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Why Biden wants Israel-Gaza war to end, now | TICKER VIEWS



By Bruce Wolpe. Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre and Ticker News US political contributor

The toll on both sides of the Israel-Gaza war is horrendous, and the rockets and air strikes continue unabated. 

In the name of the Palestinians, and justice for them, Hamas is determined to inflict damage and fear on Israelis. Israel is determined to cripple Hamas to such an extent that it can no longer wage war for many years at least, and to maintain full control over the country’s destiny.  

This is the first big foreign policy crisis of the Biden presidency.  Biden has been clear:  Israel has the right to defend itself.  And there must be a two-state solution. He has engaged in direct diplomacy with Israel and several Arab governments. 

The humanitarian disaster in Gaza, and a growing consensus in world opinion that this has to end, has also spurred the meeting of the UN Security Council.

This war has erupted as the Biden agenda is at another key inflection point. Biden is working steadily to see if there are Republican allies on his major infrastructure bill — a major program to help rebuild America and widen the benefits of his America Rescue Plan to end the pandemic and stimulate the economy.  Biden knows he has to pass this package in Congress if he is to continue to succeed as president.  Republicans understand these stakes perfectly, and they have little incentive to help make the Biden presidency a success.  

Biden’s goal this week:  bring the war in Gaza and Israel under control so that it does not overwhelm the urgency of the Biden agenda at home to bring America back.  And keep up efforts to make the Republicans honest partners in his legislative agenda — or, as may well be needed in the end, keep the Democrats in Congress together under his wing and cement their support to push his program through the House and Senate and enacted into law.  

Palestinians carry the the bodies of Palestinians who were killed in overnight Israeli airstrikes that hit their homes, during their funeral in Gaza City, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

End the war over there, and keep building the country at home.

Global Politics

China challenges Australia anti-dumping measures at WTO



China has challenged Australia’s anti-dumping measures at the World Trade Organisation.

The anti-dumping measures affect Chinese exports of train components, wind turbines, and stainless steel sinks.

China hopes Australia can adopt concrete measures so that bilateral trade can return to a normal track, ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters at a news conference.

More to come.

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Global Politics

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



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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Global Politics

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



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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