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Showing posts from December 6, 2020

EUROPE'S OPTIONS TO ADDRESS CONFLICTS IN THE MENA REGION

09 DEC 2020 - 13:21  DOWNLOAD PUBLICATION  (PDF)   NAVIGATING THE REGIONAL CHESSBOARD Clingendael's Erwin van Veen (Senior Research Fellow) and Maysam Behravesh (Research Associate) both contributed a chapter (page 7 and 50) to this MENA Peace & Security Project report, published by the  Friedrich Ebert Stiftung .  As 2020 draws to a close, the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen have been ongoing for nearly a decade. Conflict and political crisis in Iraq have alternated non-stop since 2003. The Middle East also witnesses growing tensions between the Gulf States, Iran and the US, as well as more engagement of Turkish and Russian forces. In contrast, the European Union has often been passive and divided. This has resulted in missed windows of opportunity for conflict prevention, a loss of credibility and growing externalities that reach Europe unfiltered. This wide-ranging volume by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung offers detailed analysis of conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Liby

New Norwegian High North Whitepaper: Focusing on People and Societal Development in the Arctic

From Alta, Norway Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide presented the new Norwegian whitepaper on the High North titled ‘People, Opportunities and Norwegian Interests in the High North’. (Photo: Screenshot from the launch) “The High North whitepaper is about Norwegian core interests. That is why it has been named after what matters the most in our Arctic policy: people, opportunities and Norwegian interests in the High North”, said Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide during the launch in Alta last Friday. PUBLISHED AT:  DEC 01 2020 - 12:51 UPDATED AT:  DEC 01 2020 - 12:51 FROM   HILDE-GUNN BYE “This is the first-ever High North whitepaper that deliberately has a third leg to stand on, in addition to the international situation in the Arctic and the relationship with our neighbors, i.e. development in Northern Norway. That is so because having people live in the High North and having a strong, vital, and competent Northern Norway is the best way in which we can assert Norwegia

Arctic News: Top Developments

Erna Solberg's new Arctic Policy outlines dramatic shift in regional security Norway has just published its new White Paper for the High North, which will replace the 2011 White Paper. At first glance, the new white paper seems to focus on developing opportunities for peoples and communities of the Arctic. It was presented in the city of Alta, with interviews of youth representatives and local entrepreneurs, under the title "People, opportunities, and Norwegian interest in the Arctic". It was also presented as such by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide, who underlined the interest for all of Norway in the social development of the Norwegian Arctic ( HNN ). However, the Minister also pointed out that the security situation has largely changed since 2011. As a matter of fact, the White Paper opens directly on the issue of national security. The deterioration of bilateral relations between Norway and Russia is in the center of the white paper discussing how

China's Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

China's Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage by William C. Hannas and Didi Kirsten Tatlow (eds.; Routledge, 2020) ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ Source: MERICS The Chinese state has operated and steadily expanded a sophisticated system to acquire foreign technology through a combination of legal, illicit, and extra-legal channels. Even though it’s no longer a developing country, China seems to have no intention to abandon this playbook. Western countries’ complacency about this rests on some dangerous assumptions and misconceptions. First, that China's historic bias towards applied innovation and against basic scientific research – dismissively called its “copycat culture” – would prevent it from catching up with more advanced nations. Second, that Chinese researchers, after studying in the West, would bring democracy back to their country. Third, that China shared the same values of open markets, fairness, transparency and reciprocity in business and research. Each of these assumpt

PROFILE: Deng Yufeng – an anti-surveillance performance artist

MERICS ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ In October, 35-year-old artist Deng Yufeng and a group of volunteers tried to walk down a road in Beijing without being detected by the 90 surveillance cameras in the area. The journey of 1,100 meters took over two hours as the artist and his helpers were seen twisting their bodies, shuffling sideways and sliding their backs along walls to avoid the gaze of prying lenses. All this was part of the performance art project “A Disappearing Movement,” devised by the Beijing-based artist to raise awareness about collective surveillance and the pressures of technology on individual privacy. Born in Hubei and a 2010 graduate of the province’s Academy of Fine Arts, Deng is no stranger to controversy. For a solo exhibition in 2018, the artist lined the walls of a local museum in Wuhan with over 300,000 sets of personal information purchased online. He had wanted to display the extent of data breaches in China, but police shut down the show after only two days and accused D

Investing in people is key to a sustainable recovery

Thursday, December 10, 2020 The pandemic has damaged human and social capital; both are key to economic prospects but under-recorded in GDP accounts Source: World Bank, World Economic Forum Outlook The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that if a country raises its social mobility score by 10 points, it could raise its GDP growth by 40 basis points (e.g. 2.4% growth from 2.0%). The pandemic will widen inequalities of income, education and work opportunity within many countries. Already, according to the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, human capital had been declining in a number of major economies. The pandemic is likely to exacerbate the problem. Boosting social and human capital requires increased investment in training, social security, and physical and digital infrastructure. Infrastructure features in the recovery programmes of some high-income states, but most countries face hard fiscal constraints. Impacts After war, rebuilding physical capital is key. A pandemic disrupts he

How Swabhiman Anchal, a former Maoist bastion, got back on the map

Farm workers take home bundles of harvested paddy in Malkangiri, Odisha | Photo Credit:  Biswaranjan Rout Satyasundar Barik 12 DECEMBER 2020 16:00 IST UPDATED: 13 DECEMBER 2020 07:37 IST         Forgotten by the government, marooned by a dam, claimed by Maoists, Swabhiman Anchal is now slowly being mainstreamed On October 31, when Khara Chaitan, 70, a Paraja tribesman of Kusumput village in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, stepped out, he saw the tricolour fluttering outside a building in Gurasethu for the very first time. Had someone told Chaitan, even a few months ago, that formal government, as represented by the tricolour, would arrive so close to his home, he would have laughed it off. The flag had been hoisted that morning by a posse of men from the Border Security Force (BSF) and Odisha Police, with a bunch of local officials in tow. Gurasethu is in the heart of what was until recently the Maoist bastion of Swabhiman Anchal, once known as the ‘Cut-Off’ area of Malkangiri, a well-es

The U.S. Constitution is hopelessly outdated. It’s time to re-envision it

see url:  https://www.salon.com/2020/12/ 10/the-us-constitution-is-hope lessly-outdated-its-time-to- re-envision-it/ Quote<<< The electoral crisis, the decline of trust in government, and gross income inequality in the United States may seem like separate issues. But they have a surprising, common origin: the US Constitution, or more accurately, its shortcomings. Indeed, the depth of multiple crises in our nation in 2020 — if not their existence entirely — are all rooted in our flawed Constitution and the judicial decisions that it has facilitated. If you don't believe us, consider the following: The electoral crisis would not have occurred if the Presidential winner was based on the popular vote instead of the Electoral College — an institution born of slavery. The human impact of the pandemic would be less severe if health care, food, housing and income were deemed inalienable constitutional rights. Declining public trust in government, a political situation caused by ca

HOW 2020 CHANGED PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

Dec 8, 2020   by   Jian (Jay) Wang    Public Diplomacy is traditionally understood as a sovereign nation’s effort to inform and influence foreign publics through open communications. It is expanding as a field that integrates diplomatic, corporate and social interests. It now includes actions taken by non-state actors of growing consequence in the global system, and implies the requirements of engagement with not just foreign but also domestic and “in-between” diaspora publics. Profound societal shifts in 2020 are reshaping the practice of public diplomacy and by extension its study. The coronavirus pandemic, along with the intersecting social and economic crises, has transformed the practice, with digital capabilities and strategic thinking now at its core. More important, it is poised to accelerate the change and adjustment already underway in global affairs and communication. Partner or Perish The pandemic poses serious and sustained threats to social and economic stability around t

This AI Startup Raised $15 Million To Help Patients Transcribe Doctor Appointments

Katie Jennings Forbes Staff Healthcare I am a staff writer covering healthcare. Email me at kjennings@forbes.com. Abridge cofounders CTO Sandeep Konam (L) and CEO Shiv Rao (R).   ABRIDGE I magine your doctor diagnosed you with pyelonephritis. Sounds scary and you might tune out some of the explanation where you’re told it’s a kidney infection. Wouldn’t it be great to have an automatic transcript of the conversation, so you could go back and read it later? Enter Pittsburgh-based startup Abridge. The company has combined a consumer app with artificial intelligence to securely transcribe any medical conversation that a patient chooses to record. Abridge, which announced its official launch and $15 million in funding on Tuesday, already has 50,000 users, mainly garnered through word-of-mouth.  “Technology has this potential to help so many more people than I could ever see in my weekly clinic,” says Abridge cofounder and CEO Dr. Shiv Rao, 41, a cardiologist who still occasionally sees pati

The Strategy Bridge: The Year of #Reviewing

It’s been a year of Zoom, but books endure. Books endure because we read them in isolation, wrote about them in lockdown, and read reviews about them in quarantine. It will take books—with their focus, length, use of evidence, ability to recreate events, and capacity to make sense of those events after the fact—on 2020 and all it entailed to make the light and shadow fall in ways that illuminate what lived experience alone cannot. And for that kind of long-term, sustained engagement with the contexts in which we read this year’s reviews, we’ll continue to need not just books, but writing about those books. Read more Strategy Bridge