Category : Globalization

538 ranks teams chances of winning the World Cup

It’s hard to believe — mostly because it’s currently November and not June 1 — but the 2022 World Cup kicks off at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, on Nov. 20. The host nation will square off against Ecuador in the first World Cup match ever played in the Arab world. And the start of the tournament comes with plenty of questions about who might lift soccer’s most prestigious trophy.

Will it be Brazil, the betting favorite? Or could France become the first nation to repeat since 1962? Is Spain’s new golden generation — piloted by teenagers like Barcelona midfielders Gavi and Pedri — as good as its previous golden generation? 2 Does Lionel Messi have enough left in the tank to lead Argentina to glory and further cement himself as the G.O.A.T.? Is football finally coming home?3 Which squads could shock the world? Is there any shine left on Belgium’s underachieving golden generation?

Last week, we used Elo ratings to measure historical Groups of Death at the World Cup, and also to see where this year’s groups rank — or if a Group of Death even exists this time around. (TL;DR: We’re not sure/it’s complicated.) Today, we’re back with our full-fledged World Cup forecast model to take a broader look at the field and try to answer who’ll be the last team standing on Dec. 18.

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Posted in Globalization, Qatar, Sports

(Gallup) World Less Than Satisfied With Climate Efforts

In the remaining days of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, nearly 200 nations are rushing to seek deals that keep climate goals alive.

If they fall short, it will likely disappoint but not surprise much of the world’s population that is already unhappy with efforts to safeguard the environment.

In 66 out of 123 countries that Gallup surveyed in 2021 and 2022, less than half of people report being satisfied with their country’s efforts to preserve the environment.

This list includes many, but not all, of the world’s cumulative top emitters of carbon dioxide, which is linked to global warming. For example, while less than half of adults in one of the biggest emitters — the U.S. — are satisfied with their country’s efforts to preserve the environment, strong majorities in other big emitters such as China (89%) and India (78%) are satisfied.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Sociology

(CT) The Forgotten Christian Cause: Preserving Democracy

Forty-four percent of the world’s population currently lives in an electoral autocracy, according to V-Dem. Countries that are in this category (or are rapidly moving toward it) include Brazil, India, Hungary, Poland, and Turkey, among many others.

Here’s the scary thing for Christians who take their faith seriously: In every country I just mentioned, religious conservatives are some of the main supporters of autocratization. In majority-Christian countries, those religious conservatives are Christians. In Brazil, many of them are even evangelicals.

Why would voters—including, in many cases, Christian voters—elect politicians who limit the freedom of the press and remove some of the legal checks and balances that have traditionally protected democracy?

According to V-Dem Institute’s exhaustive study of more than 200 countries, the main reason is partisan polarization. If voters’ fears of an opposing party become strong enough, they will often welcome whatever measures keep that party out of power, even if that means the loss of certain constitutional freedoms.

This dynamic seems to be playing out in the United States.

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Posted in Globalization, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(CT) Evangelical Creation Care Expert Shares Lessons Learned from Global Tour

Can you give an example about how we have missed this message in Scripture?

The central passage I use is Colossians 1:15–20. It begins by speaking about Christ creating all things and ends with how the blood of Christ on the cross is redeeming all things. Most people read this redemption in terms of people. But if you zoom out and realize that the “all things” being redeemed are grammatically the same as the “all things” he has created, then you have a universal picture of redemption.

This is reinforced by Romans 8: how creation is waiting for the redemption that will come through the revealing of the children of God.

The church has sometimes struggled over the correct prioritizing of evangelism and social outreach. Does adding a third issue of creation care become too much for some?

Actually, it is the opposite. People working in poverty have realized for a number of years that they are on a treadmill and moving backwards. You cannot make progress in development and ministering to the poor if there are environmental problems that haven’t been addressed.

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Posted in Ecology, Evangelicals, Globalization, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Poor countries need to be rescued from choke hold of debt, say charities

Christan Aid is among a consortium of agencies who are calling on the Government to support programmes for debt relief and restructuring to reduce the “choke hold” that sovereign debt has on countries in the global south….

The statement by Christian Aid was timed to coincide with the International Monetary Fund’s annual gathering of economic leaders. At the meetings, held in Washington last week, the Zambian finance minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, was one of several leaders who called for more action on debt relief and restructuring.

At the…[partial] Lambeth [gathering]…in August, six Anglican Primates added their voices to a call to the UK Government to cancel sovereign debt owed by Zambia and other low-income countries (News, 2 August).

The Primate of Central Africa, the Most Revd Albert Chama, said that servicing the debt put such strain on public finances that cuts had to be made to public services. The debt meant that “ordinary Zambians lose out on health care, education, and development projects which would give them a fair chance to thrive and build futures.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

(ProPublica) How a Chinese American Gangster Transformed Money Laundering for Drug Cartels

Adm. Craig Faller, a senior U.S. military leader, told Congress last year that Chinese launderers had emerged as the “No. 1 underwriter” of drug trafficking in the Western Hemisphere. The Chinese government is “at least tacitly supporting” the laundering activity, testified Faller, who led the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military activity in Latin America.

In an interview with ProPublica, the now-retired Faller elaborated on his little-noticed testimony. He said China has “the world’s largest and most sophisticated state security apparatus. So there’s no doubt that they have the ability to stop things if they want to. They don’t have any desire to stop this. There’s a lot of theories as to why they don’t. But it is certainly aided and abetted by the attitude and way that the People’s Republic of China views the globe.”

Some U.S. officials go further, arguing that Chinese authorities have decided as a matter of policy to foster the drug trade in the Americas in order to destabilize the region and spread corruption, addiction and death here.

“We suspected a Chinese ideological and strategic motivation behind the drug and money activity,” said former senior FBI official Frank Montoya Jr., who served as a top counterintelligence official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. “To fan the flames of hate and division. The Chinese have seen the advantages of the drug trade. If fentanyl helps them and hurts this country, why not?”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., China, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Mexico, Politics in General

(Church Times) Child marriage robs girls of their opportunities, charity finds

An index of the opportunities available to girls in low- and middle-income countries lays bare the link between lack of educational and economic opportunity and high rates of child marriage.

The index, devised by World Vision, found that where girls have opportunities to study and work, and have access to health care, they are less likely to be forced into an early marriage.

The charity calculates that about 110 million girls will be forced into child marriage between now and 2035 unless education in income improves in the worst-affected countries.

Forty low- and middle-income countries were studied to produce the index — 20 where there is known to be a high rate of child marriage, and 20 other countries with comparable economies.

The index showed that countries that offered girls the lowest opportunities included Chad and the Central African Republic, where 61 per cent of girls are married under the age of 18, and Niger, where 76 per cent of girls are married early.

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Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Women

(Lawrence Freedman) Retribution and Regime Change–The consequences of Putin’s weakness

Everything that now happens in this war, including the murderous missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, has to be understood in terms of the logic of Putin’s exposed position as a failed war leader. He is desperately trying to demonstrate to his hard-line critics that he is up to the task. The opening salvos of this week, ending yet more innocent lives for no discernible military gain, will not make Ukraine less determined or able to win this war. They will have the opposite effect.

The trigger was the damage inflicted on the Kerch bridge last Saturday. The bridge was built at considerable expense to connect Crimea to the mainland and opened by Putin with great fanfare in 2018. The attack combined a symbolic blow with painful practical consequences. Although some road and rail traffic will still pass through, the loss of so much capacity adds to the headaches for Russian logisticians. This link is vital to keeping Crimea, and, through Crimea, forces in southern Ukraine, supplied. News of the attack left the normal suspects on Russian state media unsure about whether to be angrier with the shoddy security that allowed the attack to happen or the audacity of the Ukrainians in mounting the attack. TV Host Vladimir Solovyov, who has been increasingly despondent of late, demanded to know ‘when will we start fighting?’, adding, channeling his inner Machiavelli, that ‘it’s better to be feared than laughed at’. When on the night of 9 October Putin declared this to be a terrorist act against vital civilian infrastructure (despite its evident military value) it was clear that he shared this sentiment.

Putin’s statement claimed that ‘high-precision weapons’ were used against ‘Ukrainian infrastructure, energy infrastructure, military command and communications’, as both an answer to the ‘crimes of the Kyiv regime’ and a warning against further ‘terrorist attacks on the territory of the Russian Federation.’ Some infrastructure targets were hit but so have, just in Kyiv, a playground, a symbolic glass bridge in a park (which survived), and the German consulate. As Kyiv is Ukraine’s main decision-making centre it is telling that none of these supposedly precise weapons hit anything of political or military significance.

State Media’s Margarita Simonyan, who had called the bridge attack a ‘red line’ for Russia expressed delight at the landing of our ‘little response’. Yet while they might satisfy urges for vengeance their impact will be limited unless they become part of a persistent campaign. Alexander Kots, a war reporter, has expressed his hope that this was not a ‘one-off act of retribution, but a new system for carrying out the conflict’ to be continued until Ukraine ‘loses its ability to function.’ Former President Dmitri Medvedev, who once appeared as a serious figure, has expressed his conviction that the goal of ‘future actions’ (but not current?) must be the ‘complete dismantling of the political regime in Ukraine.’

Such hopes are contradicted by the harsh reality of Russia’s position. Putin’s statement highlighted retribution. Russia lacks the missiles to mount attacks of this sort often, as it is running out of stocks and the Ukrainians are claiming a high success rate in intercepting many of those already used. This is not therefore a new war-winning strategy but a sociopath’s tantrum.

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Posted in Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(FT) Fed-led dash for higher rates risks ‘world recession’, warns top EU diplomat

[Josep] Borrell, speaking at an annual conference of EU ambassadors, admitted that Brussels was “quite reluctant” to believe US warnings that Russia was going to invade Ukraine in February and had failed to analyse Russian president Vladimir Putin’s actions.

“We didn’t believe it will happen . . . And we haven’t foreseen neither the capacity of Putin to escalate,” he said.

Borrell added Brussels failed to understand what other countries wanted, and instead pushed its own ideas on them.

“We think that we know better what is in other people’s interests,” he said. “We have to listen more . . . to the rest of the world. We need to have more empathy.

“We try to export our model, but we don’t think how others will perceive this,” he added.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

(NYT) The Job Market Has Been Like Musical Chairs, but now some cracks are appearing

When Debbie Ricks lost her job as a server in March 2020, she decided to chase a long cast-aside ambition: She would try to become a photojournalist, and get away from her undertipping customers. Last year seemed to be the time for a professional leap.

She had unemployment checks coming in, $1,200 a month. She could supplement food stamps with the pasta and applesauce cans she found on the streets. Most important, every restaurant in Washington, D.C., seemed to be hiring; at any moment, she figured, she could line up a job. But this summer, as her savings dried up and the cost of food rose, she began to feel that many of those backup opportunities had evaporated.

“I do kind of feel like, ‘Oh, Debbie, you should’ve jumped on that,’” Ms. Ricks, 44, said. “But I wanted to get back into journalism, which is what I love.”

After months of a booming job market, which prompted workers to quit and raised wages across industries, the job openings rate declined in August. Layoffs rose slightly, to 1.5 million, though they were still below their historical average. With fears of a recession looming, workers who were flush with opportunities are beginning to feel the anxieties of tightened corporate budgets.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Barrons) Even as Altruism Grows Around the World, Charitable Giving Remains Flat

Charitable giving—including only monetary donations and the value of time donated —remained flat, at just under 3% of global GDP in 2021 despite an increase in altruistic attitudes and behaviors across the globe, according to a Citi report released Tuesday.

On average, prosocial behaviors like the acts of donating, volunteering, and helping strangers all increased by nearly 25% last year compared to pre-pandemic levels. Yet, charitable giving did not rise in most countries, and even fell in inflation-adjusted terms in some countries, according to the report, “Philanthropy and the Global Economy.”

“We were sort of hoping that after the pandemic that donations would continue in the trajectory and they really, for the most part, did not,” says Karen Kardos, head of philanthropic advisory at Citi Private Bank and a co-author of the report.

Global inflation and uncertainties in financial markets may create further headwinds for charitable giving. Globally, 55% of donors expect to give the same amount in 2022 as they did in 2021. In the U.S., the country with the most monetary donations, more than 60% of donors planned to be more cautious in 2022 as recession risks weigh on their confidence, survey data show.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Globalization, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Economist) Financial markets are in trouble. Where will the cracks appear?

It is hard not to feel a sense of foreboding. As the Federal Reserve has tightened policy, asset prices have plunged. Stocks, as measured by the Wilshire 5000 all-cap index, have shed $12trn of market capitalisation since January. Another $7trn has been wiped off bonds, which have lost 14% of their value. Some $2trn of crypto market-cap has vanished over the past year. House prices adjust more slowly, but are falling. Mortgage rates have hit 7%, up from 3% last year. And this is all in America—one of the world’s strongest economies.

Rising rates will slow the American economy and should break the back of inflation. But what else will they break? Since the Federal Reserve raised rates again on September 22nd, global markets have been in turmoil. When the British government announced unfunded tax cuts a day later, fire-sales by pension funds caused the yield on government bonds (or “gilts”) to spiral out of control. Contagion then spread to the American Treasury market, which is as volatile and illiquid as it was at the start of covid-19. The cost to insure against the default of Credit Suisse, a global bank, has risen sharply. These ructions indicate the world is entering a new phase, in which financial markets no longer just reflect the pain of adjusting to the new economic context—pricing in higher rates and lower growth—but now also spread pain of their own.

The most catastrophic pain is felt when financial institutions fail. There are two ways they do so: illiquidity or insolvency. Tighter monetary policy is likely to prompt or reveal both.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Stock Market

(SCMP) Xi Jinping may ‘recalibrate’ after miscalculation of siding with Russia, Henry Kissinger says

After watching China’s “no limits” partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin fall well short of expectations, the stage is set for President Xi Jinping to tilt at least modestly toward the United States after the 20th party congress, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger said on Monday.

“Xi gave a rather blank check to Putin,” Kissinger said at the Asia Society in New York. “He must have thought the invasion would succeed. He must need to recalibrate.”

A slow easing of US-China tensions could begin as early as next month at the Group of 20 summit of economic nations in Indonesia when Xi and US President Joe Biden are expected to meet.

Xi almost certainly expected Putin to be successful after Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine – an offensive that has revealed deep weaknesses in the Russian military – and wants to avoid seeing a wall of Western opposition against China develop in the way it has against Russia, potentially raising questions at home, Kissinger said.

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Posted in China, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(1st Things) Ephraim Radner reflects on the Partial Lambeth Gathering of 2022

This year’s Conference was meant to help bring things back together. I observed it only from a distance, but I am aware of the great labor, prayer, and goodwill that went into its preparation (of which I was a part), and of the efforts of many present to be faithful, open, and hopeful. For all my frustrations, I admire the archbishop of Canterbury and the many bishops who worked hard for this affair. But the result simply didn’t add up.

The penny is finally dropping. Anglicans are “irreconcilably ­divided”—that is, their divisions are viewed on all sides as arising from essential commitments, which cannot be compromised. Anglican leaders are finally admitting that these “essential commitments” are tied up with claims about sexual identity and its scriptural (and hence Christian) meaning. Not that most Anglicans did not already know this. But at the public and administrative levels of leadership within the Communion—among bishops and their theological advisors or subalterns—a refrain of the past two decades has insisted on the secondary nature of these differences. Sexuality and its scriptural significance, it was explained, do not touch “core” realities of the gospel; they are “matters indifferent” (adiaphora, in the technical sense of not being doctrinal issues that should divide the church), or, if not quite that, at least matters that can be set aside as we focus on our commonalities and continue to chug along “together.” The Communion could carry on as a Communion, we were told, without resolving the supposedly secondary issues of sex and sexual identity.

It was at best a naive view and at worst a willful refusal to admit the obvious in hopes of maintaining a grip on ecclesiastical power. Though theologians, formal and informal, can argue that this or that matter ought to be adiaphora, the category is in fact purely descriptive. Christians divide over what they think is important, not according to a template devised by scholars. So “sex” is not important? Prove it to the Communion! Opposing sides say otherwise and have proven their commitments through their actions. Confusion, disagreement, and political hostilities over sexuality reflect deep cultural issues that may one day be resolved—but not in the short term, and probably not without the intervention of catastrophic social changes driven by factors other than theological discussion.

The Anglican “Communion,” therefore, is no longer a “communion” in the twentieth-­century sense, a sense that grew out of a nineteenth-century understanding and experience of common Christian mission. There are Anglican leaders who seem quite happy with the fragmentation; indeed, this summer’s Lambeth Conference seemed at times giddy with relief at having left behind the desperate efforts to paper over disunity. But if the Anglican “Communion” is not the Communion of the past, what is it?

First, it is necessary to clarify what else today’s Communion is not and does not do. The Anglican Communion no longer holds a common teaching about the gospel….

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Global South Churches & Primates, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(Economist) Markets are reeling from higher rates. The world economy is next

The world’s financial markets are going through their most painful adjustment since the global financial crisis. Adapting to the prospect of higher American interest rates, the ten-year Treasury yield briefly hit 4% this week, its highest level since 2010. Global stock markets have sold off sharply, and bond portfolios have lost an astonishing 21% this year.

The dollar is crushing all comers. The greenback is up by 5.5% since mid-August on a trade-weighted basis, partly because the Fed is raising rates but also because investors are backing away from risk. Across Asia, governments are intervening to resist the depreciation of their currencies. In Europe Britain has poured the fuel of reckless fiscal policy on the fire, causing it to lose the confidence of investors. And as bond yields surge, the euro zone’s indebted economies are looking their most fragile since the sovereign-debt crisis a decade ago.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Stock Market

(FA) Richard Haass–The Dangerous Decade: A Foreign Policy for a World in Crisis

There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” Those words are apocryphally attributed to the Bolshevik revolutionary (and Foreign Affairs reader) Vladimir Lenin, referring to the rapid collapse of tsarist Russia just over 100 years ago. If he had actually said those words, Lenin might have added that there are also decades when centuries happen.

The world is in the midst of one such decade. As with other historical hinges, the danger today stems from a sharp decline in world order. But more than at any other recent moment, that decline threatens to become especially steep, owing to a confluence of old and new threats that have begun to intersect at a moment the United States is ill positioned to contend with them.

On the one hand, the world is witnessing the revival of some of the worst aspects of traditional geopolitics: great-power competition, imperial ambitions, fights over resources. Today, Russia is headed by a tyrant, President Vladimir Putin, who longs to re-create a Russian sphere of influence and perhaps even a Russian empire. Putin is willing to do almost anything to achieve that goal, and he is able to act as he pleases because internal constraints on his regime have mostly disappeared. Meanwhile, under President Xi Jinping, China has embarked on a quest for regional and potentially global primacy, putting itself on a trajectory that will lead to increased competition or even confrontation with the United States.

But that is not all—not by a long shot. These geopolitical risks are colliding with complex new challenges central to the contemporary era, such as climate change, pandemics, and nuclear proliferation. And not surprisingly, the diplomatic fallout from growing rivalries has made it nearly impossible for great powers to work together on regional and international challenges, even when it is in their interest to do so.

Further complicating the picture is the reality that American democracy and political cohesion are at risk to a degree not seen since the middle of the nineteenth century. This matters because the United States is not just one country among many: U.S. leadership has underpinned what order there has been in the world for the past 75 years and remains no less central today. A United States riven internally, however, will become ever less willing and able to lead on the international stage.

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Posted in Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

(Telegraph) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Are Overzealous central banks making another horrible mistake, so (we should) batten down the hatches?

The world can kiss goodbye to an economic soft landing. Western central banks are on a misguided mission to restore their damaged credibility, tightening monetary policy violently after the post-pandemic recovery has already wilted and output is nearing contractionary levels.

Britain’s fiscal blitz has the luck of timing. It is a counter-cyclical stimulus, cushioning some of the blow, even if it risks rattling bond vigilantes, and even if it is wasteful in subsidies for the affluent.

Critics say the energy bailout will cap inflation in the short run but stoke more inflation in the long run, to which one can only reply, like Keynes, that in the long run we are all dead. World events are going to wash over such quibbling with a torrential deflationary force.

The central banks are pushing through with triple-barrelled rate rises after the inflation fever has broken; after the commodity boom has deflated; and after key monetary indicators on both sides of the Atlantic have turned negative. They are prisoners of lagging indicators.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, The Banking System/Sector

(FA) Nicholas Eberstadt and Evan Abramsky–America’s Education Crisis Is a National Security Threat

The erosion of the United States’ educational edge will eventually weaken the country’s global reach. With a less highly educated workforce than it could or should have, the United States will have less economic, political, and military heft with which to defend its interests and uphold the economic and security architecture that has defined the postwar order. Eventually, Pax Americana will come under pressure. It is not hard to imagine a progressively less peaceable and more economically insecure international environment in which the United States has much less influence as a result of its stagnating pool of high-skilled labor.

Fortunately, the United States still has good options for coping with loss of educational hegemony. But they all require Washington to take initiative—something it seems unaccustomed to lately. Through more active and imaginative diplomacy, the United States could seek to forge new coalitions or alliances that would add human resource ballast to the liberal order. This might entail patient cultivation of new security partnerships with some of tomorrow’s major centers of highly educated labor: India, Indonesia, Vietnam—maybe even Iran. Other intriguing possibilities include a closer integration of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, which might bring North America’s strategic potential more in line with its tremendous demographic and economic potential.

Meanwhile, the United States could attempt to reverse its ominous educational slowdown. Stagnation in educational attainment is impeding economic growth and likely robbing the United States of trillions of dollars in output each year—a price that will only rise if the United States doesn’t shift course. Part of the problem is that Americans do not want to buy a lot of what U.S. educators want to sell, and it is hard to blame them. The quality of public primary and secondary schooling is woefully uneven, and a high school diploma does not always come with marketable skills. Higher education is increasingly bureaucratized, ideological, and expensive. If Americans treated education as if their future depended on it, they would look for far-reaching overhauls, not marginal changes, and they would look beyond teachers’ unions and university administrators for better ideas. Revitalizing the country’s human resources—not just educational attainment, but health, workforce participation, and even family—will increasingly be strategic imperatives for the United States.

The coming demographic and educational changes are predictable. But they are not entirely inevitable, and they are unfolding slowly. The United States has time to adapt and address its educational shortcomings before it is too late. To avoid squandering its educational edge and putting its position of global primacy at risk, however, Washington must acknowledge that education is no longer just a domestic policy issue but a national security issue on which the very future of the United States depends.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Education, Foreign Relations, Globalization

(BBC) Russia and Ukraine Deal signed to allow grain exports to resume by sea

Ukraine and Russia have signed “mirror” deals which will allow Kyiv to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea.

The agreement will allow millions of tonnes of grain, currently trapped in Ukraine by the war, to be exported.

The world shortage of Ukrainian grain since Russia’s 24 February invasion has left millions at risk of hunger.

However, Kyiv refused to sign a direct deal with Moscow, and warned “provocations” would be met with “an immediate military response”.

Both sides attended the signing ceremony in Istanbul but did not sit at the same table. Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu signed Moscow’s deal first, followed by Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov signing Kyiv’s identical agreement.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(Church Times) Five overseas Anglicans will help choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury

The Anglican Communion will have a greater say in choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury, after the General Synod approved a motion on Saturday to increase from one to five its representation on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) for Canterbury.

The balance of representation on the CNC has long been suggested as unreflective of the current nature of the role of the Archbishop, whose responsibilities are closely bound with those of the Communion. A background paper presented to Synod suggested the position was rooted in the colonial history of England: “The Church of England and the Communion cannot escape asking why a British cleric should always be primus inter pares” [first among equals].

Moving the motion, Dr Jamie Harris (Durham) welcomed the acceptance of others into the discernment process. Given that the average Anglican was a woman under 40, and living in sub-Saharan Africa, the Archbishop of Canterbury had “a particular concern for who she is and where she is. . . The Archbishop remains a central focus for unity,” he said. This had increased over time.

There were detractors during what was a long debate on the motion, which the chair, Canon Professor Joyce Hill, had warned Synod at the outset might be “procedurally a little bit complicated”, with issues in the several amendments not easily separated.

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Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Globalization

(Economist) The Covid19 learning loss has been a global disaster

New data suggest that the damage has been worse than almost anyone expected. Locking kids out of school has prevented many of them from learning how to read properly. Before the pandemic 57% of ten-year-olds in low and middle-income countries could not read a simple story, says the World Bank. That figure may have risen to 70%, it now estimates. The share of ten-year-olds who cannot read in Latin America, probably the worst-affected region, could rocket from around 50% to 80% (see chart 1).

Children who never master the basics will grow up to be less productive and to earn less. McKinsey, a consultancy, estimates that by 2040 education lost to school closures could cause global gdp to be 0.9% lower than it would otherwise have been—an annual loss of $1.6trn. The World Bank thinks the disruption could cost children $21trn in earnings over their lifetimes—a sum equivalent to 17% of global gdp today. That is much more than the $10trn it had estimated in 2020, and also an increase on the $17trn it was predicting last year.

In many parts of the world, schools were closed for far too long…. During the first two years of the pandemic countries enforced national school closures lasting 20 weeks on average, according to unesco. Periods of “partial” closure—when schools were closed in some parts of a country, or to some year groups, or were running part-time schedules—wasted a further 21 weeks. Regional differences are huge. Full and partial shutdowns lasted 29 weeks in Europe and 32 weeks in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries in Latin America imposed restrictions lasting 63 weeks, on average. That figure was 73 weeks in South Asia.

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Posted in Children, Education, Globalization, Health & Medicine

(Bloomberg) David Fickling And Ruth Pollard–When the Weather Gets Hot Enough To Kill

On an April day in 1905, the scientist J.S. Haldane descended hundreds of feet into a Cornish tin mine to find out if he could cook himself to death.

Amateur researchers had long known that humans have an extraordinary ability to withstand dry heat. One 18th century experimenter found he could tolerate temperatures up to 115 degrees Celsius (240 Fahrenheit), hot enough to cook steaks. But the moist, saturated air in the Dolcoath mine, dug through hot rock deep below the water table, seemed to change things. Though the temperature never climbed above 31.5C, Haldane’s body temperature and pulse rose with each minute, hitting feverish levels before he ascended after three hours. “It becomes impracticable for ordinary persons to stay for long periods” when the humid temperature rises above 31C, he wrote.

That finding hasn’t significantly changed over the years since — but our atmosphere has. As the climate warms, conditions once experienced only in saunas and deep mineshafts are rapidly becoming the open-air reality for hundreds of millions of people, who have no escape to air conditioning or cooler climes. After a few hours with humid heat above 35C — a measure known as the wet-bulb temperature — even healthy people with unlimited shade and water will die of heatstroke. For those carrying out physical labor, the threshold is closer to Haldane’s 31C, or even lower.

Brajabandhu Sahu knows the physical signs all too well. A street vendor selling foods like dosa, idli and uttapam on the corner of two busy roads in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Odisha, he’s surrounded at times by what feels like a wall of fire from which he cannot escape. When the day is at its hottest, his head spins, his heart races, his skin blisters and the waves of nausea are constant. The moisture-laden winds that blow in from the Bay of Bengal put citizens in this region at particular risk.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, India, Science & Technology

Keep up momentum on highlighting abuses of freedom of religion and belief, bishop Philip Mounstephen urges

The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, told a global summit on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) hosted by the UK Government, that there had been some good progress in some areas made since the publication of the review in 2019, but ‘much’ still needed to be done.

“The challenge going forward is to keep up the corporate momentum that has developed around this issue because this is a really, really significant global issue,” he told a panel session of the Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London today.

“We must not let it sink back into the place that it was before, largely ignored and overlooked.”

Asked what his advice would be to Parliamentarians, Bishop Philip said: “My key message to Parliamentarians would be: understand what the main drivers behind freedom of religion or belief abuses are – we are looking at totalitarian regimes, religious fundamentalism, militant nationalism – these are really serious issues that must be addressed. So please Parliamentarians, make this a bipartisan issue, espouse it across the political spectrum.”

In his remarks during the panel session Bishop Philip welcomed the creation of the UK Freedom of Religion or Belief Public Forum made since the publication of the 2019 report.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

Protecting freedom of religion or belief protects everyone, Archbishop Welby tells governments

Thanking the UK Government for hosting the meeting, he told delegates: “Freedom of Religion or Belief matters because, when people are free to worship and express themselves, faiths work with others to bring flourishing: they answer the needs of development and reconciliation bring grassroots community transformations that are the golden hope of the soft power of diplomats and development NGOs.”

He highlighted how religious repression can often be linked with wider restrictions in societies.

“We know that, when freedoms of expression and worship are restricted, other freedoms and opportunities are limited too,” he said. “Women, minorities, many other people miss out.”

The Archbishop also cautioned against marginalising freedom of religion. “When national leaders pursue freedom of religion and belief, they have an opportunity to bring a wealth of wisdom around the table, harnessed to the common good,” he said.

Noting that religious communities can themselves be agents of repression and violence, he went on to say that billions have the kind of faith that “inspires people to care for their neighbour, to motivate work for education in schools, or in healthcare”.

He told the summit: “Leadership is never easy. If you don’t offer people freedom, safety and opportunity, or if you only offer this to some people and not to others, you are not really leading – and your people will not want to follow.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(Church Times) Foreign Secretary Liz Truss backs drive for Foreign Office to take religious persecution more seriously

The Government’s support for persecuted believers is improving, an independent review has concluded.

Five public-law academics undertook to review the implementation of recommendations contained in the report on the persecution of Christians and others around the world produced in 2019 by the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen.

In a statement on Monday, the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, said: “We welcome and accept this expert review on progress and . . . accept their assessment for the need to continue to work to promote and strengthen Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) as a fundamental human right for all.

“Our work on this important human rights issue will never be complete, and we will continue to champion global efforts on FoRB,” she added.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(Church Times) MPs hear horror stories as the UK prepares to host conference on freedom of religion

The plight of Christians, Muslims, and humanists around the world was raised in a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday morning, in advance of an international conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) next week.

The session was opened by the Prime Minister’s special envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce MP.

“Millions of people today are being denied their FoRB,” Ms Bruce told the gathering of parliamentarians. “FoRB violations are getting worse in severity and scale. Right across the world people are losing their jobs, education, homes, livelihoods, families, freedom, access to justice, even life itself, simply on account of what they believe.”

The international Ministerial Conference on FoRB next week will gather more than 500 politicians, faith leaders, and experts to share best practice on protecting religious freedom and to inspire more action to be taken.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(Economist) How to win Ukraine’s long war

On the face of it, a long war suits Russia. Both sides are using huge amounts of ammunition, but Russia has vastly more. The Russian economy is much larger than Ukraine’s and in far better shape. In pursuit of victory, Russia is willing to terrorise and demoralise the Ukrainians by committing war crimes, as it did by striking a shopping mall in Kremenchuk this week. If needs be, Mr Putin will impose grievous suffering on his own people.

However, the long war does not have to be fought on Mr Putin’s terms. Potentially, Ukraine has vast numbers of motivated fighters. It can be supplied by the West’s defence industry. In 2020, before sanctions, the economies of nato were more than ten times bigger than Russia’s.

Ukraine’s turnaround begins on the battlefield, by stopping and reversing the Russian advance. Mr Putin’s generals will continue to have more weapons, but the sophisticated nato systems now arriving have longer range and greater accuracy. By adopting tactics devised in the cold war, when nato too was outnumbered by the Red Army, Ukraine should be able to destroy Russian command posts and supply depots. Ukraine scored a success on June 30th, when it used nato weapons to drive Russian forces off Snake Island, a strategic prize in the Black Sea. It should aim to impose a “hurting stalemate”, in which it takes back similarly symbolically important territory, such as the city of Kherson, imposing a heavy price on Russia.

If Russia starts to lose ground on the battlefield, dissent and infighting may spread in the Kremlin.

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Posted in Foreign Relations, Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(NYT front page) A More Muscular NATO Emerges as West Confronts Russia and China

Faced with a newly aggressive Russia, NATO leaders on Wednesday outlined a muscular new vision that names Moscow as the military alliance’s primary adversary but also, for the first time, declares China to be a strategic “challenge.”

It was a fundamental shift for an alliance that was born in the Cold War but came to view a post-Soviet Russia as a potential ally, and did not focus on China at all.

But that was before Feb. 24, when Russian forces poured across the border into Ukraine, and Chinese leaders pointedly did not join in the global condemnation that followed.

“The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests,” NATO leaders said in a new mission statement issued during their summit in Madrid.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(Gallup News) World Unhappier, More Stressed Out Than Ever

Emotionally, the second year of the pandemic was an even tougher year for the world than the first one, according to Gallup’s latest annual global update on the negative and positive experiences that people are having each day.

As 2021 served up a steady diet of uncertainty, the world became a slightly sadder, more worried and more stressed-out place than it was the year before — which helped push Gallup’s Negative Experience Index to yet another new high of 33 in 2021.

As it does every year, Gallup asked adults in 122 countries and areas in 2021 if they had five different negative experiences on the day before the survey — and compiled the results into an index. Higher scores on the Negative Experience Index indicate that more of a population is experiencing these emotions.

In 2021, four in 10 adults worldwide said they experienced a lot of worry (42%) or stress (41%), and slightly more than three in 10 experienced a lot of physical pain (31%). More than one in four experienced sadness (28%), and slightly fewer experienced anger (23%).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(Economist) How to fix the world’s energy emergency without wrecking the environment

Energy shocks can become political catastrophes. Perhaps a third of the rich world’s inflation of 8% is explained by soaring fuel and power costs. Households struggling to pay bills are angry, leading to policies aimed at insulating them and boosting fossil-fuel production, however dirty.

Mr Biden, who came to power promising a green revolution, plans to suspend petrol taxes and visit Saudi Arabia to ask it to pump more oil. Europe has emergency windfall levies, subsidies, price caps and more. In Germany, as air-conditioners whine, coal-fired power plants are being taken out of mothballs. Chinese and Indian state-run mining firms that the climate-conscious hoped were on a fast track to extinction are digging up record amounts of coal.

This improvised chaos is understandable but potentially disastrous, because it could stall the clean-energy transition. Public handouts and tax-breaks for fossil fuels will be hard to withdraw. Dirty new power plants and oil- and gasfields with 30- to 40-year lifespans would give their owners more reason to resist fossil-fuel phase-outs. That is why, even as they firefight, governments must focus on tackling the fundamental problems confronting the energy industry.

One priority is finding a way to ramp up fossil-fuel projects, especially relatively clean natural gas, that have an artificially truncated lifespan of 15-20 years so as to align them with the goal of dramatically cutting emissions by 2050.

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology