Wednesday 01 Apr 2020 | 04:01 | SYDNEY
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Global Issues

A political impasse in Timor-Leste as coronavirus looms

In late January, Timor-Leste’s governing alliance collapsed after the largest coalition party, Xanana Gusmão’s CNRT, abstained on the government budget, leading to the resignation of the Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak. By late February Gusmão revealed a new 34-seat majority coalition, which

Coronavirus and the threat to South Asian democracy

Like the rest of the world, much of South Asia’s 1.89 billion population is now under lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. While Western citizens can, for the most part, temporarily afford to follow preventive measures such as mandatory lockdown, social distancing, and self-

Lockdown: A dilemma for the economic optimists

Everyone – including economists themselves – jokes about economic forecasting failures. But the intrinsic difficulties are compounded for the international economic agencies, especially the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Their

After coronavirus: Where the world economy will stand

For all the drama of collapsing output, demand, and jobs in Australia and many economies around the globe, we should expect that output in most countries will begin to recover once new coronavirus infections peak and head down. It will not be soon, but it will happen. This is, after all, a

What the G20 needs to deliver

The Covid-19 outbreak has rapidly gone from a crisis for China to a crisis for the world. The pandemic is desperately crying out for international leadership. So far that has been sorely missing. An extraordinary (virtual) meeting of G20 leaders, to be held on Thursday, will hopefully begin

Aid links: Coronavirus and the developing world

Millions of people in the developing world are at risk from coronavirus. These countries lack the economic resources and medical infrastructure of their more developed counterparts but can learn lessons from their response and benefit from their support. The situation Earlier this year, when the

Disinformation and coronavirus

The best way to prevent the novel coronavirus? Eating garlic. Or actually, try traditional Chinese medicine. In case you hadn’t heard, a vaccine already exists but the United States won’t share it. Wait a second, the coronavirus doesn’t exist at all, it’s all a conspiracy. How did I hear

Philippines: Covid-19 will devastate the poor

Flaviano Villanueva was in tears last Thursday. It was day five of the “enhanced community quarantine” in Metro Manila, where the priest runs a homeless centre. The sprawling Philippine capital of 13 million people had been sealed off, and police and army troopers were guarding municipal

Pandemic peace or anarchical world?

A number of leading thinkers have expressed optimism about the political and social implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, predicting everything from a newfound civic nationalism to a renewed faith in technocratic expertise. But such optimism isn’t just unwarranted – it’s dangerous. Covid-19

In India, praying the Covid away

Crises have a way of shining a penetrating light and exposing the fissures in a society – or conversely, the exact nature of what holds it together. It is something we are seeing right now, the world over. While India seems to have sidestepped the worst of the pandemic for now, what the crisis

The many prescriptions for isolation

Among the weapons Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has deployed in the early stages of the battle to slow the spread of the coronavirus was an appeal for the assertion of our “culture”. Attempting to shame into submission the hordes who were storming supermarkets and coming to blows

Coronavirus and the Hong Kong protest movement

For authorities in both Hong Kong and in Beijing, there must be, in some circles, something of a sense of relief. The pro-democracy protests that defined 2019 had become a deadly hydra that was exhausting the resources and credibility of both governments. The enforced shutdown as a result of the

A speech for the age of the self-isolated

A week ago – though it seems much longer than that – Scott Morrison sat in front of a bookcase full of political biographies, theological handbooks and Australiana, and delivered a rare prime ministerial address to the nation. There has been a lot of discussion about the communications tools,

COVIDcast episode 3: The China story

Each week since the severity of the coronavirus crisis became clear, Lowy Institute experts have been sitting down for COVIDcast, a podcast to discuss the implications of coronavirus for Australia, the region, and the world. Episodes one and two are already online, and this is the third instalment

Is Singapore feeling safe enough to go to the polls?

As news of a global pandemic dominated headlines and pushed most other news off the agenda, another breaking news bomb was casually dropped in Singapore on 13 March: the release of new electoral boundaries for the upcoming election. Based on past experience, the release of the Electoral Boundaries

The future ain’t what it used to be

What do the East Timorese defence force, “clean coal”, women’s empowerment, and Kevin Rudd’s first-term government have in common? The answer is the year 2020. Back when 2020 felt like a halcyon time far-far away, this was the year that, respectively, the Government of Timor-Leste, the

PNG: Coronavirus promises a testing time for Marape

It’s been a volatile week for the PNG Hunters. The Papua New Guinea rugby league team was celebrating on Sunday after staging a late comeback to clinch a 32-30 win against the Souths Logan Magpies in the first round of the Queensland Intrust Super Cup last weekend. The Hunters were supposed to

Iran: Sanctions vs sympathy

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up some serious moral questions for society, including ones to do with decisions on treatment priorities for health workers under severe pressure. But another moral issue has arisen in the international relations field – in the midst of a pandemic, how appropriate

Books for self-isolation: Revisiting Why Nations Fail

Ed’s note: In response to a call on The Interpreter for reading suggestions in the event of a stint in Covid-19 related quarantine, Scott Robinson wrote that he’d recently revisited Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson. “I feel that we often forget the lessons of this

The uncertain fate of .org

If you’ve used the internet, you’ve accessed a .org site. The domain is associated with civil society groups and non-government organisations ranging from the United Nations to the Lowy Institute. For almost two decades, .org has been the reliable host of websites and email services for millions

Limiting the global economic fallout from Covid-19

Panic has now set in over the Covid-19 global pandemic. The coronavirus is spreading rapidly, especially in Europe and the US, and severe public-health measures are being put in place and are set to intensify. At the same time, economic policymakers are deploying their own emergency policy responses

Anticipating Covid‑19 in the Pacific

With the confirmation of a coronavirus case in French Polynesia, the Pacific has officially joined the pandemic. The Covid-19 crisis could have dramatic impacts on the small island states. Understanding and managing critical risks, as well as strengthening the resilience of these small and

Readers respond: Books to collect for Covid-19 quarantine

Earlier this week I asked The Interpreter readers to suggest books related to international affairs that people might look to read in the event of a coronavirus quarantine, particularly those books that have long sat on shelves, admired but unopened. With “social distancing” and “self-isolate

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