Timeframe: November 26th – December 2nd, 2021
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Contributors: Adiba Tahsin, Mansib Khan, Sabyasachi Karamker, and Farhan Uddin Ahmed.
Omicron’s Impact: The new variant throws a wrench in our plans
Travel restrictions have been imposed around the globe as the South African variant shows a high number of mutations, leading the WHO to declare it ‘of concern’ in just three days. However, the WHO has tampered down the panic by declaring that early results so far indicate symptoms are likely to be mild even though the variant is more transmissible.
2. Economics & Business
Omicron pauses the return to economic normality
The science may still be uncertain but the Omicron variant has definitively intruded upon recent stock market euphoria. Business travel and some tourism is definitely going to be hit due to renewed quarantine requirements. Supply chain bottlenecks that are already holding back recovery are only going to be exacerbated by a wave of transmission that requires some workers to isolate.
Russia Ukraine: Lavrov warns of return to military confrontation nightmare
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that Europe could be returning to what he called the “nightmare of military confrontation”. At a European security conference in Sweden, Mr. Lavrov floated the idea of a new European security pact to try to stop Nato from expanding further east.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of “serious consequences” if Russia sought conflict with Ukraine. The meeting comes as Russia boosts its military near Ukraine’s border. Ukraine says Russia has amassed more than 90,000 troops there.
Blinken downbeat about nuclear talks as Iran floats proposals
The United States said on Thursday it had little cause for optimism about reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and would know in a day or so if Iran would negotiate in good faith as Tehran put forward fresh proposals.
“I think, in the very near future, the next day or so, we’ll be in a position to judge whether Iran actually intends now to engage in good faith,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Stockholm.
“I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don’t give us a lot of cause for … optimism. But even though the hour is getting very late, it is not too late for Iran to reverse course and engage meaningfully,” he added.
3. Science & Technology
The US restricts trade with a dozen more Chinese technology firms
Washington says that some of the firms are helping develop the Chinese military’s quantum computing program. Eight Chinese-based technology firms were added to the so-called “Entity List” for their alleged role in assisting the Chinese military’s quantum computing efforts and acquiring or attempting “to acquire US origin-items in support of military applications. 27 new entities were added to the list from China, Japan, Pakistan, and Singapore. Potential suppliers to firms on the list will now need to apply for a license before they can sell to them, with applications likely to be denied.
COP26: Progress in halting steps
The Glasgow Climate Pact has shown ambitious goals but yet the coal compromise engineered by China and India shows there is still a lot to be done. In order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade, the pledges at COP26 still leave 27 gigatonnes of carbon emissions that still have not been committed yet. And as the Kyoto Agreement and subsequent pacts show, actions do not necessarily follow commitments.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the third parties mentioned above. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.