britain

When Donald J Trump is sworn in on 20 January as the 45th President of the United States, the UK needs to make a choice. Trump’s unique and unpredictable blend of belligerence and isolationism means the US can no longer be relied on to defend the liberal, rules based international order in place since the end of the Second World War. This could mark the end of an era for UK foreign policy. 

The new sanctions target North Korea's hard currency revenues by placing a "hard, binding cap" on coal exports, cutting them by at least 62 percent, capping them at around $400 million or 7.5 million tons, diplomats said. According to the Global Trade Atlas, China is on track to import nearly $1 billion worth of coal from North Korea in 2016 despite a previous sanctions regime.

The BBC World Service has outlined plans to increase the number of languages in which it broadcasts from 29 to 40 – in a drive to reach half a billion people across the world by 2022. It is the biggest expansion of the broadcaster in more than 70 years, and a signal that Britain aims to exercise its soft power more vigorously.

The expansion is a result of a funding injection of 289 million pounds ($360 million) until 2020 announced by the government last year. The boost reversed a previous decision to cut World Service funding and was part of a broader strategy to increase Britain’s ‘soft power’.

May’s focus was on the need to ensure that the benefits of "liberalism and globalisation" are more evenly distributed.  For her, the EU referendum and the US presidential election should be read as wake-up call. Important as this analysis may be for electoral politics, it does not set out a clear road map for the UK’s future foreign policy.

Lithuanian troops are teaching their British counterparts how to identify and fight Russia propaganda as part of an ongoing attempt to fight the country’s attempts to influence public opinion. Officers from the Baltic state – which is said to be at the front line of Russia’s “soft power” war in Europe – shared their experiences with the 77th Brigade, a new British Army unit set up to deal with information warfare. 

Beijing sees sporting prowess as a key soft power weapon and sensitivities over China’s performance at Rio 2016 led Chinese television censors to briefly stymie the BBC World broadcast about the plight of China’s gymnasts. The screen went black, as routinely occurs during stories considered politically inconvenient to the Communist Party. 

Wrapped in creative words and cultural visions, the Lahore Literary Festival brings to London, Pakistan’s artistic thinking and classical heritage. This rare sight of Pakistan, at the BP lecture theatre of the British Museum, will take place on Saturday 29th October 2016. With exceptional artists, writers, and cultural commentators, the festival will explore outstanding ideas. For the very first time, London will be celebrating the visionary liveliness of Lahore.

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