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Showing posts from October 25, 2020

Life and death choices

Life and death choices   There are currently eleven vaccine candidates in Phase III trials for COVID-19. If and when one of these trials results in regulatory approval, the next challenges will be the manufacture, distribution, access and uptake of the vaccine, an issue we have returned to several times in the Daily Brief. However, as we  discussed  this week, there will be inadequate doses of vaccines available in the short to medium term. Decisions on who receives them will affect not only the speed at which the pandemic is brought under control, but also which communities suffer the greatest socioeconomic and health damage .    As straightforward as it might appear at first glance, deciding who has first access to a vaccine is a difficult moral, economic and social question, and depends on the aim of the vaccine strategy. To reduce the levels of death and disease, the most at-risk populations should be vaccinated first. Yet prioritising health workers protects essential services and

Erdogan’s enemies

Oxford Analytica The French charge d’affaires was summoned to the foreign ministry this week to explain a derogatory ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoon of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Erdogan  has accused President Emmanuel Macron of being anti-Islamic in his championing of secularism after a French teacher’s murder for showing cartoons offensive to Muslims. This plays into Erdogan's wider use of symbolic Islamist and nationalist policies at home to strengthen his support base against possible opposition -- a goal that has also engaged Turkey in bitter regional conflicts. Over the last four years, Erdogan has deliberately drawn his country into unprecedented confrontations and tensions with five of its eight neighbours.  The assumption inside Turkey is that Erdogan is using a mix of nationalism and Islamism to reverse a crumbling domestic political position. This is based on poorer Justice and Development Party results in recent elections and signs of flagging support in opinion p

Sinocism: Official reports on the Plenum

The Fifth Plenum Bill Bishop at Sinocism  The Fifth Plenum Bill Bishop Oct 30 I decided to make part of today’s newsletter free and send it to everyone. The communique for the Fifth Plenum is out, there were no big surprises. There is a lot of focus on self-reliance, especially in technology, as well as security and military modernization, and of course opening and dual circulation. The US is not mentioned but risks and opportunities from the New Era of US-China relations are clear in the text. And by “New Era” I mean a belief that US-China relations are accelerating towards increasingly difficult competition if not outright conflict, no matter who wins the US election next week. It is an aspirational document which is full of confidence while clear about the risks and challenges. The Plenum communique says that China is still in a period of important strategic opportunity, as the world is “undergoing changes unseen in a century”. There will be a press conference Friday morning and we

China’s Leaders Vow Tech ‘Self-Reliance,’ Military Power and Economic Recovery

The Communist Party’s Central Committee endorsed an ambitious policy program that looks far beyond the coronavirus pandemic. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, bottom, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing last week. Credit... Noel Celis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images By  Chris Buckley  and  Steven Lee Myers Published Oct. 29, 2020 Updated Oct. 30, 2020,  1:00 a.m. ET 阅读简体中文版 閱讀繁體中文版 China’s Communist Party emerged from four days of meetings behind closed doors in Beijing declaring the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, a “helmsman” who would lead “the ship of socialism sailing into the wind and waves with determination.” At a time when other world leaders  remain consumed  by the coronavirus pandemic, China promised an economic revival, greater technological self-reliance and a stronger military to protect the country’s economic and political interests. The meeting  underscored  Mr. Xi’s seemingly boundless political control, as well as his ambitions to propel China out of the current c

DIGITAL DIVIDE: Last child matters

ASER report flags burden of digital inequality on children, and opportunity for government schools. By:  Editorial  | October 30, 2020 3:02:59 am Parents also appear to be acutely aware that the smartphone is the new English-medium education in the way it overlays and deepens age-old hierarchies. The digital pivot in India’s schooling system risks pushing it into deeper inequality, seven months after schools shut down across the country to tackle the  pandemic . A majority of children without access to internet has been thrown into distress — a handful to the point of self-harm, as several reports in this newspaper attest — by an exclusionary mode of learning. What reportage has indicated so far is confirmed by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2020, a phone survey of 60,000-odd students across rural India. Only about one-third of the surveyed children had access to online learning; only 11 per cent had access to live online classes. That the burden of digital inequality has

Pandit Nehru vs. Sardar Patel.

MOHAN GURUSWAMY: On October 30, 2018 Narendra Modi inaugurated the giant Sardar Patel statue facing the Narmada Dam. It is 3.2 km away from the dam on a river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla in Gujarat. Standing almost six hundred feet tall, it is claimed to be the world's tallest statue. The project began in December 2013, and is probably the only achievement the Modi government has to show in its six years. The project worth Rs. 2989 crores was won by Larsen and Toubro. Initially the total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹3,001 crore and was to be paid for by the Government of India. But then Modi flagged off as to be built by small contributions and crowd funding, but like all his other projects the means were actually something else. The money came from Indian PSUs and corporations, either coerced or currying favor. The bronze plates to create the likeness of Sardar Patel were imported from the TQ Art Foundry, a part of the Jiangxi Toqine Company in Nanchang