China Is the Next Worry as Food Prices Soar

PINGGU, China — From village to village, the wheat crops in China have been inconsistent this season. One field on the flat plains east of Beijing was patchy, with knee-high emerald stalks in some spots while almost bald elsewhere, damaged by the torrential rains of last autumn. The next village over, a luxurious wheat crop was thriving after this spring’s bright sunshine and slow, soaking rains. China’s winter wheat harvest next month is one of the big uncertainties in a global economy already struggling with high commodity prices, particularly in…

Your Thursday Briefing: A Journalist Killed in the West Bank

Good morning. We’re covering the killing of an Al Jazeera journalist, China’s uncertain wheat harvest and rising religious violence in India. Journalist killed in the West Bank Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was fatally shot in the head while reporting in the West Bank city of Jenin. Al Jazeera, citing Palestinian authorities, said Israeli forces shot her during a raid. The news network said it held the government and military accountable. Israel’s military said that it was not clear who shot her, and that it…

China’s Covid Policies Have European Companies Wary of Investing

A business group warned on Thursday that China’s “dynamic zero Covid” policies had left European companies considerably less willing to continue investing in the country. A survey by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China found that the tone among European businesses in the country had soured since January, when a survey found broad optimism and plans for further investment. “We had a double whammy in February and March with the Ukraine invasion and the Covid lockdowns, and it had an incredible impact,” said Joerg Wuttke, the chamber’s president.…

It’s Not Just High Oil Prices. It’s a Full-Blown Energy Crisis.

Look to the Mediterranean, for an example. Europe’s decoupling from Russia will intensify the geopolitical tensions over gas around the sea. In the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey resents its exclusion from energy projects and has been increasingly confrontational in asserting its interests. When Turkey struck a deal with Libya in November 2019 to claim new maritime economic boundaries for itself in the eastern Mediterranean, European Union leaders denounced the agreement as a violation of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty and incompatible with United Nations law. Now the route for a pipeline to…

How the Supply Chain Crunch is Hurting California Farmers.

During a normal spring, the sight of orchards bursting with clusters of almonds is a boon throughout California’s Central Valley. Here is money growing on trees. Not this year. As Scott Phippen looks out on his orchard on a recent afternoon, he feels a sense of foreboding tinged with rage. His warehouse is stuffed with the leftovers of last year’s harvest — 30 million pounds of almonds stored in wooden and plastic bins stacked to the rafters, and overflowing into his yard. Orders assembled for customers sit in giant white…

Faced With a Changed Europe, China Sticks to an Old Script

When European leaders recently pressed China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, to distance himself from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, he doggedly stuck to prepared remarks for the video summit, shutting down any opening for their demands. Speaking from the grandiose Great Hall of the People, he declared that China, as it had for years, welcomed the European Union as a pillar of an emerging multipolar world. But Mr. Xi also made clear that cajoling China about Russia was not the kind of assertiveness that he wanted. Their talks were…

China’s Widespread Lockdowns Will Bring an Economic Toll

Nearly 400 million people are estimated to be under some form of lockdown in China as officials try to stop a fast-moving Omicron outbreak that is beginning to weigh on the world’s second-largest economy. Hundreds of thousands of people have been sent to isolation facilities in China, and millions more have been told to stay in their homes. Officials in dozens of cities have shut down normal daily life across the country in a race to track and trace the coronavirus and stamp out China’s worst outbreak since the start…

Supply Chains Tainted by Forced Labor in China, Panel Told

WASHINGTON — Human rights activists, labor leaders and others urged the Biden administration on Friday to put its weight behind a coming ban on products made with forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China, saying slavery and coercion taint company supply chains that run through the region and China more broadly. The law, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, was signed by President Biden in December and is set to go into effect in June. It bans all goods made in Xinjiang or with ties to certain entities or…

How Lockdowns in China Have Further Bogged Down the Supply Chain

BEIJING — China’s mounting Covid-19 restrictions are creating further disruptions to global supply chains for consumer electronics, car parts and other goods. A growing number of Chinese cities are requiring truck drivers to take daily Covid P.C.R. tests before allowing them to cross municipal borders or are quarantining drivers deemed to be at risk of infection. The measures have limited how quickly drivers can move components among factories and goods from plants to ports. Shanghai and other major Chinese cities have imposed lengthy, stringent lockdowns to try to control Covid…

Globalization Is Over. The Global Culture Wars Have Begun.

Next, I’m describing a world in which divergence turns into conflict, especially as great powers compete for resources and dominance. China and Russia clearly want to establish regional zones that they dominate. Some of this is the kind of conflict that historically exists between opposing political systems, similar to what we saw during the Cold War. This is the global struggle between the forces of authoritarianism and the forces of democratization. Illiberal regimes are building closer alliances with one another. They are investing more in one another’s economies. At the…

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