Monthly Archives: July 2012

Britain takes le Tour

As the Tour de France enters its final stages, Shawn Donnan is joined by Jennifer Hughes and Hugh Carnegy to discuss the rise of Team Sky and Bradley “Wiggo” Wiggins, concerns over doping and the shadow it casts over the sport. Could a Brit ride up the Champs Elysées to glory for the first time?

We’ve been reading about the Assad circle of power after yesterday’s events, as well as strongmen of other varieties:

There have been some “calm-down-lads-calm-down” interventions from sage voices in the blogosphere about the competitive mercantilism going on out on the campaign trail.

All well-made points and I’ve said much the same myself in the past. Note in particular that neither candidate has actually proposed anything that would have stopped Bain Capital offshoring some functions of the companies they were running, which makes the whole focus on the issue even more peculiar. Read more

The deaths of three of President al-Assad’s most senior security officials in a bomb attack on Wednesday could prove a turning point in the Syrian crisis. The World blog looks at Bashar’s inner circle – and how long they will remain by his side. Read more


Protestors step on a picture of Bashar al-Assad during a rally on May 31. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/GettyImages)

The bomb attack that has killed Syria’s defence minister and President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law is by far the most serious blow the Syrian regime has suffered since the rebellion began sixteen months ago.

Most security experts and Syria watchers do not believe it spells the immediate end of President Assad. He will fight on, knowing he retains considerable military force to throw at the rebellion.

But today’s events prompt three big questions that will gradually come to be answered in the days and weeks ahead. Read more

Here’s our selection of interesting reads from around the web today:

The debate around US corporation tax and offshoring points to American political dysfunction, says Alan Beattie. Read more

Here are our picks for today: 

Here are our picks from the weekend and this morning to start off your week’s reading:

An extra note on outsourcing following my spittle-flecked rant carefully argued polemic in the paper today. As Paul Krugman accurately enough points out, Mr Romney himself falls for the silliness of extrapolating from a company to an economy (as, I would contend, does Mr Obama).

There are some ways where I guess having run a company does give you some insight into national economic policy – the impact of business regulations, for example. But since Mr Romney’s main complaint seems to be about the onerous burden of the Obama healthcare plan and since he was in favour of the individual mandate before he was against it, he’s going to have difficulty with that one. Read more

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"Rocket eggs" (Getty)

China’s growth has fallen to 7.6 per cent, its slowest since 2009. This mild drop in growth has prompted some questions over the accuracy of China’s official data, especially in light of other weak data that has been released recently.

The slowdown has already manifested itself in different ways around the world. Read about it in the pieces below. Read more

“Who is Henry?” has become something of a political parlour game in Latin America. I’m referring, of course, to Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s putative president-elect, and Henrique Capriles, the challenger in Venezuela’s presidential election in October. Both Henrys are held up as potential reformers. But how true – or more important, how likely – is that really? Both face serious obstacles. Read more

Here are our pre-weekend reading picks for you:

The economic challenges and changes facing the young “ice age generation” in Japan, and the “post-1990″ generation of Chinese youth.

AFP/Getty Images

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:

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

The wealth of China’s “princelings” is growing, leading to fears that the political elite are profiting while the mass of ordinary Chinese are left behind. Increasingly, doing business in China depends on gaining the approval of a small number of hugely influential figures. FT reporters have run an investigation into the business activities of these people. This fact-packed graphic featured in today’s paper reveals the details of those top politicians and their family members, their business interests and the fortunes they have amassed. You can also access our online interactive version here.

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Here’s what got us chatting this morning: