Politics This Week | The Economist
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France has reacted with fury to American, Australian and British plans to form a new defense pact in the Pacific. France was not invited to join. Australia is also canceling a contract for French diesel-powered submarines in favor of American (or possibly British) nuclear-powered submarines. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Foreign Minister, called it a “stab in the back”, and withdrew his ambassadors from Washington and Canberra, although the French Ambassador to America is now fired following a catch-up call between Presidents Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron.
Germans was preparing to vote in the legislative elections of September 26 which will mark the end of 16 years in power for Angela Merkel, who is stepping down. The polls have tightened slightly, but the Social Democrats are still ahead of Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
In Russia, the Duma elections produced another qualified majority for United Russia, the pro-Putin party through which the Kremlin exercises legislative power. The election was widely viewed as rigged. But few Russians took to the streets to protest, unlike 2011, when thousands did.
from China President Xi Jinping has said he will stop supporting new coal-fired power plant projects abroad. By some estimates, 70% of all coal-fired power plants under construction today involve Chinese government funding, but China’s interest in dirty electricity has cooled as the price of the renewable type has fallen.
China asked to join 11-country Asia-Pacific region commercial agreement known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Taiwan has also asked to join.
Hong Kong held a vote for a new 1,500-member electoral committee, which will choose the city’s next leader. It was the first after the reforms which require candidates to be “patriotic”, that is to say friendly with the Chinese Communist Party. The electorate was limited to less than 5,000 people. Only one critic of the government won a seat.
The results of an early election in Canada disappointing for Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister. Although Mr. Trudeau won enough votes to govern for a third term, he remains at the head of a minority government, with about the same number of seats as when he called the election.
Another Trumpian turn
Speaking at the UN General Assembly Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, affirmed to represent “a new Brazil, with its newfound credibility in the eyes of the world ”. He also spent part of the speech touting the unproven cures for covid-19 and denouncing the lockdown measures.
The U.S. Border Patrol began to withdraw the 15,000 Haitian migrants who had gathered on a bridge in Texas after crossing the Mexican border. Hundreds of people were immediately deported to Haiti. The migrants had come from South America.
The State Department said the annual cap of refugees licenses in the United States will drop from 62,500 to 125,000, in accordance with a campaign pledge from President Joe Biden.
Mr Biden has doubled the number of covid-19s vaccines that America gives developing countries to the tune of a billion, which Pfizer provides without any profit. Before António Guterres’ announcement, the UN secretary general, described as “obscenity” the unequal distribution of vaccines between rich and poor countries. U.S. drug regulator approved booster injections Pfizer vaccine for those over 65.
India said it would resume exporting vaccines. The Serum Institute of India is a major manufacturer of AstraZeneca shot which is used in many poor countries. India had halted exports when it was hit by a devastating wave of infections in April.
Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, said people would be held responsible for any illegal killings in the country’s war on drugs. His detractors say he encouraged such killings. The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into his drug campaign. Mr. Duterte did not mention the CPI by name, but he appeared to reject his jurisdiction over his country.
Paul Rusesabagina, whose bravery in saving more than 1,200 people during the genocide of Rwanda inspired by the film “Hotel Rwanda”, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for terrorism. Observers called the trial a sham. Mr. Rusesabagina is a critic of Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda.
Authorities in Sudan foiled a coup attempt against a transitional government that was itself installed in a coup in 2019. Forces loyal to the overthrown Sudanese dictator, Omar al-Bashir, have been blamed.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria from 1999 to 2019, died at the age of 84. He pulled the country out of a ruinous civil war, but was ousted in 2019 amid mass protests against his decision to run for a fifth term.
Take out the welcome mat
The White House said restrictions on travelers entering the United States that was introduced at the start of the pandemic would be waived in November, for people who were fully vaccinated. The restrictions, which in fact banned most passengers from Europe, China, India and a handful of other countries, had been criticized as irrational. A negative covid test will always be required, as is the norm everywhere.
Australia is also ready to reopen its international borders in December, if its national vaccination rate reaches 80%. It sealed its border 18 months ago, more tightly than almost any other country. Australians will again be allowed to leave without special permission and visitors will be allowed entry. Thailand, which reopened tourist hot spots, aims to reopen Bangkok and other cities in November.
Protests against vaccination warrants turned into three days of riots in Melbourne. The Australian city has been subject to varying degrees of lockdown since the outbreak began and subject to labyrinthine rules. He also suffered an earthquake this week.
This article appeared in the The World This Week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics This Week”