Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Report: Americans are deeply ambivalent about emerging technologies

Pew surveyed over 10,000 US adults about AI, exoskeletons, and brain-machine interfaces.

By Dan McCarthy

March 25, 2022

Whether you’re a luddite or a tech solutionist, whatever—that’s your business. But new research from Pew provides a window into where a broad swath of the American public—10,260 US adults, to be exact—falls along that spectrum.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Research raises fresh questions on adverse impact of ‘long Covid’. Here’s why a vaccine-plus approach is needed


March 28, 2022

A mild infection changed my life.

In the final year of high school, shortly before my final exams, for around six weeks, I caught Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and developed mononucleosis or glandular fever.

The months of fatigue, a hallmark of EBV infections, took their toll on my exam performance, and I missed admission to law school by a single point.

While the effect on my vocation was arguably positive, mild EBV infections can, in some cases, have a devastating long-term impact on health.

EBV was recently discovered to be the leading cause of multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease of the nervous system with symptoms from incontinence to depression to blindness.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Commentary: Countries that focus the most on happiness may make people feel worse

Measuring a country’s subjective levels of happiness has become something of an international sport, say two researchers, but focusing on happiness may backfire, say two researchers.

A woman is seen smiling. (Photo: Unsplash/Constantinos Panagopoulos)

Brock Bastian

Egon Dejonckheere

20 Mar 2022 

MELBOURNE: Have you looked at the international rankings of the world’s happiest countries lately?

Measuring a country’s subjective levels of happiness has become something of an international sport. People look with interest (and a little jealousy) to nations such as Denmark, which consistently tops the world happiness rankings.

It has also led to Danish practices such as the “hygge” lifestyle gaining popularity elsewhere. If only we could add more cosiness to our lives, perhaps we would be as happy as the Danish!

Friday, March 25, 2022

How countries can respond to a perfect long storm

In a speech at the Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS)-Bloomberg Investment Conference on Wednesday (March 9), Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam spoke about how countries can navigate the current problems and “five fragilities” the world faces. Below is a transcript of his speech.


March 9, 2022

I am very happy to join you this morning. It is an important conference, both because it’s IMAS’ 25th anniversary, and importantly because of the theme that you're focusing on — investing for a green future.

Let me put this in the context of the era of profound uncertainty and fragility that the world has entered.

Investing for the future has become a much more complex game. It's more complex than it was pre-pandemic. It's also more complex than it was two weeks ago.

Biden to join allies in revoking Russia's favoured trade status

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Winter Meeting in Washington, U.S., March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

11 Mar 2022 

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden will move on Friday (Mar 11) to revoke Russia's "most favoured nation" trade status, joining with allies to punish Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Biden will announce the plans at the White House at 10.15 am.

The White House said Biden would announce "actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine". Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".

The administration will revoke Russia's "most favoured nation status" over its invasion of Ukraine, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference earlier on Friday.

Russia-Ukraine war is ending globalization

BlackRock’s Larry Fink, who oversees $10 trillion, says Russia-Ukraine war is ending globalization

THU, MAR 24 2022

Yun Li

  • Larry Fink, CEO and chairman of the world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is reversing the long-running trend of globalization.
  • “I believe this has exacerbated the polarization and extremist behavior we are seeing across society today,” Fink said in his 2022 letter to shareholders.
  • Fink, whose firm oversees more than $10 trillion, said BlackRock has suspended the purchase of any Russian securities in its active or index portfolios.

Larry Fink, CEO and chairman of the world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended the world order that had been in place since the end of the Cold War.

China's Strategic Dilemmas

Confronted with irreconcilable objectives, China is putting on a brave face as it deals with a serious dilemma

23 Mar 2022

By: Bilahari Kausikan

Bilahari Kausikan (above) is former Permanent Secretary of the Singapore Foreign Ministry and presently Chairman of the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. He delivered this as the keynote address to the Royal Australian Air Force Air and Space Power Conference in Canberra on March 22. While it is considerably longer than most of our submissions, we reprint it here in full because of its importance.

The war in Ukraine has lasted a month. Russian President Vladimir Putin badly miscalculated and Xi Jinping followed him into a strategic dead-end with no easy exit.

We will never know exactly what Putin told Xi Jinping when they met before the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics on 4th February and declared that their partnership had “no limits.” That Putin waited until the Olympics ended before invading Ukraine, argues for a degree of foreknowledge on China’s part.

But Beijing nevertheless seems taken aback by the scale of Russia’s attack, the resoluteness of Ukrainian resistance, and by the tough and united Western response to the invasion. Putin may well have misled Xi because he misled himself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Commentary: Do not expect the war in Ukraine to end quickly

A peace deal or political upheaval in Russia could end the Ukraine war, but the likeliest outcome could be a bloody war of attrition lasting many more months, says the Financial Times' Gideon Rachman.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (R in this combination photo) urged direct talks with Russian counterpart
Vladimir Putin as the only way to end the war. (Photo: POOL/AFP/File/Evgenia NOVOZHENINA, Sergei CHUZAVKOV)

Gideon Rachman

22 Mar 2022

LONDON: “Tell me how this ends?” is one of those things that people say in films, and sometimes also in real life. It is the crucial question about the war in Ukraine - but one that is sometimes obscured by the sheer drama and horror of day-to-day events.

Just before the outbreak of the war, most military experts expected a swift Russian military victory. That turned out to be wrong — and there will be more surprises in store. So all predictions have to be made with humility.

That said, there are three Ukraine scenarios that currently seem most likely. The first - which is both the most tragic and the most probable - is that this war continues for many months. The second possibility - put it at maybe 30 per cent - is that there is a peace settlement.

The third scenario - which is perhaps 10 per cent - is that there is some sort of political upheaval in Russia, involving the overthrow of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a new approach to Ukraine. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Possible Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War and China’s Choice

by US-China Perception Monitor 

March 12, 2022

Update on March 13, 2022: The following article was submitted by the author to the Chinese-language edition of the US-China Perception Monitor. The article was not commissioned by the US-China Perception Monitor, nor is the author affiliated with the Carter Center or the US-China Perception Monitor.

Hu Wei is the vice-chairman of the Public Policy Research Center of the Counselor’s Office of the State Council, the chairman of Shanghai Public Policy Research Association, the chairman of the Academic Committee of the Chahar Institute, a professor, and a doctoral supervisor. To read more by Hu, click here to read his article on “How did Deng Xiaoping coordinate domestic and international affairs?”

Written on March 5, 2022. Translated by Jiaqi Liu on March 12, 2022.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is the most severe geopolitical conflict since World War II and will result in far greater global consequences than September 11 attacks. At this critical moment, China needs to accurately analyze and assess the direction of the war and its potential impact on the international landscape. At the same time, in order to strive for a relatively favorable external environment, China needs to respond flexibly and make strategic choices that conform to its long-term interests.

Commentary: Pressure from China might be key in bringing Russia to heel

With Russia remaining steadfastly unwilling to compromise with Ukraine, pressure from China may be the West's chance of changing Putin's mind, says Richard Haass.
In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Facebook,
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on early Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Richard Haass

17 Mar 2022 

NEW YORK: “Ripeness is all”, noted Edgar in Shakespeare’s King Lear. When it comes to negotiations to limit or end international conflicts, he is right: Agreements emerge only when the leading protagonists are willing to compromise and are then able to commit their respective governments to implement the accords.

This truth is highly relevant to any attempt to end the war between Russia and Ukraine through diplomacy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has a number of reasons to end a conflict that has already killed thousands of his citizens, destroyed large parts of several major cities, rendered millions homeless and devastated Ukraine’s economy. And his standing has grown by the hour, giving him the political strength to make peace – not at any price, but at some price.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Commentary: Has US regained credibility by leading a global coalition against Russia?

Against the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden’s ability to rally allies is winning support, says an international affairs writer.
FILE PHOTO: President Joe Biden listens during a secure video call with French President Emmanuel Macron,
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the White House, Mar 7, 2022.
(Photo: Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)

Erin Hurley

16 Mar 2022 

WASHINGTON DC: The Biden administration played a critical role in assembling the European and global coalition to punish Russia’s unprovoked invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, and in so doing displayed American diplomatic power at its best: Leading without dominating.

The White House overcame well-founded concerns among allies about the integrity of United States intelligence after the Afghanistan pull-out, and the capacity of the United States to lead given the past and future threat former president Donald Trump poses to the alliance structure.

President Joe Biden personally deserves credit for rebuilding trust among European allies, whom he treated as equals. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Commentary: China should be troubled by these unprecedented US-led sanctions on Russia

A lack of a military response from the United States could inspire the hawks in Beijing but the sanctions implemented are also a warning, says Christian Le Miere.

President Joe Biden meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Christian Le Miere

13 Mar 2022 

LONDON: In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, attention has focused on the West’s reaction. While the United States and the North Treaty Atlantic Organization (NATO) have ruled out sending troops, several countries have responded with an onslaught of unprecedented sanctions and arms deliveries.

The effect has been twofold: To bolster Ukrainian resistance and weaken Russia’s economy.

Now, with US President Joe Biden announcing a ban on Russian oil imports on Tuesday (Mar 9), the heart of Russia’s commodity-fuelled economy is being targeted.

Moscow’s reaction has been unsurprisingly strident: Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier called the sanctions “akin to an act of war”.

But the response by the US and its allies is having an effect not just on thinking in Moscow, but also in Beijing, which will have longer-term consequences for stability in East Asia.

The war in Ukraine has laid out just how far the West is willing to go militarily and economically against an aggressor in a conflict. And it’s a forerunner of what could occur in a Taiwan contingency.

Both Beijing and Taipei are watching the US response carefully. And there are warnings for both.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Commentary: Ukraine and NATO shouldn’t rush to dismiss Putin’s latest peace terms

If Ukraine and NATO want to achieve lasting peace, they must be open to making mutual compromises with Russia, instead of determinedly demanding retribution for the invasion, says a military historian.

Alexander Hill

09 Mar 2022 

CALGARY, Canada: There have been few positives to report regarding the war in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of the country, but Vladimir Putin’s latest offering of Russian peace terms is cause for muted optimism.

The Russian invasion is not going according to plan, and at least Putin wants to talk. He’s demanding four things.

[If the invasion had gone according to plan, then Putin would not want to talk...]

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Commentary: Even Google agrees there’s no going back to the old office life

As the workforce rethinks how and why they work, employers who don’t provide flexibility will lose out in the war for talents, says this professor.
FILE PHOTO: The Google office located in Singapore. (Photo: Tang See Kit)

Libby Sander

09 Mar 2022 

GOLD COAST, Australia: The great enforced global experiment in working from home is coming to an end, as vaccines, the Omicron variant and new therapeutic drugs bring the COVID-19 crisis under control.

But a voluntary experiment has begun, as organisations navigate the new landscape of hybrid work, combining the best elements of remote work with time in the office.

Yes, there is some push for a “return to normal” and getting workers back into offices.

But ideas such as food vouchers and parking discounts are mostly being proposed by city councils and CBD businesses keen to get their old customers back.

A wide range of surveys over the past 18 months show most employees and increasingly employers have no desire to return to commuting five days a week.

The seismic shift in employer attitudes is signalled by Google, long a fierce opponent of working from home.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Singapore: Asia's Smallest Military Powerhouse

This city-state is ready to fight.
July 22, 2021

Here's What You Need to Know: The backbone of the RSAF is a fleet of F-15 and F-16 fighters.

Despite its small geographical size, Singapore fields one of the most advanced and well-equipped militaries in South East Asia. It spends more on its military than any of its neighbors. Being a tiny city-state, one of the strongest arms of the Singaporean military is the Republic of Singapore Air Force. But how does it stack up against its neighbors, from the small to the big? Does Western tech really provide the level of advantage it needs to defend itself?

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Commentary: Singapore’s climate ambition finally up to speed with international developments

Moves to strengthen Singapore’s net zero goals or aggressively hike carbon tax show calls for more ambition have not gone unheard, says Melissa Low of the Energy Studies Institute.

Solar panels with cityscape of Singapore. (Photo: iStock)

Melissa Low

19 Feb 2022

SINGAPORE: Singapore has made bold moves with revised carbon tax rates, and plans to achieve net-zero emissions by or around mid-century.

On Friday (Feb 18), Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong announced that Singapore’s carbon tax rate will be revised from S$5 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent to S$25 per tonne from 2024 and 2025.

It’ll then increase to S$45 per tonne from 2026 to 2027 and fall within the range of S$50 to S$80 per tonne by 2030.