India COVID crisis; SCS conflict; Colombia protests

In today’s episode, we revisit India’s COVID situation after American credit rating agency S&P said that extending lockdowns could severely hamper the country’s post-COVID economic recovery, discuss escalating tensions between the Philippines and Beijing, and look at why protests continue to rock Colombia for almost four weeks now.

Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • India is seeing over 400,000 Covid cases every day and over 1,000 deaths due to the coronavirus while facing a severe shortage of medical equipment despite the government cutting no corners in their procurement of the same. The country's opposition has called on the government to take immediate measures including the central procurement of vaccines from all available sources, global and domestic, a free and universal mass vaccination campaign, free distribution of foodgrain and allocating a sum of $82 per month to those unemployed. 

  • The Philippines recently rejected an annual fishing ban imposed by China and encouraged its boats to keep fishing in the country’s territorial waters. The fishing moratorium imposed by China in 1999 runs from May 1 to August 16. The announcement came after Manila reported the latest incursions of Chinese vessels on its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Relations have deteriorated between the longtime allies since the Philippines announced it would send diplomatic protests each day as long as China allowed almost 200 ships to remain stationed at a disputed area in the South China Sea. 

  • Nationwide protests for a fourth straight week continue to cause economic turmoil in Colombia. The country’s third-largest city-Cali, which has emerged as the epicentre of the anti-government protests that started on April 28th against tax reforms, is running short of essential items, including petrol. The initial protests, called by the National Unemployment Committee were against a proposal to raise taxes on household products like milk and meat, slowly escalating to protesting against police brutality and increasing inequality. 

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