The apocalyptic images of the locked-down Chinese city of Wuhan have reached us all. The world is holding its breath over the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and governments are taking or preparing drastic measures that will necessarily sacrifice individual rights and freedoms for the general good. ...But few mention, let alone confront, the underlying cause of the epidemic. - Peter Singer.
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Results for Opinion
Friday 21 February 2020
As strategic and economic competition heats up in the region, Tonga is becoming increasingly important to old and new partners, and it's useful to look at perceptions of Tonga and the region, Canadian author and strategic thinker, Cleo Paskal, told The Royal Oceania Institute in Nuku'alofa this week.
Thursday 13 February 2020
Isn't it unusual that there has not been a sitting of Parliament to welcome in a change of government, formed under a new Prime Minister in October last year? - Editor's Comment, by Pesi Fonua.
Friday 24 January 2020
Next year, on 4 January 2021, it will be a decade since Tonga's Democratisation Reform initiative was launched, on what turned out to be an inauspicious date. Although the reform was launched nine years ago, Tonga remains deeply uncertain on a number of issues that are fundamental to cementing the reform, such as the political structure and the economic system that we, as a nation, want to put into place to drive forward our Democratization Reform. By Pesi Fonua
Friday 29 November 2019
Oxford, United Kingdom
Since its invention in ancient Greece more than 2,500 years ago, democracy has depended on rules and institutions that strike a balance between participation and power. The objective is to create a system of governance in which elected leaders bring to bear their knowledge and experience, in order to advance the interests of the people. The rule of law and the separation of powers, guaranteed by a system of checks and balances, are vital. Democracies all over the world are enduring a stress test. If they are to pass, their institutional underpinnings must be reinforced. That requires, first and foremost, an understanding of what those underpinnings are, why they matter, and who is trying to dismantle them. By Alexandra Borchardt
Tuesday 19 November 2019
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has raised important questions about the risk of debt problems in less-developed countries. The risks are serious for the small and fragile economies of the Pacific. However, the analysis finds a different picture. The evidence to date suggests China has not been engaged in deliberate ‘debt trap’ diplomacy in the PICs. The Belt and Road projects have brought effective investment to the relevant countries rather than the so-called debt trap, boosted local economy and improved people’s livelihood. By Col. (Ret’d.) Siamelie Latu.
Saturday 9 November 2019
Identifying promising green projects and directing capital toward them is a major challenge. At the same time, we must not forget those who stand to be harmed the most by climate change, or those who could be left behind in the shift to a low-carbon economy. To ensure a just transition, we must increase support for vulnerable regions and communities. Support for innovation must also include backing for education and training, so that the next generation will have the skills needed to contribute to a low-carbon economy. We should be cultivating the talents and intelligence of our youth, because it is they who will be developing the technologies and creating the jobs needed for the future. - Ambroise Fayolle.
Friday 4 October 2019
Voice Recording. Na‘e ‘i ai ‘a e hoha‘a lahi ‘a e tangata‘eiki palemia, ‘Akilisi Pohiva (78) ki he fa‘unga ‘a hono pule‘anga ‘i ha‘ane mavahe atu mei he mamani ‘oku tau ‘i ai. Ko e liliu fakapolitikale na‘e faka‘amu ki ai ‘oku kehe ‘aupito ia mei he me‘a ‘oku hoko. Na’e ‘i ai ‘a ‘ene manavasi‘i ki ha ngaahi fepakipaki ‘e hoko. Na‘e faka‘eke‘eke ai ‘e Pesi Fonua, ‘Etita ‘o e Matangi Tonga Online ‘o fekau‘aki pea mo e tu‘unga ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e fonua, ‘osi eni ‘a e ta‘u ‘e hiva pea mei he liliu faka politikale na‘e fai ‘oku kei fai pe ‘a e ta‘e femahino ‘aki fekau‘aki mo e fakalelei faka politikale na‘e tali ‘e he Fale Alea ‘i he 2009. ‘Oku mau tukuatu heni ‘a hono faka‘eke‘eke ‘e Pesi Fonua ‘a e Palemia kuo unga fonua, ‘Akilisi Pohiva, na‘e fai ‘i he ‘aho 26 ‘o ‘Akosi ‘i hono ‘ofisi ‘i Nuku’alofa, ‘i ha ngaahi uike si‘i pe pea ne si‘i to tau ‘i he ‘aho 12 ‘o Sepitema 2019.
Friday 4 October 2019
With China’s diverse and expanding interests in the Pacific, and its rising economic and strategic strength, one can expect that Chinese presence will grow stronger in the coming decades. China’s growing regional presence is a new reality that needs to be accommodated, not resisted, but this requires great understanding of Chinese interests and views. Given the substantial difference between Chinese and Western views about China’s unique aid policy, simply requesting that China conform to rules set up by traditional aid donors is unlikely to work. By Col. (Ret’d.) Siamelie Latu.
Saturday 27 April 2019
New Delhi, India
The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka rank among the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern history, and underscore the metastasizing scourge of Islamist violence in Asia. Radical Islamic groups, some affiliated with larger extremist networks, have been quietly gaining influence in an arc of countries extending from the Maldivian to the Philippine archipelagos, and the threat they pose can no longer be ignored.
Wednesday 24 April 2019
The second Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation to be held in Beijing, China, from 25-27 April 2019, offers a promising path for China-Tonga Joint Development. The meeting will welcome 37 heads of state or government, with over 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries. Tonga's delegation includes HRH Princess Pilolevu Tuita, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Semisi Sika and Minister for MEIDECC Hon. Poasi Tei. Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver the keynote speech at the opening and chair the leaders' round-table summit, with "Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future" as its theme.
Monday 8 April 2019
Scenic Hotels left Tonga abruptly two weeks ago after 8 years in their facility near the airport. Whether it was a problem with their landlord, their partner, or their own decision; one thing is clear – they were not making money and except for walking away from a large investment did not appear to be unhappy to leave Tonga. - Dean Bishoprick
Friday 15 February 2019
London, United Kingdom
The philosopher Bertrand Russell believed the Cold War nuclear standoff resembled a high-risk game played by "youthful degenerates." British Prime Minister Theresa May is playing a similar game, and if her Brexit brinkmanship goes wrong, the victim would be Britain. By Chris Patten
Thursday 19 July 2018
Since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015, too many policymakers have fallen for the oil and gas industry’s rhetoric about how it can help to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Tall tales about “clean coal,” “oil pipelines to fund clean energy,” and “gas as a bridge fuel” have coaxed governments into rubber-stamping new fossil-fuel projects, even though current fossil-fuel production already threatens to push temperatures well beyond the Paris agreement’s limit of well below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. By Lili Fuhr and Hannah McKinnon
Wednesday 10 January 2018
London, United Kingdom
Since Donald Trump took over the United States presidency a year ago, doubts over his mental stability and his very sanity have been mounting. But, beyond claiming on Twitter that he is a “very stable genius,” what could Trump actually do to prove that he is psychologically fit for what, by some definitions, is the world’s highest office? There is no clear physical test for mental illness. By Raj Persaud and Peter Bruggen
Wednesday 13 December 2017
A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food. - Peter Singer.
Sunday 3 September 2017
The dissolution of the Tongan Parliament by HM King Tupou VI on August 24 is a wake up call for Tongans to return their focus to Tonga's modern democratisation process. Since a move to speed up the democratic reform process was initiated in 2010, social and political progress has faltered in an increasingly unsettled and disruptive political environment. By Pesi Fonua
Wednesday 16 August 2017
Santa Monica, USA
As global temperatures rise and droughts become more common, political agitation, social unrest, and even violence will likely follow. Scientists agree that climate change poses a grave danger to the planet. But for some reason, politicians and government officials have not connected the dots between a changing climate and human conflicts. Among the many threats associated with climate change, deteriorating global security may be the most frightening of all. It is bad enough to see farmers carrying skulls through the streets of India. But if we do not get serious about climate-driven security risks, we could see far worse. By Gulrez Shah Azhar
Tuesday 15 August 2017
As North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump’s war of words escalates, Independence Day celebrations – commemorating the Korean Peninsula’s 1945 liberation from Japanese colonial rule – are unfolding in both North and South Korea. The occasion underscores not just the shared history between the two countries, but also the South’s unique qualifications to bring about a peaceful resolution to the current military standoff. ...With saber-rattling between North Korea and the US at an all-time high, the [US-South Korea UFG] military exercise – which will begin on August 21 – could escalate the conflict dramatically. By Katharine H.S. Moon.
Wednesday 9 August 2017
Over the next few months, the 12,000 employees based at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California will complete their move to an extravagant new campus. The “spaceship,” covering 2.8 million square feet, includes a two-story yoga studio, running paths, and even revolutionary pizza boxes that keep slices crisp. One thing it does not have, however, is daycare. By Bharati Sadasivam