CHINA IS THE NEW CHAMPION OF GLOBALISATION
China is one of the few countries in the world today with money to spend, and President Xi Jinping is ready to write some checks.
It is called Globalisation 2.0.
Xi will host 30 world leaders in Beijing on Sunday at the first Belt and Road Forum, the centrepiece of a soft-power push backed by hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects.
Analysts say it has the potential to remake global — particularly Asian — trade and economic patterns, and help Beijing build its own sphere of influence.
Major world leaders like Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abe are staying away. The backlash against trade and immigration in the U.S. and Europe and Brexit have left a big vacuum. And Xi has wasted no time filling the void.
LONDON NO LONGER THE WORLD’S BANKER
Brexit has jeopardised London’s status as banker to the planet. It is likely to surrender stature to European competitors. Banks are already configuring plans to move significant numbers of people to other financial centres within the European Union, ensuring that trading can continue without a hitch after Brexit is complete.
This is a historic reversal for a city that has for centuries functioned as a central artery for finance. Today, nearly one-fifth of global banking transactions are booked in the United Kingdom, most of them in London. About $2.4 trillion in foreign currencies is traded here daily, according to the Bank of England.
Emmanuel Macron, the next president of France, vowed to ensure that Britain emerges the weaker from Brexit negotiations. He has promised to fight any agreement preserving access to Europe for London-based financial services companies, while openly calling for bankers to decamp for Paris.
RUSSIA’S OLYMPIC EXCUSE FOR CRACKDOWN
Ahead of the World Cup, Russia’s Vladimir Putin passes a new order for increased searches, stricter residency rules and restrictions on protest. In the run-up to the expensive prestige projects — the FIFA Confederation Cup next month and the 2018 World Cup –the Kremlin has fallen into an old pattern of heavy-handed restrictions.
In 2014, when Russia hosted the Winter Olympic Games in the resort town Sochi, the authorities deployed over 40 thousand security forces, intensified cyber surveillance and spectators were required to undergo background checks.
The sheer cost and challenge of hosting a major sporting event explains why democratic states are increasingly weary. With an authoritarian political system and pre-existing free speech restrictions, Russia will get the prestige of playing host without having to address citizen grievances or legal restraints.
EXHUMING A DICTATOR
Spanish lawmakers have approved a symbolic resolution to exhume the former dictator Francisco Franco from his tomb and have him re-interred elsewhere.
Why? Because the monument where he is buried now honours the victors of the Spanish civil war rather than the victims.
Spain a has a decade-old law of historical memory to help the people come to terms with its horrific past. The Socialist party voted to say the site has to cease to be a place of Francoist memory and become a space of reconciliation and collective democratic memory, where the victims are recognised and treated with dignity.
The Socialists also want to see the creation of a truth commission, funding to be stopped to groups promoting or defending Franco, and the introduction of a DNA database to help identify the disappeared.
FACEBOOK SHUTS DOWN ABORTION COUNSELING PAGE
Facebook has censored the page of an organisation that helps women obtain abortion pills.
The page for Women on Web, which connects doctors with women in places that restrict abortion access, was deleted over ‘promotion or encouragement of drug use’.
Its page publishes news, scientific information essential for women’s health and life.
This is the second censorship row between Facebook and Women on Web. In January 2012, Facebook deleted the profile photograph of the group’s founder, which contained instructions for inducing an abortion using Misoprostol. The social media giant later apologised and reinstated both the image and her account.
Facebook has also cracked down aggressively on pages related to legal medical marijuana.
Picture Courtesy: english.gov.cn