Dynasties against democracy – POLITICO – Politico
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By RYAN HEATH
11/19/2021 09:31 AM EST
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Blinken in Nigeria: Secretary of State Antony Blinken continues his three-nation African tour today, affirming Africa’s most populous country and largest democracy (often also tagged as the continent’s corruption center) as a U.S. “strategic partner.” Nigeria will be getting a $2 billion development assistance grant, on top of health assistance it already receives, which includes 1.6 million Nigerians receiving U.S.-supported HIV treatment and more than $700 million to treat malaria since 2011.
At an earlier stop, Blinken told Kenyan embassy staff Thursday: “Our fellow citizens back home don’t fully know, fully appreciate what the work is, what it achieves. But I can tell you this: What you’re doing every day is in ways big and small making the world and making our own citizens back home just a little bit safer, a little bit more secure, a little bit more prosperous, a little healthier.”
AMIGOS SNUBBED: The White House didn’t offer a joint press conference with Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador after Thursday’s three-way leaders summit. The three leaders appeared together in the East Room before their talks, but after complaining to President Joe Biden about planned subsidies for American-made electric vehicles, Canadian and Mexican officials were left to answer press questions in their respective embassies after the talks wrapped. Here’s the backstory on the EV tax credit dispute.
The White House can (and is) minimizing the meaning behind the lack of a press conference, but the fact of it not happening is what visiting journalists and officials will remember.
NEW PODCAST EPISODE — WILL REPUBLICANS JOIN IN CLIMATE ACTION?
The U.N.’s COP process only works when there’s a big, open tent. But at home the Biden administration has struggled to bring Republicans into the American climate action tent. It may need them to hit its ambitious emissions targets and guard American global credibility.
So what will it take to get the Republican Party inside that tent? Global Insider spoke to Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), ranking member of the House Climate Committee, while Hudson Institute researcher Nate Sibley extends the discussion in this piece on how the next Republican president can shape U.S. climate leadership.
DYNASTIES VERSUS DEMOCRACY
PHILIPPINES — MARCOS AND DUTERTE DYNASTIES JOIN FORCES: Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of the incumbent president, is teaming up with Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of a former dictator. Duterte-Carpio will run for vice-president and Marcos for president in the country’s scheduled May election. The pair had previously been expected to compete for the presidency. President Rodrigo Duterte will run for a Senate seat.
Ahead of the Biden administration’s Summit for Democracy, a coalition of human rights groups displayed 3,000 pairs of flip-flops on the national Mall in Washington, D.C. — saying each pair represented 10 killings in the Philippines by government authorities during the Duterte presidency. The activists back the Philippines Human Rights Act, introduced by Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), which has 24 co-sponsors.
LIBYA — ANOTHER QADDAFI WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT: Proving that dictatorial dynasties have a nasty habit of survival, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi — son of the late dictator and the subject of an arrest warrant from the Internatonal Criminal Court — has announced a presidential bid.
CHINA — XINJIANG COTTON LAUNDERING ON SALE AT A CHAIN STORE NEAR YOU. A new report — How Xinjiang Cotton is Obscured in International Supply Chains — details evidence of 53 contract garment suppliers across Asia, Africa and Mexico that purchase fabric and yarn from Chinese manufacturers that use cotton farmed by Uyghurs. The report argues that those purchasing decisions create liability for major brands working with the suppliers, including Target, Walmart, Lululemon, C&A and Uniqlo. “Some of the world’s most well-known fashion brands are very likely selling products produced with Uyghur forced labor to unwitting consumers,” said Louisa Greve, Director of Global Advocacy at Uyghur Human Rights Project.
Customs officials from the U.S. and other jurisdictions will now also be in a bind. U.S. officials imposed an order in January prohibiting importation of all cotton goods from Xinjiang, but have blocked relatively few imports.
MARRIOTT REFUSED TO HOST UYGHUR CONFERENCE, CITING “NEUTRALITY”: A great scoop from Axios’ Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Dave Lawler on the fear the Chinese Communist Party is able to strike into the hearts of Western multinationals, including the Marriott hotel in Prague, Czech Republic.
Truth serum: Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, who attended the conference, tweeted: "I hear that China is unhappy about this conference being held here in Prague. Well, I am unhappy there’s a country in 2021 that has concentration camps."
The Marriott result: Marriott Senior Vice President Melissa Froehlich Flood said she ended up "contacting the group to apologize, as the hotel’s response was not consistent with our policies."
#METOO IN CHINA — TENNIS STAR MISSING AFTER POLITBURO ACCUSATION: Tennis authorities want proof Peng Shuai is safe, tennis stars are speaking out, including the sports two biggest names Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, and the Women’s Tennis Association is threatening to remove Chinese tennis tournaments from its 2022 tour.
Watch this spiral: If Peng doesn’t surface in good health, and quickly, watch for this situation to be bundled into the Beijing Winter Olympics boycott campaign. It’s a perfect alignment of opportunities for China hawks to make Beijing the target of a “not good enough” suite of human rights complaints. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), an Olympic boycott supporter, has already labeled Peng’s situation an “abduction.”
PLACE YOUR BETS: Which country will be first to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics? The market is now open, offering odds starting with a 67 percent probability that no U.S. officials will attend the Games. Australia and the U.K. have the shortest odds of joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott, while an Italian boycott would deliver you a windfall, based on odds of 66-1.
TECH — DOES FACEBOOK UNDERPLAY DISINFORMATION AIMED AT LATINOS? A Los Angeles Times report concluded that Facebook knew about and underplayed Spanish-language disinformation designed to suppress 2020 census and election participation. English language disinformation was more likely to be removed, and more quickly than problematic Spanish language content, charged Jessica J. González, a leader of the “Ya Basta (Enough Already) Facebook” campaign. The group received “a bunch of empty promises and a lack of detail,” González told L.A. Times. “We asked them (Facebook), who’s in charge of ensuring the integrity of content moderation in Spanish? They would not tell us the answer to that, or even if that person existed,” she said in an emailed statement.
CHILDHOOD IS CHANGING: UNICEF and Gallup bill a new Changing Childhood survey as “the first international poll asking different generations for their views on childhood.” Top takeaways include …
Widespread optimism: “Young people see a world that is largely a better place for children than the one their parents grew up in — a safer and more abundant world.”
Seamless digital identity: “There is no distinction between online and offline life.”
Rich-country generation gaps: “We find evidence of the greatest divide within high-income countries.”
IS CHILD CARE THE MOST BROKEN BUSINESS SECTOR IN AMERICA? Claire Suddath argues that it is, for Bloomberg, and reports that supporters of expanded and more affordable child care systems are now confronting corporate lobbying against tax increases that would fund improvements to the system.
Reality check — kids don’t look after themselves all day: If men were the primary caregivers in most families, you can bet we’d have more widely available and affordable child care by now. As it stands, companies will end up paying one way or another for child care in a labor market plagued by labor shortages. It could be via higher wages, high corporate contributions to care costs, higher taxes or — as is likely already true — via lost talent and productivity.
MEET THE TRUST INDUSTRY
That’s pro-trust rather than antitrust.
PwC has created a “Trust Leadership Institute,” on the heels of Edelman launching its own Trust Institute, and the World Economic Forum designating the theme of its 2022 annual meeting in Davos as “Working Together, Restoring Trust.”
In an interview, Tim Ryan, PwC’s U.S. chair, told Global Insider that the firm is investing $300 million into a three-year program for 10,000 executives called Tomorrow Takes Trust.
Missing in action: Ryan says what’s missing from most organizations is “sustained outcomes,” and that those cannot be built from one-off actions like investments in new tech, or a diverse recruitment program: “You need all of it to get to positions of trust, which deliver sustained outcomes.”
“There’s no shortcut to trust”: Ryan says that building real trust around issues like climate action or data privacy could take decades rather than months or years. He cited trust in corporate financial disclosures as an example of systems that took a century to build and refine in response to scandals and crises.
“What is happening around us is not random” he said — referring to increasing levels of disruption to business and polarization in society, and he expects that difficult operating environment to continue as rich countries deal with ageing populations and growing inequalities. “We want our clients to understand the game has changed,” he said.
Food for thought: “Almost every one of our clients is dealing with one or more of the following: some type of regulatory challenge; some type of tax problem or controversy; they’re being challenged around worker safety, worker pay, working conditions, human rights in supply chain; data protection — is your algorithm biased? Are you doing the right things by climate? Are you doing the right things by diversity inclusion? Our clients are playing Whack-a-Mole with individual items.”
If you’re a C-suite, C-minus-1 executive, or a board director, you can sign up. More on PwC’s trust principle framework.
NEW TRUST RESEARCH ON INVESTORS: Edelman, which runs its own research-based Trust Institute has released a new report on Trust and Institutional Investors based on a survey of 700 investors in Europe, North America, Japan and the Middle East.
Promises, promises: Ninety-four percent of U.S. investors surveyed anticipate more litigation as a result of companies not delivering on ESG promises, and 86 percent believe companies are frequently overstating or exaggerating their ESG progress.
Investors are pushing for climate action: Ninety-four percent of U.S. investors expect companies to establish and communicate a net zero emissions plan.
DAVOS DOLDRUMS: It’s looking OK, but not great, for the World Economic Forum annual meeting plans in Switzerland. President Biden is skipping the event, and some major companies have decided to end their partnerships, including BT, the British telecoms company. Cable TV networks still plan to attend, but with slimmed down presences. “We took the decision to end our partnership with the WEF earlier this year and won’t be attending in 2022,” Richard Farnsworth, a BT spokesperson, told Global Insider.
WILL BUSINESS TRAVEL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN? For the majority, perhaps. But a surprising 39 percent of former business travelers — defined by Morning Consult as “those who traveled for business at least three times a year before the pandemic” — predict that they will never travel for work again.
AWARDED: Women Deliver — the world’s largest conference on gender equality, rights and well-being — is headed to Kigali, Rwanda, in 2023. It’s the first time the event will be held in Africa and 8,000 in-person and 200,000 virtual delegates are expected to participate. A new U.N. study demonstrating the far-reaching gender effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to drive much of the conference planning, organizers said.
ARRIVED: Don Gressett and Stefano Pettinato will oversee UNDP’s partnership with the United States from the U.N. agency’s Washington office.
UNRECOGNIZABLE: Helen Mirren is unrecognisable as Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime minister in an upcoming biopic.
TV: Could you survive on the breadline? Australia’s SBS network puts well-off Australians into new, uncomfortable situations: like getting a member of Parliament to search for a job … while she has no computer or shower access.
PODCAST: Unpacking what the CIA keeps hidden on the JFK assassination, with Jeff Stein plus Jeanne Meserve on what happens when a cop realizes they’ve veered into domestic terrorism.
SHORT READ: The women bringing sex education to the Arab world
SHORT READ: Could the next 9-11 be caused by drones?
Thanks to editor John Yearwood and Stuart Lau
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