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Photo: G7 leaders with their family members. @GretaTunberg

Viewpoint by Jon Queally*

PORTLAND | USA (IDN) — Anti-poverty groups, climate campaigners, and public health experts reacted with outrage and howls of disappointment Sunday after the G7 leaders who spent the weekend (June 11-13) at a summit in Cornwall, England issued a final communique that critics said represents an extreme abdication of responsibility in the face of the world's most pressing and intertwined crises—savage economic inequality, a rapidly-heating planet, and the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo: UNICEF Teachers and students were able to return to school in Lao Cai, Vietnam, in May 2020. Credit: UNICEF

Viewpoint by Nicolas J. S. Davies*

PORTLAND | USA (IDN) — A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that worries about the COVID pandemic in the United States are at their lowest level since it began. Only half of Americans are either “very worried” (15%) or “somewhat worried” (35%) about the virus, while the other half are “not very worried” (30%) or “not worried at all” (20%).

But the news from around the world makes it clear that this pandemic is far from over, and a story from Vietnam highlights the nature of the danger.

Image source: The Tribune.

The following is a revised version of the previous report titled "India Falls from ‘Free’ to ‘Partly Free’ in Freedom Index"

By Ditsa Bhattacharya, NewsClick and ICF Team

NEW DELHI (IDN) — India's status fell from "free" to "partly free" in the Freedom in the World 2021 report released on March 3. India's score in the index decreased by four points, from 71 in 2020, to 67 in 2021. The report, published by Freedom House, a US-based non-governmental organisation, measures the strength of democratic processes in countries. The report attributed the decline in India's score to the policies of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Photo: The port at Tema, Ghana. @ Jonathan Ernst / World Bank.

Business as Usual Will Only Reinforce Economic Hardship

Viewpoint by Njuguna Ndung’u*

NAIROBI (IDN) – Africa’s low level of economic diversification is a leading factor in the continent’s economic fragility. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the risks of countries’ over-dependence on a single natural resource such as oil.

Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources, including minerals, and revenues from their export constitute a major source of income for many countries.

Image: COVID-19 Outbreak in the U.S. Per Capita Cases. Source: Wikipedia

Viewpoint by Vijay Prashad and John Ross*

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts | LONDON (IDN) – In Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, reports on interviews he did in February and March with U.S. President Donald Trump about the coronavirus. Trump admitted that the virus was virulent, but he decided to underplay its danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said, “because I don’t want to create a panic.” Despite months of warnings from the Chinese authorities, Trump and his health secretary Alex Azar completely failed to prepare for the global pandemic.

Photo: The Port of Beirut eleven days after the disaster. The French amphibious assault ship Tonnerre is the large ship on the right, which arrived in the port on 13 August to provide food, construction materials, medical supplies, and personnel. CC BY-SA 4.0

Viewpoint by Aseel Naamani and Ruth Simpson*

This article was originally published on openDemocracy. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of IDN-InDepth News.

BEIRUT (IDN) – Recent events in Lebanon tell a story of interwoven crises, culminating in the explosion in Beirut on August 4. To overcome the crisis in the long-term, recovery efforts must be participatory and take a bottom-up approach, based on communities’ needs, while protecting shared spaces and cultural heritage.

Photo credit: Flickr/Paul Stein.CC BY-SA 2.0

Viewpoint by Ben Phillips*

This article was originally published on openDemocracy. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of IDN-InDepth News.

LONDON (IDN) – 2020 isn’t just the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s also the year when protest has gone viral. Covid-19 has both supercharged our inequalities and shone a sharper light on them, exposing the reality that the status quo cannot hold. It has opened up a moment of opportunity, and young people are showing how we can seize that moment by building up a movement.

Photo credit: Ars Electronica

Viewpoint by Regina Frei & Diego Vazquez-Brust*

SOUTHAMPTON | PORTSMOUTH, United Kingdom (IDN) – The secretive way in which plastic recycling is handled in the UK carries the potential for the next big scandal. While the government’s statutory guidance is supposed to clarify who is responsible, our research suggests that what happens to plastics we believe to be recycled in the UK is in reality quite obscure.

Each council in the UK contracts different companies for the disposal and recycling of household waste, so the rules for residents in different areas vary. But you probably separate recyclables before filling your recycling bin and expect that waste (except when it’s black) to be recycled.

Photo: Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte (His Excellency) in full Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). Source: Wikimedia Commons

Viewpoint by Walden Bello *

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
— T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

NEW YORK (IDN) – The fix that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is in now illustrates the truth in the saying that the best-laid plans of mice and men are often unravelled by the least expected event.

In the case of the beleaguered Philippine president, the equivalent of the asteroid from outer space that killed off the dinosaurs was COVID-19, which threw him from the high horse he was riding in triumph after the midterm elections of 2019, which his partisans swept at all levels.

Image credit: Africa Renewal.

By Franck Kuwonu *

NEW YORK (IDN) – Aissata Diop, a Senegalese mother of four, living in Pikine on the outskirts of the capital city Dakar, had long heard that consuming garlic and lemon could have health benefits.

So, when her friend, Ramatou, displayed a message on her phone saying that drinking a daily bowl of boiled garlic and lemon could keep people from contracting COVID-19, Aissata wasted no time stocking up on her daily market run.

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