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  • Author: Melinda K. Abrams, Reginald D. Williams II, Katharine Fields, Roosa Tikkanen
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: About one-quarter of U.S. adults report having a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety or depression or experiencing emotional distress. This is one of the highest rates among 11 high-income countries. While U.S. adults are among the most willing to seek professional help for emotional distress, they are among the most likely to report access or affordability issues. Emotional distress is associated with social and economic needs in all countries. Nearly half of U.S. adults who experience emotional distress report such worries, a higher share than seen in other countries. The United States has some of the worst mental health–related outcomes, including the highest suicide rate and second-highest drug-related death rate. The U.S. has a relatively low supply of mental health workers, particularly psychologists and psychiatrists. Just one-third of U.S. primary care practices have mental health professionals on their team, compared to more than 90 percent in the Netherlands and Sweden.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Mental Health, Drugs, Substance Abuse
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 55 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria and South Sudan.
  • Topic: International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Syria, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Sahel, Central African Republic, Global Focus, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Dennis Wesselbaum, Michael D. Smith, Shannon N. Minehan
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Global migration flows have increased over the last couple decades. Climate change is a key driver of these flows and will become more important in the future. Foreign aid programs, often intended to manage or even reduce these flows, are typically not large enough and lead to more rather than less migration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, Environment, Migration, Foreign Aid, Displacement, Multilateralism, Peace, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kateryna Markevych
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Today’s world is being shaped in new conditions, where digital technologies are gaining more and more weight. They can greatly increase the level of labour efficiency and well-being of people, meet the challenges of health, education and state management (these advantages are particularly evident now, during the COVID-19 pandemic), but also increase the level of innovation of the economy or reduce the carbon intensity.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: A new report by Oxford Economics for Snap Inc. shows how members of Generation Z are poised to play a major role in the economy and labour market over the coming decade across six leading markets: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. While the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the deep global recession triggered by measures to contain its spread have impacted younger workers, the accelerated shift towards a more digital economy will serve to the long-term advantage of Gen Z. Gen Z’s income from work will balloon from $440 billion to more than $3.5 trillion by 2030. We estimate their total consumer spending will be $3.0 trillion - equivalent to 11% of total household spending across the six economies. We developed a digital competence index measure. Pooling responses across our survey, Gen Z’s average competence score was 2.5% higher than Millennials and over 8% higher than Gen X. Beyond digital aptitude, our research has highlighted three Gen Z traits that we think are likely to serve them well in the future workplace
  • Topic: Digital Economy, Youth, Digital Policy, Consumerism, Generation Z
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rachael Falk, Anne-Louise Brown
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: As the Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the world, another less visible epidemic has occurred concurrently—a tsunami of cybercrime producing global losses totalling more than US$1 trillion. While cybercrime is huge in scale and diverse in form, there’s one type that presents a unique threat to businesses and governments the world over: ransomware. Some of the most spectacular ransomware attacks have occurred offshore, but Australia hasn’t been immune. Over the past 18 months, major logistics company Toll Holdings Ltd has been hit twice; Nine Entertainment was brought to its knees by an attack that left the company struggling to televise news bulletins and produce newspapers; multiple health and aged-care providers across the country have been hit; and global meat supplies were affected after the Australian and international operations of the world’s largest meat producer, JBS Foods, were brought to a standstill. It’s likely that other organisations have also been hit but have kept it out of the public spotlight. A current policy vacuum makes Australia an attractive market for these attacks, and ransomware is a problem that will only get worse unless a concerted and strategic domestic effort to thwart the attacks is developed. Developing a strategy now is essential. Not only are Australian organisations viewed as lucrative targets due to their often low cybersecurity posture, but they’re also seen as soft targets. The number of attacks will continue to grow unless urgent action is taken to reduce the incentives to target Australian companies and other entities.
  • Topic: Crime, National Security, Cybersecurity, Internet, Information Technology , Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Australia, Global Focus
  • Author: Tom Uren
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, the myGov website was overwhelmed by a demand surge from citizens seeking to rapidly access digital services. In 2016, the online Census (eCensus) suffered a series of relatively small distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. While they didn’t overwhelm the platform, the attacks ultimately resulted in the eCensus being taken offline. What do these two examples have in common, and what lessons should we learn to ensure more robust digital government services? To answer those questions, this paper will examine five points: The nature of the DDoS attacks The CIA (confidentiality, integrity and availability) triad model for digital security How to predict demand How to respond to unpredictable demand The structure of reliable data systems
  • Topic: Government, National Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ariel Bogle
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: As mainstream social media companies have increased their scrutiny and moderation of right-wing extremist (RWE) content and groups, there’s been a move to alternative online content platforms. There’s also growing concern about right-wing extremism in Australia, and about how this shift has diversified the mechanisms used to fundraise by RWE entities. This phenomenon isn’t well understood in Australia, despite the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) advising in March 2021 that ‘ideological extremism’ now makes up around 40% of its priority counterterrorism caseload. Research by ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has found that nine Australian Telegram channels that share RWE content used at least 22 different funding platforms, including online monetisation tools and cryptocurrencies, to solicit, process and earn funds between 1 January 2021 and 15 July 2021. Due to the opaque nature of many online financial platforms, it’s difficult to obtain a complete picture of online fundraising, so this sample is necessarily limited. However, in this report we aim to provide a preliminary map of the online financial platforms and services that may both support and incentivise an RWE content ecosystem in Australia. Most funding platforms found in our sample have policies that explicitly prohibit the use of their services for hate speech, but we found that those policies were often unclear and not uniformly enforced. Of course, there’s debate about how to balance civil liberties with the risks posed by online communities that promote RWE ideology (and much of that activity isn’t illegal), but a better understanding of online funding mechanisms is necessary, given the growing concern about the role online propaganda may play in inspiring acts of violence as well as the risk that, like other social divisions, such channels and movements could be exploited by adversaries. The fundraising facilitated by these platforms not only has the potential to grow the resources of groups and individuals linked to right-wing extremism, but it’s also likely to be a means of building the RWE community both within Australia and with overseas groups and a vector for spreading RWE propaganda through the engagement inherent in fundraising efforts. The funding platforms mirror those used by RWE figures overseas, and funding requests were boosted by foreign actors, continuing Australian RWEs’ history of ‘meaningful international exchange’ with overseas counterparts.
  • Topic: Internet, Social Media, Far Right, Political Extremism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Leanne Close, Daria Impiombato
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: ASPI is delighted to release its 5th edition of the Counterterrorism (CT) yearbook, edited by Leanne Close, APM and Daria Impiombato. The 2021 yearbook provides a comprehensive picture of the current global terrorism landscape. The yearbook's 29 authors found Covid-19—a key theme in most chapters—to have had an impact on global terrorism. However, pervasive online social media platforms have played a more significant role, increasing terrorists’ ability to radicalise and incite individuals to commit terrorist acts, as well as encouraging financial support to terrorist groups. The yearbook begins with an overview of current trends and the terrorism landscape in 2020 identified in the 8th Global Terrorism Index (GTI) produced by Australia’s Institute for Economics and Peace. As well as analysis of the impacts of Covid-19 on terrorist threats globally, several key themes emerge from the yearbook’s chapters, consistent with the trends identified in the GTI. These include the impact of social media and technology on terrorist events and radicalisation, and a nexus between terrorism and organised crime. One concerning example highlights the impact of natural disasters on violent extremism, with a study of 167 countries over 30 years from 1970, which found that an increase in deaths from natural disasters resulted in an increase in terrorism-related deaths and attacks in the following two years. Strong examples of prevention and strategies to counter violent extremism are outlined in the yearbook, providing governments and CT practitioners with contemporary analysis of current and emerging challenges and offering key policy recommendations to combat radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism in all its forms.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Hybrid Threats
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Erik Hacker
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: Conspiracy theories have been surging worldwide since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can they have considerable negative impact on a societal level, they are also capable of disrupting individual lives. Along commonly asked questions, this extended factsheet provides an overview of socio-psychological theories that explain belief in conspiracy theories in general. This framework is then applied to empirical data on the QAnon conspiracy movement in order to illustrate theoretical assumptions. After a brief introduction of the concept of conspiracy mindset and related demographic groups, the focus is on the fulfillment of epistemic, existential and social motives from a multitude of perspectives: media landscapes, communities, ideological structures, addiction, and gamification. The factsheet is concluded with a variety of options for prevention and mitigation, and a discussion on the implications for the future of society in the context of deep fakes and the post-truth world.
  • Topic: COVID-19, Misinformation , QAnon, Conspiracy Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America