Should China Be Concerned About Slowing Economic Growth?

How worried should China be about slowing economic growth?

To which my answer is, quite a lot. Communist Party credibility hangs on China being able to sustain growth in and around 6%. And these growth numbers, at least from the state statistical bureau bring us down to 6% in the most recent quarter. So, what China will now be seeking to do is to change its domestic economic policy settings to encourage the private sector back into investing for the future. That's critical, because in the last 18 months they've been sitting on their cash.


How worried should Xi Jinping be about Hong Kong?

The answer to that is from his perspective, the best play is simply to allow this to play itself out over time. The alternative strategy is for China to militarily intervene or use paramilitaries. There are so many arguments against that. One, the logistics of simply doing it - Seven million people, complex geography. Number two, massive loss of life. You've already seen two million protesters in the streets. Three, the risk of financial and economic sanctions. And four, so long as China stays removed, then it's Carrie Lam's problem and not Xi Jinping's.

One year ago, Microsoft launched an Open Data Campaign to help close the data divide between those countries and companies that have the data they need to innovate and those that do not. We learned quickly that this continued divide risks leaving some people behind, without the ability to put data to work and without the ability to generate economic wealth and opportunity more broadly. To address the challenges of tomorrow, we need to make it easier to open, share and collaborate around data today. That's why we're sharing 10 key lessons from the first year of our campaign to help other organizations of all sizes unlock the power of data. To read about the lessons and updates on progress, visit Microsoft on the Issues.

A Green Party-led government for the world's fourth largest economy? That's no longer far-fetched. As Signal's Gabrielle Debinski wrote last month, most current polls now show Germany's Greens in first place in federal elections set for September 26. And for the first time, the Greens have a candidate for chancellor. Annalena Baerbock is vying to replace Angela Merkel, who has led Germany for the past 16 years.

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Immigration has been a major challenge for the nascent Biden administration, testing the new US president's ability to placate moderates on both sides of the aisle, as well as the progressive wing of his own party. Biden initially pledged to keep the US' annual refugee cap at 15,000 — a "ceiling" set by the Trump administration, the lowest in US history. But after that move sparked swift backlash, Biden this week reversed course: 62,500 refugees will now be allowed to enter the US over the next six months. How does this compare to policies set by previous US administrations? We take a look at refugee admittance numbers since 1980.

India's COVID crisis hurts Africa: As COVID started to ravage India in March, New Delhi announced a ban on all vaccine exports to prioritize the domestic crisis. This development was a massive blow for the COVAX facility, which is relying on India's Serum Institute manufacturing the AstraZeneca shot for low-income countries. The impact of this export ban is now being felt acutely across Africa, where many countries have received a scarce number of doses. The World Health Organization says that at least seven African countries including Rwanda, Ghana, and Senegal have already exhausted all their vaccine supplies — and because of delays from India, will now need to wait several weeks for more to arrive. COVAX, which has received 90 million fewer doses to date than it was initially promised, says it needs an extra 20 million doses by the end of June to offset shortfalls caused by the worsening crisis in India. It's a worrying trend: while inoculation drives in places like the US, the UK and Israel are allowing their economies to reopen and life to slowly return to normal, many low-income countries will not return to normalcy for years, experts warn. To date, only 2 percent of all doses administered globally have been in Africa, despite the continent accounting for 17 percent of the global population.

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Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

No more Netanyahu? Is Israel on the verge of new leadership?

Oh, we've seen this story before. I saw one commenter from the Israeli press saying, "Even a magician eventually runs out of rabbits to pull out of hats," but I'm not sure. Assuming that Netanyahu can't get this government together and it'd be knife-edge if he can and it won't last very long, the idea that the opposition could pull it together is also pretty low. It would be like seven parties together in a coalition, incredibly hard to do, which means Israel may be heading for a fifth election, which would be a problem except for the fact that their economy is doing pretty well right now and their vaccinations are fantastic. So, no, he might still be there for a bit.

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Scots go to the polls this week to vote in their first parliamentary election since Brexit. We already know that the incumbent Scottish National Party will win most seats. Will its majority be big enough to demand another independence referendum?

Almost seven years ago, Scotland turned down independence in a plebiscite by a 10-point margin. But that was before the entire United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016 — against the wishes of most people in Scotland.

Many Scots felt cheated in the 2014 referendum because a lot of them voted to remain in the UK precisely to also stay in the EU. As post-Brexit political chaos that followed has further boosted nationalist sentiment in Scotland, the outcome of Thursday's vote will be closely watched in four capitals.

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3,456: The price of one Ether, the world's second most popular cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, hit an all-time high of $3,456 on Tuesday. Ether, which has quadrupled in value so far in 2021, is gaining ground as governments around the world grapple with how to regulate digital currencies.

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International relations expert and Atlantic contributor Tom Nichols has little patience for the anti-vaccination movement. "The people who say things like, 'I'm not getting the vaccine. And if there are passports, I'll get a fake one'... It's time to begin stigmatizing them in the same way that we would have stigmatized people who didn't want to get a polio vaccine or a smallpox vaccine in an earlier time." In a conversation with Ian Bremmer, Nichols shares his views on whether vaccines should be mandatory and the merits of vaccine passports. The interview on GZERO World airs on US public television starting April 30 - check local listings.

Watch the episode: Make politics "boring" again: Joe Biden's first 100 Days

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