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13 June 2024

What the EU elections mean

The European Parliament elections have thrown up a win for the right-wing parties – quite a change from the previous centre-left composition. There will be repercussions for the EU and domestic policies of the member countries. Is this election an indication of a future Europe turning right, or is it a reaction to domestic situations individually within states?

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6 June 2024

The global Indian diamantaire network

Recent changes in Belgian and EU tax law and regulation have resulted in some Antwerp-based Palanpuri Jain diamond traders shifting base to the newly booming Dubai diamond market. But Antwerp dominates the diamond business for this enterprising community, where 400 families continue to stay and use it as a gateway to the European market for diamonds cut and polished in Surat and Mumbai in India.

Tourists visit Gangaramaya Buddhist temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 25,2024. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte Courtesy:
6 June 2024

Sri Lanka confronts illegal tourist ventures

Asian nations like Sri Lanka have seen a rush of Russian and Ukrainian tourists over the last two years. They discover salubrious climes and overstay their visas to start small businesses. It has helped Sri Lanka boost tourism after its 2022 debt default but also created economic problems for locals. It is necessary to identify trade-offs between economic benefits and security threats associated with extended-stay tourism.

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6 June 2024

South Africa after elections: Four scenarios

African National Congress (ANC) lost its long-held majority in the recent national elections in South Africa. While President Ramaphosa continues to be a pivotal actor in the new landscape, the political stakes have become higher as the new government sets about solving the dire economic issues that ordinary citizens face.

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30 May 2024

Trouble in Pakistan’s periphery

Pakistan’s peripheral regions have long been treated as colonies to benefit the Punjabi core. This neglect is facing a vigorous pushback, in the form of peaceful protests and violent resistance. The economic crisis has exacerbated tensions in Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan, which remain poor despite abundant natural resources.

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30 May 2024

Competitive welfare or development?

The result of India’s national elections will be out June 4. An eight-day, four-state road trip revealed hotly contested elections where the central issue is competitive and elaborate welfare schemes versus further development and a future for youth. There’s lots of money sloshing around, making elections as lucrative as wedding parties, and plenty of political and family splits for a soap opera.

A man walks past election posters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), as South Africa prepares for the May 29 general elections, in Soweto, South Africa, May 24, 2024. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko Courtesy:
27 May 2024

South Africa goes to the polls

South Africa goes to the polls this week, and there is much to watch: a new electoral system, the fate of the African National Congress, a potential coalition, the promise of economic renewal, and a foreign policy agenda. The winner will have to get to work at once to tackle these simultaneous challenges and ambitions.

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23 May 2024

Xi’s diplomatic push in Europe

Chinese President Xi Jinping's three-nation tour to France, Serbia and Hungary in early May highlighted China's aim to bolster ties and navigate shifting global power dynamics. The trip's implications are significant for all major powers, including India, which must inject more creativity and energy in building up its strategic partnerships with G7 nations after the elections.

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16 May 2024

Why insurgents struggle as governments

South Africa has just celebrated the 30th anniversary of its epic elections in 1994 which marked the end of apartheid rule. President de Klerk and Nelson Mandela avoided the expected bloodbath but, since then, the ruling African National Congress has not done well. Because the very qualities which make insurgent groups and liberation movements successful, are not the ones that make effective national governments.