Tag Archives: national security

Australian Foreign Investment Uncertainty Raises as Tensions Increase | Instant News

Photographer: Brendon Thorne / Bloomberg

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Foreign investment uncertainty in Australia is surging in 2020 amid rising international tensions and the politicization of decisions related to the energy and resources industry, according to the new measures.

The index shows uncertainty nearly doubled last year compared with the 2019 average, according to a report from US Studies Center in Sydney released on Friday. The gross inflows of foreign direct investment in 2020 fell to only half the five-year average through 2019, he said.

“The industrial sector most affected by the uncertainty of foreign investment in Australia is the energy and resources sector, which reflects the high levels of foreign ownership and high profile cross-border acquisitions that are likely to be politicized,” said Stephen Kirchner, an economist at the Center for US Studies who compile the report.

Australia cut its FDI review threshold to zero to prevent foreign buyers from taking on potentially depressed assets during the pandemic. It also introduced new national security tests in response to rising tensions with China and signs state-owned companies are acting as extensions of Beijing’s foreign policy.

Relations between Australia and its biggest trading partner have deteriorated since last April, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government asked that independent investigators be allowed into Wuhan to investigate the origins of the coronavirus. Since then, Beijing has implemented various trade measures against Australian goods, including coal, wine and barley.

China’s cross-border acquisitions in Australia fell to A $ 2.6 billion ($ 2 billion) in 2019 and only A $ 1 billion in 2020, compared to A $ 16 billion in 2016. Kirchner advises that cross-border acquisitions are supported Beijing has become an informal subject. Australia’s ban from the start of the pandemic.

The index is based on keyword searches in major Australian newspapers from 1997 to the end of 2020.


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Israel issues travel advisory for UAE, citing Iranian threats | Instant News

Photographer: Christopher Pike / Bloomberg Photographer: Christopher Pike / Bloomberg Israel issued travel warnings for the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Turkey and other countries neighboring Iran as it allowed vaccinated citizens to board flights amid rising tensions with the Islamic Republic. “In recent months, Iranian groups have threatened to strike Israeli targets,” the National Security Council said in a statement, noting a small explosion in January near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi that officials said. Indians have linked to Iran. Iran has accused each other of explosions aimed at shipping. In November, Iran pledged to avenge the murder of a top nuclear scientist, an assassination it blamed on Israel and the United States. The Security Council said in its statement that it believed Iran would continue to try to strike Israeli targets in the near future. The UAE has become a popular tourist destination for Israelis after the ties were established last year, but travel has been halted for most of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. After vaccinating more than half of its adult citizens, Israel is starting to allow air travel and open up its economy. Before he’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg terminal. LEARN MORE .

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Terrible Sex Scandal Burdens Scott Morrison’s Covid Dividend from Australia | Instant News

Photographer: Sam Mooy / Getty Images

Containing Covid-19 makes a thing of Australia’s wartime prime minister Scott Morrison. But peacetime politics don’t look good. The extraordinary urgency to combat the virus suppresses the vulnerabilities that underlie his rule. Now they are back to the front. The return to normalcy has left former marketing executives struggling to forge the post-Covid message. And given the parliamentary sexual scandal he faced, he needed it very much.

Central to this is the fragility of the government’s position in Parliament. The thin majority of wafers after the last election left Morrison and his conservative bloc particularly exposed to the crisis. The man who has been in charge of promoting Australian tourism is using this to his advantage in 2020. His approval rating got very high when he adopted a presidential leadership style to fight the coronavirus; the legislature’s lack of respect is secondary. Such popularity will never last. The abrupt and sleazy finish, however, makes Australia’s opposition Labor Party – once dropped for being overly unionized and internally divided – look like serious contenders in next year’s elections.

The Morrison government is staggered from accusations of sexual harassment and indecent acts against legislators, their staff and the broader toxic culture in Parliament. The defense minister, whose office is suspected of raping two years ago, has been on medical leave, protecting top national security officials from scrutiny during what will be a bruising question in the Senate. Attorney General has been accused of separate rape in the 1980’s. He vehemently denies it and is pursuing the defamation proceedings through the courts. Tens of thousands of protesters have taken part the protests demanded greater representation of women in Parliament and tough action against sexual violence and discrimination. On Thursday, a lawmaker in the New South Wales state parliament said he was stepping down while police investigated allegations he raped a woman in 2019 – a claim he denies. (My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Ruth Pollard wrote here about how the #MeToo movement is alive and well in Australia.)

Morrison is likely to shake up his cabinet, and you can count on more women getting promoted. But this will be done from a weak position. The prime minister must advance rather than surprise. Covid has been suppressed, albeit by effectively closing the continent from the outside world. The economy started to roar and unemployment is rapidly decreasing. Gross domestic product will increase 4.5% this year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, making Australia one of the big winners of what is projected to be a strong global rebound. Interest rates are almost zero and the central bank has pledged to safeguard the economy for a while.

That appearance once made the prime minister so politically dominant that he is said to be eyeing early elections. The hunt for the ballot box by now must have been saved. Revelations live spooky in Parliament, added to most days, injuring the government more than the opposition. Morrison, whose bloc has been in office for nearly a decade, will suffer the consequences of this disaster. In a survey published last week, Newspoll, one of the most influential barometers of public opinion, found the ruling coalition trailed Labor from 48% to 52%. The betting market predicting an easy win for the government in the next election is getting tighter.

Even though Morrison has fallen to earth, the numbers shouldn’t be too surprising. His position is never invincible as it is sometimes depicted. The come-from-back win in May 2019 was extraordinary simply because he opposed the vote, something that has been seen in elections in other countries in recent years. In terms of parliamentary seats, victory was a little: majority one, once the Speaker is selected. The numbers on the floor weren’t much different from those on voting night. Voters may have developed a soft spot for “ScoMo,” a nickname he holds for his quality, laddish guy-next-door, but they’re not that enthusiastic about the party he’s leading. Morrison’s approval ratings are consistently higher than those of the party, partly because of the bloc’s social conservatism.

Labor, likewise, is never flat on the back as implied in shock losses. Leader in the state of Queensland and Western Australia easily beat conservative challengers in a provincial contest recently. In Victoria, the second most populous state and home to Melbourne, Prime Minister of Labor Dan Andrews is in power despite years of onslaught of newspapers and right-wing pundits.

National Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese lacks shine. But he did not expel voters. Albanians are often criticized for not offering many alternatives, but given the current government’s woes, he probably shouldn’t. It might be enough for the former deputy prime minister and left-wing student leader just to survive.

And in fact, was Morrison’s accomplishment that great? Yes, the economy is recovering again, thanks in part to unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus. Australia is hardly unique there! And is containing Covid really superhuman when the borders are closed? Even Australians find it difficult to enter their own country, let alone go elsewhere.

The prime minister must be wondering what happened to his peace dividend. The more Covid subsides as a top political issue, the more dangerous his government position will be. Pandemic is no longer sweep all before.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Daniel Moss in [email protected]

To contact the editor in charge of this story:
Patrick McDowell in [email protected]


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Brazilian security law being turned on presidential criticism | International | Instant News

SAO PAULO (AP) – Protesters against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro opposed police in the capital on Friday, a day after the latest round of arrests of the leader’s critics under a dictatorship-era national security law.

Four demonstrators were arrested Thursday after calling Bolsonaro a “genocide” for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and displaying cartoons depicting the president as a Nazi. But on Friday, police quietly watched an hour-long protest against Bolsonaro by some 40 people.

The national security law, which dates back to 1983, towards the end of the country’s military dictatorship, makes it a crime to harm the heads of three branches of government or put them in danger. That vague definition has recently been used to contain or investigate Bolsonaro’s criticism.

Geography teacher Katia Garcia said she appeared in front of the president’s office Friday because the arrests had inspired her.

“They were jailed because the description of ‘genocide’ fits our president well,” said Garcia, wearing a face mask and face shield. “He has contributed to the collapse of our health care system, due to a lack of vaccines. The police can’t silence us. “

There have been previous news-making charges against the president’s leading critics, including newspaper columnists, a political cartoonist and popular YouTube stars, but laws are increasingly being enforced against ordinary citizens. The court has not supported any arrests so far, but lawyers have expressed concerns that the tactic is becoming commonplace.

The two demonstrations in Brasilia called for the impeachment of Bolsonaro over his alleged failure of his government in the pandemic, which has caused nearly 290,000 deaths in Brazil. The country has reported nearly 3,000 deaths every day of the week.

In some cases, the president complained that he was unfairly slandered, most recently Thursday evening during a Facebook live broadcast.

“They call me a dictator. I want you to point out one thing I did in two years and two months that was autocratic, ”he said, complaining about a newspaper column using the word genocide to describe it.

Brasilia police said Thursday that the four detained protesters violated national security laws “because they showed a Swastika associated with the coat of arms of the president of the Republic.” But Brazil’s federal police force, which decides whether a case brought by local police is worthy of proceeding in a national security crime, dismissed the case and released three of the four demonstrators. One was detained with an unresolved warrant from the previous case.

However, federal police conducted more than 80 investigations under the security legislation during Bolsonaro’s first two years, and more than 10 investigations in the first 45 days of 2021, according to the newspaper O Globo. The annual average before the conservative leader took office was 11.

The cases appear to have targeted almost all of Bolsonaro’s criticism, human rights organizations and activists said.

One case last year involved a sociologist and businessman who paid for two billboards insulting Bolsonaro by saying he did not deserve a piece of fruit gnawed at. The investigation was commissioned by Justice Minister André Mendonça, who called it a crime against the president’s reputation. It was dismissed in October.

On Monday, police asked for a law to force Felipe Neto, a popular YouTuber, to testify after he called Bolsonaro a “genocide” on one of his broadcasts. Federal police dismissed the case two days later amid public protests.

Neto, who was named by Time magazine last year as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, was also targeted in November on charges of tampering with minors. The charges were also dropped.

“From the start, I knew that this intimidation attempt was not intended to scare me. It’s to scare the Brazilian people, “Neto told The Associated Press by telephone.

“I have ways of defending myself, but most teachers, journalists and members of civil society don’t,” added Neto, who this week set up a legal defense fund to help anyone who faces similar charges for criticizing Bolsonaro and needing a lawyer.

O Globo said in an editorial Friday that the spirit of the national security law goes against the Brazilian constitution to promote civil liberties.

“National security laws must be repealed and replaced by more modern tools capable of reconciling protection of the rule of law and respect for individual rights,” the paper said. “Among these is full – and essential free speech.”

——— Associated Press photojournalist Eraldo Peres in Brasilia contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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The US Deploys Coast Guard Away From Home to Fight China | Instant News

Early last December, the crew of the US Coast Guard mower, Myrtle Hazard, sailed through the night, docked in the Pacific island nation of Palau and boarded a group of Chinese boats to help seize tens of thousands of dollars worth of sea cucumbers that were thought to have been confiscated. harvested illegally.

Rapid response cutters, which operate about 6,600 miles from the continental US and about 750 miles from their home port on US territory on Guam, are part of the Coast Guard’s newest growth area: helping to counter China’s growing naval force in the Pacific.

China has used coordinated action by its fishing fleet, coast guard and navy establishing a presence in the South China Sea. Its presence is also increasing in the South and Central Pacific. Chinese fishing fleets have emerged with strength in island nations such as the Republic of Kiribati and Tuvalu, which have some of the richest tuna fisheries in the world, and the Chinese navy has established itself in the area as well, including with a stopover by warships in Sydney in 2019. and a visit by a naval hospital ship to Fiji in 2018.

The US Coast Guard is building in the region in response. In recent months, they based two of the most advanced new cutters on US soil in Guam, nearly 4,000 miles closer to Shanghai than to San Francisco. Another one will arrive in the coming months. For the first time, the Coast Guard has an attaché at the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia, and another attaché will move to Singapore next year.

The Coast Guard continues to increase its activity in the Western Pacific and near China’s shores. They deployed cutters to the Western Pacific for more than 10 months in 2019 to work with the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet. One, USCGC Bertholf, transits across the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate insubordination to China, the first US Coast Guard ship to undertake the highly politicized voyage.

“All of this changes with the National Defense Strategy,” Lyle Morris, senior policy analyst at Rand Corp., referring to a 2018 Pentagon document. “The biggest transition is the Coast Guard, which is making more open signals about its role in the great power competition with China.”

Chinese naval warships docked in Sydney in 2019.


peter Rae / Shutterstock

While the US Coast Guard sits under the Department of Homeland Security, its work with the Pentagon continues to expand. US government data shows Coast Guard vessels spent 326 days supporting the Department of Defense in 2019, compared to an average of just 50 to 100 days over the previous five years. All 2019 deployments are in the Indo-Pacific. Coast Guard missions have traditionally focused on protecting US maritime borders, but have sometimes played a supporting role in the Navy.

The Department of Defense has also signaled the need to focus more on the region. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s first overseas trip, starting this week, took him to the Indo-Pacific.

The US and its allies with a strong naval presence in the Pacific, such as Australia and France, are concerned that China, which has built a strong grip on the South China Sea, is moving further to find less depleted fishing grounds and expand its strategy. position. The Coast Guard deployment is intended to allow the US to confront the investigation with less risk of a military incident than if a US Navy ship was involved.

“Sending Coast Guard to the region to train our partners makes a lot of sense,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass.), Member of the DPR Armed Services Committee. “They can do all of this without the risk of complications that the Navy might have while doing the same job.”

Much of his job is law enforcement activity at the front end of the Chinese investigation – his fishing fleet. In the Republic of Palau, a Chinese fishing vessel and six small boats were detained on charges of sea cucumbers. The Coast Guard arrives to assist local authorities with boarding and document checks.

The waters off the coast of the small island nation of Tuvalu have attracted Chinese fishing fleets.


Mario Tama / Getty Images

Palau, like the countries of the Pacific, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, is located in a free association compact with the US, which allows them to remain independent while reaping some of the benefits that extend to US territories.

While many small islands in the Pacific have a growing ability to protect their own waters, the new Coast Guard ships are enhancing the US’s ability to provide security and stability, said Captain Christopher Chase, commander of the Coast Guard in the Guam region.

The Coast Guard invested more than $ 19 billion in at least eight national security cutters, 25 offshore patrol cutters, and 58 quick response cutters. If all goes according to plans this year, at least eight of those ships will be deployed in a position to fight China. The Coast Guard is also investigating ship placement in American Samoa.

The new national security cutters, which are at the core of the fleet, could travel farther and faster in worse conditions. They are armed with naval weapons systems and heavy machine guns, and have a deck on which helicopters can land.

The force will also work with countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia on more mundane but relationship-building tasks such as repairing ships, training crews and replacing navigation buoys.

China has used its own coast guard, the largest in the world, to accompany its fishing fleets and harass the vessels involved oil exploration and other commercial activities in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

In the summer of 2019, USCGC Bertholf landed in Manila, Philippines, for training with a local partner.

Cmdr. Gary Gimotea is the captain of a 184-foot Philippine Coast Guard ship who participates in a search and rescue training with Americans about 70 nautical miles from the contested Scarborough Shoal. A Chinese ship shadowed them all day.

“They got more aggressive and challenged you the closer you got to the Scarborough Shoal,” Cmdr. Gimotea spoke of the Chinese ships they often encountered while on patrol. “It’s pretty reassuring to have the US when we do this exercise.”

Vice Admiral Linda Fagan, commander of the US Coast Guard in the Pacific, said the Indo-Pacific command and countries in the region wanted to see a more regular Coast Guard presence in the South China Sea region, and that troops would see an opportunity to return.

“Being a little smaller than the US Navy and definitely a little more agile and flexible are all viewed positively by our partners,” Vice Admiral Fagan said in an interview.

Write to Lucy Craymer on [email protected] and Ben Kesling on [email protected]

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