China’s struggle delights some – but should make us all nervous | Larry Elliott

China has been central to the story of globalisation over the past 30 years but now it is struggling. More than two years after Covid-19 cases were discovered in Wuhan, the world’s most populous country has yet to get on top of the virus. Draconian lockdowns have been imposed because China’s vaccines are less effective than those available in the west, and immunity levels are lower as well. Growth is slowing and not just because of the tough restrictions insisted upon by President Xi Jinping. Flaws in China’s economic model…

Secret British ‘black propaganda’ campaign targeted cold war enemies

The British government ran a secret “black propaganda” campaign for decades, targeting Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia with leaflets and reports from fake sources aimed at destabilising cold war enemies by encouraging racial tensions, sowing chaos, inciting violence and reinforcing anti-communist ideas, newly declassified documents have revealed. The effort, run from the mid-1950s through to the late 70s by a unit in London that was part of the Foreign Office, was focused on cold war enemies such as the Soviet Union and China, leftwing liberation groups and…

Car T-cell therapy shows early promise in treating gastric cancers

An experimental cancer therapy that infuses designer immune cells into patients has shown early promise in a clinical trial by shrinking tumours in the digestive system. Interim results from the first phase of the clinical trial found that nearly half, or 48.6%, of the 37 patients treated so far responded to the infusions with their tumours reducing in size after the therapy. While the findings come from an initial safety assessment of the approach, researchers running the trial in Beijing believe it demonstrates the potential for genetically-altered immune cells to…

As tensions rise between east and west, will HSBC be torn apart?

When Mark Tucker arrived as HSBC’s new chairman on a cloudy London day in October 2017, he was prepared for a challenge. The former insurance boss was the first outsider to lead the now 157-year-old bank, which was in the middle of a period of intense upheaval. HSBC was slimming down its investment bank, selling poorly performing businesses and slashing thousands of jobs as it tried to adapt to the post-financial-crisis era. While Tucker was well equipped to guide the lender through that period of turmoil, he must now wrestle…

Japanese premier warns of Ukraine-style invasion by ‘autocratic powers’

Boris Johnson and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida have warned that the invasion of Ukraine could be replicated in east Asia if democratic powers do not stand up to autocratic ones. “Ukraine may be east Asia tomorrow,” Kishida said on Thursday during a visit to London, as he called for Indo-Pacific leaders to recognise that the invasion of Ukraine was not just a European problem. Asked about the implications for Taiwan, he said: “We must collaborate with our allies and like-minded countries, and never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change…

The world’s engines are spluttering: IMF points to deeper problems beyond 2022

The International Monetary Fund’s revised World Economic Outlook is sobering. It is rare for the organisation to revise down sharply its projections for economic growth only one quarter into the calendar year. Yet in this case, it has done so for 86% of its 190 member countries, resulting in a decline of almost one percentage point in global growth for 2022 – from 4.4% to 3.6%. Moreover, this forecast is accompanied by a significant increase in projected inflation, and all this bad news is packaged in a wrapping of deeper…

Ukraine war to slow growth and drive up poverty in Asia, World Bank warns

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further dampened the economic prospects for developing countries in east Asia and the Pacific, meaning lower economic growth and higher poverty in the region this year, the World Bank has warned. The Ukraine factor came on top of the existing risks that the region – home to 2.1 billion people and stretching from China to Papua New Guinea – has been facing in recent years. They included the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the financial tightening in the US, and the pandemic resurgence amid China’s zero-Covid policies.…

China accused of launching cyber-attacks on Ukraine before Russian invasion

China launched cyber-attacks on Ukrainian military and nuclear targets shortly before the Russian invasion, according to a report. The UK government confirmed that the National Cyber Security Centre is investigating the allegations, which claim that more than 600 websites, including Ukraine’s defence ministry, were subjected to thousands of hacking attempts coordinated by the Chinese government. A UK government spokesperson said: “The National Cyber Security Centre is investigating these allegations with our international partners.” The claims are based on intelligence memos obtained by the Times. Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, alleges…

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Hundreds of Ukrainians held hostage in Mariupol hospital, say officials; Russian TV protester fined – live

There are reports that Russian forces have taken patients and medical staff of a hospital in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol as hostages. According to the BBC, Mariupol’s deputy mayor Sergei Orlov said: We received information that the Russian army captured our biggest hospital … and they’re using our patients and doctors like hostages. We can confirm this information and also the governor of Donetsk region has confirmed this confirmation. We received information that there are 400 people there. The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) ⚡️Donetsk Oblast Governor: Russia takes patients,…

Nearly 30% think China likely to have spread Covid on purpose, UK poll finds

More than a quarter of people believe Covid-19 was likely to have been a biological weapon intentionally spread by the Chinese state, according to a new UK poll highlighting the spread of conspiracy theories. The findings are contained in a major report by the campaign group Hope Not Hate (HNH) warning that the rise of Covid conspiracy theories and the antilockdown movement are recruiting young people to far-right ideas and movements. It also says the economic hardship of the past year and worries about the future have created an environment…

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