Our global food supply is at risk when high gas prices limit the creation of fertiliser | Andrew Whitelaw

If water is the source of life, fertiliser is the source of scaleable food production. The increasing cost of fertiliser is one of the largest contributors to a “cost-price” squeeze affecting the farmers of major agricultural products in Australia and globally. The cost of food is increasing in step with the cost of producing that food and, in the past quarter in Australia, we have seen food inflation increase by 2.8% – the fourth-highest quarter since the turn of the century. The price of wheat, the main staple for much…

Understanding China’s Military Operations Other Than War

understanding chinas military operations other than war

Advertisement The announcement from Beijing recently about signing an order with trial outlines on military operations other than war (MOOTW) has triggered foreboding in some quarters that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may be taking a leaf out of the Russian military playbook, inspired by Moscow’s so-called “special military operations” in reference to its invasion of Ukraine. More ominously, some see the new order as a precursor to an impending Taiwan crisis. Coming so soon after the Chinese defense minister, General Wei Fenghe, had vowed at the Shangri-La Dialogue…

China’s ‘Fragmented Authoritarianism’ During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Advertisement In early June, when the local authorities of Shanghai lifted its three-month-long lockdown, the central government soon announced its own approach toward the zero COVID-19 goal: conducting mass PCR testing nationwide, alongside some economic stimulus. In practice, this policy requests every resident to take PCR tests regularly and frequently in exchange for relatively moderate measures in dealing with a local outbreak. However, the skeptics point out that based on China’s political system of fragmented authoritarianism, such a gigantic health project would be untenable. Local governments, facing economic strain, usually cope…

Falling out of Favor: How China Lost the Nordic Countries

falling out of favor how china lost the nordic countries

Advertisement Five years ago, the Nordic countries (this article will focus on Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) were still eagerly pushing for closer ties with China. Each of the Nordic countries held frequent high-level meetings with Beijing, signed new Memorandums of Understanding to expand bilateral cooperation, competed with each other to attract Chinese investments, and welcomed Chinese-led multilateral initiatives such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as well as China’s growing involvement in the Arctic. In the past few years, however, perceptions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)…

Chinese premier calls for more coal production as electricity demand soars

China’s premier has called for increased production of coal to stave off mass blackouts, as early summer heatwaves have prompted record electricity usage. On Friday authorities again issued high temperature warnings for about a dozen provinces across the central and northern provinces, after consecutive days in the high 30s. As people sought to escape the heat this week, state media reported that electricity demand was up 8.8% in north-west China compared with last year, and 3.2% in northern China, citing the State Grid Corp of China. Records for maximum electricity…

Two killed after Chinese electric car falls from third floor of company’s offices

A leading Chinese electric car company has said two people were killed when one of its vehicles fell from the third floor of its Shanghai headquarters. Nio, a homegrown brand sometimes seen as a potential rival to Tesla, said the incident happened at about 5.20pm on Wednesday. One of the victims was its employee and the other from a partner company. They were both inside the vehicle when it fell. “After the incident we immediately began to work with the public security department to find the cause of the accident,”…

China ambassador tells Australian protesters ‘no such thing as absolute freedom’

China’s ambassador to Australia has declared there is “no such thing as absolute freedom” as he defended his country’s human rights record during a speech in Sydney. Facing repeated interruptions from protesters, Xiao Qian said on Friday there was no reason the two countries should be enemies but they should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – phrasing that indicates Australia should moderate its comments about Taiwan and Hong Kong. He described the meeting between China and Australia’s defence ministers in Singapore earlier this month as “very significant”, after…

‘Considerable strain’: how Australian officials saw the China rift

Australian officials stayed in “regular contact” with the Chinese embassy in Canberra to “explain our decisions” even when Australian ministers were subjected to a two-year diplomatic freeze, newly released documents show. The former Morrison government had been “willing to engage with China in dialogue at any time”, according to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade briefing notes, which also described the relationship as being under “considerable strain”. Australian government ministers were blocked from meetings or calls with their direct Chinese counterparts for more than two years, although lower-level diplomats and…

What to make of China’s new aircraft-carrier

what to make of chinas new aircraft carrier

The aircraft-carrier has long been a symbol of military might. Admiral William Halsey, who commanded an early American one and led Allied forces in the South Pacific during the second world war, described it in 1942 as the best way to “get to the other fellow with everything you have, as fast as you can, and to dump it on him.” That has held true for most of the eight decades since, during which carriers played a key role in conflicts from Korea to Libya. They remain critical to ensuring…

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