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Politics

Brazil judge dismisses Lula convictions, paving way for 2022 election run. A top judge has thrown out both corruption convictions of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, opening the way for a possible battle against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in next year’s elections. 

Political uncertainty after death of Ivory Coast PM Bakayoko. This is the West African nation’s second premier to die in office in less than eight months. The death leaves a political vacuum in the country.

US lawmakers plan legislation to overhaul the authorisation of war. In an effort to stop wars that last forever, US lawmakers will begin working on legislation to overhaul the authorisation of military force that presidents from both parties have used to justify decades of attacks on overseas targets.

Bolivia’s government splits on coup charges. A raft of ministers and security officials face charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy over an alleged coup in 2019 against Bolivia’s 13-year socialist government. Bolivia’s former interim President Jeanine Anez was jailed just six months after leading the country.

Sudan formally requests African Union four-party mediation over Ethiopian dam. Sudan’s Prime Minister has written to the AU, the UN, the EU, and the US to formally request their mediation on the Nile water being used to fill Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Libyan parliament backs unity government, advancing peace plan. Libya’s long-divided parliament approved an interim government mandated to bring the fractured country together. The government includes the Khalifa Haftar, who controls the east of the country.

Economics

Food prices are at their highest in six years. The price of agricultural commodities has increased by 50% since the middle of 2020. The price rise has been caused by the northern La Niña, a weakening US currency, market speculators, and rising demand from importing nations.

European Central Bank holds interest rate at record 0% low. The ECB kept its key interest rates at historic lows and said it was stepping up its bond-buying stimulus in the coming months. The steps are aimed at halting what is regarded as a premature rise in borrowing costs in the 19 countries that use the Euro currency.

Chinese investment in Australia is down 62% compared to last year. China’s recent lack of investment in Australia’s economy is related to trade tensions and Australia’s vocal criticisms over China’s dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

China becomes global player in refined crude oil industry. The manufacture of products derived from petrochemicals has risen alongside broader economic growth. China has developed vast refining complexes and increased the non-state crude import quota by 20% in 2021. 

Google and Facebook pay publishers for featured content. Facebook agreed to pay publishers in Germany for news content. Both tech giants have secured deals with a few publishers in the US, UK and Australia.

Rates expected to rise for emerging economies with record levels of debt. Commodity-price inflation and global bond yields are rising for weak economic fundamentals. Among those most at risk are markets still heavily dependent on foreign-currency debt, such as Turkey, Kenya and Tunisia.

Social

One in three women are subjected to violence – WHO. One in three women globally, around 736 million, have been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes with women living in low-income countries more likely to have experienced it.

Russia slows down Twitter, part of social media clampdown. Russian authorities are slowing down the speed of uploading photos and videos to Twitter over its failure to remove banned content — part of growing efforts to curb social media platforms that have played a major role in amplifying dissent.

Sri Lanka to ban burqa, shut many Islamic schools, minister says. Sri Lanka will ban the wearing of the burqa and shut more than a thousand Islamic schools, a government minister said. 10% of the Sri Lankan populations is Muslim. 

Europe’s largest Cloud provider OVHcloud burned to the ground. A five-story data centre with 12,000 servers was completely destroyed. In total 3.6 million websites including government portals, news and banks went offline. This highlights the risk of centralised data centres.

Conflict

Lebanon’s economic collapse causes strain on army, security forces. Discontent is brewing in the ranks of Lebanon’s security forces over a currency crash wiping out most of the value of their salaries as unrest and crime surge. Lebanon’s pound has crashed 85% since late 2019.  

US has ended assistance to Ethiopia for most security programs. Washington has decided not to lift the pause in assistance to Ethiopia for most programs in the security sector, days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described acts in Tigray as ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar imposes martial law after Chinese factories set ablaze. Myanmar’s junta declared “full martial law” in Yangon after clashes led to more deaths and Chinese-owned businesses were set on fire. 

Myanmar’s first satellite held by Japan on International Space Station after coup. The satellite is being held while Japan’s space agency and a Japanese university decide what to do with it. It was designed to monitor agriculture and fisheries.

UK police actions put focus on proposed new UK criminal-justice bill. In recent years Britain has been seeing an increased number of protests. The bill proposes tougher laws against protests and mass gatherings by broadening the range of circumstances that allow police to block them or limit their size.

Development

Russia, China agree to build lunar station together. Russia has signed a memorandum of understanding with China to construct a joint lunar space station.

300M at risk of famine caused by mankind. “Famine and hunger are no longer about lack of food. They are now largely man-made – and I use the term deliberately. They are concentrated in countries affected by large-scale, protracted conflict,” Guterres told the UN Security Council.

China reports Australia to the UN Human Rights Council. In a statement to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, China alleged the detention centres “fall short of adequate medical conditions where a large number of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers have been detained over a long period of time or even indefinitely, and their human rights have been violated”.

Disaster agency FEMA deployed to deal with migrant surge at US border. The 100,000 asylum seekers in February includes nearly 9,500 unaccompanied children from Mexico and Central American countries. 

Chip for AI works using light, not electrons. The chip is faster and more efficient for AI calculations because information can be encoded more efficiently in different wavelengths of light, and because controlling light requires less power than controlling the flow of electrons with transistors. 

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Vision of Humanity

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Vision of Humanity

Vision of Humanity is brought to you by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), by staff in our global offices in Sydney, New York, The Hague, Harare and Mexico. Alongside maps and global indices, we present fresh perspectives on current affairs reflecting our editorial philosophy.