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TOPIC: economic crisis

Geopolitics

Liz Truss Is The Sorry Face Of Post-Brexit Britain

Liz Truss' record-setting short time in office showed that the UK cannot do whatever it pleases — even now that it's left the EU.

-Analysis-

PARIS — The “next Margaret Thatcher” didn't stay in office very long. And in view of her radical project and personality, this is clearly no surprise — she actually had very little in common with the Iron Lady.

Liz Truss remained in 10 Downing Street for exactly 45 days, the shortest stint ever for a British prime minister. But this was already enough time to prove just how empty her economic program was.

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Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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Did Climate Change Cause The Fall Of The Ming Dynasty?

In the mid-17th century, the weather in China got colder. The frequency of droughts and floods increased while some regions were wiped out by tragic famines. And the once-unstoppable Ming dynasty began to lose power.

The accounts are chilling. In the summary of his course on modern Chinese history at the Collège de France, Pierre-Etienne Will examined journals held by various individuals, often part of the Chinese administration, during the final years of the Ming dynasty. These autobiographical writings were almost always kept secret, but they allow us to immerse ourselves in the everyday life of the first half of 17th-century China.

In the Jiangnan region, close to Shanghai and generally considered as a land of plenty, the 1640s did not bode well. The decade that had just ended was characterized by an abnormally cold and dry climate and poor harvests. The price of agricultural goods kept rising, pushing social tension to bursting points.

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Stolen Arches, IKEAish? What Western Sanctions Mean For Brand Trademarks In Russia

The exit of top international companies from the Russian market in response to the invasion of Ukraine has led to an unraveling of Moscow's intellectual property standards.

-Analysis-

Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. Could Anton Chekhov ever have imagined that his literary work would be used to sell hamburgers? In March, a controversial application for an “Uncle Vanya” mark in connection with “snack bars, cafes, cafeterias, restaurants, bar services, canteens, cooking and home delivery services,” incorporated the red-and-yellow golden arches logo of McDonald’s. It was just one in a series of recent applications in Russia that have caused serious pearl-clutching among intellectual property lawyers.

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Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the country has faced numerous financial, trade and travel sanctions. It’s also been snubbed by major intellectual property partners. In a February 28 letter, a group of whistleblowers and staff representatives at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) called for the entity’s public condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the rapid closure of its Russia Office.

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Society
Vijayatharsiny Thinesh

The First Victims Of Sri Lanka's Economic Crisis: Pregnant Women

The country's worst economic crisis in decades has toppled the government and led to soaring prices. Pregnant women struggle to access essential supplies.

INUVIL, SRI LANKA — At sunset, as her young son plays nearby and her husband has yet to return from work, Kirushna Sutharshan forages for edible plants near her home.

She bends carefully over her expanding belly — her second child is due in August — but ignores the discomfort. The prices of milk, eggs, spinach and other foods recommended for healthy pregnancies have tripled since January; the once-free iron supplements are no longer available at prenatal checkups at public hospitals; and she cannot afford vitamins at private pharmacies. Even Thriposha, a corn-based nutritional supplement usually distributed to pregnant women for free, is no longer available.

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Economy
Thayalini Indrakularasa

Sri Lanka: How Protecting The Environment Is Killing Agriculture

When Sri Lanka banned agrochemicals last year, the law’s impact on the island’s ability to feed itself was immediately evident. As political upheaval continues in the capital, here's a related back story in the countryside with global implications.

CHEDDIKULAM, SRI LANKA — Sellan Yogarasa returned to Sri Lanka in 2014, after more than two decades of exile in India. He leased nine acres of agricultural land and began growing rice, a staple food for the island’s 22 million inhabitants. A harvest typically yielded about 288 bags of paddy, each weighing 25 kilograms (55 pounds), enough for a decent livelihood. But overnight this calculus crumbled for Sellan — and for many others in the Sri Lankan labor force, over a third of whom are involved in the paddy sector.

In May 2021, the government banned agrochemicals, with the professed aim of becoming the world’s first country free of chemical fertilizer. A year on, as the country reaps the consequences of that decision — while also grappling with a broader economic crisis that has led to warnings of an impending food shortage and set off the past month of political upheaval.

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Geopolitics
Devaka Gunawardena and Ahilan Kadirgamar*

The Dangers Of Ranil Wickremesinghe's Sudden Power Grab In Sri Lanka

As Sri Lanka looks to choose a new leader, the country's acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe is already behaving like an autocrat. Only by listening to the goals of the people's movement can the country be rescued from ruin.

Sri Lankans rose in unison to oust Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president as the country faces its worst-ever economic crisis and shortages of basics such as food, medicine and fuel. Foreign exchange reserves are empty and the island nation has been forced to hold bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Protests started in the capital, Colombo, in April before spreading across the country.

Despite his destruction of the economy, which led to Sri Lanka’s unprecedented collapse, Rajapaksa proved difficult to dislodge. He clung on to power thanks to the excessive concentration of power in the executive presidency. Nevertheless, the people’s movement brought together protestors from all walks of life to demand his resignation.

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Society
Anne Myriam Bolivar and Megan Spada

The Haitian Entrepreneurs Happy To Stay Home

Given the opportunity to flee an economic and political crisis in Haiti, some business owners opt to stay.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Mathilde Ménélas recalls the moment her parents sold a piece of their land and handed her the cash, telling her to leave the only country she’d ever known. The 26-year-old refused. Instead, she set up a beauty salon in Haiti’s busy capital of Port-au-Prince.

The trained esthetician understood her parents’ fear for her to remain in a country marred by the threat of kidnap, natural disasters, an unstable economy and rising unemployment. Ménélas says leaving her country was all she could think about.

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Sri Lanka
M.R. Narayan Swamy*

Sri Lanka's President Was A Hero – But Now He's Got To Go

Gotabaya may blame the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war or the earlier COVID-19 pandemic for much of the mess, but there is widespread unanimity that the problems are a product of bad governance for more than a decade.

-OpEd-

The very same Gotabaya Rajapaksa who, more than anyone else, cemented the ethnic divide in Sri Lanka by leading a brutal war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has ended up uniting the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in an unprecedented manner — by presiding over the country’s worst economic meltdown since independence in 1948.

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Economy
Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager and Evgeniya Pyatovskaya*

Mother Russia v. Big Macs And iPhones? Why Sanctions Are Bound To Fail

Western freedoms in Russia are only partially appealing, since historically, Russians never had them. Instead, the Russian people are patient, stoic and often irrationally devoted to their cruel motherland.

-Analysis-

While Russia is leading a merciless war in Ukraine that has resulted in millions of Ukrainian refugees’ fleeing to neighboring countries, Western brands are on the exodus from Russia.

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The closure of over 800 McDonald’s restaurants particularly stands out: McDonald’s was the first American restaurant to open in Russia, in 1990. Its arrival symbolized Russia’s new pro-Western era.

That era is rapidly ending, giving way to a quickly spreading revival of Russian nationalism. Such nationalism is a direct outcome of the country’s economic suffocation through sanctions and the West’s broad rejection of Russia and its war with Ukraine.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lorraine Olaya and Laure Gautherin

Nuclear Plant Attack, Humanitarian Corridors, Oligarchs Targeted

👋 Halu!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia seizes control of Europe’s largest nuclear plant after a potentially disastrous attack, Ukraine and Russia agree to set up humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians and the U.S. levels new sanctions on Russian oligarchs. Persian-language media Kayhan-London also reports on the unique prism through which Iran is seeing the Russia-Ukraine war.

[*Inuktitut - Inuit]

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Economy
Jean-Marc Vittori

Vladimir Putin's Two Economic Bets

By deciding to invade Ukraine, the President of Russia did so believing that money would protect his country. By trying to prove him wrong, the West is facing its own potential crash.

-Analysis-

It is not the economy that wages war. It is primarily men, with weapons and ideas, visions and strategies.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage. Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

However, for more than a century, the economy has played an essential role in war development. Vladimir Putin knows this, even if he doesn't usually care much about the subject.

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