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Tajikistan: Report confirms significant Chinese security presence in Pamirs

Satellite images show a complex of around two dozen buildings on the border. “Remember,” a Chinese soldier told a reporter nosing around a remote spot in eastern Tajikistan. “You never saw us here.” Eurasianet The cat’s out of the bag now. A front-page story on the Washington Post on February 19 has confirmed long-held suspicions about the Chinese military presence in the desolate quadrant where the borders of Tajikistan, China and Afghanistan intersect. If it was previously suspected the deployment might be ... Read More »

Mexico border wall: US states sue over emergency declaration

A coalition of 16 US states led by California is suing President Donald Trump’s administration over his decision to declare an emergency to raise funds for a Mexican border wall. BBC Mr Trump made the declaration on Friday to bypass Congress after it refused to approve $5.7bn (£4.4bn) for the wall. The states say they want to block Mr Trump’s “misuse of presidential power”. The Democrats oppose funding Mr Trump’s barrier, a key campaign pledge, and have vowed to contest ... Read More »

Estonia is running its country like a tech company

Estonia is often described as a genuinely digital society. Today a majority of government services are offered 24/7 online, and data integrity is ensured by blockchain technology. By Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia Quartz You can use medical e-prescriptions, file taxes, or even buy a car online without needing to go to the vehicle registration office. There are only a few things that you still need to do in the analog world, such as get married or buy property. Why spend ... Read More »

Aged care workforce will need to triple by 2050 to meet demand, inquiry hears

About 83,500 extra places will be needed over the next 10 years alone, but service providers say they are under significant cost pressures. AAP – SBS Demand for aged care places will explode over the next decade and require a tripling of the workforce by 2050, the aged care royal commission has been told. At the same time, funding uncertainty has caused some residential care providers to put development plans on hold. Recent data shows that 83,500 extra places will ... Read More »

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

A Lebanese perspective Energy ministers from Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority took an important step toward establishing an Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) on January 14, in Cairo. Mona Sukkarieh Executive According to the declaration that followed the meeting, the EMGF will, among other things, assist in the creation of a regional gas market, ensure the security of supply and demand, optimize resource development, facilitate the… The forum’s raison d’être is regional energy cooperation. Almost ... Read More »

GOM Region-Wide Sale to Offer 14,700 Blocks in Shallow, Deepwater

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management next month plans to offer 78 million acres for oil and natural gas prospecting in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), basically all available unleased areas in federal waters. Carolyn Davis NGI Lease Sale 252, scheduled to be livestreamed on March 20 from New Orleans, is to include nearly 14,700 blocks that are three to 231 miles offshore, in the Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths that are nine-to-11,115 feet. ... Read More »

Intel: How Trump’s choice as envoy to Turkey could complicate US Syria policy

The Donald Trump administration’s announcement that it plans to nominate veteran diplomat David Satterfield as ambassador to Turkey could shake up US policy in Syria. Al-Monitor The post has sat vacant for more than a year as relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated over the Pentagon’s backing of a Syrian Kurdish group in the fight against the Islamic State. Why it matters: Satterfield’s confirmation could pit two influential diplomats against each other as the Trump administration tries to hammer ... Read More »

The American Empire’s Long Reach

Since 2017, the US has conducted counterterror missions in 80 countries—over 40 percent of the nations in the world. Stephanie Savell The Nation In September 2001, the Bush administration launched the “Global War on Terror.” Though “global” has long since been dropped from the name, as it turns out, they weren’t kidding. When I first set out to map all the places in the world where the United States is still fighting terrorism so many years later, I didn’t think ... Read More »

Winning Back Trust in Nigeria’s Rescheduled Elections

Only hours before polls were to open, Nigeria’s electoral commission postponed elections scheduled for 16 February by one week. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Nigeria expert Nnamdi Obasi says the commission and other authorities must act now to win back trust and reduce risks of violence. What happened? Nigeria’s 84 million voters were set to vote in presidential and federal legislative elections on 16 February. But at 2.40 am that day, just over five hours before polling stations were to ... Read More »

Israel’s Leviathan Energy Prize: Where Will The Gas Go?

Israel is finally emerging as a natural gas player in the Mediterranean. In the last week of January, the Israeli Navy conducted a complex drill simulating attacks on the country’s offshore oil and gas infrastructure. Ariel Cohen Forbes The exercise included coordinated operations between dozens of naval vessels and aircraft, and even incorporated a live-fire missile test against an abandoned cargo vessel (imitating an enemy transport… Israel’s week-long “Raging Sea” operation comes on the heels of two joint military drills ... Read More »

Fund more lab-grown meat to fight climate change, experts tell EU leaders

Chatham House calls for official backing for high-tech food to cut greenhouse gas emissions Jane Dalton Independent Experts at an influential think tank are calling on EU leaders to back the expansion of more lab-grown meat to enable Europe to help tackle climate change. The Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says new high-tech foodstuffs will be vital to the EU meeting its goals on climate change, human health and drug resistance. Animal agriculture is a significant driver of carbon dioxide ... Read More »

As Germany, UK waver on Huawei, China rebuts chief US security claim

Beijing: With Germany and Britain poised to make a decision on Huawei and 5G, China has begun to hit back with new ferocity at claims its national intelligence law compels Chinese companies to obey its… WAtoday Despite Washington’s public pressure on allies to bar Huawei, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre is reported to have decided the security risk is “manageable”, while a German cabinet meeting last week is… Germany is said to be weighing up security conditions that could instead be ... Read More »

Japanese PM Abe mum on reports he nominated Trump for Nobel Peace Prize

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declined on Feb. 18 Monday to say if he had nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, though he also emphasized he did not deny doing so. The Associated Press – TOKYO Hurriyet Trump‘s assertion on Feb. 15 that Abe had nominated him for the honor and sent him a copy of the letter has raised criticism in Japan. Questioned in parliament about Trump‘s claim that he had done so, Abe said, “In light of the Nobel committee’s policy of not disclosing recommenders and nominees for 50 years, I ... Read More »

New areas in Crete made available for hydrocarbon explorations

The Hellenic Managing Authority for Hydrocarbons is launching the process that will make new areas available for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the maritime area south of… Nefeli Tzanetakou ibna These are maritime plots that had remained unassigned in previous concessions and whose data and been reassessed and enriched. In any case, it is expected that the same successful model will be applied, which has mobilized the investment interest of major oil companies, such as French Total, American ... Read More »