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BRICS adds new members to counter Western dominance

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The expansion is the first time the group has added to its number in 13 years

The BRICS coalition of emerging economies recently endorsed the inclusion of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates, signalling a stride toward overhauling an antiquated global order.

Marking its first expansion in 13 years, this move also leaves the door open for future additions as numerous other nations express interest in joining the group, aspiring to rebalance the worldwide stage.

The extension bolsters the economic prowess of BRICS, currently encompassing China, the world’s second-largest economy, alongside Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa. This step further magnifies the bloc’s stated ambition to advocate for the Global South.

However, pre-existing tensions may persist between members envisioning the bloc as a counterforce to Western influence—chiefly China, Russia, and now Iran—and those maintaining strong affiliations with the United States and Europe.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, long an advocate of BRICS enlargement, hailed this as a momentous juncture.

“This membership expansion is historic,” he said. “It shows the determination of BRICS countries for unity and cooperation with the broader developing countries.”

With the name originally coined by economist Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001, the bloc evolved from an informal four-nation union in 2009 and later welcomed South Africa in its sole prior expansion.

The six incoming nations are set to formally join the coalition on January 1, 2024, as disclosed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during a summit held in Johannesburg.

“BRICS has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous,” Ramaphosa said.

“We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process and other phases will follow.”

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China conducts ‘punishment’ war games near Taiwan

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China initiated military ‘punishment’ exercises in the waters surrounding Taiwan in response to the newly inaugurated President Lai Ching-te.

These drills come amid escalating tensions in the region, with Beijing asserting its sovereignty over Taiwan, denouncing the inauguration of President Lai Ching-te and labelling this one of several “separatist acts”, as reported by Reuters.

These military manoeuvres are seen as a show of force and a warning to Taiwan and its supporters against any moves perceived as challenging China’s territorial claims.

President Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but has been rebuffed.

He says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future, and rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims.

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Apple Music’s controversial top 10 albums of all time

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Apple Music has released its highly anticipated “100 Best Albums of All Time” list, with the top 10 rankings causing a bittersweet symphony of destruction for some music lovers.

The list was curated by a panel of experts and based on various factors including cultural impact, critical acclaim, and commercial success, with the aim to celebrate the most influential and timeless albums across genres.

As reported by the official Apple Music Newsroom blog post, the top ten best albums of all time are the following:

10. Lemonade (2016), Beyoncé

9. Nevermind (1991), Nirvana 

8. Back to Black (2006), Amy Winehouse

7. good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012), Kendrick Lamar

6. Songs in the Key of Life (1976), Stevie Wonder

5. Blonde (2016), Frank Ocean

4. Purple Rain (1984), Prince & The Revolution

3. Abbey Road (1969), The Beatles

2. Thriller (1982), Michael Jackson

1. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998), Lauryn Hill

In other news, Apple recently became the first company to hit a $3 trillion stock market value, before falling just below that milestone, as reported by Reuters.

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Leaders

Essential daily protein needs for better health

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Protein is a fundamental macronutrient essential for various bodily functions, including muscle repair, enzyme production, and immune system support.

Daily protein requirements can vary significantly based on factors such as activity levels, age, and gender.

To help unpack this topic, Kate Save from BeFitFood joins to share her key insights. #featured

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