26 February 2016

Each week on the Policy File we round up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at water woes in India, battles for beaches in New Zealand, and tackling the Zika virus.

Parts of Fiji were devastated this week after Cyclone Winston tore through the country, with winds of up to 330 kilometres per hour. ABC shares this drone footage showing the scale of the destruction. Radio New Zealand says that, days after the cyclone, aid isn’t getting through to those that need it, while the Daily Mail reports that there are now fears of a Zika virus outbreak in the country.

From Jamaica to the USA and Australia and all points in-between, other countries around the world are already battling the Zika virus. Greg Mercer in The Atlantic looks at the link between Zika and climate change while Sam Byfield on DevPolicy Blog analyses the new public health emergency. On Policy Forum, John Tang looks at how the roll out of railways in 19th Century Japan spread disease and death and the lessons from that for today’s policymakers battling Zika.

Barack Obama may have had a productive meeting with his ASEAN counterparts, but tensions continue to rise over China’s actions in the South China Sea. Simon Reich says the talks were a positive for the US President, but it remains to be seen whether China will respond with a show of force or a charm offensive. Kyle Mizokami in The Week says China and America are barrelling towards war while the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Conflict Tracker looks at what’s at stake in the South China Sea – an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil and vast stores of natural gas.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are also showing no signs of diminishing, with reports saying the country’s recently-launched satellite is tumbling in orbit and North Korea threatening to attack the US mainland over war games being conducted in South Korea. John Power in The Diplomat writes that the latest developments mean that North Korea hawks are gaining the upper hand in Seoul and Washington, but Arka Biswas on The Interpreter writes that while the rocket launch was provocative, it doesn’t change the balance of threat. Deutsche Welle asks whether the latest US sanctions against North Korea will work, while Stephen R Nagy takes a look at what more Japan could be doing to put pressure on the hermit kingdom.

Water is an issue on the tip of the tongue in India after caste protests left 19 dead and severe water shortages in New Delhi. Delhi’s water woes could be solved by reviving the city’s 460 wetlands, reports The Times of India. But Delhi isn’t the only part of the country grappling with water troubles, with Madhya Pradesh also in water crisis. Asit K Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada write that poor policies have left the country in water stress and that India’s policymakers need to address water management issues or face future catastrophe.

The US Presidential race rumbles on with Donald Trump triumphing in Nevada. Adam Withnall in The Independent wonders whether the win means he’s now unstoppable and will be the next US president, while Michael Brendan Dougherty in The Week says that conservatives stand to lose out from a Trump nomination. Evan Osnos, writing in The New Yorker, takes a look at why political pundits are proving increasingly wrong, while Mathew Davies writes that in major democracies around the world, the middle ground in politics is being hollowed out and deserted by voters. Nehginpao Kipgen on New Mandala, meanwhile, takes a look at two would-be woman presidents: Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Finally, a quick update. Last week we highlighted the successful crowdfunding campaign to keep Awaroa Beach in New Zealand in public hands. This week campaigners found out they had been successful and the NZ$2 million raised means the beach can now become a national park. Looks like a great place to spend a weekend – hope you enjoy yours.

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Pearce, M. (2016). The Policy File - Policy Forum. [online] Policy Forum. Available at: http://www.policyforum.net/the-policy-file-26-feb-2016/