The Week Unwrapped podcast: Pacific trade, tracking and Europe’s gay paradox

Can a trade deal unite the Pacific rim? Is Covid making us too willing to hand over data? And why are gay rights under attack?

South Pacific Islands
(Image credit: SpaceX)

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

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Asian trade

China and 14 other Asia-Pacific countries have signed the world’s largest trade agreement in a move that analysts said will further elevate China’s political and economic influence in the region. This new deal has been in the works for eight years and its membership involves big economies such as Japan and South Korea. It covers a market of 2.2 billion people and $26.2 trillion of global output, or around 30% of the global economy.

Data tracking

Civil rights and privacy experts are warning that the spread of wearable devices that continuously report our location - such as Covid-tracking tags - could lead to new forms of surveillance that outlast the pandemic. They also caution that some wearable sensors could enable employers, colleges or law enforcement agencies to reconstruct people’s locations or social networks, chilling their ability to meet and speak freely.

The gay paradox

The EU has launched its first strategy to protect the rights of LGBT people, a challenge to right-wing governments in Poland and Hungary that have become increasingly homophobic in recent years. The Commission said LGBT people were facing growing discrimination in Europe, even as most people in the bloc were becoming more accepting of gay rights.

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