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Photo: Australia's Prime Minister has unveiled new powers that stop foreign governments from making deals in the country without prior federal approval. Credit: Federal Govt. of Australia.

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) – China may have one nation and two systems, but in Australia, it looks like there is one nation and six systems. As the second wave of coronavirus spreads across the continent, the State Premiers have taken unilateral decisions to close borders to travellers from other states to the dismay of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Speaking at the Bush (Regional) Summit on August 28, Morrison bemoaned “Australia was not built to have internal borders, in fact the very point of federalism was not to have them”.  While acknowledging that COVID-19 has touched people everywhere, he added, “We must not allow this crisis, this pandemic, to force us to retreat into provincialism. That’s not the answer”.

Photo: Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte (His Excellency) in full Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). Source: Wikimedia Commons

Viewpoint by Walden Bello *

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
— T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

NEW YORK (IDN) – The fix that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is in now illustrates the truth in the saying that the best-laid plans of mice and men are often unravelled by the least expected event.

In the case of the beleaguered Philippine president, the equivalent of the asteroid from outer space that killed off the dinosaurs was COVID-19, which threw him from the high horse he was riding in triumph after the midterm elections of 2019, which his partisans swept at all levels.

Photo: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng

Viewpoint by UN Women, Bopinc and The DO School

NEW YORK (IDN) – The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role of collaboration in creating gender-inclusive ecosystems where women can emerge and thrive. As the European Union, UN Women and its partners Bopinc and The DO School highlight their commitment to helping more women entrepreneurs on the occasion of the World Entrepreneurs Day this year on August 21, two initiatives should be recognised for their remarkable progress in providing the space and tools these women need: the Entrepreneurship Accelerator and Industry Disruptor.

Photo: WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during the closing session of the 73rd World Health Assembly on 19 May 2020. Credit: WHO.

Viewpoint by Vijay Prashad *

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts (IDN) – Six months ago, on January 30, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Ten days before this, the Chinese government had said—to great alarm—that the coronavirus could be transmitted from human to human. The contagiousness of this virus led the WHO to make the declaration, which came a month after the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told their counterparts in the United States about the virus.

Photo: India reported a record daily jump in the number of novel coronavirus cases on June 19 as Chennai locked down following fresh outbreaks there. Source:

Viewpoint by Usha M Rodrigues, Deakin University

VICTORIA, Australia (IDN) – India is now the third most impacted country by COVID-19, with cases nearing 900,000 and deaths surpassing 23,000 as of  July 13. India is also one of the leading nations when it comes to the sharing of 'fake news’.

By all accounts, India has not yet seen the peak of coronavirus causalities. Nor has India reached the peak of mis- and disinformation circulation on various media platforms.

Photo source:

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) – As a serious second wave of COVID-19 with higher daily rates of infections than in March has infected Australia, where some five million people in Melbourne are under lockdown, the Premier of the worst affected Victoria State, Daniel Andrews, has blamed the situation on insecure jobs.

Andrews told a daily media briefing on July 22 that a large proportion of people leaving their homes while sick were in insecure work and had been forced to choose between self-isolation or being paid. Out of the 3,810 cases recorded in the state between July 7 and July 21, 3,400 people felt ill but continued to go to work before undergoing testing.

Image source. India TV

News briefs compiled by Suresh Jaura*

TORONTO | NEW DELHI (IDN) – The focus of news in Indian media in the second half of June was on the start of human trials by India's 'first' indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, a nod to Indian start-ups to participate in space activities, emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi on June 25, 1975, persecution of 'dissenters', restrictions against Chinese goods, and Russian assurances to stand-off with India against China.

Photo: Rose David of Wusi Village in West Coast Santo, Vanuatu stands next to her home that was destroyed by Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold in April 2020. Credit: UN Women/Betty Zinner-Toa.

By UN Women

NEW YORK (IDN) – Although the Pacific has largely been spared by the spread of the disease relative to other regions around the world – with Fiji hardest hit of the six countries the UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls programme works in, at 18 confirmed cases – all of which have since been cleared, and several countries without a recorded a case so far – the economic and social consequences have been deep.

Photo: Deserted Sea Dance Resort, Samui, May 2020,

By Pattama Vilailert *

BANGKOK (IDN) – On New Year's Eve of 2020 when the Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of strange pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Thailand's tourism industry, the country's primary gross domestic product (GDP) driver, was facing an unprecedented boom. But, six months later, the industry is on its knees with knowledgeable sources predicting a lengthy recovery period.

Image credit: | CC BY 4.0

A Grassroots Movement of Local Actions Has Been Credited for Success.

Viewpoint by Dan Sanchez

The writer is the Director of Content at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and the editor of The article was originally published on It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

ATLANTA, GA | U.S. (IDN) – Japan's nationwide state of emergency was officially lifted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 25, who declared COVID-19 to be under control in the country. In his announcement of the move, Abe said, "Recently, new infection cases have fallen below 50 for the entire nation, and what was once nearly 10,000 hospitalized cases — that has now fallen below 2,000."


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