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G20: tensions likely to emerge as world leaders gather for Bali summit

Tristen Naylor, University of Cambridge The leaders of the world’s biggest economies assemble in Bali this week for the annual G20 summit. They do so facing multiple interconnected global crises. Russia’s war in Ukraine, economic slowdown in China, heightened Sino-American tensions over Taiwan, precipitous worldwide increases in costs of living, and growing global food shortages provide a worrying backdrop to the summit. Beyond this perfect storm of predicaments, the G20’s Indonesia hosts have set an ambitious agenda. Leaders are set to discuss issues spanning the environment, health, security and development. Busy and contentious days at the top table of global

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Ukraine war: Russia pulling out of key city of Kherson – what it means for the conflict

Christopher Morris, University of Portsmouth Russia has indicated that they are now withdrawing their forces from the city of Kherson. This represents another setback for Putin’s campaign. The Black Sea port on the Dnieper river is the only major city that Russia has managed to occupy – and it is the administrative capital of the Kherson oblast which was one of the four regions that Russia annexed in September. Its apparent abandonment is certain to have important implications. Across northern and central Ukraine, the conflict is becoming increasingly static, though losing none of its desperation. A shift in season makes

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North Korea’s flurry of missile tests raises alarm – but are we seeing anything new?

Benjamin Habib, La Trobe University The sustained frequency and intensity of North Korea’s missile launches in recent weeks has refocused attention on the Korean Peninsula at a time when the danger of great power war seems more immediate. Yet the basic strategic balance on the Korean Peninsula remains as it has for decades: mutual deterrence based on overwhelming US military superiority and its nuclear umbrella on the one hand; North Korea’s ability to inflict unacceptably significant damage to Seoul on the other. Even in the context of North Korea’s nuclear weapons proliferation, this strategic balance has remained remarkably stable since

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Netanyahu on track to win in Israeli election – but there are many challenges ahead

Ran Porat, Monash University More than 71% of Israel’s 6.5 million eligible voters, a 20-year high, cast their votes in Israel’s November 1 elections. This is the fifth Israeli election in less than four years; during that period, two shaky governments were formed, each of which lasted only a year. Exit polls: a majority for the right wing camp According to the exit polls, former Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu is in a good position to reclaim the prime ministership. Like all four previous elections campaigns since 2019, 2022 was again a referendum on his eligibility to be Israel’s head

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Abuja terror alert: Nigerian government should not downplay the threat

Al Chukwuma Okoli, Federal University Lafia Terrorism is one of the world’s greatest security challenges. Trying to predict it is an important part of the effort to counter terrorism. Intelligence and security agencies around the world occasionally issue warnings about the likelihood of terrorist attacks in certain places. On 23 October 2022, the US Embassy in Nigeria released an advisory to alert US nationals in the country of possible terrorist attacks in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. The alert led to widespread public anxiety. The level of concern is not surprising. Terrorist violence has worsened in Nigeria in recent years.

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Brazil election: victorious Lula faces an uphill struggle – a damaged economy and a deeply divided country

Anthony Pereira, King’s College London Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has achieved a remarkable political comeback by regaining the presidency of Brazil. His narrow victory, in the second round run-off, was the closest margin of victory in an election since Brazil reverted to democracy in the late 1980s. The result was 50.9% for Lula and 49.1% for the incumbent president, Jair Bolsonaro – a difference of little more than 2 million votes out of almost 119 million valid votes cast. Lula is now set for a third term, 12 years after ending his second term as an unusually popular president

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Tigray war: two years on, the AU has failed to broker peace and silence the guns

Mulugeta G Berhe (PhD), Tufts University The African Union pledged in 2016 to “silence the guns” by the end of 2020, an ambitious agenda of ending armed conflicts on the continent. Just two months before that deadline, the deadliest war in years erupted in Ethiopia. On 3 November 2020, the armies of the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the State of Eritrea attacked the region of Tigray. Since then, the guns have not been silent. Instead, it is the African

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UN nuclear agency calls for protection zone around imperiled Ukrainian power plant – a safety expert explains why that could be crucial

Najmedin Meshkati, University of Southern California The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has called on Russia and Ukraine to set up a “safety and security protection zone” around the embattled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar. The plea, made on Sept. 6, 2022, by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), comes amid mounting concern that the facility – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – is vulnerable to nearby fighting, and that damage to the site could cause a catastrophic accident. Shelling has already damaged power and communication lines to the plant, prompting fears for the plant’s safety

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Unexpected Ukrainian resistance continues to thwart Russia’s initial plans for quick, decisive victories

Liam Collins, United States Military Academy West Point As Ukrainian forces fight a late-summer counterattack to wrest the southern province of Kherson from Russian control, Russian President Vladimir Putin is learning a lesson that many political leaders have learned before: War is often much longer and costlier than anticipated. In the six months since Russia launched its assault on Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Putin and his military leaders have faced unexpected resistance from Ukrainian forces. That’s been the case in the southern province of Kherson, where Ukrainian forces launched a counterattack on Aug. 28, 2022. Oleksiy Arestovych, a Ukrainian

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Russia’s withdrawal from the International Space Station could mean the early demise of the orbital lab – and sever another Russian link with the West

Wendy Whitman Cobb, Air University Russia intends to withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024, according to an announcement from Yuri Borisov, the new head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, in a meeting with Vladimir Putin on July 26, 2022. Borisov also said future efforts will focus on a new a Russian space station. Current agreements on the ISS have it operating through 2024, and the station needs Russian modules to stay in orbit. The U.S. and its partners have been seeking to extend the station’s life to 2030. Russia’s announcement, while not a breach of any agreement

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Ukraine war: why Moscow could go nuclear over Kyiv’s ‘threats’ to Crimea

Stefan Wolff, University of Birmingham and Tatyana Malyarenko, National University Odesa Law Academy As the war in Ukraine is about to head into its sixth month, the ferocity with which it is fought shows no signs of abating – neither on the battlefield, nor in the rhetoric emerging from Moscow and Kyiv. Russian attacks continue to target Ukrainian cities such as Vinnytsia in western Ukraine that are far away from the front lines and those like Mykolaiv and Odesa that are of high strategic value in the battle over control of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. Meanwhile, the battle over Donbas

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Behind the crisis in Sri Lanka – how political and economic mismanagement combined to plunge nation into turmoil

Neil DeVotta, Wake Forest University Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa formally resigned on July 15, 2022, having earlier fled the country amid widespread protests in the Southern Asian nation. The man who replaced him, Prime Minister and now interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe, is likewise facing calls to go amid political and economic turmoil. Although the drama escalated over a matter of days – during which the presidential palace and the prime minister’s residence were both occupied by demonstrators – the crisis is years in the making, argues Neil DeVotta, professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University. The

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NASA’s head warned that China may try to claim the Moon – two space scholars explain why that’s unlikely to happen

Svetla Ben-Itzhak, Air University and R. Lincoln Hines, Air University NASA Administrator Bill Nelson recently expressed concerns over China’s aims in space, and in particular, that China would, in some way, claim ownership over the Moon and stop other countries from exploring it. In an interview with a German newspaper, Nelson cautioned, “We must be very concerned that China is landing on the Moon and saying: ‘It’s ours now and you stay out.‘” China immediately denounced the claims as a “lie”. This spat between the administrator of NASA and Chinese government officials comes at a time when both nations are

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