The court-ordered removal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on the grounds of abuse of power proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the troubled PTP government that came to power on a wave of popular optimism in 2011. Growing street protests and clashes between the red-shirted supporters of the PTP (and exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra) and their yellow-shirted opponents threatened to trigger an escalating cycle of violence.
President Xi Jinping has broadened his government’s anti-graft campaign to include former senior Communist Party officials and high-ranking military officers. In an unprecedented move, the authorities recently rounded up hundreds of associates and relatives of Zhou Yongkang, a former domestic security czar who retired from the Politburo Standing Committee in 2012. Perhaps even more surprising are reports of corruption charges against Lt.-Gen. Gu Junshan, former deputy logistics chief of the army.
In June of 2013, President Obama announced plans for sweeping reforms in coal fired power generation. His Climate Action Plan included a call for the EPA to draft carbon emission standards aimed at putting “an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution” from power plants. The President’s words appeared to be the death knell for the coal industry.
SPECIAL REPORT—As we enter the summer months before the fall mid-term elections, all political eyes in the United States and around the world are on the U.S. Senate. The GOP needs to pick up six seats in November’s elections to take outright control of the U.S. Senate in 2015. Here’s why the GOP will do it.
His dominant political position buttressed by gains for his United Russia party in regional and local elections held in September 2013, and a raised international profile for Russia after successfully hosting the Winter Olympic Games earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin has stepped up repression of dissent at home while adopting a disconcertingly aggressive posture in the foreign policy arena.
I am a die-hard advocate for supporting U.S. exports, so it concerns me that exports have been taken hostage during the ongoing Congressional infighting. Exports are vital, considering that more than 38 million American jobs depend on trade. One in three manufacturing jobs depends on exports, and one in three acres on American farms is planted for hungry consumers overseas.
Beijing’s decision to allow more flexibility in the daily trading band for the yuan-dollar exchange rate, along with the announcement that the People’s Bank of China will soon allow banks to pay higher interest rates on deposits, are positive signs that the leadership is serious about giving markets more play. Ending financial repression, however, will require political as well as economic reform.
Elections for seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, will be held in April–May 2014. Regardless of which party wins, the result will usher in a new political era as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will step down after a decade in power. He likely would have been out of a job anyway since the INC, the lead party in the minority UPA government, is headed for defeat.
SPECIAL REPORT—Had the U.S. been so foolish as to bring Ukraine into NATO, Washington would have a treaty responsibility to start World War III. Today’s game of geopolitical chicken might have a nuclear end. Perhaps Kiev’s inclusion would have caused Vladimir Putin to go quietly into the night after the violent overthrow of a friendly government in a strategic neighbor. More likely he’d doubt the West would risk war over tangential security interests.
Senate and local elections held in December reinforced the dominant position of the governing PDG, which won more than 60 percent of the vote nationwide. In January, President Ali Bongo named Daniel Ona Ondo as his prime minister. Ona Ondo’s predecessor, Ndong Sima, came under widespread criticism for his handling of a teachers’ strike in 2013. The new prime minister is an economist by training.
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