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SnapshotsJun 12, 2020 | 20:38 GMT
The UAE Tries to Have It Both Ways in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The United Arab Emirates is publicly signaling that it disapproves of Israel's impending annexations in the West Bank, but its strategy suggests it still wants to support the Palestinians without losing the ability to seek economic, technology, and security deals from Israel. In a June 12 op-ed published in Israeli media, UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba staked out the country's aspirations to simultaneously support both sides of the conflict by urging Israel not to carry out annexations that would prevent a future Palestinian state and harm budding relations. This comes shortly after a second plane from the Abu Dhabi-based national carrier Etihad Airways landed in Israel on June 9 to publicly deliver relief supplies in the Palestinian Territories as part of the United Nations World Food Program. 
AssessmentsMar 26, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (center) addresses the media in Pretoria after concluding a meeting with various business and political leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 22, 2020. 
A Perfect COVID-19 Storm Closes in on South Africa
With only 709 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 25, South Africa may be lagging a few weeks behind the outbreaks now unfolding in Europe and North America. But when the pandemic does eventually hit the country, it will hit hard. With high rates of people living with HIV or tuberculosis, much of South Africa’s population is immunosuppressed and thus believed to be at risk of dying or in need of significant medical care if they contract the virus. Such a widespread outbreak could, in turn, quickly collapse the country's already fragile health care system and economy, forcing the government to abandon its new austerity budget for expensive relief efforts.
AssessmentsMar 13, 2020 | 14:39 GMT
A man wearing a face mask walks in Pretoria square in Palermo, Italy, on March 11, 2020.
Europe's Tourism Industry Confronts an Unwelcome Visitor in COVID-19
Tourism is one of the sectors of the European economy that will be most affected by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the Continent. The importance of tourism for Europe cannot be overstated: It represents around 4 percent of the European Union's GDP and accounts for more than 5 percent of the total workforce. Tourism is particularly important in Southern Europe because it represents around 21 percent of GDP in Greece, 16 percent in Spain, 13 percent in Italy and almost 10 percent in France. It is also a significant source of employment. The vast majority of companies in Europe's tourism sector are small and medium-sized businesses, which are particularly vulnerable to economic crises. This means that Europe in general, and Southern Europe in particular, stands to lose a lot if the ongoing coronavirus outbreak extends into the spring when tourism activity starts to pick up. A contraction in the tourism sector
AssessmentsMar 13, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows a rows of seats on a passenger aircraft.
As Coronavirus Takes Flight, the Airline Industry Takes Cover
The coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the airline industry, with the most highly impacted countries of China, South Korea, Italy and Iran accounting for over a quarter of global passenger revenue alone. As panicked consumers continue to cancel or suspend their travel plans for fear of getting sick, and as more governments pursue containment measures and travel bans, an increasing number of airlines will be forced to either consolidate or go out of business. In China, this will likely lead to a market that's even more dominated by the state-backed carriers. Bigger airlines in Europe, meanwhile, will merge as revenue losses deal the final blow to their smaller competitors. But while so much is still unknown about how the outbreak will unfold in the weeks ahead, what remains certain is that the airline industry is headed for even more unexpected turbulence.
AssessmentsFeb 28, 2020 | 18:24 GMT
Two women wearing blue, protective respiratory masks take a tour outside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, on Jan. 31, 2020, after two cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed in the city.
What a Coronavirus Crisis Means for Europe
Europe's stock markets have plunged in recent days, with its largest economies (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain) now all reporting upticks in cases of COVID-19, the coronavirus that emerged from China in recent weeks. Stocks in European industries reliant on Chinese supplies, such as in the technology sector, have suffered some of the sharpest losses, along with airline and credit card companies, due to the expected reduction of economic activity in Europe. But with the size and scope of the contagion expected to grow for at least several more weeks, these stock market dips may just be the tip of the iceberg as disruptions to Europe's supply chains, domestic consumption and tourism sector -- and potentially even border crossings -- begin to more acutely affect the bloc's already slowing economy.
AssessmentsJul 22, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stands during the national anthem before delivering his annual State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on June 20, 2019.
Can Ramaphosa Halt South Africa's Rot?
On July 15, South Africans tuned in to witness a sight few on the continent ever expected to see: a former African leader getting a grilling from a corruption commission. But while former President Jacob Zuma's appearance before South Africa's Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into Allegations of State Capture (popularly known as the Zondo commission) was notable -- given that the vast majority of former African leaders accused of such impropriety never face such questioning -- his presence belies the gravity of the situation South Africa faces. In fact, nearly two months after the ruling African National Congress won an election to give the new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, an ostensible mandate to push through pro-business and anti-corruption reforms, details on the government's plans to breathe life into South Africa's moribund economy are either vague or fanciful. Instead, evidence is mounting that Ramaphosa remains weak and that he will have no choice
AssessmentsDec 21, 2018 | 11:00 GMT
30 Years Later: The Impact of the Lockerbie Tragedy
Thirty years ago, pieces of a Boeing 747-121 that was carrying 243 passengers and 16 crew as Pan Am Flight 103 rained down on the village of Lockerbie, turning the picturesque Scottish town into a fiery scene of horror. The jumbo jet had broken apart in midair after a bomb in a suitcase in its hold detonated at 31,000 feet, sending flaming wreckage plummeting onto houses below. It's estimated that only two minutes elapsed between the time the device detonated and the debris slammed into Lockerbie. Everyone on the plane died, as did 11 people on the ground. The intense investigation that followed concluded that the improvised explosive device that brought down Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988, had been built and placed aboard the aircraft by Libyan intelligence agents and provided evidence that the attack had been ordered by Libya. Beyond the emotional pain suffered by the friends and families
On SecurityNov 13, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
An employee of Cathay Pacific Airways helps a customer at Hong Kong's international airport on Aug. 7, 2018.
Fines and Lawsuits Are Adding to the Cost of Corporate Data Breaches
Hackers around the world are constantly probing for network vulnerabilities and seem to score a major cyberattack almost weekly. In the past three weeks alone, HSBC Bank of London reported that its U.S.-based accounts were illegally accessed; hackers compromised an Australian military shipbuilder's personnel files; and Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific confirmed a breach that affected up to 9.4 million passengers. These criminal and state-backed groups are trying to get personal information such as names, phone numbers, addresses, Social Security numbers, and credit card and banking information. They can sell that data to others who exploit it for financial gain, or use it for more targeted attacks – a national security, as well as a corporate, concern. Now governments in Europe and North America are pushing companies harder to shore up their defenses and fining those that are lax. On top of that, those that lose customers' information are increasingly
On GeopoliticsAug 2, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
The Chinese and U.S. flags are seen during a promotional event in Beijing on June 30, 2017.
AI and the Return of Great Power Competition
For better or worse, the advancement and diffusion of artificial intelligence technology will come to define this century. Whether that statement should fill your soul with terror or delight remains a matter of intense debate. Techno-idealists and doomsdayers will paint their respective utopian and dystopian visions of machine-kind, making the leap from what we know now as "narrow AI" to "general AI" to surpass human cognition within our lifetime. On the opposite end of the spectrum, yawning skeptics will point to Siri's slow intellect and Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's human instinct to wave off AI chatter as a heap of hype not worth losing sleep over. The fact is that the development of AI – a catch-all term that encompasses neural networks and machine learning and deep learning technologies – has the potential to fundamentally transform civilian and military life in the coming decades. Regardless of whether you're a businessman pondering
ReflectionsDec 29, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
The depiction of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani created by artist Ahmed bin Majed Almaadheed has appeared all over the small country, even at the bottom of a swimming pool used by Qatari security forces.
A Renewed Sense of Nationalism Takes Root in Qatar
National Days in the Gulf, once the preserve of simple frivolities, fireworks and corniche parades, have morphed into key nation-building exercises for the region's citizens. Even Saudi Arabia, which only formally recognized a National Day in 2005, has embraced ever-more elaborate public ceremonies. The 40th anniversaries of independence for Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in 2010-11 were lavish affairs compared to prior years, as the aftermath of the Arab Spring caused National Days to become key exercises in legitimacy for their governments. Yet for Qatar, this year marked a National Day like no other.
ReflectionsAug 23, 2017 | 19:36 GMT
Twitter has become a primary theater in the war of words between Doha and Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar Go Tit for Tat on Twitter
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have taken their diplomatic dispute to Mecca. Riyadh announced on Aug. 17 that it would reopen a border crossing -- and even charter flights -- to allow Qatari pilgrims into the kingdom after a round of negotiations with a member of Qatar's royal family. But the gesture, at first glance a sign of warming ties between the two Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, has only added fuel to the fire. Both countries are now using the pilgrimage as a weapon in their monthslong dispute. The tactic is nothing new for feuding governments in the Middle East; Iran accused Saudi Arabia of politicizing the hajj during their quarrel last year. Doha and Riyadh, however, have breathed new life into the strategy through social media, turning Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, along with state-backed media outlets, into minefields of often dubious information. The crisis in the GCC is deepening
Partner PerspectivesAug 1, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have built a winning product.
The Gulf’s Airlines Are Winning on Product but Losing at Politics
Gulf airliners Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways (known collectively as the ME3) certainly have a winning product. They have won over customers with newer aircraft, better service and highly competitive fares on flights that can span the globe with a single layover. Yet much as the ME3 have proved economically successful, they are at a political disadvantage in facing down their American competitors for one simple reason: National appeals and state boundaries divide them rather than unite them.
AssessmentsJul 25, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
Qatari herdsmen drive their camels along Qatar's border with Saudi Arabia.
Qatar Counts Its Sheep
The diplomatic crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has interfered with Qatar's political and economic activities since it erupted in late May. But now it's threatening to interfere with the country's religious practices as well. As Eid al-Adha, one of Islam's most important holidays, approaches in late August and early September, concerns are mounting that the blockade against Qatar will keep its people from celebrating in accordance with custom. The holiday, known as the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's trust in God, reflected in his willingness to sacrifice his son. Because God ultimately provided Ibrahim with a sheep to sacrifice instead of his son, observers of Eid al-Adha traditionally slaughter live animals -- often sheep, but sometimes goats, cattle or camels -- to eat and share with friends, relatives and people in need. Demand for live animals spikes in Muslim-majority countries in the weeks before the holiday,
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