Topic Category: World

Since Daniel Ortega returned to the presidency in 2007, the former Marxist guerrilla leader has confounded his critics by implementing a generally liberal economic policy agenda in cooperation with the IMF. Ortega’s willingness to accommodate the private sector was highlighted in late November 2012, when the FSLN majority in the National Assembly approved a tax-reform package that is among the IMF’s conditions for a new lending agreement.

Topic: World
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Nicaragua’s National Assembly, dominated by the ruling Sandinista party, authorized a 100-year concession to the Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. for the development and eventual operation of a new $40 billion canal through the Central American country. Although HK Nicaragua had been publicly working on the canal deal in Nicaragua for more than a year, the June 13th vote by the National Assembly was symbolic.

Topic: World
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China's relationship with the United States is increasingly complex and competitive, and it's bound to get even more complex as China pursues an aggressive growth strategy. When Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama met last weekend in California to try and mend their often tenuous relationship, it was clear that China had its own agenda.

Topic: World
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Indonesia has much to celebrate. The world’s most populous Islamic nation surmounted the Suharto dictatorship to create a democratic and increasingly prosperous state. If it can overcome secessionist pressures in what remains an artificial country, Indonesia may become an important counterweight to China in Southeast Asia. Indonesians also could encourage Islam to move in a more tolerant direction.

Topic: World
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The coincidence between this week’s Latin American trips by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping highlight the undeclared competition between the U.S. and China in Latin America, and across the globe. The new competition is a struggle over the economic, legal, and political norms that will prevail as the global center of gravity shifts from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the course of the twenty-first century.

Topic: World
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Of the five countries attending March's BRICS summit in South Africa, only one could boast a growth rate significantly higher than 5 percent. That was China, and although its current growth of about 8 percent is less than half the 20-percent rate seen in headier days, it goes some way to explaining why it is still attracting serious money amid a worldwide slump in foreign direct investment (FDI).

Topic: World
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Voters went to the polls in February, and the electorate’s rejection of the austerity program carried out by a technocratic regime backed by both of the main political parties resulted in a hung parliament. The anti-euro Five Star Movement, headed by irreverent comedian Beppe Grillo, made a stunning third-place finish.

Topic: World
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A special election was held in mid-April to fill the presidential vacancy created by the death of Hugo Chávez in early March. Chávez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, was heavily favored to defeat the joint opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles. However, Maduro won by less than two percentage points, compared to Chávez’s nearly 11-point margin of victory over Capriles in October 2012, and the opposition candidate has challenged the results.

Topic: World
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The relationship between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Latin America has entered new stage, defined by the new physical presence of Chinese firms “on the ground” in the region. The new presence does not supplant the exponential growth of trade between China and Latin America, but rather, changes the dynamics and imperatives faced by both sides at both a commercial and political level.

Topic: World
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The landmark victory of the DPJ in 2009 promised a fresh start after five decades of the LDP political dominance. But the party failed to live up to expectations, and went down to defeat at an early election that was held in December 2012 against a backdrop of growing economic pessimism. The LDP’s victory capped a remarkable political comeback for Shinzo Abe.

Topic: World
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