US is now the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with active cases over 85,505 patients!


 Coronavirus death toll, infections and recoveries 

WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) -Get the latest information from the World Health Organization about coronavirus.

Donald Trump again struggled to reassure a fearful nation on Thursday as it emerged the US now has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world. News that America had surpassed virus hotspots China and Italy with 82,404 cases of infection, according to a tracker run by Johns Hopkins University, broke as the president was holding a press conference at the White House.

His instinctive response was to question other countries’ statistics. “It’s a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing,” Trump told reporters. “We’re doing tremendous testing, and I’m sure you’re not able to tell what China is testing or not testing. I think that’s a little hard.”

Trump later spoke to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, by telephone and had what he described on Twitter as a “very good conversation”. The two leaders discussed the coronavirus in “great detail”, adding that: “China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!”

 

 

Meltdown and challenging times and profiting from market downturn


starbiz@thestar.com.my

https://youtu.be/Ue6N787O4SI

 

IT is trying times for everyone as the global financial world melts down but the order of the day is really to stop the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) so that some normality could return.

Ironically, two things seem to be rising amid the turmoil – the demand for toilet paper caused serious fights in supermarkets across the globe and this has gone viral across various networks.

The other is the US dollar. Its rise has many reasons.

Everything else, including stock markets, oil, bonds, commodities, currencies and bitcoin are plunging to new lows with no clear signs of immediate reversal. Just in a month the FBM KLCI is down by 20% while the Dow Jones Industrial average 31%.

The rise in demand for toilet paper cannot be comprehended but the rise of the US dollar in a mayhem is understandable. Corporations across the global are rushing to draw down credit lines and seek the US dollar for their funding needs.

In fact, people are scrambling for the US dollar and as a report said “world markets are still very, very nervous …people are scrambling for cash any way they can.’’

Ringgit against the US dollar has reached the RM4.41 range.

Bonds are also seeing the biggest wave of withdrawals since 2017 and gold has fallen as there are concerns of a global economic recession.

The timing of the Saudi Arabia-russia oil price war was shocking and a report said it is a “risky move likely to further destabilise a world economy that is already wobbly with the pandemic.’’

Oil has plummeted to about US$30 a barrel and experts believe it could plunge to US$20 a barrel though the Us-trump Administration may intervene as US producers are suffering from the historic crash in prices.

Amid all these fears, governments across the globe are coming out with stimulus packages to help its citizens and businesses. It is a much needed aid as many countries have enforced total lockdown and people on daily jobs need money for survival. The US alone is forking out US$1 trillion in aid. Other countries have set aside billions of dollars including Malaysia Rm20bil.

StarBiz compiled by B.K. SIDHU & EUGENE MAHALINGAM

Profiting from market downturn

Investment strategy: The benefit of dollar-cost averaging is that you don’t have to monitor the price movement and you don’t have to make a decision every time you want to invest. In fact, dollar-cost averaging is quite a no-brainer strategy.

MOST people tend to be very bearish about the stock market after a crash. In fact, most investors would feel that it would be best to avoid the stock market for now.

Some may even want to cut their current investment losses and get out of their investments in equities, even though seasoned investors would tell you that the best opportunity to enter the market would be after a market crash

Following the recent global stock market downturn, market sentiments, the desire and motivation to invest is at an all-time low. Understandably so, after all, once bitten twice shy.

However, the legendary “Oracle of Omaha” and one of the most successful investor of all time, Warren Buffett, once said that as an investor, it is wise to be “fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”

It’s hard, if not impossible, to convince oneself to invest when the whole world is panicking.

On one hand, you think the market crash is so sharp that you are fearful it may drop even further. On the other hand, you can clearly see that premium stocks are now trading at a great discount, and hence now would be a great opportunity to snap them up. What should you do?

If this is your dilemma, there’s an investment strategy that can help you to take advantage of the market downturn and allay your fear: the method is called dollar-cost averaging.

How dollar-cost averaging operates

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy to invest a specific amount of money in the market at routine intervals (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly). Done right, you can protect yourself against fluctuations and downside risk in the market.

For example, instead of investing a lump sum of, say, RM120,000, you invest RM10,000 a month over one year. By doing this, you average out the cost of investments over an extended period of time. This is to make sure you don’t invest all your money at the peak of the market.

On the other hand, this strategy works especially well in an extended market downturn (like what you expect now) as you will keep buying at lower and lower prices until the market recovers.

For example, you invest RM1,000 in an equity unit trust fund at RM1 per unit. So, you end up with 1,000 units. The following month, you invest another RM1,000 in the same fund but because the unit price has dropped to 50 sen, you end up with 2,000 units.

So, what is the average cost of all your units? If your answer is 75 sen, you’re wrong. That’s because you have used the arithmetic mean (RM1+50sen/2>75 sen). You should use the harmonic mean.

This is how to calculate the average cost of all your units correctly: Your total investment is RM2,000 and you have 3,000 units of the fund. Divide RM2,000 by 3,000 units and the average cost is 67 sen. This means by using harmonic mean calculation, dollar-cost averaging gives a lower average cost.

How it helps you to profit from current market

Now, let’s see how we can apply dollar-cost averaging strategy to the current market scenario. You’re bearish about the market and think it will go down for another six months.

Dollar-cost averaging works well if you believe the market will continue to go down.

With reference to Table 1, if you invest RM1,000 a month for the next 12 months, you would have invested RM12,000 and accumulated 25,648 units at the end of the period. At 80 sen (which is lower than the original price), your investment value at the end of the period is RM20,518 (80 sen x 25,648 units).

It means that you would have gained RM8,518 (RM20,518 – RM12,000). That’s a 71% gain over 12 months, despite the fund price being beaten down by as much as 78% (90 sen – RM0.20 = 70 sen, then divided by 90 sen = 78%).

Why it can help you

Dollar-cost averaging is a discipline that can help investors overcome their emotion, dilemma and other human feeling when it comes to investing, be it fear or greed. We’re always tempted to invest when the market is high and so we end up buying high instead of buying low. With dollar-cost averaging, we’re automatically programmed to buy less units at higher prices and more units at lower prices instead.

Thus when the market crashes and prices are low like now, we would be empowered to invest, not react out of fear.

For this strategy to work, you would need to invest a specific amount of money at specific intervals, say RM10,000 a month over one year, no matter what the market condition is in. If you think that the market may crash and rebound in a shorter period, you may want to implement the strategy within one month. For example, RM30,000 a week over a one-month period. It does not matter which interval, what’s important is that it’s done consistently.

Your current investment strategy to buy only when the price has dropped to a certain “attractive” level is commendable. However, to execute this strategy well, you must be disciplined enough to monitor the market movement closely and spend time and energy to decide when would be the right time to buy the investment.

The benefit of dollar-cost averaging is that you don’t have to monitor the price movement and you don’t have to make a decision every time you want to invest. In fact, if you’d ask me, dollar-cost averaging is quite a no-brainer strategy.

How to make dollar-cost averaging work better

Dollar-cost averaging offers the most benefit when you invest in investments whose prices are highly volatile (move up or down in a big quantum).

An investment that is highly volatile is often perceived as a risky investment. However, this risk plays to your advantage when dollar-cost averaging is applied. How so? The strategy helps to perform an efficient accumulation of investment units. When a particular investment drops significantly in price, you get to accumulate more units. The bigger the drop, the more units you accumulate, thus your accumulation is more efficient (you get to buy the units at a cheaper price).

In comparison, if you invest in an investment that has low volatility, the drop in price would be too small and you can only accumulate a few units, thus rendering your accumulation to be less efficient.

Therefore, when you apply dollar-cost averaging strategy on your unit trust portfolio, go for equity funds. Avoid money market funds or bond funds.

Warning: Don’t apply dollar-cost averaging strategy on a single share. There’s usually an underlying reason why the price of a particular share is in a continuous downward trend. In such circumstances, there’s no assurance that the price will ever go up when the whole market rebound. Worst, the share may not even survive the tough economic crisis and ends up getting delisted.

Do remember that for dollar-cost averaging to work, your chosen investment must be resilient enough to rebound when stock market recovers.

Dollar-cost averaging is best suited if you have a portfolio of equity unit trust funds that is diversified into various regions, so that risks is spread across the share of many companies.

Act on it

To truly benefit from dollar-cost averaging, you have to apply it to your investments. During the implementation process, your resolve would be tested.

There will be times where you will be tempted to abandon the strategy especially when the price of your investment has dropped even further.

Do not waver! Be discipline in executing your strategy and enjoy the gains when the market recovers. Onwards and upwards.

– Yap Ming Hui (ymh@whitman.com.my) is thrilled that his mission to empower every Malaysian with a roadmap to financial freedom has finally come to fruition with the release of a free DIY roadmap to financial freedom tool on the iWealth mobile app. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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China achieved zero domestic infection of COVID-19, Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ backfires!


 

 

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 happening in China doesn’t mean it originated in China

 

 

BEIJING: China on Thursday marked a major milestone in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic as it recorded zero domestic infections for the first time since the outbreak emerged, but a spike in imported cases threatened its progress.

The stark reversal comes as nations across the world have shut down in a desperate effort to contain the pandemic, with more people now infected and having died abroad than in China.

There were no new cases in Wuhan, the central city where the virus first emerged in December for the first time since authorities started publishing figures in January, according to the National Health Commission.

Wuhan and its 11 million people were placed under strict quarantine on Jan 23, with more than 40 million other people in the rest of Hubei province entering lockdown in the following days.

The rest of China also enacted tough measures to limit public gatherings.

There were eight more deaths in China all in Hubei raising the nationwide total to 3,245, according to the commission.

There have been nearly 81,000 infections in China but only 7,263 people remain sick with the Covid-19 disease.

The global number has shot past 200,000, with more than 8,700 deaths.

On March 10, President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan for the first time since the outbreak began and declared that the spread of the disease was “basically curbed”.

On the same day, Hubei officials allowed people to travel within the province for the first time since January, excluding Wuhan.

On Wednesday, Hubei authorities announced they were partially opening its borders to allow healthy people from low-risk areas to leave the province if they have jobs or residences elsewhere. This also excludes Wuhan.

Life has slowly started to return to normal in the rest of the country, with people back at work, factories up and running, and schools in some regions resuming or preparing to go back to class.

Second wave

But there is concern about a second wave of infections due to an influx of cases from abroad, with an average of 20,000 people flying into China every day.

Beijing and other regions are now requiring most international arrivals to go into 14-day quarantine in designated hotels.

The National Health Commission said there were 34 more cases brought in from abroad, the biggest daily increase in two weeks, with 189 in total now.

“We should never allow the hard-won and continuous positive trend to be reversed,“ Xi said at a Communist Party leadership meeting on Wednesday.

The disease is believed to have jumped from an animal to humans at a market that illegally sold wild game in Wuhan late last year.

There have also been questions about China’s official figures, as authorities changed its methodology to count infections, and the government has endured rare public criticism of its handling of the health emergency.

Local officials initially attempted to cover up the outbreak, with police silencing doctors who had raised the alarm about the emergence of the new virus as early as December.

One of the whistleblowers, Wuhan ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, died from the virus himself in February, sparking an outpouring of grief and anger on social media.

The first case emerged in Wuhan on Dec 1, according to Chinese researchers, but it was not until Jan 9 the country confirmed a “new type of coronavirus”.

Between Jan 5 and 17, China reported no new cases of the virus, even as Japan and Thailand declared first infections a period that coincided with annual political meetings in Wuhan and Hubei province. – AFP

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Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ backfires!

US President Donald Trump makes a statement for the press after a meeting with nursing industry representatives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House about the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

 

 

 

US President Donald Trump has referred to the novel coronavirus as “Chinese virus” at least eight times in tweets and media briefings within just two days, fueling widespread xenophobia and racist sentiment and even physical and verbal attacks against Asian Americans and undermining global efforts to contain the deadly virus.Trump’s comment, which is completely against science and facts, could also further promote already-growing populism and racism around the world amid the global pandemic that could plunge countries and regions that have been hit severely by the disease into further disarray and dark abyss, observers warned.

After tweeting several times “Chinese virus” to shift the blame to China, Trump insisted on calling it a “Chinese virus” because “it comes from China,” in response to a question from an American journalist on Wednesday. Growing numbers of Asian Americans have been frustrated by the labels of “Chinese virus” or “kung flu,” which risk turning them into a target of hatred and retaliation as the pandemic unfolds quickly in the country.

Trump started to use the term “Chinese virus” on Monday in six of his tweets, despite Vice President Mike Pence, head of the country’s coronavirus task force, still called it “coronavirus” on Wednesday. Trump stressed it is a Chinese virus twice in his opening remarks at a White House meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. The White House even backed it up by tweeting that the “Spanish Flu, West Nile Virus, Zika and Ebola were named after places.”

The coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed 220,000 infections worldwide,

Apart from Trump, other US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, GOP lawmakers Tom Cotton, Paul Gosar and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have been using terms like Wuhan virus and Chinese virus in public, intentionally stigmatizing China and Wuhan.

Downplaying his racist rhetoric, Trump argued he wanted to be accurate as he believed the virus comes from China, totally ignoring the impact on the Asian community, according to observers, local residents and some influencers.

Photo: GT

 

Offensive and immoral

On Wednesday, Trump dubbed the coronavirus “Chinese virus” three times in an hour, according to media reports, which seriously infuriated not only Chinese people but also many Asian Americans. Given the rising crimes against Asian and Chinese communities, some urged Trump to resign as such blunt incitement of racism is so dangerous that it could tear the world apart.

Some even shared their personal stories on social media about being insulted or attacked because of their skin color, ethnic group or nationality since the outbreak, and some said they don’t feel safe and feel severely offended, because racist terms encourage xenophobia and discrimination, which could last longer than the pandemic itself.

Jordan Matsudaira, an Asian-looking professor in New York, said his “children are being called ‘coronavirus’ in school, and this is racist, vile and intentional,” in a tweet.

And Cenk Uygur, a Los Angeles-based online news show host, said as his wife is from Taiwan that his children’s classmates are already blaming them “for the virus” and some ask them if they eat bats, because of “racists and a**holes like Senator John Cornyn and Trump.”

A New York-based Chinese woman, who preferred not to be named, shared an anecdote with the Global Times on Thursday that when she drove and waited at a traffic light one day, an American originally from Mexico spat at her car window, shouting, “F**king virus Chinese,” which “made her really sick,” she said.

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) said in a recent article that continuing calling COVID-19 Chinese virus could be used to denigrate a group and implicitly blame Chinese people for the outbreak, despite the World Health Organization’s stepped up efforts to push back against stigmatizing terms that needlessly divide COVID-19 rhetoric.

The WHO came up in 2015 with guidelines on naming diseases, claiming that geographic locations, people’s names, animal species or food, cultural, population, industry or occupational references and those inciting undue fear should be avoided in disease names, after the organization saw certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, according to its website.

Some American scientists and medical experts also showed their support for WHO’s naming of COVID-19, emphasizing that it should not spark any political debates.

Some prominent figures in Chinese science circles also joined in to fight the ‘Chinese virus’ slander. Rao Yi, president of Capital Medical University in Beijing, said in a WeChat article on Wednesday that according to the US government’s logic, the first AIDS case was reported in the US on June 5, 1981, so should AIDS be called an American venereal disease and HIV the “American venereal virus?”

And should the spirochete leading to syphilis, which is widely considered to have originated in North America and transmitted to Europe by the Spanish, be called “North American spirochete?” he asked.

“Those officials who called it ‘Chinese virus’ are among those who have the lowest moral standards,” Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Take at look at what US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on January 30 said about the deadly virus, that it would help accelerate the return of jobs to the US. That claim reflected their true intention and deeply-rooted wishes that the virus could only spread in China, from which they could take advantage of, Lü said.

However, observers warned that rising hatred toward certain ethnic groups, entangled in the rise of right-wing populism amid the outbreak, would accelerate divisions and confrontations across the globe, which would also be dangerous and harmful following racial animosity and deaths from despair amid the outbreak.

Shift the blame

Eduardo Bolsonaro, Brazilian congressman, said in a tweet that what’s happening now is HBO’s TV series “Chernobyl,” blaming China for the coronavirus outbreak, reflecting some countries’ relentless efforts to pass the buck to Beijing and hide their own incompetence in curbing the virus spread across local communities, analysts said.

On Wednesday, a Danish education studio was revealed to have published an insulting song to introduce the novel coronavirus to children that contained lyrics like, “I am a new virus, I come from China,” triggering a backlash on Chinese social media. The incident happened about two months after a major Danish newspaper published a cartoon with the five stars on China’s national flag replaced by five coronavirus images.

“It’s inevitable that populism would be prevalent in the future, and it has become a common practice that specific groups would be targeted by hostility and hatred, which would have severe consequences,” Zhang Yiwu, a cultural professor at Peking University, told the Global Times.

Still, some US politicians, including Democrats like Joe Biden, have publicly criticized such inflammatory coronavirus rhetoric, and Biden was quoted as saying in media reports that “labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace the accountability for the misjudgments that have taken place so far by the Trump administration.”

“This is also a tactic that these US politicians use to redirect public attention by shifting suspicions over their incompetence to hatred toward China, but it won’t work, and the collapse on Wall Street proves it,” Lü said.

Coronavirus: What’s behind Trump’s U-turn on China?

 

 

Read more:

No new Covid-19 cases in Hubei | The Star Online

Trump puts Asian Americans at risk with racist claim

Trump should stop his blame game and focus on epidemic prevention, because finding scapegoats cannot cover up the fact that he has not responded properly to the epidemic.

China turns corner as West slips up; reports zero Covid-19 …

 

China to firmly support its media to safeguard reputation, interests: Chinese FM

China supports its media in safeguarding their reputation and interests, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, adding that China is forced to take relevant countermeasures against American media reporters in China, based on the principle of reciprocity.

 


Why Wuhan is significant to China’s high-tech industry 

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FORT DETRICK, THE UNITED STATES BIOLOGICAL WARFARE LAB IS WHERE CORONAVIRUS ORIGINATED


FORCED TO SHUT DOWN WHEN VIRUSES LEAKED AUGUST 2019
US SOLDIERS WERE INFECTED
300 HUNDRED CAME TO WUHAN ON PRETENSE OF TAKING PART IN THE WORLD MILITARY COMPETITION – WON NOT ONE MEDAL

SPREAD OUT IN WUHAN WITH SOME VISITING THE WET MARKETS

 
Listen to Saddam Hussein was in a 1990 meeting with his cabinet, telling them how America was threatening Iraq with Corona Virus. This prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Corvid-19 is a US biological weapon. 

 

 US CONSULATE IN WUHAN FULLY EVACUATED WITH BIOWEAPON DRUMS LEFT IN GROUNDS
WEEKS LATER FIRST VICTIM OF CORONAVIRUS APPEARED IN WUHAN
US FOUND TO HAVE 5 STRAINS, WUHAN HAS ONE
PROVING THE UNITED STATES IS THE ORIGIN OF THE CORONAVIRUS
August 6, 2019, the US’s main biological warfare lab at Fort Detrick was issued a “ceast and desist” order because of violation of safety standards and protocol, and leaks.
August – September 2019, “statewide outbreak” of a mysterious respiratory emerged in the US, causing severe respiratory diseases in a few hundred people. This was blamed on vaping although people had been vaping for more than a decade without such outbreaks. Officials were unable to find any relation to a specific vaping device and addictive.
August 2019 – Jan 2020, the US CDC reported that the US is gearing up for one of the worst flu seasons ever, with 12000 deaths. On 12 March 2020, the CDC director admitted that some COVID-19 deaths were misdiagnosed as the flu because COVID-19 were found when they did posthumous tests.
October 18 – 27, 2019, the 2019 Military World Games was held in Wuhan. The US sent a contingent of 350 athletes. They did not win any medals. The athletes toured Wuhan.
November 2019, the Chinese press reported that five athletes who had suffered from infectious disease had been discharged from hospital.
November 2019, Wuhan locals were detected with COVID-19, with a spike of such terms in local social media. This coincided with the post-incubation period after the Military World Games.
December 1, 2019, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan.  Subsequently more than 80000 people will be infected. Of the first 41 cases, 34% were not related to the wildlife market.
Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University, claimed that because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing, and the presence of infected people with no links to wildlife market, the virus could not have originated from the wildlife market. Kristian Andersen, an evolutionary biologist at the Scripps Research Institute, agreed with the assessment.
Genotype assay of COVID-19 revealed 5 variants/strains (group ABCDE) of the virus. Most regions in the world have 1-2 COVID-19 variants including Hubei (mainly group C), and UK (Group 😎. US is the only country with all 5 variants (Group ABCDE). In Virology
101, the region with the most variants is the origin of the disease.
25 Jan, 2020, Japanese couple went for a 10 days vacation in Hawaii. On the second week they fell ill. On return to Japan they were tested and confirmed to have COVID-19.
Italy lab confirmed that the strain of COVID-19 is different from the one circulating in China, and that the circulation of the virus is not so recent, and had been spreading undetected for weeks.
China’s coronavirus expert Dr Zhong Nanshan, the discoverer of SARS, said that although COVID-19 was detected in China, it doesn’t necessary mean that it originated from China.
As of March 12, 2020, the US had only tested 10000 people, and COVID-19 was confirmed in 1600 of them. As a comparison South Korea tests 10000 people a day, but the disease rate trajectory is the same as the US. This suggests that there is a great number of infected people in the US, just that they were not tested.

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Coronavirus Covid-19 started in US, CDC director says so!


As readers will recall from the earlier article (above), Japanese and Taiwanese epidemiologists and pharmacologists have determined that the new coronavirus almost certainly originated in the US since that country is the only one known to have all five types – from which all others must have descended. Wuhan in China has only one of those types, rendering it in analogy as a kind of “branch” which cannot exist by itself but must have grown from a “tree”.

The Taiwanese physician noted that in August of 2019 the US had a flurry of lung pneumonias or similar, which the Americans blamed on ‘vaping’ from e-cigarettes, but which, according to the scientist, the symptoms and conditions could not be explained by e-cigarettes. He said he wrote to the US officials telling them he suspected those deaths were likely due to the coronavirus. He claims his warnings were ignored.

Immediately prior to that, the CDC totally shut down the US Military’s main bio-lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, due to an absence of safeguards against pathogen leakages, issuing a complete “cease and desist” order to the military. It was immediately after this event that the ‘e-cigarette’ epidemic arose.

Screenshot from The New York Times August 08, 2019

We also had the Japanese citizens infected in September of 2019, in Hawaii, people who had never been to China, these infections occurring on US soil long before the outbreak in Wuhan but only shortly after the locking down of Fort Detrick.

Then, on Chinese social media, another article appeared, aware of the above but presenting further details. It stated in part that five “foreign” athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games (October 18-27, 2019) were hospitalised in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.

The article explains more clearly that the Wuhan version of the virus could have come only from the US because it is what they call a “branch” which could not have been created first because it would have no ‘seed’. It would have to have been a new variety spun off the original ‘trunk’, and that trunk exists only in the US. (1)

There has been much public speculation that the coronavirus had been deliberately transmitted to China but, according to the Chinese article, a less sinister alternative is possible.

If some members of the US team at the World Military Games (18-27 October) had become infected by the virus from an accidental outbreak at Fort Detrick it is possible that, with a long initial incubation period, their symptoms might have been minor, and those individuals could easily have ‘toured’ the city of Wuhan during their stay, infecting potentially thousands of local residents in various locations, many of whom would later travel to the seafood market from which the virus would spread like wildfire  (as it did).

That would account also for the practical impossibility of locating the legendary “patient zero” – which in this case has never been found since there would have been many of them.

Next, Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University in Washington, said in an article in Science magazine that the first human infection has been confirmed as occurring in November 2019, (not in Wuhan), suggesting the virus originated elsewhere and then spread to the seafood markets. “One group put the origin of the outbreak as early as 18 September 2019.” (2) (3)

China’s New Coronavirus: An Examination of the FactsWuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally. Description of earliest cases suggests outbreak began elsewhere.

The article states:

“As confirmed cases of a novel virus surge around the world with worrisome speed, all eyes have so far focused on a seafood market in Wuhan, China, as the origin of the outbreak. But a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis.” (4) (5)

The paper, written by a large group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases”, they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. “That’s a big number, 13, with no link”, says Daniel Lucey . . . (6)

Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019 – and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January. (7)

“Lucey says if the new data are accurate, the first human infections must have occurred in November 2019 – if not earlier – because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. If so, the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan – and perhaps elsewhere – before the cluster of cases from the city’s now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December. “The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace”, Lucey asserts.

“China must have realized the epidemic did not originate in that Wuhan Huanan seafood market”, Lucey told Science Insider. (8)

Kristian Andersen is an evolutionary biologist at the Scripps Research Institute who has analyzed sequences of 2019-nCoV to try to clarify its origin. He said the scenario was “entirely plausible” of infected persons bringing the virus into the seafood market from somewhere outside. According to the Science article,

“Andersen posted his analysis of 27 available genomes of 2019-nCoV on 25 January on a virology research website. It suggests they had a “most recent common ancestor” – meaning a common source – as early as 1 October 2019.” (9)

It was interesting that Lucey also noted that MERS was originally believed to have come from a patient in Saudi Arabia in June of 2012, but later and more thorough studies traced it back to an earlier hospital outbreak of unexplained pneumonia in Jordan in April of that year. Lucey said that from stored samples from people who died in Jordan, medical authorities confirmed they had been infected with the MERS virus. (10)

This would provide impetus for caution among the public in accepting the “official standard narrative” that the Western media are always so eager to provide – as they did with SARS, MERS, and ZIKA, all of which ‘official narratives’ were later proven to have been entirely wrong.

In this case, the Western media flooded their pages for months about the COVID-19 virus originating in the Wuhan seafood market, caused by people eating bats and wild animals. All of this has been proven wrong. Not only did the virus not originate at the seafood market, it did not originate in Wuhan at all, and it has now been proven that it did not originate in China but was brought to China from another country. Part of the proof of this assertion is that the genome varieties of the virus in Iran and Italy have been sequenced and declared to have no part of the variety that infected China and must, by definition, have originated elsewhere.

It would seem the only possibility for origination is the US because only that country has the “tree trunk” of all the varieties. And it may therefore be true that the original source of the COVID-19 virus was the US military bio-warfare lab at Fort Detrick. This would not be a surprise, given that the CDC completely shut down Fort Detrick, but also because, as I related in an earlier article, between 2005 and 2012 the US had experienced 1,059 events where pathogens had been either stolen or escaped from American bio-labs during the prior ten years – an average of one every three days.

* Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Notes
(3) Science; Jon Cohen; Jan. 26, 2020

Featured image is from Health.mil The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Larry Romanoff, Global Research, 2020

By Larry RomanoffGlobal Research, March 11, 2020Region: USATheme: Intelligence, Science and Medicineprint 1291   125  23    1598 It would be useful to read this prior article for background:

China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US? By Larry Romanoff, March 04, 2020

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Covid-19 reaches the West


https://youtu.be/F_Jq7ItdHtA

Tourists wearing protective masks walks by the Duomo in central Milan on February 27,2020 amid fears over the spread of the novel Coronavirus. – The number of COVID-19 infections in Italy, the hardest hit country in Europe, hits the 400 mark late on February 26, with 12 deaths. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA/ AFP)

But keep cool, negative volatility will likely be followed by positive volatility

The coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has officially reached Western shores.

Since last week, the virus has spread to Europe, Brazil and the Middle East.

New cases have emerged across Europe.

There have been more than 81,000 people infected with nearly 3,000 deaths so far.

Just the previous Wednesday on Feb 19, stocks in the US were complacently at record highs, never mind that Asian markets were roiling and taking huge hits, thanks to the coronavirus that first took roots in Wuhan, China.

Asia has been battling this disease since January. Markets have been volatile but have since recovered as the number of infections have reduced and governments have been diligent at handling the disease.

It is like the domino effect, with the same reactions, panic and emotions that happened throughout Asia now migrating to the West.

It is almost deja-vu, seeing the fear and market reaction, no doubt the impact to the Dow and S&P 500 has a significantly larger impact.

The Covid-19’s largest impact is the fear it has transmitted with rapid speed.

In the US, stocks fell for a sixth straight day on Thursday, with the S&P 500 price index falling 4.4% and bringing this pullback officially into correction territory. On a six-day basis, the Dow Jones was down 13.4% at 25,766.64.

This plummet followed California governor Gavin Newsom’s revealing on Thursday that the state was monitoring 8,400 people for potential Covid-19 infections.

Adding to the bleak outlook, Goldman Sachs slashed its profit outlook and warned the outbreak could cost Donald Trump his reelection in November.

The MSCI all-country global index has dropped more than 7% over this six-day period. Considering stocks were at record highs the previous Wednesday, this is very harsh and painful.

Why, Tesla was all the hype earlier in February. It was US$901 on Feb 21, and new higher target prices were being touted by analysts, nevermind that the stock still didn’t have a price to earnings ratio.

In the last five days, Tesla’s share price had tumbled more than US$200 or 32.7% as of Thursday to close at US$679.

Don’t panic

For the average investor, panic has likely set in.

Whose confidence level would not be shaken with a 12% decline in the S&P 500 in six trading days?

Now talk of a 20% decline is starting to emerge.

Meanwhile the 10-year US treasury yield dropped below 1.3%, remaining in record-low territory.

The downward spiral in oil also continued with WTI crude toppling 2.71% to trade at US$47.41 per barrel on Thursday. Brent oil hovered at the US$51.42 level. So just barely two months into 2020, it is Covid-19 which has been responsible for crushing markets and dismantling profits across the globe.

Many have already slashed market forecasts for the year.

In the past two market stories featured on StarBizweek, readers would know that Fisher MarketMinder thinks that fears over the virus’ market impact are overdone. It thinks that this is part of a longer-running pattern prevalent throughout this bull market.

“The stock market will do what it does – rise and fall.

“If you’ve got a plan based on your risk tolerance and investment horizon, don’t let fear make you swerve in the wrong direction and lose traction.

“Panic is never a good investment strategy, ” says Fisher MarketMinder.

It adds that Covid-19 is grabbing attention because it is new and somewhat novel, but that doesn’t mean its economic effects far outweigh more familiar diseases.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were 34,200 deaths in the United States from influenza during the 2018-2019 flu season.

For infections of Covid-19 outside of China, the mortality appears very low.

Furthermore, the people who are dying tend to be the old and immuno-suppressed or otherwise sick.

“Supply chain disruptions as officials work to contain the outbreak probably dent growth temporarily, but markets are efficient and likely pricing in these expectations as companies issue statements.

“Short-term volatility could linger, but patience should pay off, in our view, ” it adds.

As legendary investor Ben Graham once said, stocks are a voting machine in the short term and a weighing machine in the long term.

“Sentiment wins in the short term, but fundamentals matter most over more meaningful stretches.

“The ‘why’ and ‘how much’ behind sentiment swings strike us far less important.

“The emotional swing itself is what matters.

“Market fundamentals likely didn’t change on a dime seven days ago, ” says Fisher MarketMinder.

Thursday’s drop simply put US stocks back at mid-October levels.

Furthermore, the world hasn’t fundamentally changed.

While there is no way to know when this drop will end or how much further it will fall, no drop is permanent.

“Whether the rebound starts in days or weeks, whether it is fast or slow, if you have held on thus far, we think you ought to reap the good that comes with the bad.

“Corrections hurt your long-term returns only if you don’t participate in the rebounds that follow them.

“Selling may feel good at a time like this. But when you remove emotion from the equation, all it does is transform a market decline into an actual portfolio loss, ” says Fisher MarketMinder.

Another investor who is cheering is one of the smartest investors in the world, Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

He says the stock market rout we’re witnessing today is “good for us.”

“We’re a net buyer of stocks over time, ” he says on CNBC.

“Most people are savers, they should want the market to go down.

“They should want to buy at a lower price.”

Buffett’s comments came as Dow futures were down by about 800 points or 3% on Monday as stocks around the world plunged as the Covid-19 outbreak escalated.

Regarding the coronavirus specifically, Buffett made clear that he is “not a specialist.” And he warns that “a very significant percentage of our businesses one way are affected.”

However, he reiterates that investors should be more focused on the long term, not the short term.

“If you’re buying a business, and that’s what stocks are… you’re gonna own it for 10 or 20 years, ” he says.

“The real question is has the 10-year or 20-year outlook for American businesses changed in the last 24 hours or 48 hours?” the legendary investor asks.

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The good, the bad and the ugly: Chinese hits back at U.S. claim of “Huawei threat” ….


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It takes all kinds to dominate in a world obsessed with economic might and political power.

AS a young boy growing up in the 1960s, I watched many Western movies and TV shows about cowboys and Red Indians, and as expected of a naïve and ignorant kid, I cheered for the “good” guys – the cowboys.

And because they were portrayed as such, the Red Indians were the “bad” guys to me. They were the savage lot, while the Caucasian men were the civilised group trying to help them. And routinely, the Red Indians would be defeated.

As I reached my teenage years and read more about the West, I realised that my supposed heroes were the ones who robbed these natives of their land, violated treaties and consigned the Red Indians to living on reservations.

The most famous Red Indian, Geronimo, the head of the Chiricahua Apaches, and his men were arrested and despatched to Florida as prisoners of war. Some of them were even discarded at crocodile-infested swamps.

Fast forward to contemporary Hollywood movies – the modern-day bad guys are always the Russians, Albanians and Arabs.

They are usually portrayed as one of brutal spies, criminals, human traffickers, drug dealers and terrorists, and in more lurid plots, all the above.

In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington, who plays a former intelligence agency man latterly driving a cab, goes after sadistic Russian gangsters and predictably, decides to kill all of them – in equally brutal ways.

In the John Wick movie series, Keanu Reeves also goes ballistic going after some Russians.

For some reason, all these ex-operatives are reclusive, divorced or widowed, still connected to their agencies, and as always, their loved ones get harmed (mostly killed) by the Russians, which invariably leads them to needing to settle the score.

Albanians hit the big time after the 2008 movie, Taken, which starred Liam Neeson, who plays Bryan Mills, another retired CIA operative whose teenage daughter and friend get kidnapped by human traffickers (Albanians) while holidaying in France.

In Taken 2, the 2012 sequel, the film follows the family to Istanbul, only to be kidnapped yet again, along with his former wife, by the father of one of the men he killed while saving his daughter two years previously.

It wasn’t just the Albanians who suffered from bad press as until today, my wife still refuses to go to Istanbul – as a result of the movie.

Fortunately for me, I have been to Albania. It’s a beautiful country with good people, and nothing like what the movies depict.

In the case of Arabs, we are accustomed to seeing them portrayed in poor light. They were womanising oil sheikhs at one time and are now mostly barbaric terrorists. Scenes with them are stereotypically sound tracked to the call of the Azan.

Mexicans, typically, are drug dealers. Likewise, Colombians, Cubans and Venezuelans. Well, in the movies, at least.

The hip hop loving African Americans in the United States, with their bling and bad attitude, are a dangerous lot. And thanks to their racist slurs, smaller Asians like us avoid antagonising them.

The latest bad guys are the Chinese. However, Hollywood isn’t quite ready to cast them as the standard stereotype because they are explicitly aware of mainlanders having plenty of clout.

Experts predict that by 2020, China will be the world’s largest cinema market, with box office revenue expected to leap from US$9.9 billion (RM41bil) in 2018 to US$15.5 billion (RM65bil) by 2023, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). In the first quarter of 2018, China surpassed the US in box office revenue for the first time.

It has been reported that China is presently Hollywood’s biggest foreign market, and according to projections by PwC, this year, the Chinese box office will likely rake in US$11.05 billion (RM46bil) compared to ticket sales in the US, which is expected to amount to US$2.11 billion (RM8.8bil).

So, unlike with other nationalities, Hollywood won’t mess around with the Chinese anytime soon.

Failed Hollywood movies, like The Terminator: Dark Fate, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, were rescued by the box offices in China.

Hollywood understands the power of money well. In fact, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight wasn’t even submitted for Chinese approval because of a dubious Chinese businessman character in the 2008 Batman movie. But in the Western media, whether in the US, Europe or Australia, China is being painted negatively, in a blatantly concerted way.

Everything from Huawei, to face recognition and to Xinjiang, and now Coronavirus, China has been the bogeyman.

The elephant-in-the-room theory is that the US wants a “freed Tibet” because it’s angling to build an air base that can send jets into China within minutes.

Adding to the spin doctoring, rioters and vandals in Hong Kong are relentlessly referred to as pro-democracy protestors to burn in the minds of the audience that they are the good guys.

HK policemen are painted as brutal when, ironically, tougher tactics are applied elsewhere, including by the American police.

The US is disturbed by the South China Sea, although it’s thousands of miles away and isn’t even a claimant. It’s strange when you think it has military bases in the Philippines and the vicinity.

The disdain for China even turned comical at some point. When a group of Vietnamese were found dead in a UK truck last year, newsfeeds initially revealed they were Chinese.

As the media scrambled for answers, one reporter, who was pressed for an answer, told his live audience that they could possibly be Chinese who fled to the UK because of their protests over the Xinjiang issue.

The underlining reason is simple – the Western media no longer wants to report about China in a balanced way, resenting its growth to become an economic power in just 30 years as it sits behind the US as the second largest economy in the world.

The narrative is the same: China should be feared and doubted, while Chinese scholars in the US ought to be treated as spies. And advanced technology better than that in American products be branded spying devices.

Hostility towards China has intensified and with the outbreak of Covid-19, there is no silver lining, what with spins of resenting Chinese president Xi Jinping, concealing figures of casualties, cover up, poor food preparation and filthy eating habits. And there’s also the racist perception that Chinese people are to be avoided and cooked up stories of uprising against Xi Jinping.

Of course, there’s also the twisted religious angle – that the Chinese are being punished, either for their eating habits, or again, the treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang.

The war against China is being waged in various fronts because it is deemed to have threatened the international order dominated by the US and its allies.

It doesn’t matter if the US is led by Donald Trump or a Democrat president, which could be worse, because the end game against China will simply be the same.

The Coronavirus epidemic has damaged the image of the Chinese. Their invincibility and ascent have taken a knock, so Xi Jinping must prove that China can beat this killer virus soon.

It’s a bad time for China nationals still travelling, but then again, even ethnic Chinese elsewhere are affected.

The average American believes everything they watch on CNN or Fox TV. No one should be surprised since only 45% of Americans – or 41.8 million – have been overseas. That’s an improvement, being 9% more than in 2018.

There is a far bigger picture here, one rooted in the concept of master and servant.

Not too long ago, China was a far-away mysterious country where cheap toys, low grade garments and fireworks came from. In the last couple of decades, the most populous country learnt technology well from the west, like how Japan did in the 1980s.

Today, the republic is on the cusp of achieving world domination. And that’s not a point lost on any superior or inferior nation.

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Chinese varsities hold seven top spots in world ranking


Beijing: Universities from the Chinese mainland have secured seven of the top 10 positions in the Times Higher Education’s Emerging Economies University Rankings 2020 for the third straight year.

Tsinghua University maintained its position at the top in the listing of institutions from emerging economies.

Peking University was in second place for the second year running.

Zhejiang University and the University of Science and Technology of China remain in third and fourth place, while Shanghai Jiao Tong University climbed from eighth to sixth. Fudan University was listed in seventh place, while Nanjing University was ninth.

Other institutions in the top 10 include Moscow State University (fifth), National Taiwan University (eighth), and The University of Cape Town (10th).

Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education, said: “China’s success in our Emerging Economies University Rankings reflects its rapid rise on the world higher education stage. With the Double First Class Initiative driving improvements across participant universities, we expect it to continue to establish itself as a major global player in providing world-class higher education over the coming years.”

The Double First-Class Initiative refers to fostering “world-class universities” and “world-class discipline”. — China Daily/ANN

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Top Universities in China 2019 | Top Universities

 

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Covid-19 outbreak likely to peak by next month


“Do you ever see the American and other Western media blaming the American democratic political system for failing to address the deaths from influenza and pneumonia?” – Tan Teng Boo: 

Recovery rate has also been gaining momentum

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians have a higher chance of being involved in a car accident than being infected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), according to Capital Dynamics Sdn Bhd managing director Tan Teng Boo.

The number of deaths per 100,000 people for car accidents in the country is 21.25 persons while for Covid-19 in China, it is 0.04 persons per 100,000.

As of Tuesday, there were 74,424 Covid-19 cases with 1,874 deaths globally. A total of 13,100 people have recovered.

Tan expected Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at between 3.5% and 4.0% this year, given various external challenges.

He expected the Covid-19 outbreak to peak soon, either by this month or the next month, considering that the recovery rate has also been gaining momentum at 14,689 cases globally as of yesterday.

Tan said once the outbreak has peaked, China would be able to stabilise from the epidemic and the country’s economic situation could improve.

This is especially with China being the biggest source of economic growth for the global economy for the last 15 to 20 years.

Tan said that based on statistics, the common flu is a deadlier menace.

The Centre of Disease Control and Prevention estimated that from Oct 1, 2019 through Feb 8, 2020 there have been between 14,000 and 36,000 flu deaths.

Tan said that tens of thousands of Americans die from influenza and pneumonia every year.

“Why are the other countries not banning flights to the United States or why are the people not quarantined? Do you ever see the New York Times or The Washington Post write about this?”

“Do you ever see the American and other Western media blaming the American democratic political system for failing to address the deaths from influenza and pneumonia?”

He added that the Covid-19 outbreak is happening in China because it is still a developing country, the largest in the world. Despite 40 years of robust economic growth and development, China is still far behind the United States in gross domestic per capita.

The rate of a disease’ ability to spread would depend on if (a) the people have been vaccinated, (b) have had the disease before or (c) if there is no way to control the disease.

“In the Covid-19 outbreak, conditions a and b apply and are beyond the control of the Chinese government. The measures taken by the Chinese authorities are essentially aimed at overcoming condition c,” he said.

If the Chinese government did not quarantine the major cities in the Hubei province on Jan 23, the situation could have been worse.

“Imagine just half of the infected people traveling all over the place? Imagine how many thousands of people would be infected in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the UK, US, Australia and many more.

“Imagine as a result, the New York stock market tumbles, or Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris and London and many popular Chinese tourist destinations filled with empty shops. Imagine the adverse impact such a widespread crisis would have on the global economy,” he added.

He pointed out that investors should get the facts right in order to have an accurate perspective.

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China announces biggest drop in new virus cases in almost a month

https://www.thesundaily.my/world/china-announces-biggest-drop-in-new-virus-cases-in-almost-a-month-HC2026382

Flu outbreak reveals US’ true colors

While people in China and around the world are actively cooperating to combat the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreak, some US politicians and media are making accusations against China, questioning the effectiveness of its response to the epidemic. However, the US sees frequent outbursts of influenza, and its government
not only reacts with extremely low efficiency but also remains silent. The contrast has revealed a US double standard.

US politicians aim to turn COVID-19 combat into political war against China ‘vicious’

Some US politicians, including Rick Scott, are trying to turn a public health disaster that nations should face together into a political war against China.

Why doesn’t the Wall Street Journal have the courage to apologize?

Obviously, the WSJ should realize that it has made a stupid mistake. However, it still refuses to apologize and squarely face up to the error, let alone shoulder the responsibility of a respected news outlet.

 

 
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Death of western democracies?


I told you so’: Trump showing off a copy of USA Today’s front page featuring his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, as he arrived to address the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. — Reuters

ANGOLA, Haiti and Cambodia are “Banana Republics”: countries where the rule of law has been traduced by a man or woman or group seeking their own aggrandisement.

There is a new addition to this list: the United States of America. As one of the oldest and proudest of the world’s democracies, this country’s appalling downgrade is testament to one man’s work.

His name is Donald Trump and he is the 45th President. TV reality show star, charlatan and bigot, Trump has tweeted his nation’s principles – as articulated by the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights – into a pulp.

Of course, he had help. He has been ably assisted by a coterie of men and women known as “Republicans”. In the years to come, as historians pore over the catastrophe that is the Trump Presidency, tracking its dismal, neo-fascist trajectory, one of the most important dates will be his acquittal by the US Senate from impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress on Feb 5,2020.

The Americans have demonstrated that the highest office in their land and the most powerful in the world – the Presidency – can be manipulated for personal gain, that their political elite will actively enable this.

Across the Atlantic, a buffoonish Old-Etonian turned hack journalist turned politician Boris Johnson has parlayed Brexit to not only propel himself to 10 Downing Street but also persuade the UK’s working-classes to vote against their own interests.

Membership in the European Union was more than just about common markets and free movement. It was limiting, but that’s precisely the point: all its members accepted the EU’s strictures to create confidence and hence, the conditions for peace as well as development in their continent.

All of that has gone out of the window now.

If the Yanks who want to “Make America Great Again” are living in a Banana Republic – their British cousins who want to “regain control” via Brexit exist in a posh-boy rerun of Downtown Abbey crossed with 1917 and the Raj Quartet.

What happened? How have centuries-old democracies become so fragile and even self-destructive?

First: inequality has gotten out of hand. The neoliberal, trickle-down economic policies launched by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the late 1970/80’s fuelled a massive shift in prosperity from workers and the middle-classes to owners and shareholders. Real wages stagnated and tax policies benefited the recipients of dividends not generated by their own labour.

Subsequently, more centrist leaders (such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Barrack Obama) maintained much of the same policies. And the numbers don’t lie.

When Thatcher came to power in 1979, the UK manufacturing industry employed 6.8 million people – by 2016 this had fallen to 2.6 million.

In 2017, three of the US’ richest individuals collectively held more wealth than the bottom 50% of their country’s population –160 million people. Gini coefficients (a measure of inequality) are shooting up on both sides of the Atlantic.

Moreover, the advent of social media allowed fake and demagogic information to be spread quickly as well as unchecked, shifting the national discourse and mood almost at will.

Meanwhile, ethnic and religious minorities as well as women – rightfully – sought greater representation in the public life and culture of the West.

However, the failure of the Anglo-American elite to address the above-mentioned inequalities led the white-majority working classes to feel that their leaders were more interested in playing identity politics than protecting them.

At the same time, a refugee crisis emanating from the Middle East and North Africa (in the US, the refugee crisis is predominantly Latino) heightened white anxieties over being displaced in their own countries.

This gave the opportunity for Trump and other demagogues to rise. Economic inequities and cultural insecurities fuelled white nativist impulses.

It’s not clear if the progressives can blunt this wave (Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn failed dismally) and the chaos in Iowa Democratic Party caucuses only underlines the gloom.

We, in Southeast Asia must learn from the fragility of these Northern Atlantic democracies.

Their mistakes aside – democracy is still the best way forward – especially for multi-racial and multi-religious countries.

What’s key is to avoid the pitfalls the West fell for. We must address the growing inequality of our societies. Growth alone will not bring stability and peace.

A 2018 World Bank report found that Indonesia’s Gini Index worsened from 30.0 in the 1990s to 38.1 in 2017. Singapore (45.8 in 2016), Malaysia (45.5 in 2008) and the Philippines (44.4 in 2015) all had Gini Indexes above 40: signs of higher income inequality.

Leaders ignore warning signs like this at their peril. We must invest in our people: their safety, health, education and skills.

Next, social media must be brought to heel. Hate speech and deliberately provocative postings must be curbed without resorting to undue repression.

The obvious racial and religious fissures in our societies must be managed very carefully. Common ground needs to be found – or created – between our majority and minority communities.

And we must remain engaged: both informed about the issues and vigilant against cynical manipulators of our insecurities.

It may seem like a daunting task when our former colonial masters and role models have failed so miserably. There is no choice. We cannot join the Americans and the British in rubbish dump of history

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