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AssessmentsMay 13, 2021 | 17:03 GMT
People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccines at a health center in New Delhi on May 13, 2021.
India’s COVID-19 Surge Leaves the World Scrambling for Vaccines
India’s disastrous COVID-19 wave will threaten global vaccination campaigns and hamper its ability to use vaccines as a soft power tool in South and Southeast Asia. India is in the midst of an extremely severe COVID-19 surge more than one year into the pandemic. With no end in sight to the crisis, the Indian government will continue to increase vaccine production for domestic use and halt promised shipments to foreign nations, opening the door for the United States and China to compete for relationships integral to their larger Indo-Pacific strategies.
SnapshotsMay 12, 2021 | 15:27 GMT
EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni presents the bloc’s latest economic forecast in Brussels, Belgium, on May 12, 2021.
The EU’s Economy Bounces Back
GDP growth will accelerate in the European Union in the coming months, but risks connected to high debt and deficit levels, along with uncertainty about the future of the economy, will persist. On May 12, the European Commission predicted that the bloc’s GDP will expand by 4.2% in 2021, up from its previous 3.7% growth forecast. According to Brussels, the acceleration of vaccination campaigns across the bloc, the softening of lockdown measures, the initial disbursements from the Recovery Fund and better economic conditions in the United States and China will help economic activity rebound in Europe. Still, the 2021 GDP expansion will not fully compensate for the 6.1% contraction that the COVID-19 pandemic caused in the bloc in 2020. The European Union’s GDP predictions also suggest that northern European countries will recover from the losses of 2020 faster than those in the south. 
On SecurityMay 12, 2021 | 09:00 GMT
The flag of mainland China.
Rethinking Post-Pandemic Business Travel to China
As the prospect of renewed international travel returns over the course of 2021, companies and individuals find themselves at a potential inflection point when it comes to travel to China. The decision on whether to return comes amid increasing tensions between China, the United States and U.S. allies -- and the associated threat of arbitrary detention of individuals for political reasons.
SITUATION REPORTMay 11, 2021 | 18:05 GMT
Nepal: Prime Minister Loses Confidence Vote  
Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli lost a vote of confidence in parliament, securing only 93 of the 136 votes required to remain in office, Al Jazeera reported May 11. Nepal's president has announced that the country’s parties will now be allowed to form a majority government by May 13 based on a constitutional provision. 
AssessmentsMay 10, 2021 | 21:41 GMT
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan removes his facemask during a press conference on Nov. 19, 2020.
Pakistan Asserts Its Place in the Muslim World
Rising domestic pressure is pushing Pakistan to publicly voice concern over pan-Islamic issues. But in doing so, Islamabad will seek to avoid exacerbating the country’s economic crisis by alienating trade and investment partners. During a May 3 meeting, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the Islamabad-based ambassadors to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to work together to counter Islamophobia around the world. A couple of weeks earlier, Pakistan -- which is home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population -- also announced a global campaign to fight blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad in the hopes of driving conversations with the European Union and the United Nations. 
SITUATION REPORTMay 7, 2021 | 20:50 GMT
Australia: Next Budget to Include Recovery-Focused Spending Push
Australia's ruling Liberal-National Coalition will release a federal budget on May 11 that deviates from the conservative bloc's longstanding focus on fiscal responsibility in favor of massive government spending to boost economic growth and employment, the Straits Times has reported May 7, citing a speech made by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. 
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