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SITUATION REPORTApr 26, 2021 | 20:35 GMT
Myanmar: Military Junta Again Delays Suu Kyi’s Trial Following ASEAN Summit
Myanmar’s military junta again delayed the trial of the country’s deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on April 26, just two days after reaching a relatively nonbinding consensus with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to accept aid and end the violent crackdown on anti-coup protesters, as well as participate in more constructive talks between all parties in Myanmar facilitated by a special ASEAN envoy, the South China Morning Post has reported.
SnapshotsApr 23, 2021 | 20:29 GMT
World leaders are seen on a screen as U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a virtual climate summit on April 22, 2021.
The Obstacles to Biden’s Climate Push
Policy disputes at home and competition with China will hinder the United States’ ability to assert itself as the world leader in the fight against climate change. On April 22-23, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden hosted a virtual climate summit with 40 world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the first day of meetings and presentations, several countries unveiled ambitious climate targets, including a new U.S. pledge to reduce carbon emissions by up to 52% from 2005 levels by 2030. The second day focused more on how to implement those changes, beginning with a speech made by U.S. billionaire Bill Gates in which he called on the private sector to turn their words into action by investing in climate-focused innovation. 
SITUATION REPORTApr 19, 2021 | 18:06 GMT
Mexico: Lopez Obrador's Party Seeks to Remove Advisors From Electoral Body
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s ruling MORENA party said it will endorse an investigation to remove two advisors from the country’s electoral body, the National Electoral Institute (INE), for having annulled the validity of 46 candidates (most of whom MORENA members) ahead of Mexico’s June 6 legislative and gubernatorial elections, Deutsche Welle reported April 19.
AssessmentsApr 13, 2021 | 18:28 GMT
Voters stand in line to cast their ballots in the parliamentary election in Greenland's capital of Nuuk on April 6, 2021.
Pro-Environment Politics Won’t Deter Demand for Greenland's Resources
The appointment of an environmentalist government will temporarily delay mining operations in Greenland. But a combination of economic needs, pressure from great powers and opportunities created by climate change will result in growing international competition to exploit the island’s natural resources. Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. The left-wing environmentalist Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won an April 6 parliamentary election on the island with roughly 37% of the vote, while the center-left Siumut party came in second with around 29% of the vote. While Greenland controls most of its own policy areas, its currency, defense and foreign policies are decided by Denmark. Greenland’s strategic position between North America, Europe and the Arctic explains foreign powers’ historic interests in the island. More recently, the prospect of vast mineral resources, including rare earth elements (a key component in high-tech products from smartphones to electric vehicles and defense equipment)
AssessmentsApr 12, 2021 | 21:58 GMT
Iranian flags fly along a highway in Natanz in June 2014.
What an Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Facility Means for JCPOA Talks
Iran’s need to secure sanctions relief in newly restarted nuclear talks will limit its response to the suspected Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz facility. Any act of Iranian retaliation, however, will increase overall global scrutiny on the negotiations between Tehran and the West. Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility south of Tehran suffered an overnight electricity blackout early April 11 after an explosion reportedly destroyed the internal power system that supplies the underground centrifuges. The timing of the incident follows the first indirect diplomatic engagement between the United States and Iran in three years, and comes amid ongoing tit-for-tat maritime and regional escalations between Israel and Iran. This further indicates the incident was intentional sabotage, with the intent to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program progress, as well as potentially spoil talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany), which are set to continue in
AssessmentsApr 12, 2021 | 18:02 GMT
The U.S. Federal Reserve building is seen on July 1, 2020, in Washington D.C.
The U.S. Fed’s Gamble on Higher Inflation
By saying it will tolerate higher inflation for longer and not move preemptively against potential reignited inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve is conducting a monetary policy experiment with long-term risks to interest rates, exchange rates, wages, investment, financial stability and, ultimately, economic growth. There is no alternative to the current easy monetary policy, given the continued disruptions in the U.S. economy. And, while rekindled inflation is not an immediate threat, political pressures to maintain exceptional monetary support and a broadening central bank mandate, along with large fiscal stimulus, could create a situation that leaves the Fed with too few options, too late. 
AssessmentsApr 9, 2021 | 18:29 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party during a political rally in Ankara on March 24, 2021.
Making Sense of Turkey’s Contradictory Behavior: Part 2
Ahead of 2023 elections, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will embrace policies that appease its Islamist base by further entrenching religion into the country’s culture and economy. The AKP will also ramp up efforts to rig the country’s electoral system in its favor, pulling Turkey toward authoritarianism. Sliding poll numbers, the emergence of rival parties and an uncertain economic future are forcing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) to rethink its political strategy ahead of June 2023 elections. As the AKP loses control of managing Turkey’s economy, the party is considering old tactics, like reshaping the country’s electoral system to better benefit the AKP and its ruling partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), leaning into more Islamist-friendly cultural conservatism at home while pragmatically picking confrontations with the international community abroad. While it’s not certain that such tactics will necessarily position the AKP for yet
AssessmentsMar 22, 2021 | 18:41 GMT
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a press conference in February 2019.
In Mexico, a New Electricity Law Risks Unplugging Energy Projects
A new law that prioritizes Mexico’s state-owned electricity utility over private competitors risks undermining the country’s investment climate and weakening incentives to transition to renewable energy by hiking prices for multinational companies and other large electricity consumers. On March 9, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signed an amendment to the Electricity Industry Law that favors state-owned energy company Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) over industry competitors by reversing parts of Mexico’s 2013 energy reforms, which permitted foreign and private investment throughout the country’s energy sector for the first time in over 75 years. If enforced, the law would change the order of dispatch from first using the most economical energy per node, which typically favors more cost-effective sources, to requiring that nodes from CFE be prioritized regardless of the cost -- marking the most aggressive tactic yet in Lopez Obrador’s push to limit private energy production and bolster the state
SnapshotsFeb 19, 2021 | 21:36 GMT
A rechargeable Lithium-ion battery for the Volkswagen ID.3 electric car is pictured Feb. 25, 2020, at the Volkswagen car factory in Zwickau, Germany.
A Battery Ruling Complicates Biden's Efforts to Secure the Green Energy Supply Chain
The U.S. International Trade Commission's Feb. 10 ruling that South Korean battery maker SK Innovation had stolen trade secrets from another South Korean battery maker complicates ongoing Biden administration efforts to accelerate the domestic adoption of electric vehicles and U.S. efforts to ensure the accessibility and security of critical resources and technologies like lithium-ion batteries.
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