New Zealand could face a storm of China’s anger
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has expressed fears that they could face a storm of China’s anger. So far, New Zealand has opted to not align with any bloc. Moreover, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is against the ‘Five Eyes’ participation, an intelligence grouping of Western nations resisting China. Mahuta’s statement has come as the Ardern government faces increasing pressure to take a stronger stance on human rights violations by China. However, PM Ardern has been hesitant to act as she doesn’t want to upset China, with whom New Zealand has significant trade links. Also, the New Zealand Labour Party, which PM Ardern represents, is under investigation by Serious Fraud Office for receiving funds from China. Pseudo-liberal policies could make New Zealand vulnerable to the Chinese hybrid war.
Guillermo Lasso elected President of Ecuador
Guillermo Lasso has got elected as President of the oil-rich nation of Ecuador. He is the first right-wing leader to do so in 14 years. Lasso was up against socialist candidate Andres Arauz. Markets have welcomed the news. Lasso has pledged to eliminate the fiscal deficit and even ruled out the tax hike suggested by the IMF. However, the Corona pandemic has worsened the economic crisis in this Latin American nation, with one-third of the population pushed into poverty. Besides, overall debt stands at $64 billion. Also, seven out of ten people are surviving on uncertain informal employment and are seeking secured jobs. Lasso thus has a tough ask to revive the economy, create jobs and reduce debt.
Belarus faces EU flight ban
Belarus forced an Irish passenger plane destined for Lithuania to land at its airport on the pretext of a hoax bomb threat and arrested journalist Roman Protasevich. He is alleged to lead anti-government protests. Also, he has co-founded and edited the Poland-based online news service, Nexta, which broadcast footage via the Telegram messenger app of the mass protests against the Belarusian government. US, UK, etc., have criticised Belarus, hinting at stern action. Analysts believe that Russia helped Belarus to carry out the plot. Meanwhile, European Union has banned Belarusian flights over the incident. Also, most airlines have stopped using Belarusian airspace. Belarus charges about $500 to airlines for using its airspace, bringing millions in revenue. The events could thus badly hit Belarus economically.