Category : Globalization

(DW) UN: Pandemic did not slow advance of climate change

The UN released a report on Thursday warning that the COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed the pace of climate change.

Virus-related economic slowdown and lockdowns caused only a temporary downturn in CO2 emissions last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

“There was some thinking that the COVID lockdowns would have had a positive impact on the atmosphere, which is not the case,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said at a news briefing.

The United in Science 2021 report, which gathers the latest scientific data and findings related to climate change, said global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions between January and July in the power and industry sectors were already back to the same level or higher than in the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

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

(Bloomberg) What the Next Six Months of the Pandemic May Bring

“The end process is not going to be uniform,” Charters said. The pandemic “is a biological phenomenon, but it’s also a political and social phenomenon.”

“Even now we have different approaches to it.”

It’s likely to be messy, leaving a lasting legacy for years to come. Until then, most of us will need to brace for many more months in the pandemic’s grip.

“We have to approach it with our eyes wide open and with a great deal of humility,”…[Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis,] said. “Anybody that thinks we’re going to be over this in the next few days or a few months is sorely mistaken.”

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Posted in Globalization, Health & Medicine

(FT) Climate change risks triggering catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis, scientist Bill McGuire warns

The world is underestimating the geological consequences of global warming, which could trigger catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis as the melting of ice sheets reduces the weight on the crust below and unleashes intense seismic activity, a leading earth scientist has warned.

The biggest threat in the north Atlantic comes from the thinning of Greenland’s ice cap, Bill McGuire, professor of earth sciences at University College London, told the British Science Festival in the UK town of Chelmsford on Thursday. Within decades, that could spark huge submarine earthquakes off the coast of Greenland, causing tsunamis with disastrous consequences for North America and probably Europe, he said.

A possible precedent was the “great Storegga tsunami” that devastated the coasts of Scandinavia and the British Isles 8,200 years ago. An offshore earthquake, triggered by the release of pressure after northern Europe’s ice sheets had melted, set off a vast landslide of submarine sediments under the Norwegian Sea. Geological evidence shows the resulting tsunami wave reached 15 to 20 metres high in the Shetland islands and 3 to 6 metres high further down the North Sea.

“As the Greenland ice cap melts, the uplift in the crust is going to trigger earthquakes,” said McGuire. “We don’t know enough about the sediments off the Greenland coast to predict confidently what might happen there, but it is certainly possible that within decades there could be a tsunami right across the north Atlantic.”

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

(WSJ) Walter Russell Mead–Identity Politics Goes Global: Multi-ethnic states from South Africa to Central Asia are starting to come apart

Identity wars and conflicts based on differences in ethnicity, culture, language or religion are, once ignited, the most powerful forces in human affairs. And these forces persist in nations of all levels of development. Having witnessed Brexit and heard calls for Catalan independence, we shouldn’t be surprised that African peoples also want to exit distant and dysfunctional multi-ethnic unions to control their own affairs.

Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon are ripping themselves apart across ethnic or confessional divides. Separatist movements among the Arab, Kurdish, Azeri and Balochi minorities haunt the slumbers of Iranian mullahs. From the western Balkans through Turkey and the Caucasus to the “stans” of Central Asia, ethnic and religious divides are worrying governments and challenging the status quo.

The revisionist nationalism of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, India’s turn toward Hindu nationalism, and China’s increasingly xenophobic Han nationalism show that identity politics is returning to center stage even in large states. The eurocrats of Brussels are also struggling to contain populist nationalist opposition to European Union edicts. Many Americans wonder whether a common U.S. identity is strong enough to contain the forces that threaten to splinter the country permanently into hostile racial, religious and ideological camps.

Alongside the return of great power competition, the eruption of identity politics is the single most consequential political feature of our time. This fateful combination does not bode well.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Politics in General, Psychology

(NYT) Big Tech Has Outgrown This Planet

The already bonkers dollars of Big Tech have become even bonkers-er.

My colleagues and I have written a lot about the unreal sales, profits and oomph of America’s five technology titans — Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook. This might feel like old news. Tech’s Titanic 5 have been big and rich for a long time, and they’ve gotten even more so as people and organizations have needed their products during the coronavirus pandemic. Yadda, yadda, yadda. We get it.

But no, we really don’t get it. American’s technology superstars have launched into a completely different stratosphere than even other wildly successful companies in tech and beyond.

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Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Science & Technology

(C of E) Alan Smith announced as next First Church Estates Commissioner

Alan Smith, Senior Advisor – ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Risk and Inclusion, and former Global Head of Risk Strategy at HSBC, is to be the next First Church Estates Commissioner, Downing Street announced today. Alan has also been a Church Commissioner since 2018.
The First Church Estates Commissioner chairs the Church Commissioners’ Assets Committee, a statutory committee responsible for the strategic management of the Church Commissioners’ £9.2 billion investment portfolio.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Chair of the Commissioners’ Board of Governors, said: “I am delighted that Alan has chosen to use his skills and experience to serve the Church and greatly look forward to working with him. Climate change is the most urgent challenge we face, and Alan’s knowledge of environmental issues and risk management will be critically important for the Commissioners’ work. I’d also like to thank Loretta Minghella for her hard work and leadership during her time at the Church Commissioners.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “We are pleased that Alan will succeed Loretta. Alan’s experience as a Commissioner and his role on the Commissioners’ Audit & Risk Committee means he’s extremely well suited for this leadership role.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Stock Market

(NYT) The Pandemic Has a New Epicenter: Indonesia

By the thousands, they sleep in hallways, tents and cars, gasping for air as they wait for beds in overcrowded hospitals that may not have oxygen to give them. Others see hospitals as hopeless, even dangerous, and take their chances at home.

Wherever they lie, as Covid-19 steals their breath away, their families engage in a frantic, daily hunt for scarce supplies of life-giving oxygen.

Indonesia has become the new epicenter of the pandemic, surpassing India and Brazil to become the country with the world’s highest count of new infections. ​ The surge is part of a wave across Southeast Asia, where vaccination rates are low but countries had until recently contained the virus relatively well​. Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are also facing their largest outbreaks yet and have imposed new restrictions, including lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.

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Posted in Globalization, Health & Medicine, Indonesia

(Tufts Univ.) At Present, 3 Billion People in the World Cannot Afford a Healthy Diet

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused price spikes for corn, milk, beans and other commodities, but even before the pandemic about 3 billion people could not afford even the cheapest options for a healthy diet.

Recent analysis of global food price data reveals that as of 2017, the latest available year, around 40% of the world’s population was already forced to consume poor-quality diets by a combination of high food prices and low incomes. When healthy items are unaffordable, it is impossible for people to avoid malnutrition and diet-related diseases like anemia or diabetes.

The remaining 60% of the world’s 7.9 billion people could afford the ingredients for healthy meals. That, of course, does not mean they always eat a healthy diet. Cooking time and difficulty, as well as the advertising and marketing of other foods, can lead many people to choose items that are surprisingly unhealthy.

Distinguishing between affordability and other causes of unhealthy diets is a key step toward better outcomes, made possible by a research project we are leading at Tufts University called Food Prices for Nutrition. The project provides a new view of how agriculture and food distribution relate to human health needs, connecting economics to nutrition in collaboration with the World Bank development data group and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Poverty

(CC) Philip Jenkins–Will the looming fertility bust destroy religion?

So will a fertility bust destroy religion? No, or not exactly, for two reasons. The first is that the fall of religious institutions does not necessarily destroy faith as such, or eliminate spiritual hunger. Witness the upsurge of pilgrimage across supposedly secular Europe. The question that then arises is how long private and individual faith can endure without institutions, and we simply do not have the historical records to answer that question.

Also, presently at least, the fertility decline is patchy. There are large areas of the globe it has not yet affected—above all, Africa. For a generation at least, that continent’s two great faiths, Islam and Christianity, will be flourishing in that setting, if not elsewhere. After 2050, the crystal ball becomes distinctly cloudy, but it is highly likely that even Africa will eventually move to the low-faith and low-fertility model.

The Times study demands that we think beyond simple secularization and through the linkage between the size and structure of families—and about what churches actually do. Only when we take children out of the picture do we realize just how much of what churches have always done has focused on the young. Besides Sunday school, this means bringing them through the rites of passage, from baptism, confirmation, and first communion to summer camp and vacation Bible school. Such activities are what binds people to religious communities. If you want to see churches where the young are largely absent, then look to Europe, and worry. In the words of the prophet Joni Mitchell, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone….

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Posted in Children, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

A message from Robert Springett Bishop of Tewkesbury

It is absolutely right therefore that governments and health services around the world work to protect the citizens of their particular nations. This is a God given responsibility. But Jesus is clear that this cannot be done in isolation. As we care for our own citizens, so we need to look to the good of others. Jesus knows the truth of the now well quoted saying ‘no one is safe until we are all safe’. For those who are blessed with more, as we are in this country, comes therefore greater responsibility. If we are to keep ‘the law and the prophets’, we have to take to heart the command of Jesus to ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’.

This week we pray for the leaders of the world’s largest economies who will be gathering and pray that they will have a wider vision of God’s world beyond national boundaries and a thirst for the common good in which each and every human being of whatever race or creed or nationality is know as precious to God and therefore to us. We pray that such a vision will lead to action for the most vulnerable and for a world in which we can all live life in all its fullness.

May we also pray for the courage that our voice will be heard as we seek justice and that our deeds, however small, may also reflect that justice for which we pray.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(EF) Michael Oh–John Stott: The head and heart of the Lausanne Movement

The two leaders with whom the Lausanne Movement is most closely associated are Billy Graham and John Stott.

Billy was the face and voice of the movement. That voice echoed through the halls of the Palais de Beaulieu in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974 on the first night of the First Congress on World Evangelization exclaiming, ‘Let the earth hear his voice!’

John Stott, however, was the head and heart of Lausanne.

I first met Uncle John 25 years ago while I was a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where I had the unexpected blessing of lunch with him. It was like meeting a real-life hero. Not the kind that you watch in movies, but the kind that we all truly need. Not a man of fame and fortune, but a godly, wise, and humble servant.

The topic of our conversation was birds—a topic Uncle John was always animated about. After sharing with me some of the fascinating lessons on life and faith to be learned from birds, he expressed his hope to one day write a book on his favorite hobby.

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Posted in Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Globalization, Theology

(Washington Post) ‘It’s pretty marginal’: Experts say Biden’s vaccine waiver proposal unlikely to boost supply quickly

“There is no mRNA manufacturing capacity in the world — this is a new technology,” [Moderna CEO Stéphane] Bancel added. “You cannot go hire people who know how to make mRNA. Those people don’t exist. And then even if all those things were available, whoever wants to do mRNA vaccines will have to, you know, buy the machine, invent the manufacturing process, invent creation processes and ethical processes, and then they will have to go run a clinical trial, get the data, get the product approved and scale manufacturing. This doesn’t happen in six or 12 or 18 months.”

Several officials involved in the U.S. coronavirus response said they worried the decision would damage their relationship with the drug industry, noting the Biden administration is relying on it not just to boost vaccine supply but also to devise additional coronavirus treatments and vaccines, particularly given the risk of variants.

“We’re all counting on pharma to come up with vaccine booster shots, and what happens when we try to get to the front of the line?” said one official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly comment.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(Bloomberg) Global Hunger Hits Highest in Years as Pandemic Hurts Income

The world faced its worst hunger problem in at least five years in 2020 on the back of the coronavirus crisis, and the outlook remains grim again this year.

Some 155 million people across 55 countries — more than the population of Russia — suffered from issues ranging from a food crisis to famine, according to a report with data from more than a dozen agencies. That’s up 20 million from 2019, with economic shocks overtaking extreme weather as the No. 2 cause.

The worsening situation highlights how the pandemic has exacerbated food inequalities around the world, on top of extreme weather and political conflicts that are stifling access to key staples. Consumers are now also contending with rising food costs as rampant Chinese demand stretches global crop supplies.

“Covid-19 has been exacerbating fragilities,” said Dominique Burgeon, director of emergencies and resilience at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. “Its restrictions, for example, on the movement of goods and people, has resulted in widespread income losses, especially for those people who rely on informal work in urban households.”

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty

The Most recent Gafcon Primates Council Communique

The Gafcon Branch in the UK has increased its vision as a result of requests for support from further afield than England, Scotland and Wales. This has resulted in the renaming of the branch to Gafcon GB & Europe, reflecting the breadth of its reach.

Within Anglicanism the revisionist agenda continues to be pushed globally and we have seen an increase in the number of requests for affiliation with Gafcon. The General Secretary and Regional Secretaries seek the best outcome for each request to provide God’s children with biblical teaching and pastoral care that is faithful and obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Networks continue to draw together like-minded Anglican organisations in the Provinces and Branches. We were particularly encouraged by the progress being made in the Theological Education Network and the Church Planting Network.

We established working groups to thoroughly examine a number of current issues facing the communion and look forward to the results of their deliberations.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON, Globalization, Missions

Still more for Easter 2021–“Christ is Risen!” From Around the World

Enjoy it all (just over 4 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Easter, Globalization

(NBC) In pictures: Easter celebrated around the world

There are 24-take the time to look through them all.

Posted in Easter, Globalization, Photos/Photography

(PS) Kenneth Rogoff–The Dollar’s Fragile Hegemony

The mighty US dollar continues to reign supreme in global markets. But the greenback’s dominance may well be more fragile than it appears, because expected future changes in China’s exchange-rate regime are likely to trigger a significant shift in the international monetary order.

For many reasons, the Chinese authorities will probably someday stop pegging the renminbi to a basket of currencies, and shift to a modern inflation-targeting regime under which they allow the exchange rate to fluctuate much more freely, especially against the dollar. When that happens, expect most of Asia to follow China. In due time, the dollar, currently the anchor currency for roughly two-thirds of world GDP, could lose nearly half its weight.

Considering how much the United States relies on the dollar’s special status – or what then-French Finance Minister Valéry Giscard d’Estaing famously called America’s “exorbitant privilege” – to fund massive public and private borrowing, the impact of such a shift could be significant. Given that the US has been aggressively using deficit financing to combat the economic ravages of COVID-19, the sustainability of its debt might be called into question.

The long-standing argument for a more flexible Chinese currency is that China is simply too big to let its economy dance to the US Federal Reserve’s tune, even if Chinese capital controls provide some measure of insulation. China’s GDP (measured at international prices) surpassed that of the US back in 2014 and is still growing far faster than the US and Europe, making the case for greater exchange-rate flexibility increasingly compelling.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., China, Currency Markets, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

(Guardian) Covid19: new vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists

The planet could have a year or less before first-generation Covid-19 vaccines are ineffective and modified formulations are needed, according to a survey of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists.

Scientists have long stressed that a global vaccination effort is needed to satisfactorily neutralise the threat of Covid-19. This is due to the threat of variations of the virus – some more transmissible, deadly and less susceptible to vaccines – that are emerging and percolating.

The grim forecast of a year or less comes from two-thirds of respondents, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organisations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, and UNAIDS, who carried out the survey of 77 scientists from 28 countries. Nearly one-third of the respondents indicated that the time-frame was likely nine months or less.

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Posted in Globalization, Health & Medicine

(Bloomberg) Growing Global Water Crisis Creates a New ESG Market

About six weeks ago, millions of homeowners across Texas suddenly found their water to be possibly contaminated—or lost access to it entirely—when freezing temperatures and the state’s decrepit infrastructure led to widespread blackouts.

Last week, on the other side of the planet, Taiwan cut water supplies to areas including a key hub of semiconductor manufacturing, thanks to the worst drought in decades.

These back-to-back crises are emblematic of a global catastrophe that is only now getting the attention it deserves. And unlike other calamities that may recede over time, this one is only going to get worse. The World Health Organization estimates that in less than four years, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.

“These risks are only expected to grow as climate change effects intensify,” said Thomas Schumann, the founder of Thomas Schumann Capital, a firm that’s created investable water indexes for the U.S. and Europe. “Not only that, but the business costs associated with these risks are projected to be $300 billion…or five times greater if left unaddressed.”

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Posted in Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization

Another Terrific Resource–The Database of Religious History

Check it out.

Posted in Globalization, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NPR Goats+Soda) Nearly 1 In 3 Women Experience Violence: Landmark Report From WHO

The numbers are stark – and startling.

Around the world, almost 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime, according to a new report released by the World Health Organization. That number has remained largely unchanged over the past decade, WHO said.

The report, which WHO says is the largest-ever study of the prevalence of violence against women, draws upon data from 161 countries and areas on women and girls age 15 and up collected between 2000 and 2018. So it does not account for the impact of the pandemic. Lockdowns and related restrictions on movement have led to widespread reports of a “shadow pandemic” — a surge in violence against women and girls around the world, as many found themselves trapped at home with their abusers.

The figures “really bring to the fore how widely prevalent this problem already was” even prior to the pandemic, said WHO’s Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, one of the report’s authors. She says researchers won’t know the pandemic’s true impact on violence against women until they can conduct new population-based surveys again in the future.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Politics in General, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(Guardian) Cacophony of human noise is hurting all marine life, scientists warn

A natural ocean soundscape is fundamental to healthy marine life but is being drowned out by an increasingly loud cacophony of noise from human activities, according to the first comprehensive assessment of the issue.

The damage caused by noise is as harmful as overfishing, pollution and the climate crisis, the scientists said, but is being dangerously overlooked. The good news, they said, is that noise can be stopped instantly and does not have lingering effects, as the other problems do.

Marine animals can hear over much greater distances than they can see or smell, making sound crucial to many aspects of life. From whales to shellfish, sealife uses sound to catch prey, navigate, defend territory and attract mates, as well as find homes and warn of attack. Noise pollution increases the risk of death and in extreme cases, such as explosions, kills directly.

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning are also making the oceans more acidic, meaning the water carries sound further, leading to an even noisier ocean, the researchers said. But the movement of marine mammals and sharks into previously noisy areas when the Covid-19 pandemic slashed ocean traffic showed that marine life could recover rapidly from noise pollution, they said.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ecology, Globalization

(FT Magazine) How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics

Australia itself has long been a climate laggard and a major coal exporter, but as China and other big customers plan to cut their emissions, taking their business with them, that may be changing. Dozens of the world’s biggest economies have adopted targets for net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. And 189 countries have joined the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2C. In a race to curb climate change, countries are rushing to cut fossil fuels, boost clean energy — and transform their economies in the process.

But as the energy system changes, so will energy politics. For most of the past century, geopolitical power was intimately connected to fossil fuels. The fear of an oil embargo or a gas shortage was enough to forge alliances or start wars, and access to oil deposits conferred great wealth. In the world of clean energy, a new set of winners and losers will emerge. Some see it as a clean energy “space race”. Countries or regions that master clean technology, export green energy or import less fossil fuel stand to gain from the new system, while those that rely on exporting fossil fuels — such as the Middle East or Russia — could see their power decline.

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the former president of Iceland and chair of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, says that the clean energy transition will birth a new type of politics. The shift is happening “faster, and in a more comprehensive way, than anyone expected”, he says. “As fossil fuels gradually go out of the energy system . . . the old geopolitical model of power centres that dominate relations between states also goes out the window. Gradually the power of those states that were big players in the world of the ­fossil-fuel economies, or big corporates like the oil companies, will fritter away.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Stewardship

(Premiere) Bishops in House of Lords add to Government defeat on Genocide amendment

The House of Lords has forced the Government to look again at an amendment to the Trade Bill which would give British courts the power to decide whether a genocide has taken place in a country and therefore impact whether trade deals should be made.

Christian Peer Lord Alton (pictured) urged the Government to look again at the matter and nine Bishops supported his amendment, with it passing with a majority of 171 (359 to 188).

Lord Alton said the Government had frequently pointed to the fact that such atrocities need to be officially labelled as genocide, which is a legal term decided by the International Criminal Court, but that China, currently accused of causing death and trauma to thousands of Uighur Muslims, have a veto at the United Nations on what is recommended to the ICC, meaning that route cannot be depended upon.

Read it all and you can find the full text of Lord Alton’s speech there.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Politics in General

(Church Times) Look after the world’s poorest to beat Covid19, says Archbishop Welby

The coronavirus will not be defeated anywhere until it is defeated everywhere, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday morning, after 100,000 Covid-related deaths were reported in the UK, Archbishop Welby said that the UK, like other rich nations, must look after others as well as its own. So far, just under four million people have received the first dose of the vaccine in the UK. About 71.1 million doses have been distributed globally, mostly in the United States and China.

“It is in our own interests that all round the world the vaccine is given,” Archbishop Welby said. “The Government has been very, very good about supporting the COVAX programme; we are the biggest donor to it. . . We are one of the countries with one of the highest levels of infection and death rate in the world, and it is necessary to focus on those in need to stop it spreading.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine

(Bloomberg Businessweek) An Economist’s Guide to the World in 2050

Who really won the Cold War? Maybe China.

In 1972, Cold War logic pushed President Richard Nixon into an unlikely alliance with Mao Zedong—bringing China back into the mainstream of the world economy. In 1991, the collapse of the Soviet Union encouraged “end of history” hubris that blinded the West to the consequences of China’s rise.

Fast forward to 2020 and China has emerged as a major global power, its single-party rule and state-dominated economy the cause of alarm in foreign capitals—and pride in Beijing. By 2035, Bloomberg Economics forecasts, China will have overtaken the U.S. to become the world’s biggest economy and perhaps also its most powerful political actor.

China’s rise is just one part of a larger shift that’s already under way and looks set to accelerate in the decades ahead.

Bloomberg Economics has used a growth accounting framework—adding up the contributions of labor, capital and productivity—to forecast potential GDP through 2050 for 39 countries, from the U.S. to Ghana. We’ve used that data to map some of the key geographic and political shifts in store for the world economy.

The results suggest that a remarkable period of stability, stretching from the end of World War II through to the early 21st century, is coming to an end. The center of economic gravity is shifting from West to East, from advanced economies to emerging markets, from free markets to state controls and from established democracies to authoritarian and populist rulers. The transition is already upending global politics, economics and markets. This is just the beginning.

Much could happen to throw our projections off track. The Covid crisis is demonstrating how pandemics can reconfigure the global economic map. Wars, natural disasters and financial meltdowns can do the same. So could policy choices on globalization and climate change. Still, absent a crystal ball, forecasts of potential growth provide the most reliable basis for thinking about the long term.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., China, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(NYT front page) The World Stumbles in Frantic Race to Subdue the Ever-Changing Covid19 virus

Britain has one of the most aggressive surveillance regimens, analyzing up to 10 percent of samples that test positive for the virus. But few countries have such robust systems in place. The United States sequences less than 1 percent of its positive samples. And others cannot hope to afford the equipment or build such networks in time for this pandemic.

In Brazil, labs that had redirected their attention from Zika to the coronavirus had discovered a worrisome mutation there as early as this spring. But little is known about the variants circulating in the country, or how quickly they are spreading.

“We just don’t know because no one is either sequencing or sharing the data,” said Dr. Nuno Faria at Imperial College and Oxford University who coordinates genomic sequencing projects with colleagues in Brazil. “Genomic surveillance is expensive.”

As the virus continues to mutate, other significant variants will almost certainly emerge. And those that make the virus hardier, or more contagious, will be more likely to spread, Dr. Read said.

“The faster we can get the vaccines out, the faster we can get on top of these variants,” he said. “There’s no room for complacency here.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(Reuters) In Pictures–Epiphany 2021 Celebrations Around the World

look through them all.

Posted in Epiphany, Globalization, Photos/Photography

(BBC) In pictures: 2020 Christmas celebrations around the world

Enjoy them all.

Posted in Christmas, Globalization, Photos/Photography

(The World) Undeterred by ICC decision, Uighurs hail EU, UK steps toward holding China accountable

After more than 70 years of Chinese rule over the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, there’s mounting evidence that in recent years, their occupation has intensified into an environment of strict surveillance, with more than a million Uighurs held in internment camps.

Reports show many are forced to pick cotton and work in factories that supply international brands and that some Uighurs are even subjected to forced sterilizations and organ harvesting.

For several years, Beijing repeatedly denied those allegations, while companies like Nike said they’ve made sure they’re not using Uighur slave labor. But some recent developments suggest 2021 may see a breakthrough in the Uighurs’ long struggle for justice, with help from a new group of international lawmakers.

“I’m accusing the Chinese authorities of the worst crime of the 21st century. I am also accusing the international community for being a part of this crime, for abetting it through its silence,” European Parliament Member Raphaël Glucksmann of France said during a Dec. 17 debate, through an interpreter. “I’m also accusing Nike and other multinational corporations that are taking advantage of slavery.”

Read it all.

Posted in China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution