US

mRNA Miracle?

18 November 2020 All the usual caveats apply: don’t go out and celebrate, don’t let your guard down, it’s still going to be a long haul. This winter will be “hard”, warned Uğur Şahin, co-founder and CEO of BioNTech, the German company that announced the first effective Covid-19 vaccine only a week ago. It can’t …

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Four-Day Work Week

As countries in Europe and North America emerge from lock-down and start trying to rebuild their devastated economies, the great concern is jobs. Unemployment in the US and Canada is over 13%, a post-Second World War high. If it weren’t for subsidies that keep up to a fifth of the working population in paid ‘furloughs’ …

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Time for Fauci to Quit?

Is it time for Dr Anthony Fauci to quit? Brazil’s health minister, Luiz Mandetta, was fired last Friday for criticising the country’s mini-Trump, Jair Bolsonaro. Like Trump, President Bolsonaro needs a booming economy in order to be re-elected, and denies the threat from coronavirus because shutdowns hurt the economy. Mandetta did what he could to …

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Nobody Mention UBI

When you lock the people down (to save their lives), you inevitably close down a lot of the economy as well. And the lockdown will definitely have to last in most countries until May or June: Donald Trump’s promise of a ‘beautiful timeline’ to reopening the US economy just two weeks hence is delusional. So …

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Ambazonia

Sometimes Donald Trump gets it right. In February he cut off US military aid to the central African country of Cameroon because of its appalling human rights record (and didn’t even offer to restore it if the Cameroon government dug up dirt on his political opponents at home). Last Friday he acted again, dropping Cameroon …

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Betraying the Kurds Again

Everybody betrays the Kurds. It’s an old Middle Eastern tradition. But given Donald Trump’s reputation for treachery, it’s astonishing how bad he is at it. This particular betrayal got underway on Sunday night. After a telephone conversation with Turkey’s strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump declared that he had started pulling American troops out of …

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Converging Crises

Maybe we can get through the climate crisis without a global catastrophe, although that door is closing fast. And maybe we can cope with the huge loss of jobs caused by the revolution in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) without a social and political calamity. But can we do both at the same time? We …

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