Covid-19 and the BAME community: Does It Affect Us All The Same?

When asked in late September about what the end of the year may look like for the United Kingdom Professor Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical advisor, bleakly answered “we have a long winter ahead of us”. However, will this continue to be a long winter for all of us, or will this be disproportionately longer for certain groups within the UK? 

With a series of protracted lockdowns that have been on and off for the past few months, this question is increasingly relevant. It has been well documented that the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect all populations and communities equally. For example, the most significant findings from early reports during the first peak suggested that the BAME community had a greater proportion of hospital deaths compared to White British groups. Using reports by Public Health England (PHE) and by the Labour party, this article investigates whether the UK government has a plan to protect the BAME community during the remainder of the winter as previous evidence has shown gaps in the solutions proposed. 

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Fake News Legislation: Lessons Learnt from the Facebook News Ban on Australia

These past few weeks, Facebook has been showing off its firepower in a battle with the Australian government. On the morning of Thursday 18th February, Australians woke up to a Facebook with no news sources. Australian and international news sources on Facebook, including certain government websites, were blocked to users in the country, as well as Australian news outlets’ profiles being blocked for international users. 

This overnight wipe-out was a protest from the social media giant against the News Media Bargaining Code. This bill would require digital platforms, including social media and search engines, to pay news outlets for the news content they host on their site. This move follows attempts to revive journalism with the purpose of counteracting misinformation online and its interference in democratic processes around the world, which have ultimately led to much polarisation and the discrimination and exclusion of many groups.

This article will outline Facebook’s response and the consequences of the event’s actions, followed by policy recommendations for the United Kingdom in light of this and the growing impact of fast-spreading falsehoods online in our own country.

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The unseen challenges of refugee youth in the face of COVID-19

The lockdown period in the UK has variably affected different groups in the country. One group consistently overlooked has been refugees and refugee children, in particular. Official figures state that there are 126,720 refugees in the UK, of which 10,295 are children. Prior to the pandemic, refugee children were already in an unfavourable position in society that affected their access to education, with many schools unwilling to allow their enrolment over fears that they would have an adverse impact on schools’ academic performance and their positions in league tables.

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Should the COVID-19 Vaccine become a Global Public Good?

When the inventor of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, was asked who owns his discovery, he responded, ‘the people. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?’

As we enter the second year of COVID-19, various pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novavax have completed their final round of vaccine trials at a record pace, and the roll out in some countries has now begun. Despite this being a cause for hope as we finally start to see some light at the end of the long COVID tunnel, the world has started to witness the phenomenon of ‘vaccine nationalism,’ which may hinder the global battle against the pandemic. Such a term is used to define the actions taken by governments of wealthy countries, who have signed direct deals with pharmaceutical companies in order to receive first access to billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses for their own populations. In doing so, these countries restrict the access to vaccines for other states.

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Back to the Future: A wind powered shipping revolution?

While the aerospace industry has attracted much attention given the terrible blow it was dealt by the Coronavirus crisis, another giant transport industry has also been seeking to adapt to the challenges of this century: the shipping industry. The globalization and intensification of trade links, accompanied by the emergence of transitioning economies, along with a growing culture of consumerism and delivery culture has resulted in cargo ships handling 11 billion tons of product per year. These range from raw materials to manufactured goods and amounts to 90% of the world’s global trade. The cargo shipping industry is now caught in between the pressure of a growing demand for goods and the imperatives of climate change. Nearly everything around us has once been on a boat meaning that ships and ports are a key part of the infrastructure on which our ways of life rely. As such they represent an important source of reducing our environmental footprint. The solution of wind-powered cargo ships is slowly making its return after being replaced two centuries ago by the coal-powered steamships. 

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Rohingya: Citizens of Nowhere

Nationality has been a cornerstone of every major human rights treaty and statelessness has been a conundrum of it. Article 15 of the 1948 United Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to a nationality”. The Rohingya refugees have been one of the most persecuted groups in the world, and they predominantly belong to the Rakhine state of Myanmar. Myanmar considered them ‘Illegal Bengali Immigrants’ and denied them citizenship, though historical evidence clearly states that they are inhabitants of Myanmar. As per the 1982 Burmese Citizenship Law, Rohingya people were excluded from the list of 135 national ethnic communities. Consequently, it effectively rendered 800,000 Rohingya stateless, denying them their rights to study, access to health services, marry, work, and practice their religion. Post-1992, the situation of Rohingya people worsened when an ‘Interagency Border Protection Force’ was formed to oppress them. After being denied citizenship and persuaded into the country, some 250,000 Rohingya left the country and fled to Cox Bazar, Bangladesh. According to World Vision, since 2017 after genocidal acts and constant brutal campaign violence against them, over 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar. Another brutal campaign, “Operation Clean and Beautiful Nation”, propelled 200,000 Rohingya to flee from Myanmar. 

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Terrorism and its impact on tourism in India

India is a diverse country and a popular tourist destination, one that has been vulnerable to terrorist activities for a long time. Not only has terrorism claimed the lives of many people but it has also hampered the smooth functioning of the country’s economy. This article studies the direct negative relationship between tourism and terrorism.

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The Green Transition: South Korea and Japan follow UK Pledge to Work Towards Carbon Neutrality by 2050

The South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, has formally pledged that the country will become carbon neutral by 2050. This commitment to achieving net-zero emissions within the next 30 years is not an unprecedented step, but is in line with recent global efforts to tackle climate change.  

Major world economies have now vowed to end their dependence on coal and replace it with other forms of renewable resources as part of their Green New Deal, which involves a shift towards renewable energy and energy storage systems, as well as low-carbon energy systems. In 2019, the European Union set itself a similar target, with EU leaders agreeing to make their then 28 member states carbon neutral by 2050. Japan quickly followed suit with Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga making an ambitious pledge to accelerate the country’s global warming targets. China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has promised to become carbon neutral by 2060, and vowed to begin cutting its emissions within the next ten years. It must not be underestimated how bold and ambitious these targets actually are. 

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Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, a new climatic momentum is emerging

Introduction

In December 2015, 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement, a new climate treaty, aiming to limit rising temperatures at +2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This “monumental triumph for the people and our planet,” as exclaimed by UN Secretary-General at the time Ban Ki-Moon, states that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must come down to ‘net-zero’ levels between 2050 and 2100. As a decentralized and bottom-up system relying on signatories’ nationally determined contributions, the success of the Paris Agreement can only be achieved if countries ratchet up their ambitions. 

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Tales of a Pandemic: Migrants, Dissidents and the State

With the Covid-19 vaccine(s) seemingly on the horizon, it is important to reflect upon this period of acute stress and paranoia with regards to national politics. India, as far as domestic political discourse is concerned, has declared itself the champion of lockdowns and preventive measures.

While the world was grappling with the monumental failures of the American government pertaining to healthcare and the oppression of its own people, many aspects of the Indian lockdown flew under the radar, barely questioned by even the most vehement critics of the Indian government, out of fear, reservation, or bewilderment. It has been observed for over six years now that the current government exercises something of a blitzkrieg in the announcement and implementation of its policies. This suddenness is, indeed, an extremely deliberate political strategy that incapacitates any thought of opposition. This is evident in one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent speeches where he remarked how people in other countries resisted lockdown measures, but the Indian people immediately fell in line. What the Prime Minister leaves out in his speech, however, was the manner in which the citizens of India were confronted with the lockdown. 

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