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Will souring China-Australia relations force a rethink on trade?

Issued on: 08/09/2020 – 19:26

Relations between China and Australia continued to decline on Tuesda..



Issued on: 08/09/2020 – 19:26

Relations between China and Australia continued to decline on Tuesday after the hasty departure of the last remaining Australian journalists in China. The move comes in the wake of Beijings imposition of trade sanctions against Australian goods, which could trigger a rethink of Australias decades-long economic reliance on China.

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The two journalists – Bill Birtles of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Michael Smith of the Australian Financial Review (AFR) – arrived in Sydney on Tuesday. The Australian government had warned the journalists to leave as tensions escalated over another Australian citizen, television anchor Cheng Lei, who is being detained on allegations of endangering national security.

The two men had been kept from leaving China until they were questioned about Cheng, AFR said in a statement, adding they were told they were "persons of interest" in an investigation into their colleague. Australian diplomats negotiated their departure.

It is the first time since the normalisation of relations between Australia and China in the early1970s that there are no Australian journalists in China.

The ban on the Australian journalists is part of a wider China crackdown on Western journalists, with more than a dozen US journalists from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post also having been targeted.

For Australia, however, the ramifications run particularly deep and reflect an unravelling of ties with its top trading partner.

"It felt very, very political. It very much felt like a diplomatic tussle in the broader Australia-China relationship," Birtles told ABC television on Tuesday.

Professor Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London, told FRANCE 24 that the Australian government will likely become more cautious and conditional in its engagement with China going forward.

“The Australian government would be seeing that China has not been the benevolent friend it perhaps thought it was,” Tsang said.

Trade dollars at stake

China is Australias largest trading partner – in June 2020, Australias exports to China reached a record A$14.6 billion (almost €9 billion) and accounted for 49 percent of Australias total exported goods.

This years record was reached despite sanctions Beijing imposed on Australian beef, barley and coal, and anti-dumping tariffs of more than 200 percent on wine. The trade barriers were thought to be retaliatory after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on world leaders in April to back an independent inquiry into Chinas handling of the Covid-19 outbreak. Beijing said the move by Australia was “politically motivated”.

Dr Pak K Lee, a senior lecturer at Kent University specialising in Chinese politics and international relations, said the call was a major turning point in Australias relations with China.

“Whether wrongly or not, China believes that Australia was doing the USs bidding,” Dr Lee said. “But Australia itself has mounting concerns over Chinas external behaviour in the South China Sea and over alleged Chinas political intervention in its domestic politics via Chinese diasporas.”

Australia has refrained from a tit-for-tat response even as China continues to pile on trade sanctions.

But Australia is treading cautiously as it “does not have many other viable options for its commodity exports and cannot readily find customers other than Chinese importers”, Dr Lee says.

Within Australia, the debate has become highly divisive. In one camp are those advocating for closer ties with China who are worried about the economic fallout for Australia. On the other are those citing Beijings pursuit of self-interest and the dangers of becoming too economically dependent on Chinese trade.

Professor Tsang said there are risks for any country that relies on trading predominantly with one partner – and particularly in the absence of shared democratic values.

“Theres a risk for any country that is heavily trading with one partner and where the countrys values arent shared,” he said.

Tsang also noted that Chinas newly assertive style of statecraft – named after a popular action film – had also increased feelings of competition.

“Unless Australia or any other country accepts Chinas Wolf Warrior approach to diplomacy, there are going to be certain elements of tension,” he said.

“China will not be satisfied unless Australia accepts playing second fiddle to the ChinesRead More – Source

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Belize declared free from malaria by health chiefs



The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified Belize as free of malaria.

The WHO said the Central American nation had “achieved a dramatic reduction” in malaria cases, down from 10,000 in 1994 to zero indigenous cases in 2019.

It said Belize’s achievement would serve as an inspiration for other countries in the Americas, where malaria is endemic.

Malaria, spread to humans by some types of mosquitoes, can be lethal.

The WHO said that Belize had kept the fight against malaria at the forefront of its public health agenda,

It praised the country for distributing mosquito nets treated with insecticide and encouraging the spraying of insecticides indoors.

The organisation also said that trained community health workers had “played a vital role in timely diagnosis and treatment” of malaria.

The WHO certifies a nation as malaria-free when it has shown “with rigorous, credible evidence” that the there has been no transmission of malaria within the country for at least three consecutive years.

Belize is the third country in the world to be certified this year so far, after Azerbaijan and Tajikistan.


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How does overeating affect the immune system?



Overeating is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. While it is widely understood that excessive eating leads to obesity and other health problems, many people are unaware of the impact that overeating has on the immune system. In this article, we will explore how overeating affects the immune system and what can be done to prevent or mitigate the damage.

The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against harmful substances and infections. It is responsible for identifying and eliminating harmful pathogens and other invaders that may cause harm to the body. When the body is functioning normally, the immune system works efficiently to keep us healthy. However, when the body is subjected to chronic stress, such as from overeating, it can become weakened, making it less effective at protecting the body against illness and disease.

One of the ways in which overeating affects the immune system is by increasing inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can have a negative impact on the immune system. Chronic inflammation is associated with a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose and other harmful substances as a result of overeating, it can lead to chronic inflammation, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.

Another way in which overeating affects the immune system is by altering the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and play a crucial role in maintaining good health. When the body is exposed to a high-fat diet, the balance of gut bacteria can become disrupted, leading to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and the suppression of beneficial bacteria. This can result in decreased gut function and reduced immune function, making it more difficult for the body to protect itself against harmful pathogens.

In addition, overeating can also lead to obesity, which is a major risk factor for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Obesity is associated with a range of physiological changes, including insulin resistance and the release of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that play a crucial role in the immune response. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of cytokines, it can lead to a state of chronic inflammation, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.

Finally, overeating can also affect the immune system by causing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the body is exposed to an excessive amount of free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause damage to cells and tissues. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose and other harmful substances as a result of overeating, it can lead to oxidative stress, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.

In conclusion, overeating can have a profound impact on the immune system. By increasing inflammation, altering the gut microbiome, causing obesity, and inducing oxidative stress, overeating can weaken the body’s ability to protect itself against harmful pathogens and other invaders. To maintain a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, and avoid overeating. By taking these simple steps, you can help protect your immune system and reduce your risk of illness and disease.

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Homelessness and mental illness are two intertwined issues that have a complex relationship. Homelessness can cause or worsen mental illness and, conversely, mental illness can contribute to homelessness. It is a vicious cycle that can be difficult to escape, and it is important to understand the ways in which these two issues are interconnected.

Homelessness can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Living on the streets can be a traumatic experience, with a constant fear of violence, theft, and disease. Homeless individuals often face stigma, discrimination, and a lack of privacy, which can lead to feelings of shame, hopelessness, and isolation. The stress and unpredictability of homelessness can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mental illness, on the other hand, can also contribute to homelessness. Mental illness can make it difficult for individuals to maintain employment, manage their finances, and maintain stable housing. Individuals with mental illness may struggle with accessing treatment and support, and the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness can also contribute to feelings of shame and isolation. These challenges can lead to a cycle of homelessness and mental illness, where each issue exacerbates the other.

There is a need for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness and mental illness. This includes providing safe and stable housing, access to mental health treatment and support, and addressing the underlying social determinants of health that contribute to homelessness, such as poverty, lack of education and job opportunities.

Housing First, a program that prioritizes providing permanent housing to homeless individuals before addressing any other issues, has been shown to be effective in reducing homelessness and improving mental health outcomes. This approach recognizes that stable housing is a critical foundation for addressing other issues, including mental health.

In conclusion, homelessness and mental illness are complex and interrelated issues that require a comprehensive and coordinated approach to address. Providing stable housing and access to mental health treatment and support is critical for breaking the cycle of homelessness and mental illness and improving outcomes for individuals experiencing these issues. It is important to continue to address the root causes of homelessness, including poverty and lack of access to education and employment opportunities, to reduce the prevalence of homelessness and improve outcomes for those experiencing it.

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