News Zealand over the horizon this week

Peter Bale and Bernard Hickey chew over the news from over the seas that matters this week, including the return of the Covid lab escape theory and NZ's very slow vaccination rates


TLDR & TLDL: Former Reuters and FTMarketWatch colleagues Peter Bale and Bernard Hickey take a ‘hoon’ around the big global and long-term issues of the week, including the return of the Covid lab escape theory and NZ's very slow vaccination rates.

The chat is based around Peter’s excellent weekly world bulletin published via email on The Spinoff.

The return of the Covid escape theory

We talked about Joe Biden’s big move over the last week to give America’s intelligence agencies 90 days to come up with evidence on whether or not Covid-19 escaped from a lab or came from the ‘wild’.

This theory had appeared to die months ago, but some fresh reporting on some sick lab workers in December 2019 and China’s refusal to allow a full investigation in Wuhan has seen it arise again.

The implications if it’s proved are not good for great power relations. Also a note on vaccination rates.

Bibi hangs on as Arab Israelis push him out

We talked about the apparent fall of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel as his opponents look set to form a Government, including his former allies and a bunch of MPs representing Israeli Arabs.

Facebook bans Trump for a couple of years

We also had a chat about Facebook’s decision to extend its ban on Donald Trump for a couple of years, and whether it’s possible to control or clean up debate on these platforms. Full disclosure: Peter has done contracting work for Facebook in the past.

We talk about New Zealand’s hate speech legislation and the way Jacinda Ardern uses Facebook and Instagram.

Some listeners ask about house prices and inflation

We also had some listeners (we recorded it on Clubhouse) who asked us questions about housing and inflation.

This was recorded on Friday afternoon from 3 pm to 4pm.