elections – if they can keep their own members in line. Democrats insist they have yet to make a [...]

April 11th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

From ‘zero tolerance’ to now: How America’s migrant policies have changed in the Trump and Biden years

WASHINGTON – Dozens of children on floor mats, covered with Mylar blankets and crowded side-by-side in a holding facility. Families huddled under a bridge as they await processing at the U.S.-Mexico line. And lawmakers standing outside a border facility, spouting their outrage over the conditions. These scenes, common under the Trump administration, continue to play out as thousands of migrant families, children and adults head to the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes to come to the United States – even as border laws keep changing. America's policies toward migrants at the southern border kept shifting over the past four years as the U.S. pivoted from former President Donald Trump's rigid immigration views to President Joe Biden's less-restrictive positions. Add to that the increasing numbers of migrants and unaccompanied children coming to the border and the [...]

April 7th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Productivity, money and wealth – not all the same

Photo: 123rf Productivity.   It's the elephant in the room - if elephants were a mysterious, multifaceted combination of complicated economic and social metrics few people could elegantly describe. Despite New Zealand's relatively good GDP growth over time, our productivity growth has lagged: since 1996, when labour productivity first began to be measured, our productivity growth has averaged about 1.4 percent. Between 2008 and 2018, that drops to just one percent. Our output per hour worked is about 40 percent below the average of the top half of OECD countries. But what actually lies behind all these metrics and statistics? What are the benefits of strong productivity growth? How does productivity affect our day-to-day lives? What contributes to the lag? What [...]

April 6th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Who was Sir Ron Brierley, corporate raider guilty of possessing child sex abuse images?

Analysis - Prominent retired businessman Sir Ron Brierley's guilty plea to possession of child sex abuse images is the final fall from grace of a clinical corporate raider who operated on both sides of the Tasman for decades.   Sir Ron Brierley. Photo: Getty Images     Having honed his skills in the 1970s, Brierley's self-named investment company set about finding suitable targets. It looked for the lame, the tired, the old, and the defenceless companies that were undervalued, underperforming, and ripe for taking. Brierley Investments would make an offer that few chose to ignore. Having secured a prize it would then look to "add value" - more often than not through restructuring, taking out costs, dismemberment, asset sale, and then [...]

April 3rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry: Religious leaders offer apologies

Analysis - Sorry seemed to be a rather easy word at the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry over the past fortnight.   Photo: RNZ / Paul Bushnell   The inquiry has just wrapped up its latest round of public hearings, with various faith-based redress processes in the spotlight as representatives from three church groups fronted up to the commissioners. The sessions allowed leaders to respond to testimonies given late last year in which former residents of faith-based institutions talked about their experiences of abuse and the often nettlesome problems they encountered seeking recognition and redress. The latest round also served as something of a curtain-raiser to what almost certainly will be a centrepiece of the inquiry overall, an examination [...]

March 31st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Stranding of Ever Given in Suez canal was foreseen by many

Analysis: As ships ballooned in size, worst-case scenario was flagged up by organisations such as OECD   Big ships require more time to salvage and more tugboats and dredgers than what has been required in the past with smaller vessels. Photograph: Maxar Technologies/AP Authorities have blamed strong winds, possible technical faults or human error for the stranding of the Ever Given in the Suez canal. But the running aground of the “megaship” – which salvage teams continued to try to free on Sunday as preparations were made for the possible removal of some of its containers – and the disruption of more than 10% of global trade, has been in the making for years longer according to analysts, who say an [...]

March 30th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Property speculators under the hammer as new ‘political calculus’ emerges

Analysis - The government sets a date for setting a date on the trans-Tasman travel bubble and attacks the housing crisis, this time with serious money and an assault on property speculators.   Finance Minister Grant Robertson and PM Jacinda Ardern unveiling the plan to help first-home buyers. Photo: RNZ/Samuel Rillstone     Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had to say something this week about opening a trans-Tasman travel bubble after weeks of speculation and pressure from the opposition. So on Monday at her post-Cabinet press conference, she committed to announcing a start date on 6 April. This announcement about an announcement was scorned by National and ACT, despite the prime minister setting out the reasons why it couldn't happen immediately. She [...]

March 29th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How did Evergreen’s ship get stuck in the Suez Canal and create the world’s heaviest traffic jam?

Global trade is losing billions as workers move tons of sand to refloat cargo ship wedged in canal Dredging crews are moving massive amounts of sand to free a skyscraper-size container ship stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. A salvage company will try to free the ship Saturday using large tugboats and dredging during a high tide, the AP reported. At least two attempts will be made. Salvagers are also considering moving containers off the ship, to lighten it and make it easier to move. The 1,312-foot, 200,000 metric ton Ever Given – nearly a quarter-mile long – created a shipper's nightmare and captured the public's imagination when it blocked the canal on Tuesday and caused a [...]

March 28th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What is a bright-line test?

Analysis - The innocuously labelled "bright-line test" has been a hot topic in the past few days, getting politicians, the real estate industry and first-home buyers all het up.   Photo: RNZ / 123rf The government yesterday announced a suite of changes designed to "tilt the balance" toward first-home buyers. Among other changes, the bright-line test rule was extended from five to 10 years. So, what is this test? What does it mean? Bright-line test in New Zealand The rule was first introduced in New Zealand in 2015 when the then National government put it into the income tax rules. It applied to any person who sold a residential property that was not their main/family home within two years of being [...]

March 25th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The US has been silent on Honduras’s drug problem, but that might be about to change

Analysis: The Biden administration is expected to take a cooler approach to President Hernández than Donald Trump did   Members of the honduran opposition protest as the trial of Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez in New York CityPhotograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images       For the US, this is a painfully embarrassing fortnight to count Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández as a key ally in Central America. On Monday he was named in a New York federal courtroom as a co-conspirator in the conviction of his associate, Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez, for smuggling tons of cocaine into the US, and receiving a $250,000 bribe from Fuentes, an alleged drug kingpin. Next week, the president’s brother, Tony Hernández, is expected to be sentenced in the [...]

March 24th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Has the pandemic led to a long-term erosion of the right to dissent?

Analysis: the police’s handling of the Sarah Everard vigil raises questions over whether authorities are going too far A large crowd of people holding placards gather in Parliament Square in London on Sunday, the day after clashes between police and crowds who gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday night to remember Sarah Everard. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Defending the Metropolitan police’s handling of Saturday night’s Sarah Everard vigil, assistant commissioner Helen Ball argued the force had to act “because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety” from the threat of coronavirus. Yet last year’s Black Lives Matter protests in some 300 US cities did not cause a spike in cases there, a July report from the National Bureau of Economic Research [...]

March 15th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Redress, tangible compensation critical for those abused in state, faith-based care

Analysis - Public hearings provide a valuable window to see the work of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. But what's happening behind closed doors will almost certainly have the more enduring effect on the ultimate political outcome of the costly exercise. Photo: 123RF   This week the commission resumes its historical examination of faith-based institutions managed by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and, in particular over the coming few days, the Salvation Army. William Booth, the Methodist minister who established the Salvation Army in the late 1800s, used to talk about the power of a punchy sermon to dangle listening sinners over the fires of hell. Over the coming days, the boot might be on the [...]

March 15th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Quad alliance of US, Japan, India and Australia is part of Biden’s plan to contain China. But some experts aren’t so sure

Hong Kong (CNN)US President Joe Biden's administration entered the White House this year aiming to unite allies in efforts to contain China's territorial claims across the Indo-Pacific. On Friday, Biden takes his biggest step toward that goal so far, bringing together a virtual gathering for leaders of the Quad -- the loose alliance of the United States, Japan, India and Australia that Beijing has called emblematic of a "poisonous" Cold War mentality. Washington said Covid-19, economic cooperation, and the climate crisis will be topics of discussion on Friday, while New Delhi said its Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, would be discussing a "free and open Indo-Pacific" with Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.       [...]

March 12th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Political Roundup – National’s blame game, secrecy and dysfunction

Analysis - The leaking has already begun from the National Party's top-secret report on their disastrous 2020 election campaign. It's a fraught issue, illustrating just how dysfunctional and divisive things still are inside National. Trust is low, and fingers are still being pointed - even by leader Judith Collins, who clearly doesn't fully trust her caucus. National Party leader Judith Collins. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas Top secrecy to keep the report from leaking MP access to the report into their own party is colourfully described by Claire Trevett in the Herald: "The National Party's determination to keep the juicy bits of the review into its abysmal election result secret has led it to Harry Potter lengths. MPs can enter the [...]

March 11th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Did Joe Biden (already) blow his chance at bipartisanship?

(CNN)President Joe Biden is expected to sign the American Rescue Plan this week -- a massive $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill that will likely be the signature accomplishment of the 46th president's first year (if not entire first term) in office. The central question -- in both the near- and long-term -- around the bill is a simple one, with lots of potential answers: Was it worth it? The answer to that question can be looked at in a few different ways, and could well change as Biden's term wears on. The truth is we are standing very close to the picture right now, making it tough to take a few steps back and see what it all looks like a [...]

March 10th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern’s unsurprising search for favourable media

Analysis - It's not entirely surprising that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has quit her weekly Newstalk ZB interview with Mike Hosking. Jacinda Ardern and Mike Hosking. Photo: RNZ After all, it was a tough interview each week, from a broadcaster clearly keen to put her through a lot of difficult questions, and paint her in a bad light. It might have been in the public interest to have these confrontations, but it clearly wasn't doing the politician and her government any favours. Politicians generally try to pick and choose which media they appear in, avoiding platforms that might lead to negative coverage. What we have seen from Ardern is not so different to John Key and his National government avoiding RNZ's [...]

March 10th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: Leasing deal push evokes past glories to shape aviation’s future

A tie-up between leasing giants AerCap and General Electric unit GECAS would reshape global air finance and carve out a new chapter in one of Ireland's greatest corporate adventures. FILE PHOTO: Aengus Kelly, CEO of AerCap, speaks during a panel discussion at the 2015 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Miami Beach, Florida, June 8, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo     PARIS: A tie-up between leasing giants AerCap and General Electric unit GECAS would reshape global air finance and carve out a new chapter in one of Ireland's greatest corporate adventures. AerCap shares soared on Monday after news the company is close to acquiring GECAS to unite the leasing industry's two largest [...]

March 9th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How do we track and measure new variants of coronavirus?

Behind the numbers: The UK’s gene sequencing labs are at the forefront of global efforts to trace and identify every single case   A patient’s Covid-19 swab is taken out from a sterile tube. Scientists now now that UK epidemic was seeded by more than 1,000 distinct variants of the virus. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA All viruses change through random mutations. Through genomic sequencing we now know that the UK epidemic was seeded by more than 1,000 distinct variants from people returning from Italy, Spain and France in February and March 2020, explaining why we got off to such a bad start. These tiny changes are mostly inconsequential. Sometimes the virus gets lucky and spreads more easily, or causes more severe illness, [...]

March 8th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

A Russian-Chinese Partnership Against America?

China and Russia consider themselves great powers, and there is agreement in both Beijing and Moscow on cooperating to limit or constrain America’s ability to dominate international relations and challenge their sovereignty. by Charles E. Ziegler CHINA AND Russia consider themselves great powers, and there is agreement in both Beijing and Moscow on cooperating to limit or constrain America’s ability to dominate international relations and challenge their sovereignty. Moscow and Beijing are committed to multipolarity and a spheres of interest approach, where each state can regulate its periphery without U.S. interference. This close partnership will likely continue as long as Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin remain in office, and it is probably durable enough to survive if either or both of [...]

March 7th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Harry and Meghan stir public debate ahead of Oprah interview

Vehement reactions to upcoming TV exclusive suggest royals still have power to inflame opinion Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. The interview has revealed telling societal schisms. Photograph: Joe Pugliese/AP/Harpo Productions The anger of public responses in the buildup to Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Sunday is a sign of the growing chasm between the generations, say expert royal watchers and social analysts. Rarely have divisions inside the royal family engaged such a cross-section of society, or range of ages, inflaming opinion among those who normally pay little heed to dramas played out at Buckingham Palace. This time, in addition to old questions of authority, class and privilege, the [...]

March 7th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in politics: Confusion and frustration over Covid-19 messaging

Analysis - The week began with the prime minister saying lockdown rule-breakers were facing "the full judgment of the entire nation" and ended with uncertainty about whether they were clearly told the rules in the first place.   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins say communications to Case L's family were clear. (File image) Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas  At her widely reported post-cabinet press conference on Monday, Jacinda Ardern said some recent Covid-19 cases had committed "intolerable breaches" and let down the team of five million. Her unusually strong comments followed the discovery that there had been a previously unknown contact between two mothers. The first was from a family that was meant to be isolating, and [...]

March 6th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why Israel fears the ICC war crimes investigation

Analysis: Officials recognise there is a real risk of prosecution over the deadly 2014 conflict   Benny Gantz, the Israeli defence minister, was military chief of staff in 2014 and could be at risk of arrest if he travels abroad. Photograph: Dan Williams/Reuters     The date of 13 June 2014 listed by the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, as the starting point for its investigation into potential war crimes committed by Israelis and Palestinians is a significant one. The day before, as that year’s World Cup opened, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by a Hamas cell on the West Bank while hitchhiking in the occupied Palestinian territories. Tensions escalated rapidly: Israel would within weeks launch its [...]

March 4th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: NZ review of Tokelau’s justice system could complicate decoupling

Analysis - The three villages that make up Tokelau would never be seen on a listicle of the world's safest places to live, but there are few other areas that could claim their achievements: no serious criminal conviction has ever taken place; there are no prisons or court buildings, either. Police station in Nukunonu, Tokelau. Photo: RNZ PACIFIC / MACKENZIE SMITH     However, that hasn't stopped New Zealand from leading a sweeping overhaul of Tokelau's justice system. The changes, detailed in documents obtained by RNZ under the Official Information act, follow a 2018 review commissioned by New Zealand's Chief Justice that identified failings in the territory. A summary of that review, which was undertaken by Sir Ron Young, recommended creating [...]

February 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Lack of sanctions for crown prince shows weight Riyadh holds

Analysis: decision not to penalise Saudi heir over Jamal Khashoggi shows kingdom still has influence Kingdom tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Photograph: Alamy After two years of blanket cover from Donald Trump, a new US president has officially blamed Mohammed bin Salman for the most savage political slaying of modern times and brought the Saudi heir’s unchecked run with Washington to a humiliating halt. Joe Biden’s confirmation that Prince Mohammed approved the butchering of Jamal Khashoggi bluntly ends the era of bromance between his predecessor and the kingdom’s de facto leader, and signals a very different relationship with a new administration. But the decision to avoid penalising the crown prince was seen in Riyadh as a validation of the weight it [...]

February 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: How to talk (and not talk) about Covid-19 vaccination to people with doubts

Analysis - It will be a good day for New Zealand and for the world when we have left the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic behind us.   File photo. Photo: AFP We will be able to see those people we have been long separated from. Our nurses and doctors will turn up to their shifts at the hospital knowing it will be just a normal day. Our older people will be at much less risk. Our businesses will be able to plan again with more certainty. A world with the Covid-19 pandemic behind us will not be perfect but there will be an opportunity to refocus our considerable collective energy on solving the long-term problems we are facing. Vaccination is [...]

February 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Reserve Bank told to help with house prices

Analysis: The government wants the Reserve Bank to curb house prices, Parliament passes the Māori wards bill, and an MP gets away with a rude word in the House.   Finance Minister Grant Robertson has told the Reserve Bank it must consider the impacts on house prices when setting monetary policy. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   Finance Minister Grant Robertson wrote to the Reserve Bank this week, directing it to take house prices into account when it sets monetary policy. The key words in Robertson's media statement were: "The bank will have to take account of the government's objective to support more sustainable house prices, including by dampening down investor demand for existing housing stock to help improve affordability for [...]

February 27th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What is the science behind plans to relax England’s lockdown?

A quick guide to the scientific underpinnings, advice and evidence behind the roadmap for relaxing Covid restrictions   Boris Johnson set out the roadmap to end England’s lockdown in the Commons on Monday. Photograph: Getty Images     With the government announcing a roadmap for lifting coronavirus restrictions in England, we look at the scientific underpinnings, advice and evidence behind the changes. National lockdown worked – but at a price A national lockdown was always the bluntest yet most effective tool for driving down cases. The first last spring forced R, the reproduction number, down about 75%. But the clear benefits come at a hefty price. Documents from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) describe how school closures put children [...]

February 23rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How will NZ deal with children of terror suspect?

Analysis: By unilaterally revoking the citizenship of the 26-year-old woman detained in Turkey this week, Australia has potentially left her two children in diplomatic limbo.   The woman on the right is suspected of leaving Australia in order to join ISIS in Syria. Photo: AFP / Anadolu Agency     Known only as "S.A." (but named by the ABC as Suhayra Aden from Melbourne), she was the subject of an Interpol blue notice, according to the Turkish Ministry of National Defence, which alleges she was a terrorist with Islamic State. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded sternly to Australia's actions, saying it amounted to their dumping the problem on New Zealand's doorstep. The mother had dual New Zealand and Australian [...]

February 19th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Trade Continues Despite Rising Australian-Chinese Tensions

  Both countries may be in the midst of a trade war, but that is not stopping most of their regular economic exchange. The need to meet domestic demand, sustain economic growth and keep consumer prices reasonable will limit China’s ability to exert economic pressure on Australia, despite rising tensions between Beijing and Canberra. On Jan. 25, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released preliminary numbers showing that Australian monthly exports to China rose in December 2020 by 21% year-on-year — putting the annual total exports to the country at $112.4 billion, just slightly down from a high of $114.8 billion in 2019. The monthly boost in exports to China was largely driven by iron ore and wheat demand. Australian wheat exports to [...]

February 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Trump prosecutors pitch to the public in made-for-TV impeachment trial

Democrats hope harrowing audio and video from Capitol attack will make plain what no legal argument might deny Impeachment managers are expected to draw previously unseen footage from police, from the media and from live streams captured by the insurrectionists themselves, Photograph: Samuel Corum/Getty Images The lethal Capitol invasion by Donald Trump supporters that is at the heart of the former president’s second impeachment trial happened more than a month ago. But Democrats leading the prosecution of Trump are counting on an element of surprise. Surprise, the impeachment prosecutors are calculating, because while most Americans understand the broad outlines of what happened during the 6 January attack on the Capitol, relatively few have come to grips with the shocking audio and [...]

February 9th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Q-Series: Reshoring the supply chain: where, what and how much?

Relocation of supply chains is a hot topic. But how much might move from China? Our novel approach scales the issue with surprising results The narrative of a hasty supply chain retreat from China looks overdone We tore down an electric fan and 'tore it back up' in different countries to look at manufacturing competitiveness and assess how much of China's manufacturing is vulnerable to relocation, and to where. With China's gross exports 3% of world GDP, this issue is of global significance. Our controversial conclusion is that widescale supply chain relocation is overhyped. Unsurprisingly, Vietnam and India come out as low cost winners. The big surprise in our fan analysis was that the production cost in China was only 5% [...]

February 8th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why Tensions Between China and India Won’t Boil Over

As the main rising powers of the twenty-first-century, the two countries have much to gain from accommodation and collaboration. Leadership on both sides could help by focusing on the long-term gains in a spirit of give-and-take. China-India relations seem to be at their lowest point in decades. To head off the risk of escalation, it could be in the interest of both nations to look for ways to improve a relationship that is at once one of the world’s most important and most dangerous. In June 2020, Chinese and Indian soldiers confronted each other in the disputed area on their western border known as the Galwan River Valley. Although not publicly admitted by either side (presumably, for fear of domestic political [...]

February 3rd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Threat of Myanmar coup was never far away

Analysis: Despite her popularity Aung San Suu Kyi never had leverage to curb military’s power Since the 2015 elections, the power of the military has barely diminished at all. Photograph: Reuters Since her election as Myanmar’s de facto leader in 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi’s position has always been a precarious one. For all the international celebration of Myanmar’s transition to democracy after half a century of military rule, in reality the power of the military barely diminished at all. The threat of a coup, the fallback position of the military for decades, had always lingered. For the past five years, Aung San Suu Kyi has governed Myanmar on the basis of a 2008 constitution drawn up by the military themselves. [...]

February 1st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: What went wrong with COVID vaccine distribution and how it has tarnished the ‘miracle’

In late December, the idea that safe, effective vaccines against COVID-19 had been created in less than a year seemed miraculous. A triumph of science and American ingenuity. It only took six weeks to tarnish that image. Pride in the remarkable feat has been replaced by confusion, accusations of unfairness, frustrating waits and the nightmare of vaccine vials gathering dust while tens of thousands of people continue to die of what is now a preventable disease. Even people leading the effort are at a loss to explain how and why things took such a bad turn so fast. "I would love to understand it," said Moncef Slaoui, head of the vaccine development effort under the Trump administration and now an advisor to the Biden administration. "What makes me [...]

January 31st, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Biden promised bold action. Will his efforts to compromise get in the way?

With Republicans planning to obstruct the president’s agenda, some Democrats are pushing Biden to support eliminating the filibuster Joe Biden rose to power by promising bold action to confront the numerous crises facing the United States – namely the coronavirus pandemic, a struggling economy and the climate emergency. Over his first two weeks in office, the new president has signed a series of executive orders aimed at following through on those promises. Biden has already mandated mask-wearing on federal property and enacted stricter coronavirus testing requirements for those traveling into the United States. The president has also used the power of the executive pen to increase food stamp benefits and halt new oil and gas leases on public lands. Biden’s early [...]

January 30th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: The virus, vaccinations and housing dominate start of the year

Analysis - Politics has started the year in a way that's almost certainly going to continue throughout 2021, dominated by Covid-19, vaccinations to save us from it, and the housing crisis. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone       Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the government's vaccination programme the main issue for her first post-cabinet press conference on Tuesday and it was given an unexpected, unwelcome focus. The first community case of Covid-19 since November had been detected two days earlier. It was unusual because the 56-year-old Northland woman tested positive after leaving managed isolation in Auckland's Pullman Hotel, where she had twice tested negative. On Wednesday two further cases were found, a man and his young [...]

January 30th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Joe Biden inauguration: The pendulum has swung, but how far?

Analysis - Watching today's inauguration of Joe Biden as the United States' 46th president, there's not a lot in common with the inauguration of Donald Trump just four destructive years ago. Where Trump warned of carnage, Biden dared to hope for unity and decency. But the one place they converge is that both inaugurations ask the American people this central question: How far?     US President Joe Biden delivers his Inauguration speech after being sworn in as the 46th US President. Photo: Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.       Biden's sunny inauguration ceremony today speaks to just how much work there is to do to repair the damage done by the self-interest and fear-mongering of his [...]

January 24th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: Councils put the heat on Wellington’s congestion question

Traffic congestion outside Wellington's Mt Victoria tunnel. Photo / Mark Mitchell     ANALYSIS: Wellington's Local Government leaders haven't found a friend in the new Transport Minister for their ambitions to introduce congestion charging in the city. But Michael Wood is pushing ahead with considering the move for Auckland, which Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) chairman Daran Ponter sees as a starting point. The pair met late last year for about half an hour. Ponter told the Herald after the meeting: "It's a breath of fresh air to have a Minister who is proactively engaging with Local Government." That's a not so subtle dig at former Transport Minister Phil Twyford. Between the bustastrophe and Ponter's open criticism of Let's Get Wellington [...]

January 17th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What is bitcoin and why are so many people looking to buy it?

Cryptocurrency is attracting attention from investors and financial regulators alike Within the space of a single hour on Monday bitcoin’s value fell by about $3,000, then rose again by about $2,000. Photograph: Getty Images What is bitcoin? Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that emerged after the 2008 financial crisis. It allows people to bypass banks and traditional payment methods. It has become the most prominent among thousands of so-called cryptocurrencies. It relies on “blockchain” technology, which is a shared database of transactions, with entries that must be confirmed and encrypted. The network is secured by individuals called “miners” who use high-powered computers to verify transactions, with bitcoins offered as a reward. There are more than 18m in existence, and [...]

January 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

North Korea set for collision course with US as Kim Jong-un solidifies one-man rule

Analysis: Congress sees Kim taking symbolic post of general secretary and a warning the US needs a fresh strategy North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Photograph: KCNA/EPA A rare meeting of North Korea’s ruling party has awarded a symbolically important new title to the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, created speculation about the future of his influential sister, and fired a shot across the bow of the incoming US president. Less than two weeks before Joe Biden’s inauguration, much of what Kim told the first congress of the ruling Workers’ party for five years had a familiar ring to it. Citing the justification the North has used to press ahead with its nuclear weapons programme, Kim labelled the US his country’s “biggest enemy”. [...]

January 13th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Democrats’ Georgia success reshapes US political landscape

Projected election victories will give Biden a majority in the Senate and were built on a revamped strategy and organisational effort Campaign ads for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are seen on a wall near the John Lewis mural the day after the US Senate runoff elections in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters If Democrats win both Senate runoff elections in that state and gain control of the chamber, as is now widely expected, it will also mark a profound political shift in the American south, full of grim omens for Donald Trump and a divided Republican party. The US state of Georgia on Wednesday afternoon looked set to present an early inauguration gift to Joe Biden, giving him a decent [...]

January 7th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The many U-turns on the road to England’s third lockdown

November lockdown decision has been followed by a series of flip-flops and 11th-hour announcements   The prime minister announced a third national lockdown in England on Monday evening, after calls for tougher Covid controls. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images     The government’s coronavirus strategy for England has changed a number of times since the start of the November lockdown, as infections soared and a new variant of the virus emerged. 14 October 2020: Johnson dismisses calls from the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, for a “circuit-breaker” lockdown, telling MPs: “Opportunism is the name of the game for the party opposite.” 31 October: The prime minister announces a new four-week lockdown in England, shortly after Wales began a two-week circuit-breaker. 2 November: Boris Johnson [...]

January 5th, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why 2021 could be turning point for tackling climate change

IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES image captionThe world is not on track to meet its goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C Countries only have only a limited time in which to act if the world is to stave off the worst effects of climate change. Here are five reasons why 2021 could be a crucial year in the fight against global warming. Covid-19 was the big issue of 2020, there is no question about that. But I'm hoping that, by the end of 2021, the vaccines will have kicked in and we'll be talking more about climate than the coronavirus. 2021 will certainly be a crunch year for tackling climate change. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, told me he thinks [...]

January 2nd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Brexit trade deal places Europe back at centre of UK politics

Analysis: Far from being free of the EU, Johnson now faces the economic reality of his political demands A lorry waiting at Dover port on New Year’s Day, the first day after the Brexit transition ended. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock In the words of one official in Brussels involved in the Brexit negotiations, the last year “accelerated the grieving process” over the UK’s departure from the EU. This is not to say the bloc’s institutions will be celebrating the country’s passing from the single market and customs union, 48 years to the day after its accession to the then European Communities on 1 January 1973. It remains a devastating loss to the EU, from which the full repercussions are yet to be [...]

January 2nd, 2021|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The New China Challenge Stems from Beijing’s Old Ambitions

China wants to be a global influence and control the flow of major events. China will, with time, begin to consistently challenge the United States directly across multiple domains. It will be important for the United States to continue playing an active global role, despite its current domestic distractions.     China is gradually enhancing its global strategic influence through ambitious projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative; alternate financial mechanisms such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank; and growing presence in international institutions like the United Nations through its increasing contributions to peacekeeping and leadership of important committees and bodies. China continuously reiterates that bilateral engagements with the United States must be categorized as “Major [...]

December 29th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Does the International Liberal Order Have a Future?

The difficult question for Biden will be whether the United States and China can cooperate in producing global public goods while competing in the traditional areas of great power rivalry. FACED WITH a divided government and a polarized public, Joe Biden will have limited leeway in domestic politics, but more room for innovation in foreign policy. Even so, a good part of his agenda will be inherited from the Trump administration. Great power politics are here to stay, and China’s power is increasing. Fortunately, Asia has its own internal balance of power, and while many countries want access to China’s growing economy, they also welcome an American security presence to maintain their independence. Maintaining our alliances with Japan, Korea, Australia, and [...]

December 29th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Brexit deal done: What’s in it and where next for the UK and EU?

To misquote Shakespeare, our Brexit negotiating revels now are ended. The tempestuous talks did not lead to a dramatic walkout, even if it at times the UK government gave the impression this was a feud worthy of the Montagues against the Capulets. The negotiators ignored the background noise and succeeded in drafting a dense legal document on which the future of UK-EU relations now hangs. How the deal came together The UK was adamant throughout the negotiations that it be treated as a sovereign equal of the EU and have its independence respected. This was particularly important when it came to fishing rights – one of the last issues to be resolved. There were always two problems with this argument. Firstly, [...]

December 26th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why America’s Cyber Strategy is Failing

Cyber technology is blurring the lines that once separated espionage and warfare. The pattern has become disturbingly regular. Every few years, evidence surfaces of a major cyber penetration of U.S. networks, and each instance prompts a wave of indignant American calls for tough retaliation. Last week’s report of the “Solar Winds” operation, a massive new hack of multiple public and private U.S. organizations that has gone undetected for perhaps a year or even longer, is in many ways a repetition of the detection, attribution, and retaliation cycle that has been on endless replay since our discovery of Russia’s infamous “Moonlight Maze” intrusion in the 1990s kicked off a new era of cyber-espionage. Congressmen have called Solar Winds an enormous intelligence failure. [...]

December 26th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The Week in Politics: Government ends the year on a high

Analysis - An opinion poll shows the government's popularity has risen since the election, Judith Collins promises to show New Zealand a new National Party and gaining cross-party support for hate speech law reform could be a problem for the prime minister. Jacinda Ardern was up three points to 58 per cent in the preferred prime minister stakes, according to a post-election poll. Photo: RNZ / Sam Rillstone     The government ended the political year in the best possible way, with an opinion poll showing it was even more popular now than on election day. TVNZ's first Colmar Brunton poll since the election showed Labour on 53 per cent compared with the 50 per cent it actually won and around [...]

December 26th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Labour shows what a majority government can do

Analysis - Jacinda Ardern's majority government was on the charge this week, passing legislation on drug testing and creating a new top tax rate. Legislation that doubles sick leave was introduced, Parliament voted to declare a climate emergency and the Māori Party let everyone know it was back. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas     In Parliament this week we've seen how a majority government operates when it wants to get things done. No need to negotiate with other parties on the details of bills, no quibbling over the wording of motions that go before the House and no "handbrakes" on what it wants to do. When Parliament sat for its first real working day on Tuesday, Labour's vast caucus filled [...]

December 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: What does declaring a ‘climate emergency’ actually do?

Wildfires like that which blazed through Canterbury's Port Hills in 2017 are predicted to become more frequent in a New Zealand warmed by climate change. Photo / Alan Gibson.     New Zealand is expected to declare a climate change emergency tomorrow. What does that mean exactly? Science reporter Jamie Morton explains. What's a climate change emergency? We can generally think of it as a symbolic acknowledgement at the highest levels that we're facing a climate change crisis - and a commitment to meet the challenge. Climate Change Minister James Shaw described the motion, expected to pass with flying colours when it's tabled in Parliament tomorrow, as a "clear statement" of intent to tackle the crisis. He said the Government would [...]

December 3rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why Iran’s Syria Strategy Is Shifting

  Iran’s deepening footprint in Syria represents what is arguably the most significant flashpoint in the Levant. Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria in recent years to send a clear message: Iranian entrenchment on Israel’s northern border will not be tolerated. These days, Iran is actively contemplating its future in Syria. Since 2013, the Islamic Republic has become deeply involved in that country’s civil war—in the process emerging as a key player in one of the Middle East’s most brutal and enduring conflicts. It has used the Qods Force, the paramilitary arm of its feared clerical army, the Pasdaran, to bolster the ranks of the Syrian military. It has trained and deployed a “Shia Liberation [...]

November 29th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The Week in Politics: Govt gets serious about housing crisis

Analysis - Finance Minister Grant Robertson asks for Reserve Bank help to deal with the housing crisis, Oranga Tamariki chief executive says she won't quit, Māori Party MPs walk out on day one, and should MPs wear ties? Grant Robertson is asking the Reserve Bank to make changes in response to the housing crisis. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Grant Robertson's letter to Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr this week was clear evidence of the seriousness of the housing crisis - and the government's urgent need to deal with it or face the consequences at the next election. The issue is whether the bank's response to the recession - to pour cheap money into the economy - is going to [...]

November 28th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Iranian scientist’s death only the latest in long line of attacks blamed on Israel

The Middle East is on edge as the Trump administration enters its final weeks Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the latest in a long list of Iranian scientists to have been assassinated. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Mohsen Fakhrizadeh may be the most senior Iranian nuclear scientist to have been assassinated but he is certainly not the first, joining at least four others during the past decade. In killings Iran said were aimed at sabotaging its nuclear energy ambitions – it does not acknowledge using the technology for weapons – the country has consistently pointed the finger at Israel, its regional arch-foe. Israel maintains a policy of not commenting on such allegations. Meanwhile, the US, which Iran accuses of complicity, has denied accusations. Israel has [...]

November 28th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Explainer: Everything you need to know about the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in NZ

Analysis - The coronavirus vaccine cavalry is coming. Barely a day goes by without headlines about a major development or a new vaccine that's nearly ready to go. But it's a cavalry with caveats - there are trials to finish, regulators to impress, logistics to arrange. Photo: AFP   There's already an array of vaccines in the pipeline - which ones will New Zealand get? Probably a few - all going to plan. The government wants a "portfolio" of vaccines and says it's making deals with a lot of companies. That hedges our bets that at least some of the candidates New Zealand is backing will go all the way and produce a viable vaccine. If more than one does, it [...]

November 26th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How to Revive Real Diplomacy Between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Even with the cease-fire, America and France may yet be able to find a solution through the Minsk Group. Michael Rubin is on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh. STEPANAKERT, NAGORNO-KARABAKH - The Holy Mother of God Cathedral in Stepanakert, the largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh and the capital of the self-declared Republic of Artsakh, symbolizes the tragedy of recent fighting. Refugees—or “displaced Armenians” as UN bureaucrats call them—sleep in the basement with little hope of returning to Shusha, a mountaintop town, now controlled by Azerbaijani forces. The buildings of Shusha are visible when fog lifts, but Russian peacekeepers have blocked the road less than two miles away from the cathedral and warn that they cannot protect anyone who goes closer from the possibility of being [...]

November 24th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Maximum Pressure, Minimal Success: Why the United States Needs a Reset with Iran

Maximum Pressure has not been paired with maximum offramps; rather than using U.S. economic and diplomatic power to facilitate negotiation, the United States is increasingly opting for coercion. Despite President Trump leaving the White House in January, his Iran policies may be here to stay. The danger lies in the U.S. sanctions campaign known as Maximum Pressure, which the U.S. State Department is rushing to lock in placefor the incoming Biden administration. Recently, Iranian president Hasan Rouhani remarked that the United States would have to “make up” for the mistakes of this policy. In other words, the Maximum Pressure strategy undermined rather than improved U.S. leverage. But how did this strategy start and why did it fail? Maximum Pressure started in [...]

November 23rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Yemen’s Chaos Creates a New Opportunity for the Biden-Harris Team

  While the foundations of peace must be Yemeni-led, there is much that the new administration could do to support this process. The first and most important choice is simple, though fraught with risk: does the United States continue with the current policy focused on national reconciliation, or consider an alternative path? For the coming administration of presumptive President-elect Joe Biden, assuming a leadership role in diplomatic efforts to resolve Yemen’s civil war could offer a “new beginning” for U.S. relations in the Middle East. Yemen stands at a crossroads. A nation rent in two by a six-year civil war, Yemen is well on its way to becoming one of the world’s preeminent breeding grounds for violent extremism and a safe [...]

November 23rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

A year on since the origins of Covid-19: what we know about how it started

Analysis - This time last year - as China's perishing winter descended across most of the country - rumours about a strange new flu were beginning to circulate in Wuhan. Wearing masks has now become the norm in many countries across the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: The Yomiuri Shimbun / AFP     On China's social media platform WeChat, users had been discussing their coughs and colds for weeks with words like "SARS" and "shortness of breath" spiking from mid-November. By early December, a so-called "pneumonia of unknown origin" had been identified, and patients - many of them workers or customers of a well-known market - were finding their way to Wuhan's hospitals for treatment. As we close in [...]

November 22nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Could Joe Biden Get Even Tougher on China than Donald Trump?

The new administration should restore stability and not try to out-hawk its predecessor. On most issues, President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden spent more than a year insisting they were worlds apart. But on U.S.-China relations, the two candidates competed for the same laurels, each straining at every turn to prove he would be uniquely tough on Beijing. China came up dozens of times in the final debate, with both candidates all but accusing the other of taking personal checks from Chinese president-for-life Xi Jinping. A Trump ad alleged that with Biden, “China is in charge,” while a Biden ad said Trump has “rolled over for the Chinese.”  

November 17th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Hundreds of Thousands of New Yorkers Leave the City: Study

A survey conducted by Manhattan Institute found that at least 244 thousand New Yorkers filed for a change of address between March and July this year. That number represented almost double the usual number filed in previous years. The study found that among the main reasons for people leaving New York were potential exposure to coronavirus, cost of living, and the increased crime rate. “The cost of living, more than any other factor, contributes to the likelihood of leaving New York City (see Figure 5). A total of 69% of respondents cite the cost of living as a reason to leave the city; that figure is even higher among black (77%) and Hispanic (79%) respondents. Other reasons cited by respondents considering [...]

November 16th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The Week in Politics: A week of surprises

Analysis -Judith Collins splits the finance portfolio in her shadow cabinet, the Reserve Bank's Adrian Orr makes waves with a cheap money announcement and the government scrambles to deal with Covid-19 in Auckland. Judith Collins announcing her shadow cabinet with Andrew Bayly, right, appointed shadow treasurer. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Andrew who? Andrew Bayly, he's the second most important opposition MP in Parliament. National's leader Judith Collins has appointed him shadow treasurer in her new caucus line-up. There isn't a treasurer to shadow but he's the front man who will take on Finance Minister Grant Robertson at question time. He will work with Michael Woodhouse, the new finance spokesman. Bayly is ranked third in the caucus behind Collins and [...]

November 14th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: GOP lets doubts about Biden’s legitimacy flourish

A woman participates in a pro-Trump election integrity rally at the Orange County Registrar of Voters offices in Santa Ana, Calif., Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The rally was calling attention to what organizers see as a broken national election process that involve corrupt voter rolls, computer vote flipping and dumping illegal paper ballots into the system around the country. They were not protesting the O.C. Registrar's office. (Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP) WASHINGTON (AP) — In backing President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, Republicans risk leaving millions of Americans with the false impression that the results of the 2020 race are illegitimate. And that may be the point. None of Trump’s legal challenges and assertions of voting [...]

November 11th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Trump poised to leave legacy of chaos with last-minute foreign policy moves

Analysis: With defence secretary’s firing and potential new Iran sanctions, Trump raises fears over impact of a vengeful president Mark Esper speaks after he was sworn in as defence secretary last year. Donald Trump has fired Esper. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images The abrupt dismissal of the US defence secretary, Mark Esper, and reported plans for multiple layers of new sanctions on Iran have made clear that Donald Trump’s last 10 weeks in office could still prove a very bumpy ride for the rest of the world. Trump is refusing to concede his loss to Joe Biden and, while he launches a quiver of baseless legal challenges to the results, he is also seeking to demonstrate he is still in charge of [...]

November 10th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What are New Zealand’s trade prospects under the new US presidency?

Analysis - New Zealand, an export-led economy and import-led culture, has long been a tad confused when it comes to new presidencies and the country's best interests. Barack Obama and Joe Biden speak with Donald Trump at his inauguration in January 2017. Photo: AFP or licensors   Republican presidents, who at least tend to pay lip service to New Zealand-style free trade, are usually too conservative for most local tastes. With Democrat administrations, it's the other way around. They may be politically cuddlier, but are generally less keen to see too much imported lamb dishes appearing on the Capitol Hill menus. Stateside presidential victories have therefore tended to be seen by the Kiwis as a consolation prize of sorts: either it's [...]

November 9th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|1 Comment

Week in Politics: Mahuta makes international headlines

Analysis - Nanaia Mahuta's appointment as foreign minister makes headlines around the world, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern chooses her most capable ministers to handle her "overarching priorities" and sets out the government's programme from now to Christmas. Some international media commented on Nanaia Mahuta's moko kauae. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas The international media doesn't usually take much notice of New Zealand but it did this week after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she had appointed Nanaia Mahuta as the new foreign minister. "Jacinda Ardern appoints Maori MP Nanaia Mahuta as foreign minister", London newspaper The Times headlined its report. "New Zealand's prime minister has named what she called an 'incredibly diverse' cabinet including an openly gay deputy prime minister and [...]

November 7th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Who knew, and who was responsible for alleged special forces atrocities in Afghanistan?

In the next few weeks the findings of a multi-year judicial investigation into alleged war crimes by Australia's special forces in Afghanistan are expected to be given a limited release. As evidence mounts that murder and mayhem did occur there, big questions loom. Who knew about the atrocities as they occurred? And where does responsibility sit within a labyrinthine chain of command? In the report by sociologist Samantha Crompvoets that is now four years old, but remarkably prescient, there is the outline of an answer. "One Officer said to me that at the time he simply didn’t believe the [evidence of the] Afghans, but now looking back and knowing more, he knows it must have been true. But … concerns were [...]

November 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: Trump changed how the U.S. trades – not necessarily as intended

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policy torched a 70-year consensus on trade liberalization, drew a harder line against China’s state-driven economic model and erected new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, alienating allies. Trump is touting his efforts to protect American workers and a Phase 1 trade deal with China that promises to boost U.S. exports as closing arguments in Tuesday’s presidential election. Economic data so far shows mixed results from that effort, with some sectors gaining at the expense of others, but with little change in the overall U.S. trade deficit for goods and services. Since 2018, Trump has imposed punitive tariffs on imported washing machines, solar panels, steel, aluminum and goods from China and [...]

November 2nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: Sustainable investing advocates hope for friendlier U.S. rules if Biden wins

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - Progressive groups and investors hope Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden can win on Tuesday and quickly end Trump administration rules that stifle their ability to pick stocks using environmental, social or governance factors, setting up a renewed fight with corporate groups that backed the changes. FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden walks past solar panels while touring the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative in Plymouth, New Hampshire, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder   More than a dozen lobbyists, investors and policy experts said a Biden win could boost U.S. growth of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing which lags far behind Europe, and which has been further stymied as [...]

November 2nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Democrats, White House spent months bickering over a coronavirus stimulus bill that never happened. Will it affect voters at the ballot box?

WASHINGTON – Voters watched with anticipation for months as congressional leaders and the White House bickered over another coronavirus stimulus package, one they hoped would provide another round of $1,200 stimulus checks and a more generous weekly unemployment payment to help weather the global pandemic. But a deal never materialized even as millions found themselves unemployed, COVID-19 case totals climbed and benefits expired. Democrats faulted Republicans. Republicans similarly said Democrats were responsible. The merry-go-round of negotiations, filled with moments of hope then dismay as both sides deadlocked, played out as voters made decisions on who they would back in the election. Here’s how the stalled stimulus package could impact the results on Election Day and where stimulus talks go from here. How could COVID relief affect the [...]

November 2nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Three Days Out — Here’s Where The Election Stands

               Brendan Smialowski, Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images       With three days until Election Day, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are campaigning in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states that were crucial to the election four years ago. Trump will hold two rallies in Pennsylvania on Saturday, one in Reading and one in Butler. Biden currently leads in the state by 5.1 points and some forecasts predict will be the tipping point state in deciding the election’s winner, Biden will campaign in Michigan on Saturday alongside former President Barack Obama, marking the first time the two have campaigned together this cycle. He will hold events in Flint and Detroit.  Democratic presidential [...]

November 1st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Numbers can lie: The best GDP report ever won’t mean the US economy has healed

The United States almost certainly just experienced its fastest three months of economic growth on record. That doesn't mean the economy is strong. The Commerce Department on Thursday (US time) will release its preliminary estimate of economic growth for the third quarter. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect it to show that gross domestic product — the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the United States — grew about 7 per cent from the second quarter, or 30 per cent on an annualised basis (more about that in a bit). Trump will use the growth figures as evidence of a strong economic rebound, but the economy remains in dire health. CREDIT:AP If those forecasts are even close to correct, it [...]

October 28th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Macron’s clash with Islam sends jolt through France’s long debate about secularism

President has become a hate figure in Islamic world over response to death of Samuel Paty Emmanuel Macron gives a speech on secularism on 2 October, before the death of Samuel Paty, in which he said Islam was ‘experiencing a crisis across the world’. Photograph: Eric Tschaen/SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock       On 6 October, when Samuel Paty, a popular history and geography teacher at a school in a quiet Paris suburb, presented a copy of the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that provoked the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine five years ago, he self-evidently had no idea of the tragic consequence for his own life, French society or France’s relations with the Islamic world. What was intended as a classroom exploration of [...]

October 27th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Since 9/11, Iran And America Have Been More Than Foes

An examination of the post-9/11 era reveals that U.S.-Iranian dialogue has yielded valuable, yet imperfect, results. To avoid a future clash, Washington must talk with Tehran.AMERICAN RELATIONS with Iran have reached rock bottom. Once upon a time, the U.S. secretary of state could call his Iranian counterpart on the phone to avert a budding crisis. Now, all that is gone. Following Donald Trump’s May 2018 decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the reinstatement of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran—the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign—has pushed the Iranians to renege on several of their nuclear commitments. Iran’s capability to build a nuclear weapon is now more advanced than at any time since the JCPOA was [...]

October 24th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China vows retaliation if US proceeds with Taiwan arms sale

‘Plotting' with US would 'bring down a terrible disaster on the Taiwanese people,' Beijing warned Is it too little, too late for US to curb China’s military ambitions? Fox News national security analyst Walid Phares provides insight into U.S.-China relations and China’s global influence. China has vowed to retaliate if the U.S. proceeds with the sale of advanced weaponry to Taiwan worth more than a billion dollars. The statement from China’s defense ministry gave no specifics, but the development marks a further deterioration in ties between Beijing and Washington that have hit their lowest ebb in decades. The statement issued late Thursday night demanded the cancellation of the sale and an end to all interactions between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries [...]

October 24th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: China struggles to fill Trump’s ‘America First’ leadership void

BEIJING (Reuters) - As Donald Trump has pulled the United States inward under his “America First” presidency, China has had only halting success at capitalising on a global leadership vacuum, presenting openings for a more internationalist Joe Biden administration if he wins next month’s election. FILE PHOTO: People's Republic of China President Xi Jinping speaks during the 75th annual U.N. General Assembly, in New York City, New York, U.S., September 22, 2020. United Nations/Handout via REUTERS     Under Trump, Washington abandoned the Paris climate pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the UN Human Rights Council and UNESCO, and ditched the Iran nuclear deal. It has announced that it will withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO) next July and has crippled the [...]

October 22nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Bangkok protests continue apace — is Thailand the next Hong Kong?

Thousands of people have been protesting on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand's capital, for months now demanding a new constitution, the dissolution of parliament, reforms to the monarchy and more. Though the actions have organisers and figureheads, much like the rolling protests in Hong Kong, these are protests driven from the ground up and inspired by ideas. In tactics reminiscent of the "be water" strategy adopted by Hongkongers, Thai youth are using social media such as Twitter and Facebook and encrypted apps such as Telegram to organise quickly, decide next steps, converge on a site, then melt away. Pro-democracy activists gather in Central Pinklao, suburbs of Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday.CREDIT:AP   Instead of occupying prominent locations in the capital and making [...]

October 21st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: Rating agency scrutiny raises stakes for U.S. election process

BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - As Americans go to the polls, some of the more influential observers of the election process will be the agencies that determine the country’s credit rating. FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollars are counted out by a banker counting currency at a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo   The country’s nearly top-notch, coveted rating is partly a reflection of the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency and the fact that the roughly $20 trillion U.S. Treasury market is the largest and most liquid in the world. Yet two of the three major U.S. credit agencies, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service, which give the United States their top rating of AAA and Aaa [...]

October 21st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Former NYPD Commissioner: I’ve Seen Hunter’s Hard Drive, The Bidens ‘Belong in Handcuffs’

Former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik says he has “personally had the opportunity to review the hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden” and that Joe Biden and his family “belong in handcuffs“. Kerick says he’s seen the “images, emails, and other documents [that] were on Hunter’s cell phone and computer” – most of which has yet to be made public – and is now calling on the Department of Justice to arrest “Hunter, James [Joe’s brother], and Joe Biden.” New York City’s former top cop wrote on Twitter: “I personally had the opportunity to review the hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden.  “If the @FBI and @TheJusticeDept arrested Paul Manafort, then Hunter, James, and @JoeBiden belongs in handcuffs? “AND THAT, is just for [...]

October 20th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis – ex-National voters opted for Labour as its own handbrake

Labour's overwhelming victory at the election has been greeted with rousing cheers on the left of New Zealand politics and the start of transformational demands. It's a multi-generational win for Labour, out-polling the Kirk, Lange and Clark victories. You have to go back to 1938 for a bigger percentage (55.8 percent) and to 1935 for a bigger bunch of new MPs (29). Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas Through a series of crisis, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has hugged New Zealand close, and this week New Zealanders from a range of viewpoints returned her embrace. As the first party to win a majority rather than a plurality under MMP, Labour is atop the political world. Given that the Greens also survived the [...]

October 19th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The IMF Can’t Be Any Clearer: The Global Economy Is on the Brink of a Crisis

  The IMF is now warning in the clearest of terms that any slowing in the world economic recovery could cause serious problems to the global financial system. As a second wave in the coronavirus pandemic now appears to be threatening the United States and global economic recoveries, the world's economic policymakers would do well to pay attention to the International Monetary Fund’s latest warnings about the vulnerability of the global financial system. Maybe then they will become more focused on the urgent need to keep providing strong fiscal and monetary policy support to the global economic recovery. The IMF is now emphasizing that the very scale of the pandemic has caused financial market vulnerabilities to increase across multiple sectors of [...]

October 18th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China Is Now the World’s Largest Economy. We Shouldn’t Be Shocked.

  China has now displaced the U.S. to become the largest economy in the world. Measured by the more refined yardstick that both the IMF and CIA now judge to be the single best metric for comparing national economies, the IMF Report shows that China’s economy is one-sixth larger than America’s ($24.2 trillion versus the U.S.’s $20.8 trillion). Why can't we admit reality? What does this mean? This week, the IMF presented its 2020 World Economic Outlook providing an overview of the global economy and the challenges ahead. The most inconvenient fact in the Report is one Americans don’t want to hear—and even when they read it, refuse to accept: China has now displaced the U.S. to become the largest economy [...]

October 17th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Would herd immunity stop the spread of coronavirus?

Even if achievable, the strategy would kill too many people, say scientists An electron microscope image shows Sars-Cov-2 virus particles emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Photograph: AP Like the Covid-19 virus itself, the idea of herd immunity has surged back into public life having been suppressed for months. It was initially touted as a way to hold back the pandemic – by allowing sufficient numbers of infections to occur and so reduce numbers of non-immune potential hosts for the virus. The disease would then stop spreading, it was argued. The notion quickly fell out of favour when researchers highlighted the high death toll that would have to occur in the UK before herd immunity was achieved. [...]

October 11th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Anarchism: An Evil Ideology Behind Why Democrats Support the 2020 Riots

Introduction Today’s guest article on the ideology of anarchism was written by Professor Garrett Ward Sheldon, who has written a few excellent articles for the site in the past, most recently one on cultural Marxism in universities. This article should tie in well with my recent article on the fact that Democrats support the riots that are ripping America apart and are, in effect, fanning the flames of those riots. And, more importantly, it will show you what is wrong with America right now. While the problem of too much control would exist under Biden because we have forgotten the American creed, we also have the problem of too little government authority in the right areas. That lack of government authority [...]

October 9th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Collins faces problem as Labour holds poll lead

Analysis: Judith Collins faces a problem created by one of her own MPs, Jacinda Ardern shows her strength in the third leaders' debate, and Labour holds its lead in the latest poll.                 Photo: Getty Images / RNZ   The last thing National needed this week was headlines saying "Collins denies caucus fractures after leak" (Stuff) and "Can Judith Collins keep a lid on it?" (RNZ). That's what it got after one of its MPs, Denise Lee, took exception to the way her party leader had announced a National-led government would launch a review of Auckland Council's operations. Lee, the party's local government spokesperson for Auckland, had been bypassed. She didn't know the announcement was [...]

October 9th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Barr’s Investigation Of ANTIFA Leads Directly To Barack Obama

DOJ head William Barr, at the request of President Donald Trump, started an investigation into the ANTIFA and it falls directly at Barack Hussein Obama’s feet. ANTIFA is the creation of Barack Obama and George Soros, and it is even partially funded with taxpayer money, something that will be coming to a swift end. While Barack Obama was a community organizer, George Soros saw something in him. He approached Obama with an idea. Soros had the money, and Obama was an expert community organizer. If Obama helped Soros get this off the ground, Soros would find Obama’s senate run, and then his presidential run as well. Soros groomed Obama into what he wanted! Joseph Barron, a lead investigator on Barr’s team, couldn’t [...]

October 8th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Turkey and Russia’s deepening roles in Libya complicate peace efforts

Libya’s Fayez al-Sarraj and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meeting in Istanbul on Sunday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images   Plans for a durable Libyan ceasefire are to be endorsed by diplomats from 15 countries on Monday, but the value of the commitments made in the virtual meeting are belied by signs that deepening involvement in the country by rival external powers including Russia and Turkey could complicate efforts to form an interim government of national unity. The Libya conflict has to be seen as not only a long-running power struggle in the country itself but also part of a wider geopolitical dispute in which Turkey’s assertive foreign policy – ranging from the eastern Mediterranean to Azerbaijan – is an increasing factor. Before [...]

October 6th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The politics of Saudi normalization with Israel: ANALYSIS

A Mideast expert assesses if the Saudis could normalize relations with Israel. As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain move forward with their separate processes to normalize relations with Israel, the question that seems to be on the mind of many, both in Washington and in the region, is whether or when the Saudis will follow. I've long argued (most recently here) that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS), the de facto ruler who's destined to govern the kingdom for decades to come, is hesitant to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel anytime soon because doing so is likely to generate significant political costs at home. For starters, his father, King Salman, is committed to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace [...]

October 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

US election: It’s too early to count Trump out

Analysis: With just a month left until the 3 November US presidential election, contracting the coronavirus could have politically positive or negative consequences for President Donald Trump. Donald Trump leaves the White House for a helicopter flight to a military hospital in Washington. Photo: AFP     These will, of course, be contingent on how severe the president's illness becomes, with Trump today transferred to a military hospital, the Walter Reed Medical Centre in Washington. But we should not count him out and Democratic challenger Joe Biden in just yet. Here are the ways the diagnosis could swing the election either way for Trump. Negative Trump's days in isolation will halt his intense campaign schedule. Trump was much better at energising [...]

October 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Confused messaging adds to angst over Trump’s COVID condition

Washington: Tens of millions of Americans awoke on Friday, local time, to discover that their president had tested positive for coronavirus. Donald Trump had revealed the startling news on Twitter just before 1am, when most Americans on the east coast were asleep. What followed during the rest of the day was no more reassuring. The official line on Trump's condition became increasingly dire, culminating in the news he would be taken to hospital in a helicopter. US President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, in Bethesda, Maryland on Marine One.CREDIT:AP The slow-drip of disturbing information – much of it revealed by the media rather than the White House – only increased the sense of distrust many Americans [...]

October 4th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Can the United States and the Vatican Help Taiwan to Avoid a War?

      The fear of the Vatican’s eventual recognition of China is a growing concern, especially given that the Holy See is the most important embassy in Taiwan among the remaining fifteen. When President-elect Donald Trump accepted a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan just before his inauguration, “political warfare” between China and the United States had already begun. Now, evolving evidence suggests that Washington has departed from its 1972 “one China” policy and 1979 “policy of ambiguity” to one of resolve on defending Taiwan, leading to a “policy of strategic clarity.” The sales of advanced weaponry to counter perceived China threats and the two recent visits of high-profile American officials—who heralded the technologically advanced island as the [...]

October 4th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysis: Ardern’s popularity defies her track record

Analysis - Newmarket's gold mile has lost a bit of its burnish these days, with a number having been sucked into the new Westfield mall and others closed due to the Covid-19 lockdowns.   Labour leader Jacinda Ardern takes a photo with a member of the public in Newmarket, Auckland during the 2020 campaign trail. Photo: RNZ / Tim Watkin     And at first Jacinda Ardern, looking for a crowd to work after her housing announcement in Birkenhead yesterday morning, struggled to find one. She walked down from the mall, with only one or two children there for the cooing. But when she hit Teed St it all changed. She paused for a couple of quick chats and suddenly the [...]

October 3rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

COVID-19 Sets the Stage for the Democrat Plan for America

The Cabals Plan - Show Print View! - Please email for others! Only a Live Exercise The guy talking is Mike Pompeo The vid was altered only to loop and emphasize the phrase he used "a live exercise." See the source here Don't worry folks – had the media decided that it mattered you would have known! Don't worry folks the COVID 19 pandemic is only an "Live Exercise" as shown in this video and the information below. The Plan short verson This video was extracted from which is a couple hours   Curiously, the World Economic Forum, sponsored by the United Nations, World Bank, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Center for Disease Control and other global organizations, met last [...]

October 3rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The other debate: Ardern and Collins clash in rapid-fire election hit out

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would declare a climate change emergency if re-elected on October 17, while opposition leader Judith Collins has promised tax cuts and faster economic growth during a fast-paced and fiery second election debate. Labour's Ardern, who enjoys a strong lead in the polls ahead of the vote, admitted for the first time that she had smoked cannabis "a long time ago" - but still refused to say which way she would vote in the concurrent referendum on legalising recreational use. Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins clashed, and agreed, on much during a spirited New Zealand election debate.CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES   Collins, who opposes legalisation of recreational use (but supports medicinal cannabis) attacked Ardern's equivocation and pointed out [...]

October 1st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Fact-checking Trump and Biden during 1st 2020 presidential debate

The candidates met live in Cleveland. Trump vs. Biden 1st presidential debate key moments   President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden debated on Tuesday night in the first presidential debate, which was filled with interruptions and arguing. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Below, ABC News will fact check what both candidates say throughout the 90-minute debate, moderated by Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday." Jonathan Ernst/Reuters President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Sept. 29, 2020. A vaccine is not likely weeks away, despite Trump's claim TRUMP'S CLAIM: "And now, we're weeks away from a vaccine." FACT [...]

October 1st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Donald Trump ensures first presidential debate is national humiliation

Analysis: Only one man looked remotely presidential on the debate stage in Cleveland, Ohio, and it was not the incumbent Donald Trump at the first presidential debate with Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio, on 29 September. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters Cry, the beloved country. Donald Trump ensured Tuesday’s first US presidential debate was the worst in American history, a national humiliation. The rest of the world – and future historians – will presumably look at it and weep. More likely than not, according to opinion polls, his opponent Joe Biden will win the November election and bring the republic back from the brink. If Trump is re-elected, however, this dark, horrifying, unwatchable fever dream will surely be the first line of America’s [...]

September 30th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

President Trump’s tax returns show he has company: How rich Americans avoid taxes

Like President Donald Trump, rich Americans often deploy sophisticated tax avoidance strategies to maximize their wealth. Not to be confused with tax evasion, which is illegal, tax avoidance is entirely legal, even if many view it as unfair. A sweeping New York Times report published Sunday revealed numerous tax reduction strategies used by Trump. He's not alone. Affluent taxpayers often have more avenues than ordinary Americans to avoid paying Uncle Sam. Wealthy Americans are the largest source of underreported income, according to IRS data analyzed by researchers. The top 1% of American taxpayers account for about 34% of misreported income, according to a study published in the National Tax Journal. Many wealthy Americans deploy complex, arcane but wholly legal strategies to minimize their [...]

September 29th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Gold & Recessions: What to Know This Time Around

Gold has historically performed better than US stocks, bonds, and the dollar have during recessions for approximately the past 50 years. See Figure 1 below. As the US economy continues on its path toward recovery, gold shows signs of remaining strong and may play a key role in managing portfolios through ongoing uncertainty. A US recovery boding persistent low rates and accommodative policies will likely continue to benefit gold. This post was written with contributions from the SPDR Gold Strategy Team: George Milling-Stanley, Chief Gold Strategist, and Diego Andrade, Senior Gold Strategist.   With GDP posting a record low of -31.7% for Q2 2020,1the United States officially entered its first economic recession in over a decade. Gold is popularly associated with [...]

September 29th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why more people are turning to medicinal cannabis

On a back country road in northern NSW, up a nondescript dirt driveway, sits a highly secret facility. Surrounded by strict security, thousands of cannabis plants are being carefully cultivated in state-of-the-art greenhouses for the medicinal cannabis market. Australian Natural Therapeutics Group CEO, Matthew Cantelo, surrounded by cannabis that is about to be harvested.CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT The Australian Natural Therapeutic Group facility, near Armidale, is about to start producing medicinal cannabis oil on a commercial scale – the first such manufacturing licence granted in the state. The company's chief executive Matthew Cantelo said he had noticed quite a large increase of approvals under the Special Access Scheme, as well as a rise in the number of authorised prescribers. "[That] tells us that [...]

September 28th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Will the New York Times taxes report sink Donald Trump?

His returns examined at last, the president stands exposed as a tax avoider and serial debtor. It raises serious questions – but also, most likely, the passions of his fervent supporters From the moment he rode down an escalator in the marble-clad, gold-trimmed Trump Tower to declare his candidacy for US president, Donald Trump was selling himself as a successful businessman who could run a successful economy. It was an image cultivated with voters for a decade on The Apprentice, the reality TV show in which Trump sat in judgment on aspiring entrepreneurs and told most: “You’re fired!” On Sunday the mask was finally torn off. According to a blockbuster New York Times investigation into his taxes, the self-proclaimed billionaire, a [...]

September 28th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How the U.S. Military is Prioritizing Great-Power Competition

  A careful examination of deployments of carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups on a month-by-month basis since mid-2017 using the U.S. Naval Institute’s remarkable “fleet tracker” database shows that there have been two main deviations are evident from the historical norm. Nearly three years into the implementation of the January 2018 National Defense Strategy, developed under Secretary Jim Mattis but still prominently emphasized by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, how much impact is the renewed focus on great-power competition actually having on U.S. military priorities?   One telling way to answer this question is to examine the deployment of Department of Navy assets—particularly, aircraft carrier battle groups, as well as amphibious ready groups and their associated “Marine Expeditionary Units”—to [...]

September 27th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Collins needs a game-changer

Analysis - The latest poll, what it means for Judith Collins and National; the first leaders' debate doesn't go well for Jacinda Ardern, Paul Goldsmith fumbles his figures and National goes for the farmer vote. National's Judith Collins and Labour's Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas The latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, released on Tuesday just ahead of the first leaders debate, showed National's leader Judith Collins just how much she has to do before October 17. It had Labour down five points to 48 percent. The fall wasn't surprising because it followed the Auckland outbreak of Covid-19 which dispelled any belief people might have had that New Zealand had beaten the virus and there wouldn't be any more [...]

September 26th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What U.S. Troops Are Really Doing In Syria

U.S. policy toward Syria is defined by an absurdity that can’t be neatly untangled—a low-intensity regime change mission defined as anything other than its central mission. James Mattis famously resigned from his secretary of defense post citing opposition to President Donald Trump’s order to remove U.S. troops from Syria. So it came as a mild surprise when it was recently confirmed that Mattis opposed a plan to assassinate Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria. This opposition was a prudent move as deposing Assad would not end Syria’s civil war but throw the country into deeper chaos. But this seeming incongruity of Mattis the hawk contra Mattis the dove is representative of the larger contradictions in Washington’s Syria policy. These contradictions arise from the fact that U.S. policy [...]

September 25th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Uncertainty looms for business interruption insurance claims

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, many insurers argue these policies are not designed to cover government-imposed lockdowns Singapore ALREADY struggling for survival amid the deepest recession in years, some business owners have also discovered in recent months that the insurance policies they bought for cover against business interruption - and that they are paying thousands of dollars in annual premiums to sustain - will not be paying them a cent. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many insurers have argued that the business interruption policies were not designed to cover government-imposed lockdowns. However, the UK's High Court on Tuesday handed down a ruling, over a test case brought by the state's financial regulator, that is said to represent a "significant victory" for policyholders. Among other [...]

September 25th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Analysing the leaders’ debate: How did Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins fare?

The two women vying to govern New Zealand after the upcoming election faced off in the first leaders debate last night. Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and National leader Judith Collins. Photo: RNZ   New poll numbers show Jacinda Ardern remains the favourite for prime minister at 54 percent while Judith Collins follows with 18 percent. Jennifer Lees-Marshment and Lara Greaves from the politics department at the University of Auckland spoke to Morning Reportabout how the pair fared head-to-head.   Jennifer Lees-Marshment* "It won't shift votes ... but it gives Judith Collins and the National Party a chance, an opening if you like, to build on and to make a bit of a difference going forward. So I think it will get [...]

September 23rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death could affect Senate races – and Trump v Biden

Susan Collins of Maine is among vulnerable Republican senators as polls indicate voters trust Biden more on justice picks   Susan Collins talks with reporters after announcing her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, in October 2018. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters On the question of supreme court nominees, the Republican senator Susan Collins has repeatedly threaded the same political needle. It is one with a shrinking eye. A 64% majority of voters in Collins’ home state, Maine, believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases – yet Collins has voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, two justices nominated by Donald Trump who could roll back abortion rights. Collins has explained that based on her private impressions, the justices would [...]

September 20th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Study: Up To 95 Percent Of 2020 U.S. Riots Are Linked To Black Lives Matter

A report accompanying the data project, however, reads like an upscale attempt to blame the police for criminals’ decision to steal, kill, and destroy. Contrary to corporate media narratives, up to 95 percent of this summer’s riots are linked to Black Lives Matter activism, according to data collected by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). The data also show that nearly 6 percent — or more than 1 in 20 — of U.S. protests between May 26 and Sept. 5 involved rioting, looting, and similar violence, including 47 fatalities. ACLED is a nonprofit organization that tracks conflict across the globe. Its U.S. project that collected the summer protest data is supported by Princeton University. The project’s spreadsheet collating tens [...]

September 19th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Trump approval continues surge, hits 53%, highest in year

President Trump is celebrating the one-year anniversary of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's impeachment push with his highest approval rating in a year. Today’s Rasmussen Reports said Trump’s approval rating is 53%, a height it has reached only three other times since his first month in office when support jumped to nearly 60%. Ironically, Rasmussen noted, the last time Trump was at 53% was when Pelosi announced that the House would begin impeachment proceedings. For the past few weeks, Trump has been on a steady climb in Rasmussen’s ratings. In its weekly rating of the presidential race between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, Trump, for the first time this week, had an edge over Biden, 47%-46%. At this stage of his reelection [...]

September 19th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Recession fires up the campaign

Analysis: The recession draws strong criticism from opposition parties, Labour dumps its fees-free policy, Jami-Lee Ross decides to try to slip into Parliament as a list MP, National delivers its health policy and why a former party leader thinks it's "the most boring election ever". Jacinda Ardern, Winston Peters, Judith Collins and David Seymour. Photo: RNZ Everyone knew it was coming but opposition parties reacted with shock and horror when the latest economic figures showed New Zealand was officially in recession. The GDP data released on Thursday showed two consecutive quarters of negative growth with a 12.2 per cent fall in the three months to June - better than forecast but still the worst on record. National's leader Judith Collins blamed [...]

September 18th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Hezbollah’s links with Irish terror group exposed

British and Irish security services suspect the New IRA’s links may have led to an importation of arms. (File/Shutterstock) New IRA suspected of procuring weapons during visit to Lebanon Hezbollah has fostered ties with terror groups regionally, internationally LONDON: Hezbollah provided the New IRA with finances and shipments of weapons, according to an undercover agent who infiltrated the Irish terror group. Former British secret service operative Denis McFadden made the assessment after spying on the New IRA from within for more than 20 years. Irish and British security services suspect that the New IRA’s links with Iran-backed Hezbollah may have led to the import of arms including mortars and assault rifles. MI5 agent McFadden is now in witness protection after his [...]

September 14th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Book Review: Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy

A seasoned Singaporean diplomat’s latest book injects much-needed realpolitik back into the U.S.-China relationship and asks painful questions about the state of America. Kishore Mahbubani is a Singaporean academic and former diplomat. Having worked at the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs for thirty-three years, and then as president of the United Nations Security Council from 2001–2002, Mahbubani is a seasoned veteran of global affairs who now shares his experiences with lucky students as a distinguished fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute. Mahbubani’s latest book, Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy,published in 2020, is a crucial guide to understanding the modern U.S.-China relationship and why this relationship has been marred by such hostility in recent [...]

September 13th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Swedish PM U-Turns, Admits Connection Between Migration and Crime

ANDERS WIKLUND/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images  Minister Stefan Löfven has U-turned and admitted that there is a link between migration and Sweden’s rising levels of violent crime. The Social Democrat leader admitted that there is a connection between crime and migration during a debate in the Swedish Riksdag on Wednesday. Mr Löfven said: “With a large migration, where we cannot cope with integration, then there is also a greater risk of the kind of problems that we see. It’s crystal clear.” The prime minister’s statement came in response to questions posed by populist Sweden Democrats (SD) leader Jimmie Åkesson, who slammed the Swedish leader for refusing to admit any connection between migration and crime as recently as earlier this week, Nyheter [...]

September 13th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China, US tensions: Next 10 months are ‘critical’ to avoid war

Analysis: With the US in turmoil, the world distracted by the pandemic mixed with China's unbridled ambition, the next 10 months will be the most dangerous since World War II, a top Australian strategic analyst warns. "The global economy may be in hibernation, but geopolitics is thriving and sprinting towards a potential crisis," Australian Strategic Studies Institute executive director Peter Jennings said in April. "The core of the security problem is the Chinese Communist Party's drive to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic strategically stronger in the Asia-Pacific than the US and its allies." Now he says his warning is rapidly panning out. "Since then, Chinese military and rhetorical pressure has significantly increased against Taiwan, and we have seen the US intervene [...]

September 13th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

7 Things We MUST Remember About 9/11; That Some Have Forgotten

1.) First Responders Are Necessary Ryan Johnson via( Wikipedia Commons First Responders, Firemen, Police officers, and EMTs are there to help and while they can not save every life they are there for tragedies when others run. Many In America have completely forgotten about this but on 9/11 it was firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and even ordinary Americans that jumped into action. Politicians and others did nothing on that day, while our first responders did everything.   2.) Terror Is Very Real White House [Public Domain]  19 years after this national tragedy we still have terror attacks and it does not look like it is going to settle down anytime soon. While there will always be fanatics in the world that [...]

September 12th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Labour’s tax plan framing around Covid-19 both clever and cynical

Power Play - Call it what you want - canny politics or a left-wing betrayal - Labour's tax plan is far from transformational. Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern with finance spokesperson Grant Roberston and small business spokesperson Stuart Nash. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   Even National could barely muster much outrage, instead stoking fear about what else Labour might do if held ransom by the Greens. But the change promised here - a new tax bracket at 39 percent on income over $180,000 - is milder than what many Kiwis will remember under the Helen Clark-years. The plan promises to capture just the top 2 percent - 75,000-odd people - unlikely to find much sympathy among those fearing job losses [...]

September 10th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Chinese Navy May Be First To Get Ballistic Missiles

A Department of Defense report suggests that the Chinese Navy, formally known as the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy), may put anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs) on its new cruisers. These are the weapons dubbed ‘Aircraft Carrier Killers’ because of their massive hitting power. It would be the first time any navy has put this category of weapon on a warship. Chinese Navy cruisers would then be arguably the most heavily armed surface combatants in the world. Artist's impression of a Renhai Class cruiser launching an anti-ship ballistic missile from its aft ... [+]H I SUTTON The 2020 China Military Power Report to Congress says that the new Type-055 Renhai Class cruiser “will likely be able to launch ASBMs and LACMs once [...]

September 9th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Economy emerges as No. 1 voter issue as Election Day nears, pandemic concerns wane: poll

“Big changes from our July survey, back then, the economy and health care were tied as the top issue,” says pollster Scott Rasmussen As coronavirus numbers trend downward and the November presidential election nears, the economy has emerged as the top issue among likely voters, with law and order also a major concern, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen Among 942 likely voters surveyed in this week’s poll, 31% said the economy was the most important issue when deciding whether to pick President Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden to occupy the White House for the next four years. The second-biggest issue was healthcare, at 17%, followed by law and order, at 16%, the latter result coming as state and [...]

September 7th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Christchurch mosque attacks: NZ spy chiefs called in for high-level meeting days after shootings

Spy chiefs pointedly told a high-level intelligence meeting days after the Christchurch terror attacks that domestic security investigations can't begin without a "lead" and stressed the difficulties in monitoring online extremism, newly-released documents show. The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) were sent scrambling after the March 15, 2019 mosque shootings, which left 51 people dead. Just 12 days after the country's worst-ever domestic terror attack, Andrew Little, the minister in charge of New Zealand's spy agencies, called in NZSIS director general Rebecca Kitteridge and GCSB director general Andrew Hampton for an urgent briefing. The two agencies were being publicly grilled over why they hadn't had Australian gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant – last week jailed [...]

September 6th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Shaw still feeling heat as funding issue bubbles on

Analysis: James Shaw apologises for his astonishing "error of judgement", National promises to help new parents if it wins the election, the Speaker orders the opposition to withdraw a "misleading" advert and Parliament limps to the end of its term, [Peter Wilson writes. James Shaw presented Judith Collins with a gift she has made the most of. Photo: RNZ "It didn't work out well." James Shaw's words will probably go down as the understatement of the year after his disastrous decision to fund a private school nearly $12 million of taxpayer money. Shaw issued a media release last week to announce the decision to fund the development of the Taranaki Green School. It sounded like good news, and Shaw clearly thought [...]

September 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Week in Politics: National blames the government for not keeping NZers safe

  Analysis - Auckland's lockdown is extended but not the wage subsidy, which gives National new angles of attack as it tries to whittle away confidence in the government, Judith Collins pitches for rural votes by promising the new freshwater standards will be "gone by lunchtime" and Parliament's Health Select Committee decides to reconvene and put Ashley Bloomfield in the hot seat. A composite picture of Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Getty Images Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set the agenda for the week by announcing on Monday that Auckland's lockdown would be extended by four days to midnight on Sunday. Asked at her press conference what could stop that happening she replied "exponential growth outside the cluster". By [...]

September 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Study Shows Obesity Raises Risk of Coronavirus Death by 48%

Mortality is no joke and neither is being overweight. A new study out of the University of North Carolina (UNC) has revealed that obesity increases the risk of death from the coronavirus by 48% and may make vaccines against the disease less effective. The findings, which the lead researcher described as “scary,” were published in the journal Obesity Reviews. Moreover, their chances of ending up in the intensive care unit were 74% higher than non-obese people. Obesity was already pinpointed as a known risk factor for more severe cases of the coronavirus because of the underlying health conditions associated with the condition, which can include hypertension, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and chronic kidney and liver disease. The researchers cited one [...]

September 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Four Reasons Why Regime Change Won’t Occur In Belarus

Russian influence will be critical in ending the crisis.   There is no reason to believe that the Belarusian opposition will come to power any time soon. Instead, there are numerous differences between what is occurring in Belarus and what occurred in Ukraine in 2014 and in Armenia in 2018. Here are four reasons why. First, President Alexander Lukashenko is a very sturdy and strong-willed person, ready to hold on to his power to the end. In contrast to other post-Soviet leaders, he was the only one who had the presence of mind to preserve the entire Belarusian production sector. All neighboring countries—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania—had their production sectors eliminated. The result is that a significant part of their populations, especially young [...]

September 5th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why Has China Detained a CGTN Journalist?

The arrest of Chinese-Australian broadcaster Cheng Lei has prompted fears of hostage diplomacy.   Chinese police patrol outside the Australian embassy in Beijing on January 25, 2019. FRED DUFOUR/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES     Welcome to Foreign Policy’s China Brief. The highlights this week: A Chinese-Australian journalist has been detained in Beijing, ethnic Mongolians hold rare protests over language instruction in Inner Mongolia, and China blocks the sale of TikTok to Microsoft. Detained Journalist Prompts Fears of Hostage Diplomacy China’s foreign ministry has confirmed that the Chinese-Australian journalist Cheng Lei has been detained in Beijing on unspecified charges. Cheng is a prominent face on China’s English-language TV channel CGTN, where she hosted a daily business show. She disappeared on Aug.14, prompting fear among [...]

September 3rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Why Donald Trump’s Huawei Sanctions Could Backfire

  The Chinese have the money to get ahead of the rest of the pack—the Americans do not have the money to defend their position. The U.S. policy towards Huawei is in reality strategic warfare. Its goal is to prevent China from achieving the technological edge in high-tech communication network, which is vital for superpower status. The instrument chosen is to restrict Huawei’s use of sophisticated semiconductors crippling its production capacity. The underlying fear supporting this policy is that China, through Huawei, regarded as the prolonged arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC), will draw other countries including traditional U.S. allies into its sphere of interest. In strategic terms, it amounts to a pre-emptive strike. The United States tried to [...]

September 2nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

What we know about Trump’s trip to a hospital in November

President Trump on July 11, as he returned from a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) Shortly before 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, President Trump arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The White House pool reporter on duty described the president as leaving the White House a half-hour earlier, “wearing a long dark overcoat and carrying what looked like a tan rectangle-shaped folder or envelope under his arm.” Until the presidential motorcade arrived at the hospital, though, news of Trump’s departure wasn’t reportable. And with that, a mystery was born. Trump was there for about two hours, arriving at 2:47 p.m. and leaving at 5:03 p.m. When the [...]

September 2nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|Comments Off on What we know about Trump’s trip to a hospital in November

China not ready for full assault: report

GEOLOGICAL CHALLENGE: The PLA lacks the landing vehicles and logistics required to launch an incursion into Taiwan via the Taiwan Strait, a defense ministry report said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) does not yet have the military capability to wage an all-out war against Taiwan, given the demanding geological environment of the Taiwan Strait, a Ministry of National Defense report said. The China Military Power Report 2020, which the ministry yesterday submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review, said the PLA still lacks the landing vehicles and logistics required to launch an incursion into Taiwan via the Taiwan Strait. If Beijing were to wage a war now, its combat plans could take the form of military intimidation, blockades, firepower strikes [...]

September 1st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Abe’s resignation creates uncertainty — and opportunity — in US-Japan relations

© Getty Images Shinzō Abe’s abrupt decision to resign as prime minister has already begun to fuel uncertainty about Japan’s long-term economic future, global presence, and even the state of its security alliance with the U.S. Abe’s second tenure in the post, the longest in Japanese history, was characterized from start to finish by his resolve to erase two “lost decades” of economic and strategic drift. He ostensibly succeeded at both — addressing the first issue until Japan’s economic downturn following a consumption tax increase late last year, and leaving an indelible mark with the second. Indeed, although Abe’s administration has been marred by multiple scandals and accusations of mishandling the initial government response to COVID-19, in many ways his most [...]

August 31st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

‘Two visions of the US’: Trump and Biden offer contrasts on race, Covid and economy

Supporters of Donald Trump see the president as the protector of an American they cherish. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images One version told of a president who is callous and cruel. “My dad was a healthy 65-year-old,” said Kristin Urquiza, whose father voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and died from Covid-19 in June. “His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump – and for that he paid with his life.” The other spoke of a president blessed with compassion. Kayleigh McEnany recalled taking a phone call as she recovered from a preventative mastectomy. “It was President Trump, calling to check on me,” she said. “I was blown away. Here was the leader of the free world caring about me.” The contrast [...]

August 31st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Is Donald Trump on the Comeback Trail?

  Biden has been put on notice. Trump has a plan for a crusade. The true battle between the two sides has only begun. With his lengthy speech last night, Donald Trump made it clear that he’s going on the offensive. His delivery was flat and he often clutched the podium like a man on a boat in heaving seas, but the pageantry was peak Trump. In a scene worthy of Citizen Kane—one of his favorite movies, incidentally—Trump turned around to face the White House and raised his arms and bathed in the glow of the lights. He was exultant. The message was clear: the White House is really the Trump House. It belongs to him—and he isn’t going anywhere. The [...]

August 30th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The Chinese Navy Catches A Break As U.S. Marines Retire Anti-Ship Fighters

The U.S. Marine Corps expects in October to begin converting a second Japan-based squadron to new F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters. That’s good news and bad. Good because the two-seat F/A-18D Hornets that Marine All-Weather Fighter-Attack Squadron 242 currently flies are old, tired and lacking in radar-evading qualities. Bad because F/A-18s are the Marines’ main aerial ship-killers. And the F-35Bs can’t yet match that capability. This in a region teeming with Chinese warships. The two-seat F/A-18D is an oddity. While the U.S. Navy flew D-model Hornets as training jets, the Marines assign them combat roles. Especially forward-air-control and reconnaissance—missions that benefit from a second pair of eyes in the cockpit. Armed with pairs of Harpoon anti-ship missiles, the three-decade-old F/A-18Ds also [...]

August 30th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Could China Successfully Blockade Taiwan?

History suggests how Taiwan’s defenders can overcome not just a blockade but an amphibious onslaught. Could Communist China blockade Taiwan, which mainland boilerplate portrays as a wayward province? Sure. And the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would doubtless do so should Xi Jinping & Co. opt to settle the cross-Taiwan Strait stalemate by force. At the same time, it’s doubtful that PLA commanders would make a naval blockade their main effort to subdue the islanders. They would undertake a blockade as an adjunct to more decisive measures such as a cross-strait amphibious offensive. The PLA could deploy a blockade to stretch and thin out Taiwan’s defenders around the island’s perimeter while Chinese forces ready a concentrated blow across the strait. China hopes direct [...]

August 30th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The UK economy in August: sales jump but tough choices lie ahead

As the national debt breaches the £2tn mark, here is our snapshot of what is happening Members of the Black Cyclist Network in Camden, London, this week. While public transport use remains 30% down, cycling has risen sharply. Photograph: Wayne Tippetts/Rex Increase in new daily Covid cases Daily new coronavirus infections peaked in early April and fell between May and early July. Since then there has been an increase in daily cases – although some of this can be attributed to increased testing. Infections have risen in some places more than others, leading to local lockdowns and other restrictions. Infections are also rising in some European countries including Spain and France, leading to quarantine controls for travellers arriving in Britain. In [...]

August 29th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid-19 coronavirus: More strategic approach to virus needed

NZ effectively eliminated Covid in its initial response to the outbreak but more tracing and management strategies are needed for a long-term fight, experts say. Photo / 123RF COMMENT: This week marks six months since New Zealand's first Covid-19 case was identified on February 26. So far New Zealand has been largely in reactive mode, initially during the first elimination stage which finished in early June and now in response to the ongoing Auckland outbreak. Given the vigorous response to controlling this current cluster, we have a good chance of eliminating community transmission again. But to maximise our protection against future border control failures and outbreaks, we argue it is time to take a far more strategic approach to this pandemic [...]

August 27th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Little coronavirus but lots of Trumps: Republicans shatter norms at convention

Washington: The second night of the Republican National Convention was a norm-defying reality television episode featuring a presidential pardon for a former bank robber, a live citizenship ceremony at the White House and a controversial appearance by the nation's top diplomat. Absent for the bulk of the night was the issue that still dominates American life: the coronavirus pandemic. When White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow mentioned it in a video message he used the past tense. It was as if the pandemic was in the rear view mirror when, in fact, it is still claiming more than 1000 American lives a day. Melania Trump has given a rare public address at the Republican National Convention. Featuring far more prominently over [...]

August 26th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Alexei Navalny tests point to possible nerve agent attack, experts say

Raised levels of cholinesterase are important piece in the puzzle of Kremlin critic’s sudden illness. Alexei Navalny was on a trip to Siberia when he was apparently poisoned last week. Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP High levels of the chemical cholinesterase in tests on Alexey Navalny are a compelling clue that he was poisoned with a nerve agent, experts have said. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a chemical and biological counter-terrorism expert, said the presence of cholinesterase inhibitors suggested Navaly was suffering from nerve agent poisoning. Raised levels of cholinesterase were an important “jigsaw piece in the puzzle”, he said. Navalny was admitted to the Charité hospital in Berlin on Saturday, two days after he was apparently poisoned with a cup of tea while on [...]

August 25th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Tarrant faces day of reckoning

Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people and wounded 40 more at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last year. An act of hate and terrorism unlike anything the remote island country had ever seen. He will be sentenced this week in a courtroom filled with people whose lives he sought to destroy. The four-day sentencing hearing for Brenton Tarrant starts on Monday.CREDIT:NINE Tarrant, 29, pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism in March. He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison, possibly without eligibility for parole. But the case's final phase — which will begin on Monday and is scheduled to last at least four days — presents complex legal and logistical challenges, and, for his victims, the emotional [...]

August 24th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Great power competition and global supply chains

© Getty Images In his mid-July speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeocalled for an end to “the old paradigm of blind engagement” characterizing U.S. China policy for the last five decades. Pompeo’s speech reflected the increasingly combative language between the U.S. and China, fanning fears of a new Cold War. Given the interconnectedness of the two economies, it is clear that such a competition would look quite different from its 20thcentury counterpart. However, as tensions rise, more facets of the international system meant to bind the world together are likely to become new arenas for great power competition. Among the most consequential of these new battlegrounds are the supply chains that underpin the world economy. These complex and globe-spanning networks spread [...]

August 24th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The great defender: PM must rethink his superpower of stubbornness

Prime ministers can take the English language to some intriguing places when they try to dodge a simple question. This week, Scott Morrison effectively reduced himself to the status of bystander in the pandemic; a national leader in name only, who was powerless to stop a rogue socialist state from unleashing the coronavirus on the most vulnerable Australians. It was a logical nadir of his blame-shifting with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. To insist on his own innocence, Morrison had to plead a form of impotence. Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the media at Parliament House on Friday.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN Asked on ABC News Breakfast if the buck for the crisis in aged care stopped with him, Morrison was at pains to draw [...]

August 21st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Learning to Live with a Nuclear North Korea

Despite vague commitments made at the 2018 Trump-Kim Singapore Summit, Pyongyang has taken no concrete steps since then to dismantle or substantively disable its nuclear weapons program. An era is ending, though many are in denial and floundering over the next steps. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have chosen a path that will end meaningful denuclearization diplomacy with the United States for the foreseeable future and usher in a new chapter in the North Korea saga: living with a nuclear North Korea. This raises the stakes on a longstanding challenge: how the US, South Korea, and Japan can best work together to contain and constrain a permanent and growing North Korean nuclear threat to peace and stability in Northeast [...]

August 20th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

We may have just seen the world’s highest recorded temperature ever. Has that sunk in?

Death Valley’s forbidding landscape registered a preliminary high temperature of 129.9F on 16 August. Don’t look away.                          A sign in Death Valley national park warns visitors of extreme heat danger. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images How hot was it at the Furnace Creek visitor center at Death Valley national park on 16 August 2020? It was so hot that the huge electronic temperature display (which serves as a ubiquitous selfie backdrop) went on the fritz. Parts of the blocky digital display malfunctioned, resulting in numbers even higher than the actual mind-melting high on what turned out to be a landmark day. An automated weather station at the visitor center recorded [...]

August 20th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Foe of a foe – the shared interests that make UAE a ‘friend’ of Israel

Common ground rests on a ‘peace plan’ aided by splintered Arab solidarity over Palestine. Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, centre, at a press briefing on the Israel-UAE agreement on 13 August. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters The peace deal that few saw coming had been gathering steam in plain sight. Even before the election of Donald Trump, Israel and the UAE had been inching closer, drawn together by three factors – enmity with Iran, a loathing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a mutual belief that the agreed formula for peace with Palestinians was no longer working. More than anything else, combating Iran became the conduit for the two sides. The adage of a foe of a foe becoming a friend [...]

August 14th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

As the US moves out of Afghanistan, Iran cements ties with the Taliban and officials

Gone are the days that the Islamic Republic of Iran played Afghanistan war games in the shadows. As the United States draws down its troops from the conflict-beleaguered Afghanistan, cracks are emerging that neighboring Iran is entrenching itself into – shoring up ties with formal government officials and ethnic minorities, as well as the Taliban and disgruntled new Taliban offshoots. Tufail Ahmad, a senior fellow for the Middle East Media Research Insitute (MEMRI) Islamism and Counter-Radicalization, told Fox News this week that Iran has been emboldened to create "cultural, political and strategic influence" inside its neighbor. "[Iran] has engaged in targeted assassinations of Afghan officials. Iran sheltered Al Qaeda terrorists. Also, Iran's relations with the Taliban are long standing and deep," Ahmad continued. [...]

August 12th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Why Putin wants to be first to the vaccine

CNo, Russia is not having a Sputnik moment. The announcement yesterday by President Vladimir Putin that his country was the first to approve a coronavirus vaccine did not provoke the awe and wonder of the Soviet Union's launch of the first satellite into orbit in 1957. Instead it was met by doubts about the science and safety. But it also underscored how, like the space race, the competition to have the first vaccine is about international rivalries as well as science. The first nation to develop a way to defeat the novel coronavirus will achieve a kind of moonshot victory and the global status that goes along with it. That's valuable to Putin, whose popularity at home has declined amid a [...]

August 12th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

July Iran Protests Report: 237 protests in 85 cities

According to collected reports by sources affiliated with the Iranian Resistance in the month of July, Iranians held 237 recorded protests in 85 cities and 26 provinces, with an average of eight protests a day.  Some protests were organized, while some were held for consecutive days, such as the Haft Tappeh workers protests, which continued for more than a month. There was an increase in the number of involved cities and provinces in protests compared to June. Last month, there were 72 cities and 24 provinces involved in protests compared to this month’s 85 cities and 26 provinces. Workers Workers staged 122 protests in 54 cities in July. The gatherings were in protest to delayed paychecks, lack of insurance and benefits, [...]

August 11th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Will Sweden get the last laugh?

Ian Birrell travelled to Stockholm to investigate how Sweden's response to Covid-19 is panning out. As she sat dangling her legs over the water while waiting for the ferry back to Stockholm, Carolinne Liden looked a picture of contentment after a day out on a sunny Swedish island. But the pandemic has been tough for this young mother. She works in film production, so all her contracts were cancelled and she had to take a job in an equine shop to make ends meet. Customers sit at a cafe in Stockholm, Sweden. The country was unable to escape its worst economic contraction despite adopting one of Europes softest responses. Photo / Getty Images Her partner Tobias Moe, a freelance photographer, also [...]

August 10th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Italian Explosives Expert: The Beirut Blast’s Massive Red Cloud is Indicative of Lithium Metal Which is a Propellant in Military Missiles — IT WAS AN EXPLOSIVES STORAGE FACILITY

Massive protests took place in Beirut, Lebanon Saturday following the mega-blast earlier in the week that tore through Lebanon’s capital with the force of an earthquake. More than 100 people were killed and 4,000 injured after a warehouse exploded near the port in Beirut. On Saturday tens of thousands took to the streets in Beirut denouncing Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists and their leader Hassan Nasrallah. And now an Italian explosives expert is speaking out about the massive blast that he says was likely a military missile warehouse. Italian Danilo Coppe spoke with Heshmat Alavi about the nature of the Beirut blast. Coppe believes the red plume is a sign of lithium metal used as a propellant in military missiles. And, of course, [...]

August 9th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China and Russia ditch dollar in move toward ‘financial alliance’

Greenback's share of neighbors' trade falls below 50% for first time China and Russia have roughly halved their use of the dollar in trade settlements over the past five years. (Source photo by AP)   MOSCOW -- Russia and China are partnering to reduce their dependence on the dollar -- a development some experts say could lead to a "financial alliance" between them. In the first quarter of 2020, the dollar's share of trade between Russia and China fell below 50% for the first time on record, according to recent data from Russia's Central Bank and Federal Customs Service. The greenback was used for only 46% of settlements between the two countries. At the same time, the euro made up an [...]

August 9th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Trump Has Alienated Allies—but Has Them Acting in America’s Interest (and Their Own)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. FRIEDEMANN VOGEL - POOL/GETTY IMAGES Henry Kissinger is supposed to have written that “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” He didn’t; it was actually Dinesh D’Souza channeling his inner Kissinger. But even that inner Kissinger turns out to have been Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who really did sayabout England: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” As a statement of foreign-policy realism, that seems conclusive. At least until you hear what Palmerston thought those interests were. Scroll [...]

August 8th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Activists are furious people are driving through their protests held on streets where cars go

Black Lives Matter activists around the country are livid after it has become apparent that people are driving through their protests held on public streets where cars go. “I can’t believe that people would stoop so low as to drive on our perfectly normal protest on a public road where cars go. It’s really a hate crime worse than any we’ve faced,” BLM volunteer Dante Johnson said. Hundreds of protests have taken place in several US cities since the police killing of George Floyd—none with permits and all on streets where cars go. “And these white supremacists just come here and drive all up in our protest as if this is some kind of KKK parade,” Johnson said. “It ain’t.” New [...]

August 7th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

JCPOA fifth anniversary, celebration, or tragedy for the Mullahs?

  July 15, 2020, marks the fifth anniversary of the Iranian regime’s nuclear deal with 5+1 countries, a deal woven through with appeasement policy, leading to nothing but instability in the region and the spread of terrorism. During the first three years, from 2015 to 2018, the Iranian regime’s proxy groups continued to be developed unchecked, in the regime’s hands turning into an apparatus for the killing of Iraqis, Yemenis and the people of Lebanon. The deal also enabled the regime to support Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship in Syria, giving it an open hand in chemically bombing its own people.  The Assad regime’s war against the Syrian people with the help of Qasim Soleimani, the late chief of the Qods force, led [...]

August 7th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The Three Perils Threatening the United States

People are looking for crisis leadership that comprehends the dangers, is prepared to deal with them, and most importantly realizes that America is worth defending. The Republic is in grave danger. There, I said it. Does anyone really doubt it? America is stumbling and the vultures are circling. What is the nature of these perils that afflict us? America sits atop a global system created at the outset of the 20th century. That century saw the United States elevated to the status of global imperial power, having been victorious in two world wars and the beneficiary of an international monetary system that, post World War II, provided for a vast global, if not regional, peace. Sure, there was a Cold War [...]

August 7th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Thousands of Iranian workers strike across Iran

by Shahrokh Tavakoli Thousands of Iranian workers, including workers in the lucrative oil and gas sector, have taken strike action to demand higher or unpaid wages. Iran’s impoverished workers, who were already struggling to make ends meet as the country’s most vulnerable class, were met with increased pressure during the coronavirus outbreak. Many workers have become unemployed or are forced to work in dangerous conditions while receiving very low wages or no wages at all. Iran’s Oil and gas workers Thousands of Iranian workers took strike action in Iran’s petrochemical and economic regions as well as refineries in Iran’s oil-rich southern regions on Saturday. Oil and gas workers in Abadan, Ahvaz, Qeshm, Mahshahr, Lamerd, Dasht-e Azadegan and Kangan in southwestern [...]

August 6th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|Comments Off on Thousands of Iranian workers strike across Iran

MUST READ: Ukraine Burisma Story is Massive – Involves BILLIONS of IMF and US Funds Looted and Lost by Bank Connected to Burisma Holdings!

The Biden (and now Kerry) scandal in the Ukraine is much more than about the money paid to Hunter Biden for being a Board member at the largest gas producer in the Ukraine, Burisma Holdings.  The real scandal involves billions in funds from the IMF and US in aid that has gone missing. Burisma (Ukraine’s largest oil and gas provider) has been the subject of many recent news articles because of its scandalous close-knit ties with President Obama’s Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Kerry.  (Yes, Kerry is involved here too. A controlling shareholder of Burisma is believed to be held by an entity called Privat Group: The Privat Group, or PrivatBank Group (Ukrainian: Група “Приват”, Grupa “Privat”) is a global business group, [...]

August 6th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Hydroxychloroquine Scandal Spurs Hundreds of Thousands to Protest in Europe, While Americans Mostly Just Comply

Berlin, Germany, August 2, 2020. Source.   Berlin, Germany, used to be the most famous city in the world representing tyrannical rule, as for decades after World War II the city was divided between “west” and “east” with a wall and guards preventing people from going from one side of the city to the other. During this “Cold War” period between Russia and the U.S., Americans were taught that the “west” side of Berlin stood for “freedom,” while the “east” side represented tyrannical communist rule. This past weekend, (first weekend of August 2020), citizens of what was once Nazi Germany led the world by turning out in the tens of thousands to protest against the tyranny of the COVID response by [...]

August 6th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Economy is entirely at will of coronavirus’ ‘bad behavior’: John Bussey

The performance of the U.S. economy is currently a function of the coronavirus pandemic's "very bad" behavior and how America is managing it, Wall Street Journal Associate Editor John Bussey told the “Fox News Rundown" podcast. Bussey said the country as a whole is seeing a lack of plans to address the pandemic’s uncertainty, leaving it up to the states to act individually. “It's led us to rather substantial and worrisome outbreaks in one set of states after another, inability for planners to say, ‘we're going to go back to school, we're not going to go back to school... It's safe to go back to work or it's not,’” he said. “And all of that's being defined by the failure of the [...]

August 4th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Poll: Trump Takes Lead over Biden

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty A new poll released this weekend shows President Donald Trump, the incumbent GOP president, has taken a national and battleground states lead over his Democrat challenger presumptive nominee former Vice President Joe Biden. The survey, from the Democracy Institute commissioned by the Sunday Express newspaper, shows Trump leading Biden 48 percent to 46 percent. What’s more, Trump has opened up a bigger lead according to this poll in the crucial battleground states, meaning the president by this pollster’s estimates currently is projected to win 309 electoral votes—more than he did in 2016. Overall, this poll has Trump nationally at 48 percent to Biden’s 46 percent with six percent undecided. Among white voters, Trump leads 53 percent to 46 percent. [...]

August 2nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

When It Comes to China, Americans Think Like Trump

Recent data suggests that most voters share the White House’s hawkish approach to China.   U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping leave a business leaders' event in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017. NICHOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES Large majorities of the U.S. public, both Democrats and Republicans, align with the Trump administration’s dismal view of China, giving the embattled president a potential appealing drum to bang in an increasingly uphill reelection campaign, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. According to the survey, 73 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of China, up from 47 percent just two years ago. The main complaints echo President Donald Trump’s: the nature of the two countries’ economic relationship and [...]

August 1st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|1 Comment

China and Iran are about to Become Allies—Here’s What We Should Do about It

The United States should undertake a global strategic review, with all of its allies and partners in the democratic world as well as those that play by the rules, to develop a more effective collective strategy for dealing with China in the post-coronavirus era. “Two ancient Asian cultures, two partners in the sectors of trade, economy, politics, culture and security with a similar outlook and many mutual bilateral and multilateral interests will consider one another strategic partners.” So begins a new secret bilateral agreement reportedly in its final stages between Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s China and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Iran. On the assumption that this agreement is implemented, it should cause U.S., European, and Asian strategic planners [...]

August 1st, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

The Great Paradox of Donald Trump’s Plan to Combat China

The most telling word Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used to describe the CCP was “Frankenstein.” This word implies that a monster was now threatening America. It would be reasonable for an American to feel scared after hearing the speech. The great paradox about the Trump administration’s response to the challenge from China is that it is both overestimating and underestimating this challenge. The overestimation is clear; the underestimation, which is more dangerous, less so. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spelled out clearly his case for overestimation in his speech of the Nixon Library on July 23, 2020. “We’re seeing staggering statistics of China trade abuses that cost American jobs and strike enormous blows to the economies all across America, including [...]

July 30th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Would Donald Trump Run in 2024 If He Loses? Grover Cleveland Did.

If Trump loses, he will not squat in the White House, surrounded by a Praetorian Guard of MAGA-hat-wearing gun enthusiasts. He will, however, retreat to Trump Tower, rename it Barad-dûr, and spend the next four years plotting his revenge Jimmy Carter may only have served one troubled term as president, but he has served the four decades since as the most respected of elder statesmen. George H.W. Bush quietly retired in 1993, passing his family's political ambitions on to George and Jeb. It is said that Gerald Ford seriously considered returning as vice president for a second time around in 1980, before committing to the clubhouse and the boardroom.  But all of them could have made another tilt at the presidency [...]

July 30th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

How Google harvests and uses your data, and what you can do about it

US technology giant Google’s business model is built on collecting data about consumers when they use its services. But what you might not be aware of is how deep, detailed and intrusive some of this collection is, and how you can take steps to control it. Asking Google for answers has become second nature for many of us and whether we do that on our phones, PCs or with our voices, our queries are likely stored and tied to our specific Google accounts. Whenever you have a question for Google, Google will remember it. If you have an Android phone, or use your Google account with certain apps or services on the iPhone, there's a good chance the data associated with [...]

July 29th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Mike Pompeo Challenges China’s Governing Regime

The Secretary of State’s approach to Beijing risks confirming its suspicions about U.S. subversion while simultaneously alienating the very Chinese people that he aspires to “engage and empower.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech on the Trump administration’s China policy at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on July 23. It was the culmination of a series of speeches on the subject over the past several weeks by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Attorney General William Barr. Pompeo confirmed he had orchestrated the speeches and explained that their purpose was “to make clear the threats to Americans that President Trump’s China policy aims to address, and our strategy for securing our freedoms.” In many respects, [...]

July 28th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China’s Export Performance Will No Longer Threaten the U.S. Economy

Beijing’s very rapid economic growth of the past three decades will give way to a prolonged period of relative economic stagnation following a bout of the coronavirus pandemic. Under the Trump administration, a major shift in U.S. international economic policy has been the characterization of China as a strategic economic threatrather than as a potential long-run economic partner. This has been the primary motivation for the U.S.-China trade war. However, this begs the question as to whether today America has any more reason to fear Chinese economic domination over our economy than it earlier had to fear Soviet or Japanese economic domination. It would be an understatement to say that America’s earlier fears in the 1960s and 1970s about Soviet or [...]

July 27th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Tactics Mixed With Trump’s Jungle Diplomacy Ratchets Up Risk Of Conflict

Paramilitary police stand on guard in front of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, southwestern China's ... [+]NOEL CELIS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES The Trump Administration’s sudden shuttering of China’s Houston consulate was followed in short order with Beijing announcing Friday that it would close the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, further ratcheting up tensions in the escalating Sino-U.S. conflict. News of the expulsions featured firefighters outside the building in Houston as diplomats torched documents inside the complex’s courtyard. Strong TV drama. And good fuel for tweets. Hardline U.S. Senator Marco Rubio proclaimed that the site was “the central node in the Communist Party’s vast network of spies and influence operations in the United States.” Wow. How come no one noticed until it was [...]

July 26th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

‘Mugged by Reality,’ Trump Finds Denial Won’t Stop the Pandemic

A president who once claimed that “the worst days of the pandemic are behind us” now acknowledges that it has surged through much of the country and will “get worse before it gets better.” As President Trump revived his coronavirus briefings this week, he still insisted that most of the country was doing well and offered upbeat predictions about conquering the virus.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times WASHINGTON — He insisted that it was safe, that people could go back to work, that schools could reopen, that he could hold packed indoor campaign rallies, that he could even hold a full-fledged, boisterous, bunting-filled nominating convention as if all were well. Only now, it is all crashing down around President Trump. The president [...]

July 25th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Bill Gates warns that multiple doses of any coronavirus vaccine may be necessary, schools could be closed until fall 2021 and says ‘serious mistakes were made’ by the US with the handling of COVID-19

Bill Gates spoke to CBS News's Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday night Gates said that 'serious mistakes' were made by the Trump administration He said silencing experts like Dr Anthony Fauci and CDC chiefs was illogical Gates said that getting pupils back to school was of immense importance He pushed for more to be done to reassure teachers and parents about schools Gates addressed conspiracy theories, saying he hoped the truth would come out Bill Gates has warned that any vaccine against coronavirus could take several doses to be effective, as he described 'serious mistakes' made by the Trump administration and said some schools may not be back to normal until the fall of 2021. The Microsoft founder, who now directs much [...]

July 24th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Did Donald Trump Close a Chinese Consulate to Boost His Poll Numbers?

This presumably will allow Trump to deflect attention away from his failure to effectively confront the coronavirus pandemic and toward an external enemy which, among other things, can be held accountable for the pandemic. The State Department announced on Wednesday that it had directed the closure of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston “in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.” China, the State Department added, “has engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations” that have “increased markedly in scale and scope over the past few years.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the directive. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin described it as a “political provocation unilaterally launched by the U.S. side, which seriously violates international [...]

July 23rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

US, China may ‘stumble’ into conflict in South China Sea, war game scenarios suggest

The volatile waterway rather than Taiwan may be the spark to military action between the two powers Increasing number of encounters heighten risk Beijing and Washington could accidentally escalate into armed confrontation This is the second in a series examining the growing tensions between China and the United States and how the situation could escalate into a full-blown military conflict. You can read part one here As diplomatic relations between China and the US deteriorate to their lowest point since they were established in 1979, a military conflict between the two countries no longer seems a far-fetched possibility. Their last direct engagement was during the Korean war, from 1950 to 1953, at a time of sparse trade and no diplomatic relations between [...]

July 23rd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

China puts US tensions aside to boost phase one trade deal, food security with record corn purchase

China bought 1.762 million tonnes of corn for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year beginning in September, which was its largest-ever daily purchase of US corn It has also bought large quantities of soybeans amid a backdrop of escalating tensions over the coronavirus, Xinjiang and the national security law in Hong Kong. China has been able to put aside its growing tensions with the United States at least in the area of agricultural purchases, with a record purchase of US corn reinforcing the phase one trade deal as well as Beijing’s need to bolster its food security. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Tuesday that China bought 1.762 million tonnes of corn for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year [...]

July 22nd, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments

Iran politician says Iranians will revolt against regime as toman hits new low

A former Iranian official said that Iranians would revolt against the regime in the near future as Iran’s currency hit a new low against the dollar today. Mostafa Tajzadeh, a former minister of interior and culture during the government of Khatami in the late 90s, warned the regime that “a new phenomenon of rebellious citizens who have become disillusioned with the ballot box and reforms” has appeared in Iran and that “they may take to the streets at any moment.” “As was witnessed during the January 2018 and November 2019 protests, this social and political rebellion will not only target the President but will target the whole system and will lead to a crisis in the whole political system,” he told Hamdeli state-run daily today. [...]

July 11th, 2020|Categories: Analysis|0 Comments