Global Newsstand: Extreme weather is beginning to affect Australia – and the world, and more

A roundup of global commentary for the Feb. 25, 2019 weekly magazine.

David Gray/Reuters
Cattle push each other as they kick up dust at sunset on a drought-affected property in New South Wales, Australia, June 1, 2018.

The Guardian / Sydney, Australia

Extreme weather is beginning to affect Australia – and the world

“The northern hemisphere faced a polar vortex, while Australia during December and January was the hottest on record,” writes R. Keller Kopf. “People and the environment are suffering at both ends of the planet because of the extreme events. Australia’s heatwave has exposed cracks in our unsustainable water, land-use and climate policies. Fish kills in the Darling River, followed by more in other waterways, are being blamed on drought.... Heatwaves and drought have always occurred here but unsustainable levels of water extraction and climate change are much more recent.... Worldwide the demand for fresh water is expected to increase by 55% by 2050. Australia is experiencing this water stress now. We are thus a canary, and the coalmine, for the rest of the world.”

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Could India benefit from the US-China trade war?

“There are alarm bells in India over a possible decision by the U.S. Trade Representative to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences status,” states an editorial. “Under this, India is able to export about 2,000 product lines to the U.S. under zero tariff.... In retaliation, India proposed tariffs of about $235 million on 29 American goods.... Both sides should work towards calling a halt to trade hostilities.... India must keep in mind that the larger, global picture is about U.S.-China trade issues, and if a trade deal with the U.S. is reached, India could be the biggest beneficiary of business deals lost by China.”

The New Times / Kigali, Rwanda

The state of the African Union

“President Paul Kagame on [Feb. 10] completed his one-year tenure as the Chairperson of the African Union...,” states an editorial. “Under President Kagame, the African Union made significant gains in many areas.... Indeed, the momentum witnessed on continental initiatives over the last one year is proof that the ‘Africa We Want’ blueprint – anchored on the Agenda 2063 – is not a pipedream.... But to deliver the future that Africa and her people badly need, African leaders must continue to build on the progress hitherto made with unwavering commitment, and steer the Union and member states in a way that consistently places the ordinary African at the heart of all efforts.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

Diversifying away from oil will be a complex process for the Arab world

“Why have Middle East’s oil-rich economies failed to diversify despite their tall promises and grandiose plans?” writes Adeel Malik. “The answer lies not in the absence of good technical plans or weak implementation, but in political incentives.... [E]conomic diversification in the Middle East – far from being purely a technocratic affair – carries deep power implications, involving all three inter-locking spheres in the domestic, regional and geopolitical domains. By producing a greater number and variety of products, diversification not only increases the complexity of economic exchange but also risks generating independent constituencies whose political economy effects are neither neutral for domestic power structure nor for the prevailing geopolitical order.”

The Independent / London

Social media is enabling the proliferation of hate speech

“Hate crime takes many forms, and only in recent times has the language of hate begun to be afforded the same sort of consideration as physical violence or acts of discrimination...,” states an editorial. “Social media, as the health secretary Matthew Hancock has highlighted, has provided new and viciously efficient channels for abuse to be directed at vulnerable and blameless individuals. This is a particular problem that has, within a decade, emerged as a challenge of worldwide proportions, with globally dominant media giants failing in too many cases to take their responsibilities seriously.... By the usual political standards, there have been far too many examples of distortion and agitation against all minorities....”

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