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AssessmentsMay 5, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Containers sit stacked on a cargo ship berthed at China’s Zhoushan Port on Feb. 4, 2020.
COVID-19 Will Leave a Lasting Mark on the Shipping Industry
By sapping global economic growth and emboldening nationalist calls against globalization, the COVID-19 crisis risks upending the past 30 years of rising intercontinental trade volumes. Countries have implemented various new shipping restrictions to contain the virus, though pandemic-induced declines in demand have so far prevented severe disruptions. But with the global recession
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On SecurityMar 16, 2020 | 17:21 GMT
Police officers engulfed in flames from an incendiary device during protests in Caracas on July 30.
Plan. Prepare. Avoid a Mad Dash When Crisis Erupts
As the prospect of escalating conflict looms over Venezuela and the Korean Peninsula, it is important to revisit the theme of evacuation planning and preparation. Political and environmental crises over the years afford us the opportunity to discuss the contents of your fly-away bag, considerations to take when planning an
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AssessmentsJan 29, 2020 | 17:30 GMT
People wear masks against a new coronavirus while walking in Macau on Jan. 28, 2020.
The Global Impact of the Wuhan Coronavirus: 3 Scenarios
As each new day brings updates on the spread of a new coronavirus from China, it is important to consider how the dispersal of the illness will play out in terms of its economic impact and its threat to public health. The following are Threat Lens' assessments of a best-case
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 18:53 GMT
Panama
Panama
Panama is a small Central American country located between Colombia and Costa Rica that serves as a key chokepoint for global trade. Home to the 50-mile Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and shortens maritime shipping routes by thousands of miles, the country boasts a strategic importance that far outweighs its small size. Foreign powers have utilized Panama's strategic location for centuries. The Spanish used the country to move valuable exports, such as gold, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and France attempted and failed to build a canal there in the late 19th century. During that time, Panama was Colombia's northernmost province, but around the turn of the century, the United States had begun expanding its influence in the Caribbean and recognized Panama's potential importance to global trade. The United States helped Panamanian rebels secede from Colombia in 1903, and it completed the transoceanic Panama Canal within the following decade. It also heavily influenced the newly independent republic's internal affairs, directly controlling the land around the Panama Canal until 1979. Indeed, most of the country's population lives in the area formerly controlled by the United States. Nearly 12,000 ships pass through the Panama Canal every year, including container vessels, energy tankers, bulk cargo ships and naval vessels. Many of the largest ships in the world, such as liquefied natural gas tankers, oil tankers and some container ships, cannot pass through the canal. But despite that challenge, Panama will remain geopolitically important because it is still one of the few routes by which ships can shorten their transit time between the oceans.
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 18:58 GMT
Nepal
Nepal
Nestled against the Himalayas, landlocked Nepal lies between India and China, south of Tibet. Nepal is divided into three geographic subregions: a mountainous northern border region, a central hilly area and the Terai, a fertile, low-lying marshy plain. The Terai is irrigated by tributaries of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers and supports over 90 percent of Nepal's 27 million people. Only 17 percent of the population lives in urban areas, the largest being the capital in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal's core. Following decades of civil strife, Nepal transformed from a monarchy into a modern republic in 2006. The territory of modern Nepal was unified under ethnic Gurkha rule in the mid-18th century. Colonial Britain relied on the military support of elite Gurkha mercenaries to maintain influence on the subcontinent. After centuries of isolation, Nepal's geographic challenge is its struggle to remain independent and maintain a distinct identity from surrounding global powers. This is complicated by Nepal's dependence on Indian ports and constant Chinese attention on its northern border with Tibet. Nepal has transitioned from an isolated agrarian society toward greater economic integration with its neighbors, especially India. While agriculture still plays a large role, it is matched by the services sector fueled by foreign tourism to religious sites and Mt. Everest. Although the geography and inhospitable climate of the northern border prevent any large-scale military posturing by outside powers, Nepal's location along the Tibetan plateau can serve as a launch pad for greater Indian influence northward or an expansion of Chinese influence, denying New Delhi inroads into Tibet. Following decades of civil strife, Nepal transformed from a monarchy into a modern republic in 2006. The territory of modern Nepal was unified under ethnic Gurkha rule in the mid-18th century. Colonial Britain relied on the military support of elite Gurkha mercenaries to maintain influence on the subcontinent. After centuries of isolation, Nepal's geographic challenge is its struggle to remain independent and maintain a distinct identity from surrounding global powers. This is complicated by Nepal's dependence on Indian ports and constant Chinese attention on its northern border with Tibet. Nepal has transitioned from an isolated agrarian society toward greater economic integration with its neighbors, especially India. While agriculture still plays a large role, it is matched by the services sector fueled by foreign tourism to religious sites and Mt. Everest. Although the geography and inhospitable climate of the northern border prevent any large-scale military posturing by outside powers, Nepal's location along the Tibetan plateau can serve as a launch pad for greater Indian influence northward or an expansion of Chinese influence, denying New Delhi inroads into Tibet.
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 20, 2020 | 09:45 GMT
A picture taken on Jan. 11, 2020, shows portraits of Iraq's slain Popular Mobilization Unit deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the late founder of Kataib Hezbollah, on the southern exit of the Lebanese capital Beirut.
Reflections on the Life and Death of an Iraqi Militant
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis fought Saddam Hussein, engineered attacks on Western embassies and took on the Islamic State. His death in the same strike that killed Iran's Qassem Soleimani increased local hostility to the U.S. presence in Iraq.
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