Global Challenges

  • Perhaps Russia and the U.S. should invite China to join the INF treaty.

    Is China the Missing INF Treaty Ingredient?

    Russia’s apparent and recent violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty suggests it may be time for Russia and the United States to make the Treaty multilateral — and, most importantly, include China.

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  • Expect allegations, hipocricy and maybe reforms from the Panama Papers.

    Along with the Bad, Maybe Some Good will come from the Panama Papers

    In every crisis, there lies an opportunity. In addition, that applies even to a crisis as large and potentially scandalous as that revealed by the so-called Panama Papers.  Over the coming days and weeks, the financial behaviour of many rich, powerful and influential individuals will come under the microscope. There will be accusations of hypocrisy – and much embarrassment.

    However, some of those influential individuals have the opportunity to grasp the nettle and push for more transparency in the world’s dark financial corners.

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  • Chancellor Merkel has internal considerations regarding the refugee crisis.

    The German Chancellor's Refugee Agenda has Internal Considerations

    German Chancellor Merkel was right. As the Greek crisis was winding down last summer, she noted that the refugee problem would be even more difficult.  In addition, indeed, it is.

    The refugee issue is challenging Merkel's leadership in Europe.  While her trademark has been her sensitivity to swings in sentiment, she has seemed rather tone-deaf in dealing with the refugee crisis.

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  • Development aid is strained as the number of poor grows.

    Legacy Development Aid is Slow to Meet New Needs

    In academic discourse, it has become almost ritualistic to begin a piece on foreign aid by highlighting the sharp controversies over its effectiveness as a tool to promote social and economic progress in developing countries. This has happened even though evaluations of development aid at project and sector levels have consistently pointed to the positive impact they have.

    Instead, controversy has centred on the ability of aid to promote overall economic growth. In this domain, conclusions have varied from positive to perverse.

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  • The push for a connected world is pushing aside some basic life necessities.

    Should More People Have Cellphones or Toilets and Clean Water?

    By 9.30am today I will have skyped Malawi, emailed Ghana, Facebooked Nepal, paid a bill online and used the satnav on my mobile phone. It feels a long time since we first got colour TV at home and, years later, when I accessed the internet using a dial-up modem. When I recalled these moments to my son he yawned. Aged, 19, he does not remember a time before ubiquitous connectivity.

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  • The human and economic cost of the IS campaign is growing in Asia.

    The Indirect IS Campaign in Southeast Asia is Taking a Toll

    On 14 January 2016, four Indonesian militants mounted a brazen lunchtime assault on a Starbucks Café and a police post in downtown Jakarta. The general area boasts government offices, shopping malls and eateries as well as a United Nations office and the United States embassy.

    The attackers were killed by the security forces. Three civilians also died in the firefight. Another 20 were injured including four foreigners from the Netherlands, Algeria, Austria and Germany.

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  • It's time for the world's most powerful people to tackle global risks.

    Global Risks Collide with the Powerful at the WEF

    The World Economic Forum (WEF) published its annual Global Risks Report in the run up to its annual meeting in Davos. Food and water crises, energy price shocks, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, extreme weather events and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, it said, are the biggest threats facing society.

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  • Refugee reforms should go a long way to helping countries like Italy and Greece.

    Refugee and IMF Reforms Fly Under the Radar

    There have been two important reforms announced, one in the EU and other in the IMF.  Many investors may have missed due to the carnage in the markets.

    While the economic challenges that Europe faces remain potent, the refugee problem appears more pressing.  Tomorrow the flash January PMIs from the Eurozone expect to slip a little, but the composite will likely remain near the multi-year high matched in December.  This suggests growth is steady.


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  • Europe's refugee response was a mess and it's causing problems at home.

    Europe Dropped the Refugee Ball

    Europe’s refugee crisis neither began nor ended when the body of a Kurdish boy was found washed up on a Turkish beach in September.

    In all, he was just one of 3,770 people who lost their lives in 2015 as over a million people crossed into Europe fleeing wars in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Some are forecasting that many millions more will try their luck in 2016 and beyond, as the conflicts prompting this exodus offer no end in sight.

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  • Billionaires are in a position to do more for the rest of the world.

    Billions of Reasons to Help

    One of the remarkable outcomes of the climate change negotiations in Paris is an initiative launched by 28 billionaires on the sidelines of COP21 to push for an increase in funding for clean energy technologies.

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