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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 08/09/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 08/09/2021

The Guardian – Heather Stewart and Peter Walker / Boris Johnson stakes reputation on £12bn fix for health and social care

  • MPs are set to usher in a historic £12bn healthcare levy on Wednesday, pushing the tax burden to a record peacetime level as Boris Johnson stakes his political reputation on attempting to fix the creaking health and care systems.
  • Setting out the radical plan for a carved-out healthcare tax, Johnson willingly conceded that the 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance contributions (NICs) – to be rebadged a health and social care levy – would break an explicit manifesto promise.
  • “I’ll be absolutely frank with you – this levy will break our manifesto commitment. But a global pandemic wasn’t in our manifesto either,” Johnson said. He declined to rule out further tax increases later in the parliament.
  • Under the proposals, patients entering the social care system from October 2023 will not have to pay more than £86,000 over their lifetime. More means-tested support will also be provided for those with assets of between £20,000 and £100,000.
  • The Economist / Boris Johnson at last grasps the nettle of social-care reform

Foreign Policy – Stephen M. Walt / How 9/11 will be remembered a century later

  • How will 9/11 be remembered on its hundredth anniversary? Will it be seen as a dramatic but ultimately minor tragedy or as a turning point that altered the United States and the trajectory of world politics in fundamental ways?
  • Will future generations see that day as a telling reflection of underlying trends, the catalyst for a series of catastrophic foreign-policy blunders, or as an isolated one-off event whose long-term impact was relatively modest?
  • If the worst-case forecasts on climate change turn out to be correct—and it is getting harder to discount them these days—then the next 80 years will see a series of transformations in human life that will make both 9/11 and the global war on terrorism that it unleashed seem like a minor distraction.
  • If coastal cities are inundated, island nations disappear, the Gulf Stream weakens, large areas of the world become uninhabitable due to deadly combinations of heat and humidity, then our descendants will have neither the time nor the inclination to reflect on a terrorist attack that occurred in the pre-dystopian era.
  • The Washington Post – Joby Warrick and Souad Mekhennet / In the shadow of the towers: five lives and a world transformed

Financial Times – Stephanie Findlay / Taliban announces government as it faces growing crises and isolation

  • The Taliban formed its first caretaker government in Afghanistan since it swept to power last month, featuring several members who have been the targets of sanctions by the UN for terrorism and an interior minister on the FBI’s most wanted list.
  • Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a close adviser to the late Taliban founder Mohammed Omar, will be acting prime minister, said Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. Political chief Abdul Ghani Baradar, who led the group’s negotiations with the US, has been made deputy.
  • Mohammad Yaqoob, Taliban founder Omar’s son, has been appointed acting defence minister. Sirajuddin Haqqani, a senior leader of the Haqqani network who is wanted by the FBI for “cross-border attacks against the United States” and has a $5m bounty on his head, will be interior minister.
  • The Taliban revealed the line-up as it grapples with a growing humanitarian and economic crisis following the fall of Kabul. The appointments highlight the strong role in the movement of the Haqqani network, a group the US has designated a foreign terrorist organisation.
  • The Atlantic – Tom McTague / Europe should drop the act on Afghanistan

The New York Times – Katie Rogers and Juliet Macur / Calling ‘code red’ on climate, Biden pushes for infrastructure plan

  • President Biden warned Americans on Tuesday that Hurricane Ida’s lethal destruction was the sure sign of a nation and world “in peril” from climate change and said drastic action would be needed to prevent extreme weather patterns from worsening.
  • “They all tell us this is code red,” Mr. Biden said from a neighborhood in Queens, referencing scientific research that suggests a growing number of Americans are vulnerable to extreme weather events. “The nation and the world are in peril. And that’s not hyperbole. That is a fact.”
  • A trip through storm-battered areas of New Jersey and New York City gave Mr. Biden an opportunity to show his commitment to the federal government’s storm response and to build support for an infrastructure package that he has promised would help safeguard against future storms. 
  • Mr. Biden said in Queens that the bipartisan deal would include investments to repair roads, pipes and bridges but would also include money to provide jobs that he said could ultimately make the country more climate-resistant.
  • The Washington Post – Seung Min Kim / Biden surveys Ida storm damage in New Jersey, New York – warns of ‘code red’ moment on climate change

Today’s essay:

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.


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