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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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Shooting of Shinzo Abe is a huge shock for Japan and the world

Craig Mark, Kyoritsu Women’s University Japan is reeling from the assassination of its longest-serving former prime minister, Shinzo Abe. He was campaigning for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for the Upper House elections due on Sunday, in the city of Nara in western Japan, when he was shot from behind with an apparently home-made sawn-off shotgun. The alleged assailant, reportedly a 42-year old local man, was arrested at the scene. There is no known motive at this time, but there are reports the suspect is a former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces. Abe was seen lying bleeding on

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Russian debt default: two experts explain what it means for Russia and for global financial markets

Nasir Aminu, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, Queen Mary University of London Russia’s recent default on its foreign debt – it’s first since 1918 – has been hailed as proof that the sanctions imposed by western governments since the invasion of Ukraine in February are working. A 30-day grace period on US$100 million (£82 million) in interest on two bonds ended on June 27 2022, with Russia’s repayments on this foreign debt not reaching creditors. While the Kremlin claims the payment has been held up by clearing house Euroclear, ratings agency Moody’s has predicted the country is likely to

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G7 and Nato summits lay bare deep and hostile divide between Russia and China and the west

Stefan Wolff, University of Birmingham Against a backdrop of unprecedented turmoil – the first major war in Europe in three decades, the highest inflation rates in decades and a rapidly worsening global food crisis – western leaders have met for two major summits. The G7 met in Germany and Nato leaders gathered in Madrid. The outcomes of both events indicate the limits of western-dominated global governance and deepening polarisation. Both summits were dominated by the war in Ukraine, and both pledged continued support for Ukraine “for as long as it takes”. But the direct effects of such declarations are at

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Kremlin tightens control over Russians’ online lives – threatening domestic freedoms and the global internet

Stanislav Budnitsky, Indiana University Since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine in late February 2022, Russian internet users have experienced what has been dubbed the descent of a “digital iron curtain.” Russian authorities blocked access to all major opposition news sites, as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Under the new draconian laws purporting to combat fake news about the Russian-Ukrainian war, internet users have faced administrative and criminal charges for allegedly spreading online disinformation about Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Most Western technology companies, from Airbnb to Apple, have stopped or limited their Russian operations as part of the

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Russia’s Ukraine invasion won’t be over soon – and Putin is counting on the West’s short attention span

Matthew Sussex, Australian National University As Russia’s war in Ukraine becomes a quagmire of attrition, Western leaders are slowly coming to two realisations about Vladimir Putin’s intentions. First, Russia’s war against Ukraine won’t be over soon, and is likely to grind on for the foreseeable future. Second, it’s pointless to try to imagine a future in which relations with Moscow are characterised by anything other by mutual mistrust and hostility. In spite of this, there is still the chance that Russia’s invasion falls off the international radar through a Western inability to deal with hard realities. Putin’s war of expansion

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Ukraine: international pressure needs to be on Moscow, not Kyiv

Stefan Wolff, University of Birmingham and Tatyana Malyarenko, National University Odesa Law Academy Having crossed the 100-day mark, the war in Ukraine is having an ever more obvious, and negative, impact on a wide range of issues. From a global food crisis that could last for years to serious problems with the cost of living and the prospect of a world recession, the lack of an end in sight in the war has western leaders worried and uncertain how best to respond. There are arguments for delaying Russian progress or even attempting to defeat it by strengthening Ukraine militarily, but

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