India is quietly laying claim to economic superpower status

India recently overtook UK as the world’s fifth biggest economy – and it could be third by 2030

The rise of China has been the biggest story in the global economy in recent decades. But amid concern about its stumbling property market and global fears about inflation, the emergence of its neighbour, India, as a potential new economic superpower may be going under the radar.

You won’t find mention of it in Liz Truss’s blueprint for a “modern brilliant Britain”, but the UK has just been overtaken by India as the world’s fifth biggest economy. The nation of 1.4 billion people is on track to move into third place behind the US and China by 2030, according to economists.

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New Zealand drops mask and vaccine mandates in sweeping Covid changes

Jacinda Ardern says it is time to ‘turn the page’ on the pandemic as she scraps all but a handful of restrictions

Jacinda Ardern has declared it “time to safely turn the page” on New Zealand’s Covid-19 restrictions, scrapping all but a handful of remaining rules.

New Zealand, which once eliminated the virus through the toughest pandemic rules in the world, has made relaxations similar to Australian or European conditions.

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Xinjiang lockdown: Chinese censors drown out posts about food and medicine shortages

‘Internet commentary personnel’ told to deluge social media with thoughts on anything from cooking to their personal mood

Chinese censors have reportedly been ordered to flood social media with innocuous posts about Xinjiang to drown out mounting complaints of food and medication shortages in a region under lockdown for more than a month.

The Ili Kazakh autonomous prefecture, also known as Yili, is home to about 4.5 million people, and is believed to have been first put into lockdown in early August, without official public announcement, after an outbreak of Covid-19. In recent days social media has hosted reams of post about food shortages, delays or refusals of medical care.

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Desperation grows in hard-hit Chengdu’s indefinite Covid lockdown

China’s city of 21 million has endured heatwaves, power cuts, quarantine and a deadly earthquake, while panic also simmers in a neighbouring province

In the hours before the south-western Chinese city of Chengdu went into a Covid lockdown on 1 September, residents dashed to their local markets to scramble for whatever food they could grab hold of.

Huang, a 42-year-old university lecturer, was among those who got wind of the imminent lockdown on the internet. While she was buying meat and vegetables, someone shouted: “Someone identified as a close contact is here. This place will be locked down!” She dropped the groceries, swooped up her young daughter and ran home as fast as she could.

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Drag queens and TikTokers: queer Fijian influencers challenging traditional notions of masculinity

Homophobia is still rife in Fiji, say advocacy groups, but queer performers are pushing for visibility and change

Sevuloni Lule, a professional dancer from Lautoka City in western Fiji, is causing a stir on Shenzen’s club scene in China.

Or rather, his drag alter ego – Savanaah Marco LaVulva – is.

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Imperial College to shut joint research ventures with Chinese defence firms

Exclusive: two Chinese-sponsored aerospace research centres firms to close after warnings of ‘sleepwalking’ into aiding Chinese military

Imperial College will shut down two major research centres sponsored by Chinese aerospace and defence companies amid a crackdown on academic collaborations with China, the Guardian has learned.

The Avic Centre for Structural Design and Manufacturing is a long-running partnership with China’s leading civilian and military aviation supplier, which has provided more than £6m to research cutting-edge aerospace materials. The second centre is run jointly with Biam, a subsidiary of another state-owned aerospace and defence company, which has contributed £4.5m for projects on high-performance batteries, jet engine components and impact-resistant aircraft windshields. The centres’ stated goals are to advance civilian aerospace technologies, but critics have repeatedly warned that the research could also advance China’s military ambitions.

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