BOGOTÁ – Should the US government lock in today’s ultra-low borrowing costs by issuing longer-term debt? It’s a tough call, but with overall debt levels already high (not to mention unfunded pension and medical insurance liabilities, which are both likely to rise), perhaps the time has come.
BEIJING – In September, China will host the G20 meeting of world leaders for the first time. It could not have chosen a more opportune moment to assume a leadership role. Chinese President Xi Jinping should seize the occasion to push China’s ambitious development agenda globally. Specifically, Xi should make the case that development done right benefits everyone, and he should launch discussions on a multilateral investment agreement to be developed in the next year.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Climate change has claimed another victim. Almost one-quarter of the coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area – one of the world’s richest and most complex ecosystems – has died this year, in the worst mass coral bleaching in recorded history. Even in the far northern reaches of the Reef, long at a sufficient distance from human pressures like coastal development to preserve, to a large extent, coral health, a staggering 50% of the coral has died.
LONDON – A few weeks ago in Mozambique, 19-year-old Rosanna told me, “If I could give one message to other young girls, it would be to stay in education, and out of marriage.” She spoke from experience; Rosanna was a child bride, just like nearly half of all girls in her country.
CAMBRIDGE – A day seldom passes without articles appearing in the financial press pondering why interest rates have remained so low for so long. This is one of those articles. So let’s start by clarifying whose and which interest rates are low and what is and isn’t novel or unprecedented.
LONDON – How should the European Union respond to the narrow decision by voters in the United Kingdom to leave? European leaders are now focusing, rightly, on how to prevent other countries from leaving the EU or the euro. The most important country to be kept in the club is Italy, which faces a referendum in October that could pave the way for the anti-euro Five Star Movement to take power.
OXFORD – Martha’s daughter was only 12 years old when a group of men raped her in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The police arrested one of the attackers, but did not refer the case for prosecution – an outcome that, Martha believes, had a lot to do with her inability to pay the unauthorized “processing fee” that some police officers impose on rape victims and their families.
MEXICO CITY – Since the 1950s, European countries have debated the costs and benefits of regional integration. But not until the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” referendum did the debate revolve around such central issues as globalization, free trade, immigration, and their economic effects.
BERLIN – Nowhere is freshwater scarcer than in the Arab world. The region is home to most of the world’s poorest states or territories in terms of water resources, including Bahrain, Djibouti, Gaza, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This shortage – exacerbated by exploding populations, depletion and degradation of natural ecosystems, and popular discontent – is casting a shadow over these countries’ future.
BEIJING – The Chinese economy has undergone radical transformation in recent years and is now laying the groundwork for impressive advances in science and technology. In particular, China is setting itself up to be a major player in the fight against disease, and there are many reasons to believe that the country will play a central role in the life-sciences research of the future.