Australian Outlook

Issues Brief

01 Feb 2014
Colin Chapman

It perhaps should come as no surprise, given China’s recent assertiveness, but there are concerns on Canberra’s Russell Hill on the navy exercises China is conducting in the Indian Ocean. This follows China’s financial support for new ports in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. ABC’s defence correspondent, Michael Brissenden, examined this in Lateline.

There have been concerns of a different kind in India – history wars, as Penguin Books planned to publish a controversial alternative history of the Hindus. After massive protests and court action, Penguin backed down, and has pulped its entire production run. Meanwhile India’s working age population is soaring, and it’s going to be hard to find jobs for them.

The British peer, Lord Stern, was popular in Australia with his dire warnings of the impact of global warming shortly after the Brisbane floods. Now Britain has experienced what its Met Office says is the worst weather for 100 years, and Lord Stern has told the Brits that he believes global warming will lead to war.

Many people have urged Tony Abbott to put international tax evasion on the agenda for the G-20 meeting the prime minister will chair in Brisbane in November. An OECD study looks at the depth of the problem.  Meanwhile, as The Australian reminds us, many economists got the unemployment forecasts wrong for our country; the OECD points to a record of failure among the practitioners of the dismal science.

On a lighter note, as Valentine’s Day passes, the austere New York Times tells us how women correlate the taste of chocolate with love and desire.