When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fighting for his life last month, his chief adviser Dominic Cummings was dealing with his own Covid-related battle.
Now the circumstances of Cummings’ case, and in particular how and where he chose to deal with it, pose a challenge to the health of the British government and may even threaten the UK’s capacity to swiftly fight off the virus.
Johnson has proved staunch in his defense of his close ally since the latter was accused of breaking the UK’s strict lockdown by driving 260 miles with his wife, who he admits was displaying some symptoms of coronavirus, and young son to be near his extended family.… Seguir leyendo »
Many Pakistanis tempered this year’s Eid greetings with words of condolence or prayers for the victims of coronavirus and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303.
The flight from Lahore crashed in a dense residential area adjacent to Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on May 22, killing all but two of the 99 people on board. Investigators have recovered the flight data recorder but the cause of the crash is yet to be determined.
The crash was a horrific tragedy at a time when the country is battling the mounting toll of the pandemic. But as with most things in Pakistan, it is also political.… Seguir leyendo »
For years, even as China has applied increasing pressure on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, the framework of «One Country, Two Systems»—the dividing line that keeps Hong Kong relatively autonomous from the authoritarian mainland—has been respected by the Chinese Communist Party in theory.
The illusion of autonomy has now officially been shattered.
Shock waves reverberated around the world as a representative of China’s National People’s Congress, the largest gathering of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) each year, announced that delegates at Friday’s session would consider a move to enact controversial national-security legislation in Hong Kong.
Should the Chinese government successfully impose its own national-security regulations on Hong Kong, it would open the door to any other law or regulation the Chinese government wishes to impose on Hong Kong in the future.… Seguir leyendo »
Washing your hands frequently, with plenty of water and soap, is one of the simplest and most effective measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Yet due to a lack of water supply and indoor plumbing, three-quarters of households in the developing world won’t be able to follow this advice, Tim Wainwright of the nonprofit WaterAid told The Guardian, because they lack some place to wash with soap and water. How will they cope when the pandemic escalates and there is no clean water to help stop contagion?
This is not a faraway problem. The pandemic may be raging in Europe and the US, but it is spreading across Asia, Africa and Latin America, from where it may yet return to strike the Northern Hemisphere again.… Seguir leyendo »
The World Health Assembly (WHA) — the biggest event on the global health agenda — held on Monday and Tuesday this week, can be easily summed up: The Trump administration threatened to take the UN agency off life support as it fights a global pandemic — and Chinese President Xi Jinping threw it a new life line.
Xi — widely criticized for his government’s failure to sound the alarm over the situation in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus outbreak began — was able to manipulate the 73rd WHA into a much-needed PR makeover for China. Meanwhile, the United States walked away, threatening to pull funding and membership from the World Health Organization (WHO) — potentially hobbling its ability to deliver a robust response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the past few months, the United Arab Emirates has worked diligently to meet the needs of all our citizens and residents, even at a time of unprecedented global uncertainty and insecurity.
We have safely shut down, and now seek to reopen, what is today a major international hub for trade, tourism, logistics and more. And we have achieved this while also meeting significant and myriad external interests and obligations.
This is how we have responded to our new reality.
The United Arab Emirates had planned to host the largest and most ambitious international event in the history of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, over the span of six months starting this October.… Seguir leyendo »
For almost two weeks, three countries have led the rest of the world in the daily number of new Covid-19 infections: The United States, Russia and Brazil.
This makes some sense — each is in the top 10 of most populous countries with well over 125 million people and each has a few very crowded cities. Furthermore, each country was disorganized and disbelieving as the disease settled in their region.
But one important difference separates Russia from the other two nations. As of Monday, in the United States, which has been in the midst of the pandemic for almost two months, the mortality rate from Covid-19 was 6%, according to Johns Hopkins; in Brazil, hard-hit for a month, the mortality was nearly 7%.… Seguir leyendo »
Afghanistan’s «peace deal» has been blown up. The government has resumed fighting the Taliban after a horrifying attack by gunmen on a maternity ward run by Doctors Without Borders in Kabul. Mothers and nurses were the main victims in the first attack, with 16 killed. Two of the dead were newborns.
Although the Taliban denied being responsible for the attack, Afghanistan’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, stated on Twitter that «their attacks this spring against Afghans are comparable to the level of fighting in past fighting seasons …This is not peace, nor its beginnings,» and that there is «little point in continuing to engage Taliban in ‘peace talks.’ … Seguir leyendo »
It came as close as possible to Canada’s Sandy Hook tragedy. On April 18, an unhinged man went on a 13-hour rampage in rural Nova Scotia and killed 22 people, including a veteran Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. It was the worst mass killing in Canadian history and shocked an already traumatized nation dealing with the Covid-19 lockdown.
Last Friday, in response to the shooting, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a sombre voice that has become habitual in his daily Covid-19 briefings, said: «Thirty years from now, an entire generation of Canadians will remember exactly where they were on Sunday, April 18, 2020.… Seguir leyendo »
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by attacks on press freedoms and journalists around the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve seen this pattern before: A crisis engulfs a nation, and its government moves to curtail, manipulate or shut down news coverage. But just because we’ve seen this pattern before doesn’t mean that we should pay less attention to it now. In fact, now is a time to be especially vigilant.
In Iran, the government has imposed sweeping restrictions on coverage of the pandemic, including a ban on printing newspapers. Journalists have been arrested for their reporting, including one who criticized the government’s failure to prepare for the pandemic and another who alleged that a local official had tested positive for Covid-19, as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has noted.… Seguir leyendo »
The European Union is a political long shot of an experiment that has survived all manner of existential threats this century: the migration crisis of the past half-decade, the 2008 financial crisis and the yearslong north-south divide within Europe over who should pay to resuscitate the Eurozone’s economies, the 2005 votes of «no» to the European constitution, and, of course, Brexit.
But the pandemic now underway may present the biggest risk to the political project of European unity, as countries still smarting from the bruises of 2008’s economic devastation figure out how to fund economic recovery efforts across the continent. Today the question of whether coronavirus will do what all those other crises could not — dismember an effort to create a peaceful, prosperous, political power — remains open.… Seguir leyendo »
The most complicated issue in America right now is how, when and where to reopen the cities and towns that have been sheltered in place. Everyone wants resumption of the mobile life of social proximity we enjoyed a few months ago but balancing this against the competing need to assure both individual safety and — because this is a contagious disease — societal safety remains a substantial challenge.
Fortunately, a new study from South Korea has just been published in «early release» form (it is final and peer-reviewed, just early) in the CDC medical journal, Emerging Infectious Disease.
Titled «Coronavirus Disease Outbreak in Call Center, South Korea,» it describes how South Korea dealt with an outbreak in a high-rise building in the busiest part of Seoul with an early, decisive intervention that included closing the entire building, extensive testing and quarantine of infected people and their contacts.… Seguir leyendo »
Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus the bravery and selflessness of health-care workers who — at great risk to their own health — are on the front lines of this once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic, celebrated with nightly cheers ringing from Manhattan to Milan.
It has also laid bare the contrast with decimated health systems in places like Syria, where doctors have, for far too long, been targeted with violence and where hospitals have been bombed.
The truth of this pandemic is that it cannot be defeated anywhere unless it is defeated everywhere. This is why an attack on health care anywhere is an attack on health care everywhere — and why the targeting of health workers and their facilities globally must be brought to an end and the perpetrators held accountable.… Seguir leyendo »
Perhaps there’s no country in the world where the novel coronavirus has had more of an immediate political impact than Israel. What three elections in barely a year could not accomplish — the formation of a government — a virus could.
But Covid-19 had help from a patriotic and risk-averse Benny Gantz, who ran last year, as leader of the Blue and White party, against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party.
Gantz handed Netanyahu a near-perfect arrangement that will allow him to remain the most powerful political figure in Israel for the next 18 months, if not beyond.
Unlike for most leaders in the world, for Netanyahu Covid-19 presented both a challenge and an opportunity.… Seguir leyendo »
With nearly a third of the world population living under some sort of shelter-in-place guidelines, many are struggling to figure out how to deal with extreme isolation. CNN’s Inside Africa spoke with Kim Wolhuter, an award-winning South African wildlife photographer, who lives and works on a 60,000-hectare wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe with his wife and daughter, about how he and his family thrive in a world with minimal human interaction — and maximum animal interaction.
This interview was conducted by email and has been edited and condensed for clarity.
CNN: What does the lockdown look like from your vantage point living in the bush?… Seguir leyendo »
Pakistan is entering its fifth week under lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus. But as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan starts this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people will congregate in mosques nationwide to offer special prayers.
The government’s submission to demands from senior clerics and religious political parties for mosque exemptions highlights that Pakistan’s fight against Covid-19 is more about managing political divides than saving lives.
As of Saturday, the country of more than 200 million people had at least 11,900 confirmed cases and 253 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. That’s more than double the number of cases and deaths the country had on April 13.… Seguir leyendo »
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has built his regime on fear and repression, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that his response to the Covid-19 crisis is following the same script. Unless there is a sharp change of direction, the results of this military-driven approach will be disastrous for the Filipino people.
I have taken a particular interest in the situation in the Philippines in my role as an expert on US arms transfer policy, because I am interested in the consequences of US weapons sales to repressive regimes. The Duterte government is high on that list. Duterte’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic raises further questions about the nature of his regime and the wisdom of continuing to arm his military and police forces.… Seguir leyendo »
France’s 42-year-old president, Emmanuel Macron, who has faced many challenges governing his country, is now positioning himself to take over the mantle of global leadership long reserved to the older leaders of China, Russia or especially the United States. And right now, he has no real challengers.
The vehicle of this leadership campaign is Macron’s proposal for a worldwide ceasefire — a truce everywhere from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
And he says he’s a good part of the way there. There are five permanent members of the UN Security Council (France, China, Russia, Britain and the US) and four of the five are on board, according to Macron.… Seguir leyendo »
With Covid-19 bringing economic activity to a halt across much of the world, there is wide recognition that some of the most vulnerable nations will have a hard time covering their debt payments. When finance ministers of the G20 nations agreed this week to freeze debt repayment for the world’s poorest countries, it was a step in the right direction.
But in Africa, the entire continent deserves solidarity and smart debt relief — and it needs it now.
While we eagerly welcome debt relief for Africa’s lower-income nations, the region’s middle-income countries — like Kenya, Seychelles and Tunisia — also need relief at this unprecedented time.… Seguir leyendo »
Reading the recent spate of articles about the incredulous response of the President of Belarus to the threat of Covid-19, advising his citizens simply to wash their hands more often and eat meals at the regular time, took me back to another crisis I lived through — the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl — and the similar advice doled out to Belarusian citizens at that time.
I was born and raised in Gomel, Belarus, about 120 miles from the town of Pripyat in modern-day Ukraine, part of the former Soviet Union, where the ill-fated Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded on April 26, 1986.… Seguir leyendo »