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Is this island the next Bali?

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A government backed program to develop an Island called Mandalika is being touted as the next Bali.

The program has run into allegations of numerous humans rights violations at the site.

The Island is a key investment project for Indonesia but the UN says the mega project is “trampling on human rights”

The UN says locals have been subject to threats and intimidation due to land grabbing and forced elections.

Global Politics

Why Singaporeans may have to learn to live with COVID-19

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Singapore is drawing up a road map to transit to a “new normal”, where COVID-19 is likely endemic.

Singapore’s government believes COVID-19 may never go away.

But ministers leading the city-state’s pandemic response say the good news is that it is possible to live normally with the virus in our midst.

Three key ministers have written an opinion piece in The Straits Times, outlining what they believe life will look like in a “new-normal” where COVID-19 is still around but can be controlled through mass vaccination.

The ministers, who lead the city-state’s pandemic task force, say they hope COVID-19 will become like influenza.

They haver pointed out that people carry on with their daily activities during the flu season, take simple precautions or get an annual flu jab.

The ministers want to work towards a similar outcome for Covid-19.

“We can’t eradicate it, but we can turn the pandemic into something much less threatening, like influenza, hand, foot and mouth disease, or chickenpox, and get on with our lives.”

Rapid mass vaccination will be key

The ministers say “we are on track” to have two-thirds of the population vaccinated with at least their first dose by early July.

The next vaccine milestone will be to have at least two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated by National Day on August 9, supply permitting.

The ministers say they are working to bring forward the delivery of vaccines and to speed up the process.

The new-normal

It’s hoped that in the future, when someone gets COVID in Singapore, the response can be very different from now.

And instead of monitoring Covid-19 infection numbers every day, the focus will be on the outcomes, such as how many people are getting sick.

The government says in this new-normal, large gatherings can resume, businesses will have certainty that their operations will not be disrupted, and vaccinated travellers can be exempted from quarantine

But the ministers added a note of caution:

“The battle against Covid-19 will continue to be fraught with uncertainty.”

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Europe’s big plan to tackle “nightmare” cyber-attacks

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The EU will soon build a Joint Cyber Unit to tackle large scale cyber-attacks

Recent ransomware attacks on critical services in Ireland and on the Colonial pipeline in the US have promoted the move to take cybercrime more seriously.

The EU says cyber-attacks are a national security threat, with reported incidents in Europe rising to almost 1,000 last year.

A dedicated team of multi-national cyber-experts will be deployed to European countries during serious attacks.

A Commission spokesman said that “advanced and coordinated responses in the field of cybersecurity have become increasingly necessary, as cyberattacks grow in number, scale, and consequences, impacting heavily our security”.

Under the Commission’s proposals, it would “tackle the rising number of serious cyber incidents impacting public services, as well as the life of businesses and citizens across the European Union”.

EU vice-president said last month’s hack on US fuel supplies was ‘the “nightmare scenario that we have to prepare against”.

The attack sent major disruptions to the United States fuel supply, with gas stations running out of supply and being forced to shut down.

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Global Politics

Democrat’s agenda: near impossible odds?

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In the wake of the the Democrat’s sweeping new voting laws being stalled in the Senate, there are concerns the party’s big agenda items will continue to face near impossible odds.

The Democrats achieved a unified government for the first time in the US since 2010 – meaning the control the House, the Senate and the administration.

However, the party’s big ambitions are increasingly running into the Senate’s own rule book and, particularly, the filibuster requirement.

To have a bill move from debate to a vote in the Senate, it must receive the support of 60 members… which is more than half and more than the Democrat’s senate majority.

This growing frustration at the filibuster rule comes.after Republicans moved to block the sweeping voter rights bill known as the “For the People Act” .

Meanwhile, Majority Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer says the fight against modern-day voter suppression is “just beginning”.

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