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Time for an tax overhaul for digital multinationals, Why China and the West diverge sharply on privacy, Understanding Pakistan’s anti-Malala sentiment, The West has struggled to deal decisively with Russia, Winnie Mandela was Africa’s Rosa Parks

A roundup of global commentary for the April 16, 2018 weekly magazine.

Carolyn Kaster/AP/File
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg repeatedly assured lawmakers April 10 and 11 that he didn’t believe the company violated its 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to overhaul its privacy practices.

The Irish Times / Dublin, Ireland 

Time for an international tax overhaul for digital multinationals

“As the recent scandal over Facebook and the company Cambridge Analytica has shown, many companies operating in the new ‘digital economy’ are, essentially, extractive industries,” write Eva Joly and Sorley McCaughey. “They mine and sell data on an immense scale. The ephemeral nature of this digital activity makes it hard to pin down where activity is actually taking place and where ‘value’ is being created.... It is increasingly clear that digitalisation has exacerbated the unsuitability of current international tax rules.... [T]he EU is moving towards the ‘unitary’ taxation of multinationals (treating them as a single global body with a single set of global profits).... These moves could be a game-changer in tackling tax-avoidance....” 

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

Facebook data: Why China and the West diverge sharply on privacy

“The privacy debate has again gained momentum with the latest Facebook row that exposed the social media giant as mishandling personal data of up to 50 million users,” writes Luisa Tam. “In this ultra-
connected era, many people have unknowingly become used to surrendering their individual details.... People in the West place considerable emphasis on privacy and often go to great lengths to defend it.... But when you talk about privacy to Chinese, a common reaction you get is: ‘What privacy?’ In my traditional Taiwanese Chinese family, privacy was an alien concept.... Chinese are bent on dismissing privacy as a bad thing.... In Chinese, ‘si yen’ means seclusion and implies secrecy.” 

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

We need a more nuanced understanding of Pakistan’s anti-Malala sentiment

“Malala [Yousafzai] ... returned [March 30-April 2] to Pakistan for the first time after she was shot almost six years ago,” writes Shenila Khoja Moolji. “While many, including state officials, have welcomed her, there are also some who remain suspicious, even celebrating ‘anti-Malala day’. It seems she has as many detractors as she does fans.... In Western contexts, such anti-Malala sentiments are read as representing the pre-modern sensibilities of Pakistanis.... We, therefore, find articles ... in Western media outlets, that traffic in ideas about Pakistanis being conspiracy theorists, jealous, and/or inhospitable toward women/girls. What is needed, instead, is a nuanced engagement with anti-Malala sentiment.... Significantly, understanding anti-Malala sentiment provides opportunities for us to become more astute about the politics of her representation in Anglophone media cultures, which I believe drives much of this sentiment in Pakistan.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia

The US and Britain have struggled to deal decisively with Russia

“[Australia’s] Coalition government and the Labor opposition are in close agreement in clearly seeing and naming Russian outrages and resisting them...,” writes Peter Hartcher. “Compared to the countries that it has looked to for leadership traditionally, Australia stands out as robust and cohesive. The political systems of the US and Britain are staggering under the pressure of Russia’s roguery.... The Russians meddled with the American political system yet the US President refuses to confront the problem.... British Prime Minister Theresa May has firmly named Russia as the culprit in the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal.... [E]xpelling Russian diplomats ... is a ‘message’ to Moscow.... But it is not a deterrent....”

The New Times / Kigali, Rwanda

Winnie Mandela was Africa’s Rosa Parks or Joan of Arc

“America had Amelia Earhart and Rosa Parks, Europe had Joan of Arc and in Africa it was Winnie Mandela, the controversial but equally inspiring iconic figure of the apartheid era,” states an editorial. “She passed away [April 2].... Those were women who helped prove wrong the old myth that women were the weaker sex, clueless and hopeless in the absence of males. Winnie was the epitome of strength and defiance despite her questionable moral issues that haunted her and nearly ruined her liberation posterity.... A true feminist fights on the side of every gender, the same kind of fight Winnie Madikizela-Mandela fought.” 

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