Saturday 11 Jul 2020 | 22:24 | SYDNEY
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Global Issues

New Zealand: Life under lockdown and the view of outside

Where are we in the fourth week of lockdown in New Zealand? The borders are sealed. As I was writing this, the Flight Radar 24 app had only two domestic flights taking place across the entire country. There were no outbound international flights, and only three aircraft heading in. The

What price privacy? Contact tracing apps to combat Covid

Few in the West would have imagined two months ago that their government would consider tracking their personal mobile phones. But as Covid-19 rapidly sweeps through cities and incapacitates health systems, manual tracing of potentially infected individuals can no longer keep up. Even

In the US, a campaign with no trail

In the midst of a public health pandemic, the 2020 presidential election has receded into the background of American political life. Candidates have been forced off the campaign trail. There are no rallies for the press to cover and fundraising efforts are stalled. Most states with near-term

Covid-19: Why did global health governance fail?

The system that has been developed to provide a global response to epidemics and pandemics has failed miserably. Covid-19 has spread all over the world, shutting down entire countries. Governments, and even subnational governments, are now competing fiercely for scarce medical stocks, while critical

Covid-19 and Pacific labour

As borders close and globalisation contracts, consider the impact on the Pacific Island neighbours. Many countries in the region rely on labour mobility, with workers sent to Australian and New Zealand to help with fruit picking and work in regional areas. Workers on these schemes send around A$9,

As Africa prepares to fight Covid-19, China steps up

As China slowly begins to recover from Covid-19 and re-start its economy, it is seeking to position itself at the head of the global virus response and fill the void in humanitarian assistance created by Western paralysis. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa, where China has a long history

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

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