Things to Note, May 14th

New Zealanders line up for midnight haircuts

The country has reported no new cases of the virus for a third straight day on Thursday. More than 1,400 of the nearly 1,500 people who have contracted COVID-19 have recovered, while 21 have died.

At midnight, barber Conrad Fitz-Gerald reopened his shop. He told the Associated Press he’d had about 50 inquiries from customers in desperate need of haircuts.

“People are saying their hair is out of control, they can’t handle it anymore,” he said. “Lots of parents of teenage kids have been calling up, too, thinking a haircut at midnight would be a great novelty. Unfortunately, we are full up.”

Attack on Cuban embassy in Washington brings complicit silence from U.S. government

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, during an online press conference, yesterday May 12, to discuss the April 30 terrorist attack on the Cuban embassy in the United States, stated: “Here is an attacker, an AK-47 rifle, 32 shell casings, 32 bullet holes and a statement – by the perpetrator – of his intention to attack and kill.”

From the U.S. government we have received only silence, a silence that we know well, one that has accompanied violence against Cuba by groups based in U.S. territory for years. Every wave of terror was preceded by rabid campaigns of hate, rancor, threats, and attempts to discredit Cuba’s work in the international arena, alongside tightening of the economic siege.

The deaths number 3,478, with 2,099 Cubans disabled, in addition to incalculable economic damage. Terrorism has cost the country, carried out with or without the support of the U.S. government, but always with its blessing, following CIA directives. Hundreds of terrorists groups have been created, financed and trained by the CIA, organizations that had in their ranks notorious killers like Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, Guillermo and Ignacio Novo Sampol, among others.

IsDB Provides US$ 1.86 Billion to 27 Member Countries to Contain COVID-19

The assistance totals announced by the President, in meetings with MCs, has so far reached US$ 1.86 billion for 27 member countries. The technical teams from IsDB and about 15 member countries are still in continuous discussions to estimate their basic needs to finalise their financial packages as part of the first stage of IsDB Group support, which is composed of three stages (Respond, Restore, and Restart), and that will cover their needs in the short, medium and long terms.

On Monday, Dr. Bandar Hajjar held a virtual conference with H.E Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, Senior Minister of Planning and Development, Benin, to discuss the IsDB Group’s contribution of US$ 131 million to support the country in its fight against COVID-19. Dr. Bandar Hajjar explained in the meeting that the IsDB is in touch with all MCs to ensure that they will pass this ordeal safely, “I believe these difficult times call for a collective and coordinated action not only to contain the COVID-19 outbreak but also to address the aftermath so that our communities get back to their normal lives,” he said.

First Covid-19 cases found in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camp

The first coronavirus case was confirmed in Bangladesh in early March, and the pandemic has since worsened with at least 283 people dead and nearly 19,000 infected — figures some experts say are highly under-reported.

The government has enforced a nationwide lockdown since March 26 in an effort to check the spread of the disease.

Despite the shutdown, the number of cases has risen sharply in recent days and the daily death toll and new infections hit a record on Wednesday.

Reviving global institutions

The world has witnessed the descent of global multilateral institutions in recent years, especially since the outbreak of the pandemic. National and global responses to recent global matters have become somewhat slowed, lackluster and fragmented. Regarding COVID-19, many experts said that the losses caused by the disease could have been significantly minimised compared to the current figures. However, the sad thing is that although the key apparatus for issuing a global response on health was there, for many reasons, this apparatus has been not effective enough to “leapfrog” towards preventing the pandemic from breaking out on a global scale. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been suffering a financial shortage for decades because the United States and other countries have allocated their resources to other issues and ignored the constant warnings about the urgent need to strengthen the WHO’s power. The WHO has recently become the focus of debate between the US, China and some other countries in relation to its role. Meanwhile, another global institution, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which plays a significant role in leading the world economy, is now under pressure to reform to clearly demonstrate its inherent weighted voice in international trade issues. Many important WTO members, including the US, China, Russia and Australia, have all called for reform of the organisation. In addition, some national linkage models in continents, including the European Union (EU), have shown limitations in promoting regional coordination. Since 2016, Europe has witnessed a “historic divorce” as the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many moments when EU member states had the attitude of “oneself comes first”, while neither sharing medical supplies nor deploying a joint anti-epidemic plan. Explaining the cause of weakening global institutions, The Economist, a London-based weekly, ran an article in which it stated that in recent years, nationalist movements throughout the world have been given the opportunity to “attack the legitimacy of multilateral institutions”. The Economist said the US’ recent withdrawal from multilateral institutions and non-coordination with other countries on some global issues, has made multilateral institutions somewhat “shaken”. The world is witnessing tremendous fluctuations due to the impact of the pandemic. At the present time, no one can accurately predict the evolution and effects of COVID-19, but there is a common perception among countries that the disease has broken out on a global scale, becoming an important factor affecting relations between nations and threatening to change the international order and situation. The trend of globalisation will not be reversed, but is facing numerous difficulties, and there will be strong adjustments. In the near future, when countries successfully push back the disease, all will need effective global institutions to lead economic revitalisation, assist future planning and to become prepared to cope with “common enemies” such as natural disasters and epidemics. In August 1944, when the victory in the Second World War was near, representatives of countries in the anti-fascist coalition met to discuss the establishment of an international organisation to maintain peace and security. A year later, delegates from 50 countries signed the UN Charter in San Francisco, US. The agreement has provided a framework for the formation of global institutions and the future of international relations for decades. From the aforementioned experience, it can be seen that even in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, countries around the world not only need to join hands to combat the disease but also have to make immediate preparations for reform and reconstruction of global institutions, aiming to ensure the maintenance of peace, security and development for humanity in the coming decades.

Australia records unprecedented drop in overseas arrivals in March

Jenny Dobak, ABS Director of Migration Statistics, said: “In March 2020, there were 331,900 visitors who had arrived for a short-term trip compared to 836,300 12 months earlier.”

“Of the top 10 source countries, China recorded the largest decrease of 78 percent followed closely by Japan with a decrease of 75 percent.”

“The steep fall in visitor arrivals to Australia in March was from all regions around the world. Even our largest source country, New Zealand, recorded a 56 percent drop,” Dobak mentioned.

The arrival of international students saw a heavy drop of 11,790 students, down 16 percent, compared to the same month in the previous year.

All states and territories recorded large falls in international visitor numbers. The Northern Territory saw the largest fall of 66 percent. Although New South Wales led the way with the largest volume of international arrivals (114,500 visitors), numbers were down 64 percent compared to March 2019.

Dobak goes on to mention there was also a record fall in the number of Australian residents returning from short-term trips overseas, down 29 percent to 538,400

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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