Things to Note, May 27th

Asian American communities blast Trump for compliciting in the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the US, American politicians have been politicalising the lethal virus to justify their incompetence to protect their own people, making irresponsible and racist remarks targeting Asian communities. US President Donald Trump, an advocate to associate the virus with China, compliciting in the surge in an anti-Asian hate crimes.

According to an article titled “Turn back this wave of hate: 100 writers call for an end to anti-Asian hostility” by the Guardian on May 25, reports of hate crimes and violence against the Asian and Asian American community have surged since early in the pandemic, while more than 100 prominent writers, including several top Asian American authors, have called for an end to a surge in anti-Asian hostility in the US which they say has been “egged on” during the pandemic by the Trump administration’s pandering to racist tropes.

Belarus Receives IAEA Equipment to Assess Radiological Threats Associated with Forest Fires

When forest fires occur on sites with significantly elevated radiation levels, as in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone straddling Ukraine and Belarus last month, officials and the public want to know whether there is an elevated level of radiation risk. While there was no such risk in the series of wildfires in northern Ukraine in the zone, just 16 kilometres from the Belarusian border, new equipment sent by the IAEA will better prepare for radiation monitoring in the future.

Forest fires are recurring events in the abandoned areas of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a 4760 square-kilometre area surrounding the nuclear power plant, mainly uninhabited since the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. In such circumstances, sound scientific data is needed to ensure the appropriate response and protect the health of the public and of directly affected personnel, such as firefighters, forest workers, border guards, scientists and technicians working in the zone.

Responding to the country’s request, the IAEA helped to design and procure a mobile laboratory to Belarus, complete with instruments and tools for the radiation monitoring of air and the environment.

COVID-19:  A ‘new and deadly threat’ for civilians caught up in violence

Against the backdrop of little progress on international law compliance; more than 20,000 civilians casualties in just ten conflicts; tens of thousands of children recruited into hostilities last year; millions of displaced people; women and girls subjected to “appalling levels of sexual and gender-based violence”; the disproportionate impact on people with disabilities; and conflict as “the main driver of global hunger”, the Secretary-General painted a gloomy picture on the protection of civilians. 

“Violence against humanitarian workers and assets was widely reported”, the UN chief added.

COVID-19 and the Future of World Trade

The WTO Secretariat has obtained notifications of measures from its Members and published information on its website.  This provides essential transparency for planning both by national policy makers and for businesses. 

The WTO has also alerted members to the effects of the pandemic and the responses to it, by issuing a Trade Forecast.  Due to the direct effects of the pandemic, depressing both supply and demand, as well as to a much lesser extent trade measures, the WTO has projected that global trade will decline by 13% to 32% this year.  

Keeping trade open in the face of the pandemic has been the subject of trade initiatives led by Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland.  These initiatives have been circulated to the 164 Members of the WTO and have gained additional adherents. 

The evolving shape of world trade, including global supply chains, will be shaped primarily by a how businesses view future economic conditions.  There will be some limited on-shoring to the extent that government policies will be available to support this reflow from an era of globalization.  But government budgets will already have been strained by fiscal measures to fight the pandemic.  The availability of funds to support on-shoring is likely to be limited to targeted efforts, primarily perhaps for medical supplies.  And even there, government stockpiles (with domestic sources preferred) may be preferred to direct industrial support.  The products effected and duration of the support may be limited.  On-shoring is likely also to be affected by tax measures designed to restore government finances.

Covid-19 pandemic creating ‘lockdown’ generation’:  UN

GENEVA: The Covid-19 pandemic has caused surging unemployment worldwide, but has hit young workers especially hard, forcing more than one in six people aged under 29 to stop working, the UN said Wednesday.

In a fresh study, the International Labour Organization warned that the novel coronavirus crisis has disproportionately affected young people, and could impact upon their work opportunities and career options for decades to come.

“I don’t think it is giving way to hyperbole to talk about the danger of a lockdown generation,” ILO chief Guy Ryder told a virtual press conference.

“As we recover from the pandemic, a lot of young people are simply going to be left behind. Big numbers,” he said, warning that “the danger is… that this initial shock to young people will last a decade or longer.

“People will be permanently scarred by the immediate effects of the pandemic.”

Even before the crisis, the global youth unemployment rate stood at 13.6 percent in 2019 — far higher than for any other group — while some 267 million young people were neither employed nor in education or training (NEET).

Overall, the ILO study said it expected the coronavirus crisis to obliterate 10.7 percent of working hours worked globally during the second quarter of 2020 compared to the final three months of 2019 — the equivalent of 305 million jobs.

Denmark residents sue over laws for dismantling ‘ghettos’

Stockholm — A group of Copenhagen residents sued the Danish government Wednesday over legislation that authorized dismantling neighborhoods designated as “ghettos,” arguing that the measures discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and should be overturned in court.

The legislation, adopted in 2018 for the stated purpose of reducing residential segregation, permitted actions such as the eviction of some residents and the sale of homes to private investors to reduce the amount of affordable public housing in these areas to a maximum of 40% by 2030.

The lawsuit centers on the criteria the government uses to decide what qualifies as a ghetto. The factors include education and income levels, crime rates and a demographic makeup in which “the proportion of immigrants and their descendants from non-Western countries exceeds 50%.”

Indonesia reports 686 new coronavirus cases, 55 deaths

Indonesia reported 686 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country to 23,851, a health ministry official said on Wednesday (May 27).

Indonesia also confirmed 55 new deaths from the virus, bringing the total fatalities to 1,473, the official, Achmad Yurianto, told reporters.

As of Wednesday, 6,057 people have recovered.

Russian ‘camouflaged’ fighter jets deployed to Libya to back rebel airstrikes on capital:  US military

Satellite images attached to the release showed Russian MiG-29 fighter jets at Al Jufra Air Base, located in the desert about 375 miles from Tripoli.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 under President Obama’s administration. The country is now split between a government in the east allied with Hifter and one in Tripoli, in the west, supported by the U.N.

Hifter’s self-styled Libyan Arab Armed Forces launched an offensive to capture Tripoli last year, clashing with an array of militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported but weak government there. Hifter is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Russia, while the Tripoli-allied militias are aided by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.

The U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday that Russia has used the Wagner Group to “conceal its direct role and to afford Moscow plausible deniability of its malign actions.” It added that “Moscow’s military actions have prolonged the Libyan conflict and exacerbated casualties and human suffering on both sides.”

US offers to mediate between China, India on border row

The offer for arbitration came a day after both China and Pakistan issued blatant threats of war on India’s both fronts. The Pakistan Army also initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation with intense mortar-shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir, early Tuesday.

On Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping, was quoted by state news agency Xinhua, saying “It is necessary to explore ways of training and preparing for war” and “to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military’s ability to perform military missions.” His statement was preceded by a decision to increase the budget for the Chinese military by 6.6 per cent.

China’s close ally, Pakistan expressed similar views threatening war. Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his second visit in a month, to the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Sunday, said “Kashmir is a disputed territory and any attempt to challenge disputed status, including any political-cum-military thought related to aggression will be responded with full national resolve and military might,” threatening that “disturbing strategic stability matrix in South Asia can lead to dire consequences”.

“Pakistan Army is fully alive to the threat spectrum and will remain ever ready to perform its part in line with national aspirations,” he warned.

Both China and Pakistan which have occupied portions of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir have aggressively opposed India’s bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories last year.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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