Campaigning was never going to be easy for opposition Labor Party leader Mark Latham: an Australian economy into its 13th year of expansion, interest rates at their lowest in 30 years, inflation in check an close race likely to be decided in just a handful of marginal seats. \nFrom a shambles when Latham took over the leadership in December, Labor is back to being a credible alternative government. But it would still be a surprise if Labor managed to wrest the eight seats it needs to deny the coalition an absolute majority in the 150-seat house of representatives. \n"The federal electorate is famously conservative when it comes to throwing out governments," respected social researcher Hugh Mackay said. "We've only done it three times since 1950 and it looks as if two conditions must be met before we take the plunge: a government must appear tired, confused, incompetent, divided or seriously out of touch with the people, and the opposition leader must be a known quantity." \nThe coalition is unpopular on some big issues. A majority of the 12 million voters tell pollsters they think Howard was wrong to commit 2,000 troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq. \nThey also think he is shifty and that he lied when he said Middle Eastern asylum-seekers on rickety fishing boats had thrown their children in the sea to force navy personnel to pick them up. Added to that is the belief that the coalition should desert the US and join the rest of the rich world in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on curbing the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. \nNot even a great communicator like Latham can claim that 65-year-old Howard and the government he leads is tired, confused or incompetent. \nThe latest opinion polls show voters rate Howard as the better economic manager by a margin that puts him a full 30 percentage points ahead of 43-year-old Latham. \nHoward's remarkable eight-year stewardship of the economy has forced Labor into promising that it too would never run a budget deficit, stoke inflation or let inflation run away. \nParallel protestations of economic piety from the rival parties contrast sharply with the fiscal permissiveness other governments get away with. In Japan, the US, Germany and Britain governments are in deficits that are all bigger than 3 percent of GDP. Contrast this with Australia and a budget that is in a surplus that equates to 0.8 percent the size of the economy. \nHoward is trying to scare voters with the bogey that a Latham government would mean more union power, wage rises not backed by productivity increases, budgets in deficit and higher interest rates. \nBut those whose job it is to monitor and make a call on the direction of the economy are untroubled by a change in government. \nSu Lin Ong, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said that "there is little real difference between the current government and the opposition on the key issues that matter to financial markets." She predicts the economy will continue to bubble along. \n"I don't see wholesale change, but some business leaders have indicated some concern over industrial relations," said Richard Sheppard, the deputy managing director of Macquarie Bank, Australia's biggest investment bank and its only home-grown financial services multinational. \nIt's on foreign policy that the coalition and Labor diverge. Howard has put the heat back into relations with the US by sending troops for campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. On the back of those commitments, he has negotiated a free trade agreement (FTA) with Washington that many other countries are envious of. \nTo his buddy President George W. Bush, Howard declared that the US had "no greater friend in the world than Australia." Latham, on the other hand, is committed to an independent foreign policy that would see relations with Washington downgraded. \nHe has pledged to withdraw Australia's Iraq contingent "by Christmas" and keep the troops at home to protect the mainland. \nAustralia's posture would become isolationist like New Zealand's, with Latham a stay-at-home premiere unlikely to commit troops to foreign adventures. \nA fourth term for Howard would see the conservatives plugging away at old themes. There would be more attacks on trade union power, another attempt to fully privatize giant telecommunications company Telstra and more work on deregulating the economy and stimulating commerce. \nAccording to columnist Paul Kelly of The Australian, a fourth term for the coalition "means an ongoing change in Australia's political culture toward a more aspirational, entrepreneurial and achievement-oriented society as represented by Howard's values."
Burger King Taiwan on Wednesday last week posted an update on Facebook advertising a new “Wuhan pneumonia” (武漢肺炎) home delivery meal, catering to customers hankering for a Whopper, but who wished to avoid visiting one of its outlets. “Wuhan pneumonia” is the term commonly used in Taiwan to describe COVID-19. Beijing has been waging an extensive propaganda campaign against the use of the words “Wuhan” or “China” in reference to the novel coronavirus, calling it racist and discriminatory. Meanwhile, Chinese officials have claimed that the coronavirus might have originated in the US. The intention is obvious: to distract attention from the Chinese Communist
Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early-warning aircraft and Shenyang J-11 fighters on March 16 conducted a nighttime exercise in the waters southwest of Taiwan and, in doing so, came close to the nation’s air defense identification zone. Three days later, the PLA Navy’s fleet for Gulf of Aden escort mission sailed north in the Pacific off Taiwan’s east coast via the Miyako Strait on its way home. Meanwhile, the US carried out freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and assembled the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group with the Expeditionary Strike Group to conduct
Having returned to the UK late last year and with a Taiwanese spouse remaining in Taiwan, I have been afforded the chance to compare and contrast the UK and Taiwanese governments’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis. My early conclusions are that Taiwan benefits from a rational, competent government, which quickly recognizes, adapts to and confronts large-scale disasters. It is led by a government that does more than just talk of respecting democracy and human rights, one that is scrutinized and responds to criticism, one that is concerned about public opinion, and one that is used to dealing with emergencies on
Italy, Spain, France, the UK and the US are all depending on social distancing to fight COVID-19 and have fallen into terrible situations, with mounting positive cases and many deaths. Social distancing might flatten the curve, so that the peak is not so high that hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, the problem is that the pandemic could extend further into the future, hurt the economy more and become unbearable for society. Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Singapore have controlled the spread of COVID-19, and the main reason is that most Asians wear masks. It can be illustrated as follows: If someone contracts the