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Eastwest Press Review – The world in ten news items – 16 June 2017

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Eastwest Press Review offers a weekly geopolitical collection of recent global trends, beyond the main headlines. The world, one news at a time.


Herding mentality: Inner Mongolia has become China’s model of assimilation

The question is whether the model of assimilation and appeasement is sustainable. Economic pressures are growing. Many Mongolians feel excluded from the province’s overall prosperity. City folk, who are disproportionately Han, earn twice as much as herders. Even in rural areas, the energy-intensive and heavily polluting industries that fuelled the region’s boom largely benefit Han companies; few miners are Mongolian. (Read more on The Economist)

Japan passes ‘brutal’ counter-terror law despite fears over civil liberties

Japan has passed a controversial law targeting conspiracies to commit terrorism and other serious crimes, despite a warning by the UN that it could be used to crack down on civil liberties. The ruling Liberal Democratic party and its junior coalition pushed the bill through the upper house of Japan’s parliament as thousands of people protested outside. (Read more on The Guardian)

Understanding India’s response to China’s Belt and Road

New Delhi decided to skip the much-publicized Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, framing the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative as a bad deal that undermines India’s core interests. Is this position in conflict with India’s simultaneous aspirations for economic cooperation and peaceful co-existence with China? (Read more on Asia Times)


Remaining civilians flee booby-trapped, sniper-infested west Mosul

Civilians who had remained under siege in Islamic State-held areas of the city for months have flooded the streets of Mosul‘s Zinjili neighborhood in recent days, many injured and separated from family members as they ran to evade snipers’ bullets. […]The densely populated, less affluent area of Zinjili is “more heavily booby-trapped than any other area we have seen here yet,” Maj. Anas Ibrahim Abdullah, commander of the first regiment of the federal police’s elite division. (Read more on Al Monitor)

These are the corporate winners and losers in the Qatar standoff

With Qatar increasingly isolated from its Gulf neighbors in an escalating geopolitical crisis, the economic and financial implications are starting to emerge. […]“We expect the move to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar could have significant economic ramifications for its economy, but to have barely an effect on the rest of the GCC,” said Arqaam’s head of equity research Jaap Meijer. “We expect consumer prices in Qatar to be affected first, though economic growth and government projects should also be affected.” (Read more on Bloomberg)


Where it all went wrong for Theresa May

As a prime minister without her own general election victory, May clearly hoped that her “hard Brexit” rhetoric would buy her plenty of votes from UKIP, strengthening her grip on Downing Street. However, the past eight weeks have been a disaster for her. She now finds herself the leader of a minority government, with Brexit negotiations due to start in less than two weeks. (Read more on The Conversation)

As US influence wanes, Germany has the chance to step into the spotlight

The Trump administration has failed to fill numerous international positions, proposed cuts to the State Department’s budget and seen several members of its diplomatic corps resign. […]Though it’s likely a temporary vacuum, American withdrawal from the international stage may present an opportunity for countries to play a larger global role, defending the liberal world order while the United States is on a break. Merkel’s pointed response to Trump’s wavering signals on NATO and the Paris accord suggests that Germany may be among them. (Read more on The Conversation)


Ghana is safe and stable, but its young people are still risking their lives to cross to Europe

Through April of this year, 823 Ghanaians arrived in Italy. Refugees fleeing violence or oppressive regimes in countries like South Sudan and Eritrea often overshadow the plight of irregular migrants—those who cross international borders without proper documentation—from peaceful, politically stable countries like Ghana. (Read more on Quartz)

Why Chinese Infrastructure Loans in Africa Represent a Brand-New Type of Neocolonialism

If infrastructural developments in Africa associated with the One Belt, One Road project will primarily benefit China by faster and cheaper transportation of African natural resources to the Chinese economy, such benefits, especially when compared to the costs of potentially non-repaid loans, may be much less than anything that European colonists obtained from their ventures in the past. (Read more on The Diplomat)


Australia Settles Lawsuit With Detained Asylum-seekers

The Australian government has agreed to pay more than $50 million to settle a lawsuit brought by nearly 2,000 asylum-seekers who claim to have suffered psychological and physical abuse while being held at a remote Pacific detention center. The lawsuit was brought by 1,905 men were held at the Manus Island center in Papua New Guinea between 2012 and 2014. (Read more on Voa News)


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