The recent mini-series on the Chernobyl nuclear accident is a reminder that after 33 years the consequences of the accident are still very much with us. The costs to public health are extensively discussed, but the wider political consequences are also still felt. Chernobyl contributed to the
The recent G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Osaka delivered an “implementation framework” for reducing the rapidly increasing levels of plastic waste choking the world’s seas and oceans. This year’s framework declaration echoes concern already expressed at the 2017 G20 meeting
This week Japan has formally recommenced commercial whaling for the first time in over 30 years.
A small Japanese whaling fleet left port on 1 July after the Japanese government announced that it had set a quota of 227 whales for the remainder of 2019. The quota is made up of 150 Bryde’s whales
The recent discussion on cyber security has been focused on offensive cyber capability and the threat to critical infrastructure. But in the last several months, an equally troubling trend has come to the fore.
Internet shutdowns and deliberate disruptions have quickly become the policy instrument
The G20 leaders’ summit hosted by Japan last Friday and Saturday left many observers underwhelmed. The purpose of the G20 leaders’ summit, since its inception in 2008 to deal with the global financial crisis, is for leaders to work together to deliver “strong, sustainable, balanced and
A rap-style music video to promote the Osaka G20 leaders’ summit to be held on 28–29 June contains the lyrics “Let’s talk! Let’s dance! Here is Osaka wonderful city! Let’s conversation! Hard communication! Come on!”.
The promotional video was produced by an Osaka-based group made up
We intuitively know the volume of digital information yet the increasing numbers are still staggering. In 2013, 90% of all the data in the world had been generated in the preceding two years. Forecasts suggest that by 2020, there will be as many bits in the digital universe as there are stars in the
On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, and 298 people were killed. The majority of the fatalities were Dutch citizens, followed by those of Malaysian and Australian nationality.
A Joint Investigative Team (“JIT”) was established with members of five
Data, debt and plastic dumping
The prospect that China and the US are now going to use next week’s Group of 20 nations summit in Osaka to extend their trade negotiations rather than take them to the precipice may give some new life to the rest of the agenda.
Japan’s Prime Minister
Rare earth minerals have emerged as the latest front in the escalating US-China trade war. Nearly a decade after the Chinese government controversially suspended rare earth exports to Japan during the 2010 Senkaku dispute, similar threats are now being made if the bilateral trade dispute with the US
When US President Donald Trump and former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull held their infamous, protocol-smashing phone call in the president’s first week in office in January 2017, largely lost in the international headlines about the exchange was the actual topic of conversation. Now,
When the news broke that Peter O’Neill had finally resigned from PNG’s top job last Thursday, it spread instantaneously, lighting up mobile phone screens across the country.
It was social media, much more than PNG’s traditional news outlets, that had bored away relentlessly at O’Neill’s
Episode 2 of the Lowy Institute’s brand new podcast, Rules Based Audio, is out today.
In The Terrorist’s Wife – the role of women in jihad, Lowy Research Fellow Lydia Khalil discusses women who join Islamist extremist groups and lays out the risks involved if we continue to make gendered
Opposition to the death penalty has a long and quite public history in Australia. Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug smugglers received support from artists, singers, actors, media personalities and sports stars, while a crowd of about a thousand people
Book Review: Unruly Waters: How Mountains, Rivers and Monsoons Have Shaped South Asia’s History, by Sunil Amrith (Penguin, 2018)
As Sunil Amrith explains in this new book, South Asia is not the only Asian region with a water problem. The whole continent has issues. Asia is
In two dramatic policy announcements this month, the Trump administration effectively barred US companies and government agencies from buying telecommunications equipment or services from – or selling any components to –Chinese technology champion, Huawei. President Donald Trump signed a broadly
Nearly five years since an international call went out for a greater global effort to combat the threat of so-called “superbugs”, what is better described as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to pose a substantial danger to Australia’s health security. A recent national survey has
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is best known for big infrastructure projects such as train lines and ports, but in this age of omnipresence online, there is a communications counterpart running in parallel, known as the Digital Silk Road. But as with the physical manifestations of China’s big
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is notorious for exhibiting an unconventional diplomatic style and in recent weeks, ahead of local elections, he has picked a new foe. Duterte has been trash-talking the Canadian government – quite literally – insisting that containers of rubbish sent from
A recent surge of measles cases in the United States has seen outbreaks in 23 states and the declaration of a public health emergency in New York City. While measles was declared eliminated in the US in 2000, this latest upswing is part of an almost 300% rise in global measles cases this year.
To mark Mother’s Day on Sunday, The Interpreter invited contributors to write about their mothers who shaped world politics or were shaped by it.
Too often the “immigration debate” focuses on numbers, questions of infrastructure and congestion, and at its worst a sense of threat to “
Whatever the true situation behind the sacking of Gavin Williamson as British defence secretary over claims (which he strenuously denies) that he leaked information to the Daily Telegraph from a meeting of the National Security Committee on Chinese telecom company Huawei, one thing is crystal clear
Are the boats back? Once again a reliable fear of “uncontrolled” immigration has been invoked in an Australian federal election. This time current Prime Minister Scott Morrison has framed “border control” as a question of “congestion-busting” in major cities – and instead of the usual
On Her Shoulders, a documentary film by Alexandria Bombach, follows young genocide survivor Nadia Murad in her global cause against sexual violence for which she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. Women and girls in her community were subjected to widespread and systematic sexual
The month of April is littered with reminders of how cruel the world can be and should motivate us to be vigilant about the potential for atrocity crimes in our own time. 24 April marks the start of the Armenian Genocide when, in 1915, hundreds of Armenian community leaders and intellectuals were
The Irish campaign to gain access to the E-3 visa in the United States has roared back to life. Currently, Australia is the only country with access to the 10,500 E-3 visa slots. Yet Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, who led a delegation of US legislators on a visit to
Influence operations in the digital age are not merely propaganda with new tools. They represent an evolved form of manipulation which present actors with endless possibilities – both benign and malignant. While the origins of this new form are semi-accidental, it has nonetheless opened up
Overnight, the UN Security Council held its annual Open Debate on Conflict Related Sexual Violence. As current president of the Council, Germany hosted the debate. It has been preparing all year and held an Arria Formula meeting in February on strengthening accountability for conflict-related sexual
Climate change is one of the world’s most pressing challenges, and one which impacts humanity as a whole. A recent United Nations study indicates that decreasing biodiversity in our food supply is augmenting the peril posed by climate change and a growing population: nearly a quarter of wild food
At 68.5 million people, it’s the 23rd largest population on earth. There is no healthcare system. Going to school is often illegal. There is no social welfare. Its people have no democratic representation.
Many are malnourished, poorly housed and have little access to basic
From Bitcoin to YouTube, the internet has greatly altered the way humans behave and interact. This is particularly the case in China – the largest online community in the world where everything from online payments to shopping has been pioneered and taken up with gusto. While foreign policy may be
What you don’t expect to see when you arrive at Kibeho are the eucalyptus trees.
When Belgium ruled Rwanda, gum trees were planted across the colony to provide firewood. A small country in central Africa, Rwanda is mainly populated by two ethnic groups: the minority Tutsi and the majority Hutu.
The fifth generation of cellular network technology promises much higher performance in terms of data throughput, speed, and lower latency. This will unlock a regime of new digital technologies that have been developing on the sidelines for some time.
Scholars contributing to the neuroscience in
In a debate as politically fractious as climate change, it is useful to have credible voices joining the fray. On Tuesday night, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) waded into the waters with a speech by Deputy Governor Guy Debelle. It has immediately been seen as an urgent call to action.
Australia is experiencing a remarkable renewable energy transition. The pipeline for new wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity systems is 6-7 Gigawatts (GW) per year for the period 2019-21. This equates to 250 Watts per person per year compared with about 50 Watts per person per year for the
Last week the UN Security Council was briefed yet again on the situation in Myanmar.
This time the message was presented by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener. She talked, among other things, about the importance of accountability for Myanmar’
Even in a world “characterised by peaceful and prosperous liberal democracy”, a renowned political theorist once wrote, people will nevertheless “struggle against that peace and prosperity”. Despite relative contentment with the general state of affairs, “a certain boredom” will drive
The Academy Award winners will be announced today, starting at midday on the Australian east coast. For a few of us, this will be the culmination of watching 31 nominated films.* While I’ve occasionally wished I’d chosen a less Type-A summer hobby (I have one word: Seabiscuit), most years I find
The launch of the first Israeli mission to the Moon is a milestone for lunar exploration and for private spaceflight.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/Cd8nGQwrhd — SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 22, 2019
The Bereshet spacecraft is a small lander, carrying a few instruments and some
This is an edited extract of the opening speech delivered in Sydney this month to the Chief Economists Forum, held annually by the Financial Standard.
There are three main dynamics which are shaping the changing global, economic and strategic order. Each is interacting with the other and
Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week revealed that Australia’s major political parties were the target of a recent cyber attack. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) identified a malicious intrusion in the Parliament House computer network. It was later discovered that the Liberal, Labor
Since 2005, the annual Lowy Institute Poll has been tracking the attitudes of Australians to foreign policy issues and their place in the world. The issue of boat people, unauthorised asylum seekers, irregular maritime arrivals, refugees – the politics is so contested that it is difficult to find
I joined Facebook in 2010. As if by magic, the lives of ‘friends’ lost in time and space materialised on my laptop, so I could partake of their everyday moods, their exotic vacations, their children’s sporting events. This triumph of intimacy over distance accounted for Facebook’s
On Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives passed a bill supporting the transfer of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia for urgent medical care. The bill, initially put forward by independent MP Kerryn Phelps in late 2018, provides expanded capacities that allow two doctors
After Jim Yong Kim resigned last month, President Donald Trump indicated he intends to nominate senior US Treasury official David Malpass to lead the World Bank. Under an unofficial agreement, the World Bank President always comes from the United States. Although the multilateral development
The case of Saudi teen Rahaf Al-Qunun dramatically demonstrates the difficulties many refugees face when attempting to escape the risk of harm at home and find safety elsewhere – whether they travel by leaky boat, or through international airports surrounded by business travellers and holiday-
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post, marking 15 years since he hatched the social network in his Harvard dorm, claims Facebook has the potential to be “profoundly positive” for years. Certainly, Facebook has changed diplomacy by changing the way people connect and communicate.
How do you get a policymaker who has professed their scepticism about the value of global health programs to support them?
The US government is responsible for roughly one-third of all global health aid, significant cuts could have effects on the entire global health system.
In the case of the
The dramatic bid for asylum by Saudi Arabian teenager Rahaf al-Qanun became the focus of international attention this month when she barricaded herself into a hotel room in Bangkok airport after officials had told her that she would be deported to Kuwait. Al-Qanun took to social media, tweeting that