17 October 2017


  • The US withdrawal means the UNESCO is going to lose not only one of its most important founding member states, but also billions of dollars in funding. Photo: Reuters

    US withdrawal from UNESCO signals rise of ‘new unilateralism’

    - Oct 17, 2017 10:54am
    During the election campaign last year, Donald Trump promised to put the interests of the American people above everything else in his foreign policy. He also vowed to tear down the current international order where allies have been enjoying...
  • As the qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup in Russia concluded, the US lost to Trinidad and Tobago and thus failed to qualify for the tournament. Photo:

    Trump’s ‘America First’ hit by US World Cup qualifying failure

    - Oct 17, 2017 10:42am
    As a student in the mid-’80s, I had been conditioned to think that the United States normally won all sports competitions, and everyone else largely followed. The 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles epitomized that notion...
  • A newspaper featuring a picture of US President Donald Trump is seen in Tehran on Oct. 14. Trump’s decision not to certify the Iran nuclear accord has drawn much criticism both inside and outside Iran. Photo: Reuters

    The US cannot go it alone on Iran

    - Oct 16, 2017 11:50am
    US President Donald Trump has announced what was long anticipated: that he will not certify that Iran is complying with the July 2015 “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) signed by the United States, China, Russia,...
  • Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas speaks at the Tallinn Digital Summit on Sept. 29. Photo: Xinhua

    How Estonia is pursuing its digital ambitions

    - Oct 16, 2017 11:30am
    In the age of the internet, basically everything can be “virtualized”, including a state. In fact, nowadays, the idea of “virtualized countries” is no longer beyond the realm of possibility. And one European country is already...
  • Beijing prepares for the 19th Congress of the Communist Party which opens on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

    China’s DNA: What’s in it, war or peace?

    - Oct 16, 2017 10:54am
    The long-expected 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held in Beijing next week and the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, is expected to emerge with an even tighter grip on the levers of...
  • Current debates about climate engineering are dominated by technocratic worldviews, natural science and engineering perspectives, and vested interests in the fossil-fuel industries. Photo: Bloomberg

    The geoengineering fallacy

    - Oct 13, 2017 9:37am
    As the world struggles to rein in emissions of climate-changing gases and limit planetary warming, a new technological silver bullet is gaining supporters. Geoengineering – the large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s natural systems – has been...
  • Ted Kennedy was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne and given a two-year suspended jail sentence. Photo: JFK Library

    How the Chappaquiddick incident may have changed US history

    - Oct 13, 2017 9:26am
    A recent dramatic homicide case in Hong Kong in which a university professor was arrested on a charge of murdering his wife and daughter by allegedly gassing them inside his car has reminded me of the...
  • IKEA has been successful in using labyrinthine store layouts to generate impulse purchases, but it is now adopting new technology to overhaul its business operations. Photo: Reuters

    IKEA turns to e-commerce giants to sell furniture

    - Oct 12, 2017 3:59pm
    Amid the boom in e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retailers can’t afford to stick to their old ways of doing business. IKEA has become the latest major retailer to radically overhaul its sales strategy in the face of online...
  • Last year, Hong Kong seized nine Singaporean armored personnel carriers in a sign that Beijing was toughening its stance toward the tiny Southeast Asian state. Photo: Reuters/Asiaone

    Will Singapore give up Taiwan to please Beijing?

    - Oct 12, 2017 10:02am
    The seizure of nine armored personnel carriers belonging to the Singaporean military by Hong Kong customs last year was an unmistakable indication that Beijing was toughening its stance toward the tiny Southeast Asian state. The armored...
  • When girls and women are empowered through education, they can help transform the world for the better. Photo: Bloomberg

    Closing the education gender gap

    Oct 12, 2017 9:54am
    Completing primary school in Niger was never a certainty for Aishetu Mahmoudu Hama, given all the obstacles that stood in her way. “It was hard to study,” she recalls. “We sat on the ground – sometimes...
  • In a globalized economy, more open trade tends to increase both wages and the rate of employment, but that not all workers benefit. Photo: Foreign Affairs

    Globalization for all

    - Oct 12, 2017 9:04am
    One positive outcome of the trade tensions of recent years is a renewed interest in understanding how trade actually works, in terms of aggregate gains, distributional effects, adjustment costs, and other factors. Governments are increasingly looking...
  • There are new technologies that allow access to big data while preventing violations of personal data privacy. Photo: Windows Club

    Why harnessing big data technology is a delicate balancing act

    - Oct 11, 2017 10:01am
    It has been reported that some people are stealing data about tigers in Indian wildlife reserves, raising concerns over data abuse. Wildlife data tracking used to rely on field observations recorded by experts. However, the lack...
  • The world's major economies need to implement structural reforms to boost growth and sustain the recent upswing. Photo: Bloomberg

    Three scenarios for the global economy

    - Oct 11, 2017 9:40am
    For the last few years, the global economy has been oscillating between periods of acceleration (when growth is positive and strengthening) and periods of deceleration (when growth is positive but weakening). After over a year of...
  • The World Health Organization maintains a global stockpile of oral cholera vaccines. Next year, the stockpile is set to increase to more than 25 million doses. Photo: AFP

    A roadmap to end cholera

    - Oct 11, 2017 8:53am
    “Where is your toilet?” This is often the first question I ask when I visit the site of a cholera outbreak anywhere in the world. More often than not, the answer is: “We don’t have one....
  • A file photo shows vehicles moving along an expressway in Beijing. Authorities in many countries, including China, are realizing that fossil fuel-based vehicles must be curbed in order to control air pollution. Photo: Bloomberg

    A world without exhaust pipes

    - Oct 10, 2017 11:29am
    Efficient movement of people is crucial for any society. When transportation networks function well, they drive economic development and literally bring people together. But in many parts of the world, mobility is a matter of life...
  • At over US$4,200 (as of Oct. 5), a single unit of Bitcoin is now worth more than three times an ounce of gold. Photo: AFP

    Crypto-fool’s gold?

    - Oct 10, 2017 9:27am
    Is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin the biggest bubble in the world today, or a great investment bet on the cutting edge of new-age financial technology? My best guess is that in the long run, the technology will...
  • Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day is one of the favorite books of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Photo: Literary Hub/Amazon

    Why Jeff Bezos raves about Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro

    - Oct 10, 2017 9:19am
    Japan-born British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro was named this year’s winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. His novels have been well received by both serious writers and scholars, and also a longtime favorite of millions...
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said he expected a dialogue between leaders of the two countries to promote the bilateral relationship. Photo: Reuters

    Sino-Japanese thaw: Beijing expects concessions

    - Oct 9, 2017 11:51am
    Relations between China and Japan have taken a sudden turn for the better after Prime Minister Shinzō Abe paid an unprecedented visit to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo to take part in China’s national day celebrations and...
  • In today’s energy market, consumers have more control. Consider how easy it is to install rooftop solar panels; it can be done in a single day.  Photo: Bloomberg

    Disrupting climate change

    - Oct 9, 2017 9:46am
    After a season of record-breaking hurricanes in the United States and floods across Asia, it would be easy to despair about the accelerating pace of climate change. Yet, despite the apocalyptic omens, an energy transformation big...
  • A more realistic option is a multi-speed effort whereby the eurozone countries can move ahead, while others are allowed to wait. Photo: AFP

    Three ways ahead for the eurozone

    - Oct 9, 2017 8:00am
    After a tumultuous year, politics seem to be stabilizing across Europe. Though the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) gained almost 13 percent of the vote in Germany’s recent federal election, it does not pose a serious...

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