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Covid 19 coronavirus: The New Zealand passport equals the US and UK in the post-pandemic strength ranking | Instant News

The most recent MIQ worker who tested positive for Covid-19 was also not vaccinated. It comes amid revelations that 20 percent of border staff have not had the injection protecting them from the coronavirus.

The Japanese citizen now holds the most powerful passport in the world, even though the access it provides to other countries has greatly diminished in the post-pandemic world.

The Henley Passport Index has published the latest strength ratings for 199 different international travel documents. After the upheaval of 2020 and changing Covid-19 Travel restrictions – Japan maintains the world’s most powerful passport that grants access to 193 visa-free destinations.

Singapore takes second place with 192, followed by South Korea and Germany in joint third – both providing access to 191 destinations.

The top ten passports are rounded off by passports from within the EU block.

New Zealand, Britain and the United States share seventh place together – each of which grants visa-free access to 187 countries.

New Zealand has maintained its ranking, while Britain and the US “continue to face the eroding power of passports.” In ninth place, with access to 185 are Canada and Australia, which have also dropped places since 2020.

However, reports of passport strength come with many caveats.

Given the unpredictable nature of travel, Henley & Partners says “any degree of international travel freedom remains theoretical.”

The rankings have been compiled using IATA travel data, which shows the number of countries granting visa-free access to their holders. However, Henley & Partners acknowledged this was being done “without taking into account the temporary and growing restrictions on Covid-19 travel.”

Japan’s first place posting is simply ceremonial. The country has the top spot for number of reciprocal visa-free travel agreements – most of them suspended, or subject to quarantine or other conditions. This was only highlighted by the recent decision to ban spectators from the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

The passport strength index has shown a worrying direction of travel.  Photo / Jason Oxenham
The passport strength index has shown a worrying direction of travel. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The index shows that countries with successful vaccine launches are poised to enjoy a greater return to global mobility. Countries such as the UAE (15) and Israel (22) – which have both moved up the rankings – also have some of the most successful vaccine shots. The United Arab Emirates is now one of the fastest climbing passports in the ranking, climbing 50 places in the last decade.

“While nobody is expecting a return to pre-pandemic levels of mobility any time soon, the outlook is now clearly more hopeful than it was a few months ago,” said Christian H Kaelin CEO of Henley & Partners.

“The latest Henley Passport Index ranking is a reminder that economic recovery and development is dependent on global mobility, including the freedom of personal travel, and that the power of passports should not be underestimated.”

‘Passport Vaccine’ Ranking

While the Index focuses on theoretical soft power, it has uncovered some worrisome trends.

There is increasing travel inequality between richer versus richer economies and documents from poorer countries. Something that is exacerbated by the Covid-19 response and access to vaccines.

“The latest results show that the gap in travel freedom is now the biggest since the index started in 2006, with Japanese passport holders able to access 167 more destinations than Afghans,” said Henley & Partners.

The prospect of new travel documents or “vaccine passports” is likely to only increase this.

Professor Mehari Taddele Maru of the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies, gave a stern warning that countries with faster vaccination programs will reap the rewards of faster international travel.

“Basically, this is attributed to the strength of the asymmetry between rich and better regulated countries on the one hand, and those that are not on the other.”

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to a return to international travel on a broad basis is the lack of a unified push for Covid 19 travel documents.

IATA ICC and even individual countries have launched a health ‘passport’ to record vaccine information. With so many competing travel documents being trialed in different countries, we may soon need a separate “vaccine passport” ranking.

So how welcome are Kiwi travel documents around the world?

While the Henley & Partner index does not take into account travel restrictions related to Covid, the competitive rating of TGlobal Passport Index identifies New Zealand as the 5th most desirable travel document.

There are 68 Covid-related bans or pre-travel authorizations affecting New Zealand passport holders, while Japan was affected by 70, dropping Japanese passports to seventh place.

Henley & Partners Passport Strength Ranking

Passport Ranking Visa-free scores
1 Japan 193
2 Singapore 192
3 Germany 191
– South Korea
4 Finland 190
– Italy
– Luxembourg
– Spain
5 Austria 189
– Denmark
6 France 188
– Ireland
– Netherlands
– Portugal
– Sweden
7 Belgium 187
– New Zealand
– Switzerland
– Great Britain
– United States of America
8 Czech Republic 186
– Greece
9 Australia 185
– Canada
10 Hungary 183
– Lithuania
– Poland
– Slovakia
*Source: Henley & Partners Passport Index, based on the number of countries that grant visa-free access


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Foreign companies are creating more jobs in Switzerland despite the pandemic | Instant News

(MENAFN – Swissinfo) Switzerland remains an attractive location for foreign companies, creating more jobs last year than in 2019 – despite the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Swiss public television SRF and RTS have reported.

This content is published on April 9, 2021 – 09:25 April 9, 2021 – 09:25 SRF / RTS / ilj

Foreign companies accounted for 11% more jobs in 2020, bringing the total to nearly 1,200, even if the total number of companies moving to the country fell (by 9%), said the SRF. Over the next three years, they are expected to drive the creation of 3,500 jobs.

“The workforce is highly qualified, and taxation is lucrative and Switzerland is in the middle of Europe,” said External Links Jim Fitzgerald, director of Tiffin Metal at the SwissExternal link.

The company, which produces specialty metal solutions for various industries, decided to open its first branch outside the US in Schmitten, in the canton of Friborg.


These figures come at a time of general global economic woes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Swiss economy shrank 2.9% last year as a result of Covid-19, the worst annual contraction since the aftermath of the oil crisis in 1975. But officials are optimistic that the Swiss economy will recover.

Patrick Wermelinger, of Swiss Global Enterprise, Switzerland’s export promotion agency, said Switzerland’s stability had played a role.

‘In a year of crisis, stability, long-term planning, economic security play a more important role. This is in Switzerland’s favor. But we were surprised by how many new jobs were being created, ‘he told SRF.

Companies from China, the US and Germany create the most jobs.

Switzerland is also one of the few to have attracted more foreign investment in 2020, according to the SRF. Only Ireland is attracting more, the fDi Markets Financial Times report found.




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Despite China’s feuding, Australia’s resource exports are hitting record values | Instant News

SYDNEY / BEIJING – Although strained diplomatic relations have impacted bilateral trade, China’s strong desire for infrastructure has kept iron ore prices high, and is expected to lift Australia’s resource and energy exports to a record high for the 12 months ending June.

Exports in the sector are on track to hit 296 billion Australian dollars ($ 226 billion) for the fiscal year, Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources announced Monday. Iron ore exports – which make up about 60% of all Australian shipments to China by value – are expected to jump 31% this year to AU $ 136 billion, according to the release.

The forecast shows how closely Australia’s commodity-driven economy remains tied to its biggest export market, even amid a war of words over the origins of the new coronavirus.

China has scooped up commodities for infrastructure development meant to fuel an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. But global supplies have struggled to keep pace, especially with Brazilian production still below the mark before the mining dam collapsed in 2019.

“Iron ore prices surged in December and January, and are now at their highest level since 2011,” the ministry said in a quarterly report.

Meanwhile, Australian coal exports were relatively sluggish. Deliveries of metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking, are estimated to fall 34% to AU $ 23 billion, and thermal coal for power generation by 29% to AU $ 15 billion.

The long-term prospects for thermal coal are unclear, as companies and governments around the world avoid carbon-intensive fuels.

“The surge in export revenue for metals used in the technology center of the world’s energy transition – copper, lithium and nickel – will replace the decline in thermal coal revenues arising from that transition” in the year ending June 2026, the ministry report said. .

China’s restrictions on Australian coal, adopted after Canberra in April 2020 called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and Beijing’s initial response to its outbreak, only pressed further shipments in recent months.

The Australian ministry believes metallurgical coal prices have recovered from losses caused by China’s unofficial import restrictions. But the extent to which further official and unofficial measures by China still “pose a downside risk,” he said.

Other Australian exports were also targeted. China suspended some imports of Australian meat in May, citing labeling and health certificate issues. China also imposes anti-dumping tariffs of more than 80% on Australian barley, and imposes a long wait on Australian rock lobsters at customs.

According to China’s customs authorities, Australian frozen barley and beef imports were down 45% and 22% in 2020, respectively. This was largely offset by a 16% jump in iron ore imports. However, overall imports from Australia fell 4% last year, and many Australian producers have suffered greatly from losing access to their largest markets.

China continues to impose trade penalties on Australia. On Friday, China’s Ministry of Commerce decided to impose anti-dumping tariffs of up to around 200% on Australian wines for five years, formalizing restrictions that have been in place since November.

“This decision that the Chinese government has taken is very disappointing and completely unjustified,” Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan told reporters Saturday, adding that he would consider bringing the matter to the World Trade Organization.


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Swiss- Covid-19: Universities are welcoming more students than ever | Instant News

(MENAFN – Swissinfo) The number of students at Swiss universities increased 5% in 2020/1 to 164,575 – despite the coronavirus pandemic. There is an increase in foreign students above average.

This content is published March 26, 2021 – 17:59 March 26, 2021 – 17:59 Keystone-SDA / SWI swissinfo.ch/ilj

Most affected was the Italian-speaking Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) in Ticino with a 12.8% increase. That was followed by the universities of Geneva and Lausanne and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), with an increase of 6% -7.6%, according to the External figures link published by the Federal Statistical Office on Friday.

This confirms a trend reported by universities that fewer school graduates experience lag years due to travel and health restrictions. For those who completed their Bachelor’s degree, many students have decided to take a Master’s degree due to the difficulty of finding work in a pandemic.

Swiss universities have closed a second time to live teaching since November 2 as part of the pandemic’s measures – they also closed in the spring of 2020. Most students are currently taking online courses.

Foreign student

Above-average numbers of foreign students still attend Swiss universities, the statistics office said. This confirms the trend reported to SWI swissinfo.ch.




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Core-Group supporters at UNHRC have a poor human rights record | Instant News

(MENAFN – NewsIn.Asia) By Sugeeswara Senadhira / Daily News

Colombo, March 25: Despite the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution on Sri Lanka adapted at its 46th Session with 22 members voting for it, 11 votes against and 14 abstentions. This means that the majority (25) did not support the resolution.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena described the vote as a Global South united against its counterparts in the North. The countries of the South – Asia, Latin America and Africa – refused to vote for the Western-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka. The world’s most populous countries, China and Russia voted against Resolution and two others with large populations – India and Indonesia – abstained. Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela in Latin America, Somalia and Eritrea in Africa and Asian friends Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, in addition to China and Russia voted against the Resolution.

Let’s examine the countries that support the resolution apart from its Western sponsors. Those who gave in to Western pressure and voted against Sri Lanka include Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast), Malawi, Uruguay and Brazil, countries with the worst records of human rights abuses and military coups.

The UNHRC is chaired by the Fiji Ambassador to the United Nations, Nazhat Shameem Khan wearing a Sari which indicates Indo-Fijian origin (his father is Pakistani and his mother is Indo-Fijian). When Fiji was elected to the Council, he promised to give ‘… the South Pacific region a voice in the world’s premier human rights body’. Those who know the South Pacific well point out that ‘Fiji must start by allowing its own citizens to speak and express themselves at home, without fear of reprisals.’ (https://devpolicy.org/fijis-review-at-the-human-rights-council-highlight…)

After all, anyone who has studied politics in the area knows the role of the military in Fiji. The leaders of the two major political parties are not only former military officers but also former coup leaders. Fiji’s racially divided politics is characterized by a split between indigenous Fijians (54.3%) and Indo-Fijians (38.1%), descendants of Indian contract workers brought to the islands by British colonial powers in the 19th century. .

Fundamental Rights

Prime Minister Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama was the leader of the 2006 coup (he also led the 2000 coup). He has held power, although through several elections in which some of the Fundamental Rights including freedom of speech, association and assembly were not ‘widespread’. His Fiji First Party managed to win the backing of a large proportion of Indo-Fijian votes. The 2018 elections were won by Fiji’s First Party with more than 50% of the vote and 27 seats. The main opposition party, the Liberal Social Democratic Party (SODELPA), led by Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, (sometimes referred to in the press as ‘Colonel Steve Rambo.’). He is best known for instigating the two military coups that rocked Fiji in 1987. He won about 40 percent of the vote.

Although Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama ‘restored’ democracy and held elections, he retained a number of decrees from pre-democratic times to maintain power. These include the Media Decree, which limits press freedom and encourages self-censorship (Bainimarama remains notoriously sensitive to criticism) and the Public Order Decree, which limits a group’s ability to hold public meetings.

Its 2013 constitution also states ‘It will be the overall responsibility of the Military Forces of the Republic of Fiji to ensure at all times the security, defense and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians’ – words that are flexible enough with which to rationalize further. military interference in the political affairs of the country. Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama’s authoritarian instincts remain a concern of many Fijians who believe that the future of ‘democracy’ in Fiji is in jeopardy.

However, all of that is lawful for the West. The West supports the Fiji First Party. The coup and its decisions were democratic, according to the lopsided Western logic.

Another country that has accused Sri Lanka of human rights abuses is the Marshall Islands, a country that was handed over to the US after World War II. The US uses it for nuclear testing. From 1946 to 1958, the United States detonated 67 atomic bombs on the islands – the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshimas a day for 12 years. The effects are still being felt today, and the Marshall Islands are one of the countries least visited by tourists.

This vast chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has a population of 58,791 people. The Bikini Atoll, where the US military conducted nuclear tests from 1946 to 1958, is one of the atolls in the chain.

Key issue

The Republic of the Marshall Islands, despite claiming to be a sovereign State, has a Treaty with the US which has agreed to pay at least US $ 57 million annually for its maintenance. Under the Treaty, the United States has full authority and responsibility for the security and defense of the Marshall Islands, and the Marshall Islands Government has an obligation to refrain from taking action incompatible with these security and defense responsibilities.

At the United Nations, the Marshall Islands have always followed the United States and in all major matters match their votes with the United States 100%. For example, in December 2017, the Marshall Islands were one of only nine countries (including the United States and Israel) to vote against a motion adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) condemning the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital. from Israel. The Marshall Islands still recognize Taiwan and maintain diplomatic relations with it. And of course they also have good human rights records, including the right to sell their babies to the US.

Human trafficking

Apart from the Bikini Atoll, the only media coverage the islands have received has been the recent British media coverage of the stunning and shameless human trafficking ring, which operated for years across the archipelago of the Marshall Islands and the United States. The fray involves pregnant women from the Pacific being lured into the United States with an offer of US $ 10,000 and the promise of a new life in America to give up their baby. If they sell the baby for US $ 10,000, what is the price for the UNHRC vote, one might ask?

Malawi is another notorious human rights violator. One of the poorest countries, in Malawi, democracy is often manipulated by the military. Malawi’s sixth election was held in May 2019. The results of the Presidential Popular Consultation were canceled in February 2020 by the Constitutional Court. The new Presidential Election was held on 23 June 2020 in which Lazarus Chakwera from the Malawi Congress Party and Saulos Chilima from the UTM Party were elected as President and Vice President respectively after gaining 58.6% of the vote. Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party and the United Democratic Front coalition, which received 39.4% of the vote, accused the military of electoral malpractice.

Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast) is another country that supports the resolution. On many occasions, the Ivorian government has been accused of impunity and political violence, especially by the army and the politicized judiciary. Ivory Coast holds local elections in October, marked by violence that led to death. Although Ivorian judges continued to investigate post-election crisis crimes 2010-11, President Alassane Ouattara declared Amnesty for crimes related to the 2010-11 crisis, which had raised concerns that victims would not get justice in Ivory Coast courts.

The ICC is currently prosecuting Laurent Gbagbo, former President, and Charles Ble Goude, former Minister of Youth and leader of a pro-Gbagbo militia, for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election crisis 2010-11. The ICC is also investigating crimes committed by pro-Ouattara forces.

Ironically, these countries with a long record of human rights abuses were among the UNHRC members who supported a resolution against Sri Lanka that clearly gave their former colonial masters a cot.



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