China’s economic footprint and political avenues of influence in the Western Balkans have deepened and widened through its 17+1 format and the Belt and Road Initiative with profound implications for the region’s economic development and long-term dependency.
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Welcome to the world’s newest blue water ocean: the Arctic Ocean. You are forgiven if you think the Arctic is a mostly frozen and forbidding place covered in darkness for most of the year. It still is. But this ocean is rapidly changing: since 1979 Arctic sea ice maximum extent has dropped by an average of 2.8 percent per decade; in the summertime, the ice cap declined at 13.5 percent per decade; and the Greenland Ice Sheet lost an estimated 9,103 gigatons or over 9 trillion tons of ice since 1900 and between 25 to 35 gigatons annually. On land, the near-surface permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere is projected to decline by 20 percent relative to today’s area by 2040, and it could be reduced by as much as two-thirds by 2080 under a scenario of high greenhouse-gas emissions. We may be at the dawn of a new Arctic Age.