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Thursday, July 07, 2022

The Sad Reality of US Dealmaking

The fallout from US President Joe Biden’s week in Europe has just begun. There was no dramatic moment that sums it up, though the media vaguely hoped the one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin might produce something akin to the jabs, uppercuts and right crosses of Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago in their opening round. But there was nothing to see. The fight wasn’t televised and Biden carefully avoided the risk of seeing both on stage in a joint press conference.

The Reality of Abortion in Northern Ireland

In April, the UK House of Commons formally approved a new directive requiring Northern Ireland’s Department of Health to take “concrete steps” to ensure full abortion services in the north before summer. The directive, which came after years of pressure from inside and outside the north, is the result of the Northern Ireland executive’s delay in commissioning services that were formally decriminalized in 2019.

Biden’s Optimism vs. the Media’s Pessimism

Media commentators initially gave good ratings to US President Joe Biden after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They expressed a sense of relief, in large part due to the contrast in tone with Donald Trump’s performance in similar situations, guaranteed to produce a sense of unexpected drama. Biden confirmed his image of a seasoned diplomat capable of engaging in civil dialogue, setting the stage for eventual problem-solving.

How the G7 Intends to Build the World Back Better

The US Senate recently demonstrated that the only adhesive capable of uniting the two parties is a good, old-fashioned enemy. Although the Democrats and Republicans continue to bicker over the Biden administration’s infrastructure legislation, they achieved rare accord in passing a major technology bill that directs investment into key sectors of the economy.

Biden’s Binary Battle Against Putin

Well before his trip to Europe, Joe Biden’s team worked out the strategy for its messaging that would color everything connected to foreign policy. Vox summed up the drift with this title: “Biden sees his presidency as proving democracy — not authoritarianism — right for the world.” It is now common for pundits to lament that democracy appears to be under threat, though few agree on the nature of that threat.

UAE Diplomats Accused in International Gold Smuggling Syndicate

The United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s major gold trading hubs. In 2019, it was the fifth-biggest importer and fourth-biggest exporter globally. During the COVID-19 pandemic, international demand has surged. But as Reuters reported in 2019, much of this gold is smuggled from West Africa and produced by artisanal and small-scale gold mining, a trade that funds armed conflict, costs producing countries in lost tax revenue and has significant consequences on public health and the environment.