Covid live: WHO names new variant ‘Omicron’; US and Canada bring in travel curbs

A selection of countries in north Africa and the Middle East have joined those imposing restrictions on arrivals from southern Africa. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Morocco have introduced varying bans on travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini according to AFP. Iran said it will ban foreign travellers from six countries, including South Africa. Iranians will be admitted after testing negative twice for Covid, state broadcaster IRIB reported. On Friday it reported 86 deaths. Novavax, the US company that is among those to…

India to ban private cryptocurrencies and launch official digital currency

The Indian government is preparing to ban private cryptocurrencies and allow the country’s central bank to launch an official digital currency. The proposed legislation follows a crackdown on cryptocurrencies in China, where financial regulators and the central bank have made all digital currency transactions illegal. The Indian proposals were flagged in a parliamentary bulletin listing upcoming legislation which included one paragraph on “The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021”. The accompanying description of the bill appeared to leave some room for using cryptocurrencies, however. “To create a…

Your Monday Briefing

your monday briefing scaled

Good morning. We’re covering China’s rewriting of history, the U.S. infrastructure vote and India’s weakening moral authority. Xi Jinping sets his legacy China’s top leader will most likely take center stage in a new official summation of Communist Party history. The document is likely to exalt Xi, 68, as a peer of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping before his expected re-election at a party congress late next year. The summation is sure to become the focus of an intense indoctrination campaign — in schools, culture and censorship laws — that…

3 Big Questions Looming Over the Glasgow Climate Talks

3 big questions looming over the glasgow climate talks scaled

This article is part of the Debatable newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Six years ago in Paris, world leaders celebrated a breakthrough in global climate politics: After more than two decades of failure, nearly every country finally agreed to reduce “as soon as possible” the amount of planet-warming greenhouse gases they were pumping into the atmosphere. Those leaders knew, though, that their pledges were woefully insufficient to avert disaster and would need to be ratcheted up at a later date. That is…

Scott Morrison tells Cop26 Australia will exceed 2030 target in bid to fend off criticism

Scott Morrison has used his national statement at the Cop26 to emphasise that Australia will probably overachieve on its 2030 emissions reduction target in an effort to blunt international criticism about his government’s lack of climate ambition. While the lead-up to the Glasgow summit was dominated by Morrison’s negotiations with the National party to land a net zero commitment by 2050, the UN-led event is focused on ambition for the 2030s. Australia – part of a bloc of big emitters and exporters at last weekend’s G20 summit in Rome attempting…

How Much Are Countries Pledging to Reduce Emissions?

how much are countries pledging to reduce emissions

As the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow gets underway this week, many countries have vowed to do more to fight climate change. Yet those plans still fall short of what’s needed to avoid a dangerous rise in global temperatures. The charts below show emissions pathways for the world’s 10 biggest polluters, based on data from Climate Action Tracker. Together they account for more than two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Largest Emitters Source: Climate Action Tracker·Note: Chart reflects emissions from fossil fuels and industry. The world’s four biggest…

Tourists in Asia Navigate a Patchwork of Policies

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While fully vaccinated Americans can fly to hundreds of cities and towns across the country and 27 European capitals, border rules across Asia remain far stricter than in any other region in the world. Governments in Asia have promised to reopen their borders because of the improved Covid situation and progress on vaccinations. But they are falling behind the rest of the world. Air travel in August across the region was still 10 percent of what it was two years ago, lagging the rebound in the United States. Travelers must…

What AUKUS Means for U.S.-China Great Power Competition

what aukus means for u s china great power competition

This is a hallmark of great power competition: Competitive initiatives like AUKUS provide visible ways to counter or balance or complicate China’s military activities but don’t necessarily help allies meet defined objectives. More often, competition becomes an end in itself — an open-ended imperative that assumes everything an opponent dislikes must be good policy. Another common feature of competitive policies is that officials tend to overlook their costs. For one thing, AUKUS carries significant diplomatic costs at a time when the United States is in desperate need of credibility with…

For India’s Military, a Juggling Act With Pakistan and China

for indias military a juggling act with pakistan and china

CHANDIGARH, India — After the deadliest clashes in half a century with China, India’s military has taken emergency measures to reinforce a 500-mile stretch of the border high in the Himalayas. In the past year, it has tripled the number of troops in the contentious eastern Ladakh region to more than 50,000. It has raced to stock up on food and gear for freezing temperatures and 15,000-foot altitudes before the region is largely cut off for much of the winter. It has announced that an entire strike corps, an offensive…

Australia’s Submarine Deal Adds to Asia Arms Buildup

australias submarine deal adds to asia arms buildup

Positioning the hard-to-track submarines closer to seas near China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula could be a powerful deterrent against China’s military, said Drew Thompson, a former Pentagon official responsible for relations with China. “The Middle East wars have ended,” said Mr. Thompson, now a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore. “We are in an interwar period, and the next one will be a high-end, high-intensity conflict with a near-peer competitor, probably involving China, and most likely in northeast Asia.” After condemning the submarine agreement last…

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