British Prime Minister Tony Blair will today set out a new world vision for tackling poverty and democratic failure as he tries to refocus the war on terror on the root causes of conflict. \nHis Downing Street office, which has produced a map revealing the most dangerous threats in the world, is drawing up plans for more proactive intervention in "failing states" -- countries on the verge of collapse, which not only fail their own people but also become havens for drug dealing, organized crime or terrorism that threatens the West. \nThe map, drawn up by the prime minister's Strategy Unit, concentrates on Africa, which is seen as a potential breeding ground for fundamentalism. \nBlair will also vigorously defend the "special relationship" with the US in his annual Mansion House speech on foreign affairs, as well as urging new initiatives on climate change and overseas aid. \nLabour party strategists now believe the war on terror could become a plus at the election if reshaped around contributory factors such as poverty and repression, an approach described by Alan Milburn, Labour's election co-ordinator, yesterday as "tough on terrorism, dealing with Afghanistan and Iraq, and tough on the causes of it." \nBlair's speech comes as a leading member of his Commission for Africa warns that images of war and starvation in the Western media are fueling Africa's conflicts. \nTidjane Thiam, commissioner for peace and security, called for a shift from picking up the pieces to a strategy of preventing conflicts. \nThe commission has noted the rise of al-Qaeda cells in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia among other countries, with poverty a climate for terrorism. \n"You have these talented people with no opportunities: the fact that they resort to violence is sad but shouldn't be surprising," said Thiam, a Muslim and former Ivory Coast minister. \nConflict was also driven by Western interventions, he said, from unscrupulous business deals or small-arms sales to well-intentioned war reporting: "I have mixed feelings every time I see the leadership of a rebel militia on CNN or the BBC. You are building role models for a lot of young Africans and the subliminal message to them is `you cannot be heard, if you want to be heard get a gun.'" \nToday the Department for International Development will launch a Rough Guide to the developing world, outlining ways individuals can help, from shopping ethically to volunteering overseas. It is aimed at tackling "compassion fatigue" by showing small changes can make a difference. \nThiam said charity appeals were welcome but did not tackle root causes.
‘TRAVEL FREELY’: Visitors from 10 countries deemed low-risk would be allowed into Thailand, while others must still undergo a week of quarantine at a hotel Thailand plans to fully reopen to vaccinated tourists from countries deemed low risk from Nov. 1, the country’s leader said on Monday, citing the urgent need to save the kingdom’s ailing economy. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand attracted nearly 40 million visitors a year drawn to its picturesque beaches and robust nightlife, with tourism making up almost 20 percent of its national income. However, pandemic-related travel restrictions have left the economy battered, contributing to its worst performance in more than 20 years. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that the country would be reopening its borders to vaccinated tourists travelling by air from
Vaccination is highly effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19, even against the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, a vast study in France has shown. The research published yesterday — focusing on prevention of severe COVID-19 and death, not infection — looked at 22 million people over 50 and found those who had received jabs were 90 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die. The results confirm observations from the US, the UK and Israel, but researchers say it is the largest study of its kind so far. Looking at data collected starting in December last year, when France launched its vaccination campaign,
Australia’s highest court yesterday dismissed an intellectual freedom claim by a university physicist who was fired in part over his public statements that scientists exaggerated damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Five High Court judges unanimously dismissed physicist Peter Ridd’s claim that he had been unlawfully dismissed in 2018 by James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland. The court ruled that a clause in his employment contract that protected his intellectual freedom was not a “general freedom of speech” clause and did not protect him from being fired for serious misconduct under the university’s code of conduct. Australian Minister for Education Alan Tudge said
HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST: The US and the EU have said they are ready to back humanitarian initiatives in Afghanistan, but are wary of providing direct support to the Taliban Afghanistan’s new Taliban government has warned US and European envoys that continued attempts to pressure it through sanctions would undermine security and could trigger a wave of economic refugees. Acting Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi told Western diplomats at talks in Doha that “weakening the Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone because its negative effects will directly affect the world in [the] security sector and economic migration from the country,” a statement published late on Tuesday showed. The Taliban overthrew Afghanistan’s former US-backed government in August after a two-decade-long conflict, and have declared an Islamic emirate