Friday 10 Apr 2020 | 18:35 | SYDNEY
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Global Issues

Covid-19: A war of words

Once upon a time in a United Nations press office, in a country where the routine threat of violence made armchair pursuits something of a sport, a group of colleagues started a collection of all the bureaucratic jargon and mumbo-jumbo we encountered in our daily dealings with official information

Cry the beloved world

The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded in China starting in December last year. We watched on with growing alarm, but thought that it wouldn’t happen here. The second wave has been unfolding from mid-February onwards in the rich countries of the world (as well as Iran). Some have

WHO and China: Compounding politics and policy

This should be the greatest hour for the World Health Organisation, the UN’s Geneva-based body dedicated to fighting just such a global threat as Covid-19. Instead, WHO is struggling to defend its own credibility – while the impact of the contortions into which it has forced itself by adhering

We’re all socialists now

Of all the people who might have been expected to emerge from the current coronavirus crisis with their reputations enhanced, I don’t think many would have nominated Karl Marx. And yet when governments around the world are adopting unimaginably radical solutions to address yet another “crisis

Asia after the pandemic

Prognostication about the world after the crisis while still very much in the midst of the chaos is a fraught business. But just as planning for the post-war world began in 1942, think we must about what will come when the coronavirus recedes. Prior to the global shutdown, Asia was already

Covid-19: Refugees at risk

The first case of Covid-19 was detected near the world’s largest refugee camp last month. Human rights groups fear it’s only matter of time before it spreads among the roughly one million Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Having fled ethnic cleansing at the hands of the

US regional leadership: A shot across the bow

For years at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the pre-eminent meeting of defence ministers held in Singapore, successive secretaries of defence from the United States have repeated ad nauseam that Washington is a “resident power” in the region.It is becoming increasingly evident that the Covid-19

Xi Jinping emerges stronger from Covid-19 outbreak

The tardy response by the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) to the Covid-19 outbreak triggered widespread community outrage. But Beijing’s draconian crackdown, paired with intense scrutiny and intrusion into the daily lives of ordinary citizens, has further consolidated power in the hands of

A global call to arms

With confirmed Covid-19 cases now well past the million mark, most of the world is looking inward. Many countries feel overwhelmed by their local fight against the virus. But while some countries are just coping, others face a choice between stopping the pandemic or a famine. Most likely they will

Japanese whaling is down but not out

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began to dominate the news, and as Australia’s bush fires took most of the media oxygen, this past summer was an unusually quiet period in the long-running “whaling wars” in the Southern Ocean. For the first time in years, a southern summer passed without

Covid-19: Averting economic disaster in the Pacific

Six locations across the Pacific Islands region now have confirmed cases of Covid-19. Many of these countries are already ravaged with major diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, diabetes, and occasionally even polio. So Pacific politicians are all too conscious of the potential of any

Timor-Leste: The consequences of Covid-19

As of today, Timor-Leste has one confirmed case of Covid-19. Nonetheless, the feeling of panic among the public has been mounting. There is a valid reason for this: Timor-Leste’s public health system is under-resourced to respond to an outbreak of this scale. Over the last one month, the

China-US geopolitics in the age of corona

The coronavirus pandemic is a “black swan” moment: a rare and unpredictable event that could have momentous, system-wide, and unforeseen consequences. China deserves credit for having mobilised quickly, efficiently, and effectively after initial missteps to defeat the Covid-19 disease.

What if the realists are right?

If there’s one thing we can be confident about at the moment, it’s that policymakers won’t be turning to international relations (IR) specialists for advice on how to handle a truly global problem. Most of us are accustomed to being studiously ignored, but it’s still a bit deflating.

Double disaster: Emergency preparedness in the era of Covid-19

The humanitarian system is facing unprecedented uncertainty in the midst of the biggest pandemic since 1918. Over the last 10 years, the requirements for emergency relief programs have consistently outstripped resources – before the outbreak of Covid-19, efforts were aimed to address the needs of

Covid-19: New Zealand, isolated, yet far from alone

Tumultuous times. Along with every other country, New Zealand faces an uncertain period. Remoteness might mitigate some impact of Covid-19, but it does not provide protection from the consequences of global disruption. It is hard to imagine in late January as the disease took hold in Wuhan that

A political impasse in Timor-Leste as coronavirus looms

In late January, Timor-Leste’s governing alliance collapsed after the largest coalition party, Xanana Gusmão’s CNRT, abstained on the government budget, leading to the resignation of the Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak. By late February Gusmão revealed a new 34-seat majority coalition, which

Coronavirus and the threat to South Asian democracy

Like the rest of the world, much of South Asia’s 1.89 billion population is now under lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. While Western citizens can, for the most part, temporarily afford to follow preventive measures such as mandatory lockdown, social distancing, and self-

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