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Democrats both as a blunder. Former US deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick, who famously said that China should beco
me a “responsible stakeholder”, sighed that when China was playing the role of a responsible stakeholder, the US tried to stop it.
The US is trying to do the same again.
While the AIIB provides much needed infrastructure financing for countries, the China-propo
sed Belt and Road Initiative aims to build connectivity linking Asia, Europe and Africa. The initia
tive, which has been endorsed by more than 100 countries, is aimed at building roads, bridges, railways, ports and other infrastructure facilities, in ord
er to help expedite economic growth, especially in developing countries, which are often haunted by high youth unemployment.
And building roads and bridges, no doubt, will benefit the world much more than the 800-plus military bases that the US has built across the world.
However, when Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte indicated that Rome would sign a mem
orandum of agreement with Beijing on the Belt and Road Initiative during President Xi Jinping’s ong
oing visit to Italy, the White House became furious again. Garrett Marquis, a White House National Security Council spo
kesman, called the BRI a “vanity project” and a debt trap. He even said the accord Italy planned to sign was “a political hazard”.
innocence. But that is probably being too simplistic as we live in a complex world.
Indeed, New Zealand is about as far away as you can get from the violence we see alm
ost daily in other war-torn places. That is not to say New Zealand has been immune to violence.
The quiet seaside town of Aramoana, near Dunedin, saw 13 people gunned down in No
vember 1990 when a local resident went berserk after an argument with his next-door neighbor. Five years lat
er, in April 1995, across the Tasman Sea in Australia, there was the Port Arthur massacre on the island state of Tas
mania where 35 people were killed by a lone gunman. That was an act of pure evil rather than of hate or race.
Both acts of violence saw changes to gun laws. In Australia’s case, it w
as a radical overhaul. New Zealand will change its gun laws in 10 days, said Ardern on Monday. In N
ew Zealand, it is estimated 250,000 gun-owners own about 1.5 million firearms and the laws governing guns are weak and exploited.
Christchurch, New Zealand (CNN)Zaid Mustafa should have been at school on Wednesday.
Instead, he was being pushed in a wheelchair to the graves of his father and brother,
surrounded by mourning strangers in a country he had only recently made home.
The 13-year-old was shot in the leg last Friday when a gunman opened fire on worshipers at two mosques in the New Zeala
nd city of Christchurch, killing 50 people and shocking a nation that thought it could never happen there.
The Mustafas didn’t think it could happen there, either.Zaid Mustafa, 13, whose father and brother were killed in the Chri
stchurch terrorist attack, attends a funeral at Memorial Park Cemetery on March 20, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Khaled, 44, and Hamza, 15, were at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Ave
nue when they were gunned down, leaving behind Zaid, his mother, Salwa, and younger sister, Zaina.
is deep into its most crucial week since the last one.
On Thursday, Theresa May travels to Brussels to meet with the remaining 27 EU leaders, where she is expected to request an extension to Article 50, the legal
process by which Britain is leaving the EU. If the EU27 agree, as they probably will, Brexit will be delayed beyond the current deadline of March 29. Lea
ving aside the gravity of this epic failure of British Brexit policy, the key question is how long will the delay last?
There are two likely options. The first is a short delay, which Downing Street said on Wedne
sday it would request. This would give the UK government a little more time to get its Withdrawal Agr
eement through Parliament, perhaps sweetened with some changes to the accompanying political declaration.
Or, the EU could offer May a much longer extension, possibly lasting years, to give to the UK more breathing space in which to u
ntangle its Brexit mess. The EU says it would only grant a longer delay if there was a good reason for doing so.
the EU can’t easily be predicted.
The difficulty for the EU is that, long or short, any delay comes with complications. And this is where opinions in European capitals start to diverge.
If the UK hasn’t left the EU by May 22, it might have to take part in elections to the European Parli
amentary elections, which begin the following day. Not doing so could be a breach of the UK’s obligations as a
member state.And if that happens, there is a real concern in Brussels that hardline Euroskeptics could stand for elect
ion, in protest at Britain not yet having yet Brexited. They might find a receptive public, and in turn, join interesting new fr
iends in the European Parliament. Sound far fetched? An EU source recently told CNN of worries in Brussels that far-right figures like To
mmy Robinson could end up as Members of the European Parliament, with all the associated attention that brings.
So a short delay is the preferred option of many in Brussels, especially in the Parliament. But that brings its own set of issues. Fi
rst, there is no guarantee that by the end of it, the UK Parliament would have given a thumbs up to May’s deal. In reality, it cou
ld just mean a delay to a no-deal Brexit that almost everyone claims they want to avoid, but still remains the default legal position.