G-7, Corona and China



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24.com, Dhaka
ছবি: সংগৃহীত

ছবি: সংগৃহীত

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The G-7 summit of the world's richest countries ended with great joy. They had tea with the Queen of Britain and the world got to see the fashion show of the First Ladies' outer wear.

But the summit could not show generosity for the universal welfare of the world beyond the national interest. Despite pledging to vaccinate the world's poorest countries with 100 crore doses of coronavirus, analysts said the main goal of the G-7 alliance is to stand up to China and Russia. The G-7 group has also issued statements on the Xinjiang and Hong Kong issues, which China has condemned. The agenda to suppress China has dominated the summit.

But the G-7 summit, the alliance of the most powerful countries in the world, was the focus of global attention. It is only natural that everyone should pay attention to the role of the leading world powers in the global Corona pandemic. Against such a backdrop, US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also gave a strong message of the fight against Corona from the G7 stage.

The G-7 will provide 100 crore doses of coronavirus vaccine to the people of underdeveloped countries around the world. Of this, the United States alone will give 50 crore doses. Britain will provide 10 crore doses for now. The rest of the G-7 countries will arrange the rest of the dose.

"Britain's vaccination process has been very successful," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters ahead of the G-7 summit. As a result, we want to reach out to countries that have not yet been able to acquire one of the weapons of war against the Corona. "We just have to see how many lives we can save. "

In fact, the main topic of the summit is the removal of China and Russia. The focus of the G-7 leaders was on the international system and the global economy.

The full form of the G-7 is the Group of Seven. The seven most developed economies of the world are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States. The European Union is also a part of this alliance. When Russia joined the alliance in 1998, it was called the G-8. But Russia was excluded from the alliance in 2014 due to the occupation of Crimea.

Despite being one of the world's largest economies and the world's most populous country, China has never been a member of the G7. This is because a country is not an alliance if its per capita wealth is relatively low. That is why India was not made a member of the G-7.

Usually global issues, such as conflict, refugees, pandemics, etc. are important at the summit. When the world is in danger, then the world leaders will be active in this matter, this is desirable. In addition, world leaders have a responsibility to save the world from the clutches of vaccine politics, vaccine diplomacy and vaccine nationalism. In a situation where the vaccine is only for the rich, the world expected a more proactive G-7.

However, it is thought that the issue has not been on the agenda of the G-7 leaders as Europe and America have gradually been freed from the clutches of the Corona. This is because although the incidence of corona has intensified in India and some other countries of the world, the situation in developed countries has changed for the better. Many countries are in the final stages of full vaccination. Deaths and infections are declining rapidly.

In such a situation, Britain has decided to gradually relax the Corona rules. The 'Roadmap to Independence' has been adopted. The rules have been relaxed little by little over the last few months as planned. That's right; the lockdown will be completely lifted on June 21. But with the rise of the Delta Strain, the ‘Independence Celebration’ was postponed for a month though the rest of Europe is fearless.

In France, night curfews have been lifted to reduce such infections. Going to eat inside cafe, restaurant. However, the number of people who could sit together in normal times has been halved. Shops that are not superfluous have also been opened. Even the gym, the cinema hall is all. However, wearing a mask is still mandatory (until June 30).

That lesson has also been missed in Germany. Even in urban areas like Berlin, no one has to wear a mask. However, in each of the 16 provinces, the regional administration has issued its own rules. There are no restrictions on those whose vaccinations have been completed. As a rule of thumb, however, a maximum of six members of three families may gather in one place.

Italy and Spain are also trying to return to normal life. But the crowd is not being allowed anywhere.

Meanwhile, a street party has been organized in Paris in protest of the Corona-rules. The protest was named 'Project X' after the American film. Hundreds of masked people gathered there. They aimed the police van and dropped the broken bottle. The car was vandalized. In the end, the police had to throw tear gas to handle the situation. Another gathering took place on the banks of the Seine River near the Louvre Museum. That, of course, is not a protest. The police also dispersed the party at midnight. City pubs have also been opened. The crowd of young people is growing. Administrative officials also say, ‘I know it is difficult to stay under house arrest for a long time. But the virus has not gone away yet. '

Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization's Europe branch, was recently heard saying the same thing. In his words, ‘the way film festivals, sports tournaments are going on; people are moving from one end of the continent to the other, danger is imminent. The French Open has already ended. Wimbledon starts next month. The European Football Championship is underway. All of this is enough to cause fear, Ryan reminds us.

Although the situation is not yet safe, Europe is slowly recovering from the Corona's main blow. As the number of deaths and infections has decreased as the vaccination of all has been completed, so has the confidence and courage of the citizens.

In poor countries, on the other hand, there is uncertainty about vaccine availability, where the risk is still high. The rich countries have not taken a leading role in the G-7 alliance as the risk of Corona has shifted from the developed countries to the underdeveloped world. Rather, in the light of the polarization of international politics, they have taken a united stand against their own national interest agenda and the rise of China. 

Who will lead France for the next five years?



Dr Mahfuz Parvez
Macron and Le Pen Prepare for Showdown

Macron and Le Pen Prepare for Showdown

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

France on Saturday (April 23) prepared to choose between centrist President Emmanuel Macron and far-right challenger Marine Le Pen to rule the country for the next five years after a bitterly contested and polarising election campaign. By Sunday (April 24) evening, the world will know whether France has elected its first female leader, or the first two-term president since Jacques Chirac.

Considering the election processes, It’s looking like Emmanuel Macron is headed for victory; he holds a ten-point average lead in polls over his challenger, the far-right Marine Le Pen. That she is still within range of Macron, who trounced her by 30 percentage points in 2017, has Western capitals nervous that the French could swap an ardent EU supporter for one closer to Moscow than Brussels.

However, Undecided voters are one concern, with as many as 11 percent still yet to make up their minds. The supporters of the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon are another wildcard. The worry for Macron is not so much that they would go over to Le Pen, but that they simply won’t vote at all. Just under half of his first round voters don’t intend to cast a ballot on Sunday, but two-thirds of those who plan to vote say they’ll back Macron.

Michele Barbero, in a Paris dispatch for Foreign Policy Journal, spoke with one Mélenchon supporter who isn’t sure whether to vote on Sunday. “I feel disillusioned, desperate, and I have less and less confidence in politics to bring about more social justice,” she said.

As the election of Joe Biden in 2020 showed, a victory for a centrist candidate doesn’t magically de-polarize an electorate. So even a loss may not spell the end for Le Pen, who will be just 58 when the 2027 elections come around—and would no longer have to face Macron, who would be barred from serving a third consecutive term.

With Le Pen within arm’s reach of Macron, some world leaders have gotten off the fence. In a rare foray into French politics, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the case for Macron in a Le Monde op-ed on Thursday. Sharing a byline with his left-leaning counterparts Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, the three men presented a choice between “a democratic candidate, who believes that France grows in a powerful EU. And a far-right candidate, who openly sides with those attacking our freedom and democracy.”

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former Brazilian President has also stated his support for Macron, describing the election as one where “the future of democracy” is at stake.

Although U.S. President Joe Biden has not publicly expressed his preference, his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama still might. The former president would be leaving it late; he already had backed Macron by this time in the 2017 election cycle.

Perhaps doing Le Pen a favor, given the distance she has tried to put between herself and the Russian leader during her campaign, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stayed silent. Her ideological allies in Hungary and Poland have too.

Imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has also stumped for Macron—while skewering his opponent, saying on Twitter that any so-called conservative who is sympathetic to Putin “is actually just a hypocrite with no conscience.”

Barring a too-close-to-call election, exit polls should predict the winner by the time voting ends at 8 p.m. Paris time on Sunday.

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong and Associate Editor, barta24.com

;

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room



Tazlina Zamila Khan
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Our nation has reached a point where just walking down the street is the most risky and courageous undertaking that one can perform. Once you go out into the street, there is no assurance that you will be able to return to your loved ones. No matter what mode of transportation you choose, such as a bus or a car, you are not protected. I was taken aback when I received some news about one of my students. He and his mother were driving home from school like they often did when their car collided with a rickshaw, killing one of the passengers. The chauffeur was able to flee the scene very quickly, but my student's mother was gravely injured. It was a traumatic experience for such a young boy like him to see such an occurrence unfold in front of his own eyes. The person who died could have been anybody, and it might have been someone you know. Every day, the number of accidents increases, and the worth of human life decreases.

Sometimes it does remind me of one of the dialogues of Spiderman II --‘Uncle Ben was killed that night for being the only one who did the right thing’. Bangladeshi street scenes are similar to this in terms of situation. Even if you are driving safely and, in your lane, you may be involved in an accident due to the negligence of another driver. Thousands of Uncle Ben is Somebody else's careless behavior resulted in these people's death. To make a safer road, how much blood must be shed?

According to a news report of The Daily Star which stated the road accident rates increased by 30%. In addition to reckless driving, a lack of skilled drivers, mental and physical illness in drivers, insufficient benefits for drivers, slow vehicular movement on highways and youths riding carelessly on motorbikes, an ineffective traffic management system, and a lack of awareness among the general public are all factors contributing to traffic fatalities and injuries.

If the management is tight, however, all of these issues will not be addressed for some time. What annoys me the most is that in our nation, there is no consequence for individuals who are guilty for their actions on the road. The vast majority of the time, drivers escape after murdering someone. Every attempt is made to bring justice to the victim's family, but all of it is in vain.

With each victim who escapes, it sends a message to the whole society that "it is alright to murder someone since no one else will come to haunt you." This is very hazardous, and sadly, this is the reality of the situation in the country. As a result, accidents are happening on the other hand culprits are moving freely without being punished.

Despite the government's stated goal of reducing road accidents by 20-25 percent by 2024 and 50 percent by 2030, the number of accidents in the nation has continued to rise over the last few years.

When it comes to following the rules of the road, motorcycles have a particularly difficult time. They indicate that time is more important than human lives by rushing to the destination with the passengers. Every member of the family is affected by even a little accident. No matter how sympathetic or empathic you are to the victim's family, you will never be able to replace the gap left by the death of a spouse, a daughter, or a son. It's impossible to fathom the anguish and misery endured by the families affected by such tragedies.

Despite this, traffic accidents are still being referred to as the elephant in the room. As a matter of fact, it should have been dealt with and resolved much sooner had it been given more priority. In reality, though, it is steadily increasing. Why has it been put off for so long?

Road accidents are still a severe problem, despite the fact that our communication system has undergone a major shift. Adequate driving instruction is essential, and law enforcement authorities should be harsher with those who breach the rules. To illustrate that no one is above the law, the perpetrators of these crimes should be punished.

The writer is a faculty member of a private school

;

Japan, China and Asian Peace



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
Japan, China and Asian Peace

Japan, China and Asian Peace

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease
Japan and China, two important countries in Asia, are also influential in regional and international politics. These two countries can play a leading role in peace and development in Asia. Although their pasts are conflicting, their peaceful alliance is essential to world reality. Especially for Asia-Pacific peace, it is essential that the two countries come together.

Considering the important position of two countries, researchers have worked on the positive aspects of the friendly role of Japan and China. As they look to the past and the present, some researchers have raised hopes for the future. Ezra Feivel Vogel was an one of them.

Ezra Feivel Vogel, (Born: July 11, 1930, Delaware, Ohio, United States, Died: December 20, 2020, Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States) was an American sociologist who wrote prolifically on modern Japan, China, and Korea, and worked both in academia and the public sphere. He was Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and the author of a masterpiece titled China and Japan: Facing History, published in 2019 just before his death.

According to Ezra Feivel Voge, China and Japan have cultural and political connections that stretch back fifteen hundred years. But today their relationship is strained. China’s military buildup deeply worries Japan, while Japan’s brutal occupation of China in World War II remains an open wound. In recent years less than ten percent of each population had positive feelings toward the other, and both countries insist that the other side must deal openly with its history before relations can improve.

From the sixth century, when the Japanese adopted core elements of Chinese civilization, to the late twentieth century, when China looked to Japan for a path to capitalism, Ezra Vogel’s book examined key turning points in Sino–Japanese history. Throughout much of their past, the two countries maintained deep cultural ties, but China, with its great civilization and resources, had the upper hand. Japan’s success in modernizing in the nineteenth century and its victory in the 1895 Sino–Japanese War changed the dynamic, putting Japan in the dominant position. The bitter legacy of World War II has made cooperation difficult, despite efforts to promote trade and, more recently, tourism.

Vogel underscored the need for Japan to offer a thorough apology for the war, but he also urged China to recognize Japan as a potential vital partner in the region. He argued that for the sake of a stable world order, these two Asian giants must reset their relationship, starting with their common interests in environmental protection, disaster relief, global economic development, and scientific research.

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh and Associate Editor, www.barta24.com.
;

Our victory: our pride



Syed Iftekhar
photo: Barta24.com

photo: Barta24.com

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

In the 21st century, technology is a crucial factor for economic development. Bangladesh is not left behind, the current time the region is part of the global community. The country embarked on a long way since the declaration of independence in 1971.

Nowadays, Bangladesh turns 50 years. Digital Bangladesh is developing swiftly with this momentum that will lead the territory into achieving its future goals. Meanwhile, the region has commenced the journey towards Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 'Sonar Bangla' through this massive triumph.

Here and now, Bangladesh is making an impressive leap on the Earth as our situation has dramatically improved. The world leaders have even noticed our successful transformation. Consequently, Bangladesh has ranked the fastest-growing economies in the world. From 1971 to 2021, Bangladesh ameliorated enormously; our food safety has significantly improved, poverty is also declining.

On the other hand, the private sector has expanded at an astonishing rate. Although there are still some sectors Bangladesh needs to address. We need to do major works more efficiently at present to secure an ample future. In this case, the present government is striving. As conscious citizens of this country, we have individual responsibility too.

However, as a firm citizen, I also have a gigantic dream. A dream for a better life, prosperous life. It is not just a conception. This would happen soon. I am immensely hopeful because without hope this country could not be created. Further, we could not overcome several obstacles as well as challenges. Nonetheless, the rigorous reality is hopes are not well enough. We must make a noteworthy endeavor to turn them into reality, thus, we can go far.

;