Your Monday briefing: Australia’s new leader


Hello. We cover a power shift in Australia, President Biden’s trip to Asia, and catastrophic floods in India and Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has conceded defeat to Anthony Albanese, the new Labor Prime Minister, ending nine years of Conservative leadership.

The opposition Labor Party made the election a referendum on Morrison’s conduct. Albanese, whose campaign was gaffe-prone and light on politics, promised a more decent form of politics, casting himself as a lowly Mr. Fix-It who promised to seek “renewal, not revolution.”

Voters were more focused on cost of living issues, but the election was also about climate change, writes Damien Cave, our Sydney bureau chief, in an analysis. Australians have rejected Morrison’s deny-and-delay approach, which has cast the country as a global laggard on emissions cuts, for Albanese’s vision of a renewable energy future.

Details: In Australia, where compulsory voting means unusually high turnout, voters weren’t content to hand Labor a clear victory. They threw more of their support into smaller parties and independents who demanded more action on climate change – a shift away from the dominance of big parties.

Food: Elections in Australia come with a side of fresh-from-the-barbecue ‘democracy sausage’, a beloved tradition that acts as a fundraiser for local groups and makes the trip to the voting booth compulsory. looks less like a chore than a block party.

On his first trip to Asia as president, Joe Biden tried to strengthen ties with allies shaken by Donald Trump’s erratic diplomacy and wary of Beijing’s growing influence.

On Saturday in Seoul, he met President Yoon Suk-yeol, who was sworn in 11 days earlier, and criticized Trump’s attempts to get closer to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator. Biden and Yoon will explore ways to expand joint military exercises that Trump has sought to scale back in a concession to Kim.

Today in Tokyo, Biden will unveil an updated trade deal that aims to coordinate policies but without the market access or tariff cuts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump abandoned five years ago. The less extensive setting has some in the region skeptical of its value.

The context: Russia’s war in Ukraine has snarled Biden’s original strategy of pivoting foreign policy attention to Asia. The trip is an effort to reaffirm that commitment and demonstrate the focus on fighting China.

More than 60 people were killed and millions more left homeless when heavy pre-monsoon rains swept away stations, towns and villages.

Extreme weather is becoming more common in South Asia, which has recently suffered devastating heat waves, as the effects of climate change intensify.

This year, parts of northern and central India have recorded their highest average temperatures in april. Last year, extreme rainfall and landslides swept away sprawling Rohingya refugee camps overnight in Bangladesh, and in 2020 torrential rains submerged at least a quarter of the country.

The context: India and Bangladesh are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to their proximity to the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Tropical waters are experiencing more and more heat waveswhich resulted in dry conditions in some places and “significantly increased rainfall” in others, according to a recent study.

Details: The Brahmaputra, one of the world’s largest rivers, has flooded large swaths of farmland, villages and towns in India’s remote and hard-hit northeast.

For decades, young Filipinos have left rural areas in search of economic success, leading to overcrowded cities. The pandemic has temporarily reversed this trend and many are enjoying rural life. If the government implements the declared efforts to reinvigorate the hinterland, the change could last.

When the world looks at Haiti, sympathy for its endless suffering is often overshadowed by rebukes about corruption and mismanagement.

But many of its problems trace back to France, which demanded a ransom after Haitians led a successful slave rebellion in 1791 and established an independent nation in 1804. France forced Haiti to take out a loan from banks French to make the payments.

Because of this “double debt” – the demand and the loan to pay it back – Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. The Times calculated that payments to France cost Haiti $21 billion to $115 billion in lost economic growth over time, eight times the size of the entire Haitian economy in 2020.

This debt crippled Haiti’s economy for decades, eventually catching Wall Street and providing big margins for the institution that eventually became Citigroup.

France’s betrayal also led to political upheaval. In 2003, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the country’s first democratically elected president after decades of dictatorship, tried to pressure France for reparations. The United States and France quickly ousted him from power.

Here is six takeaway meals from The Times series and an explanation how the journalists conducted their research.


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