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SnapshotsSep 9, 2020 | 19:16 GMT
Another Border Clash Heightens China-India Tensions
Renewed altercations between Chinese and Indian forces in the disputed region of Ladakh reflect a growing risk of military escalation as China's growing presence along the two countries' border prompts India to more assertively defend its claimed territory. China and India have accused each other of firing shots during a Sept. 7 incident south of Pangong Lake, marking the first official claims of small arms fire on the border since 1975. While the situation in Ladakh had calmed down after the deadly June 15 melee in Galwan Valley, a resurgence of tensions is now occurring in a separate area of the disputed territory. Since Aug. 29, Chinese forces have allegedly been trying to cross into Indian controlled territory in the mountainous area between Pangong and Spanggur Lakes. India reportedly deployed troops to block these Chinese incursion attempts in several separate incidents. 
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AssessmentsJul 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People stand in line to receive grant payments from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Khayelitsha, a township located near Cape Town, on May 4, 2020. 
South Africa's Budget Outlook Paints a Picture of a Lost Decade
South Africa will likely miss its recently adjusted budget targets as the country’s escalating COVID-19 outbreak delays much-needed austerity measures, leaving the South African economy in shambles for at least another five years. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his pro-business allies in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had planned to rein in government spending and the country's sky-high debt levels over the next three years. But South Africa's likely extended health and economic crisis could make that goal politically untenable, given that any budget cuts and potential layoffs would most acutely affect the ANC's support base of labor unions and their poorer Black constituents. 
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SnapshotsMay 6, 2020 | 19:48 GMT
The U.S. Looks to Mine the Moon on Its Own Terms
With the United States and China gearing up to send astronauts back to the moon and beyond, the competition of space resources between Washington and its rivals will heat up, as will the race to define the international rules, standards, laws and regulations governing the final frontier. But the White House's attempt to lead the development of space resources by negotiating a moon-mining pact with like-minded countries will struggle, and ultimately fail, to gain global acceptance.
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AssessmentsApr 22, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People wearing masks gather in a granite quarry in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for an Easter celebration while practicing social distancing on April 12, 2020. The capital city has been on lockdown since March 23 to curb the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Shakes Up Southern Africa’s Mining Sector
Current COVID-19 disruptions may provide only a short-term challenge for Southern Africa's lucrative mining operations. But they will come just ahead of a longer-term blow to revenue caused by the pandemic-induced global recession and the subsequent drops in demand for mineral resources. After soaring throughout 2019, platinum prices, for example, have already dropped roughly 20 percent since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, the world’s largest producer of platinum, South Africa, has been forced to shutter its massive mining sector in the hopes of containing its own fast-evolving outbreak. Some countries such as Tanzania and Namibia have managed to benefit from the new influx of export traffic afforded by South Africa’s COVID-19 crisis. But it may be only a matter of time before widespread outbreaks force more mining firms across the region to choose between securing their profit lines or the safety of their workers. Regardless of the direct health impacts, however, steep losses
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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.
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AssessmentsMar 19, 2020 | 19:21 GMT
The Goptivka checkpoint, near Kharkiv on the Ukrainian-Russian border, on March 16, 2020.
In Russia, COVID-19 Border Closures Risk Cutting Off Its Public Works
As Russia starts to see its number of COVID-19 patients rise, it has started to impose more stringent measures to contain the virus and limit the fallout. As elsewhere, some measures to slow down the disease will have major economic impacts. Russia closed its border to foreigners on March 18, and will stop processing requests for work visas. While this will surely stem the potential flow of COVID-19 carriers into Russia, it will also likely hit its construction sector, which heavily depends on migrant labor. And this, in turn, could upend Moscow's long-term plans for Russia's economy.
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