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In the scramble for ways to address Syria’s spiralling violence UN envoy Kofi Annan and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad agreed on an approach earlier this week: work from the bottom up on local ceasefires in the most devastated areas of the country. The approach was discussed during Mr Annan’s trip to Damascus, but immediately raised questions in western capitals, according to diplomatic sources. Read more
From ghost towns to rooftop farms, here are our picks for today: Read more
If you can have remarks that are both pointed and veiled, Hillary Clinton managed it this week – her comments on the limitations of authoritarian capitalism clearly taking a swing at China without mentioning it by name.
The State Department has been trying to improve what Mrs Clinton calls America’s “economic statecraft”, appointing its first-ever chief economist and musing on ways to advance US influence in the global economy. It’s hard for the US to do so directly, especially with Congressional suspicion of bailing out foreigners – which has limited its role in the eurozone crisis – and of signing new trade deals. So noting that rich countries are generally democratic ones might be a way of extending American soft power. Read more
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