Daily Archives: August 23, 2013

By Catherine Contiguglia

Coming back to Cairo after a week in which her Facebook page turned into “an obituaries page”, Ursula Lindsey, a blogger for The Arabist, reflects on the situation in Egypt and the failures of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal “cultural and political elite”.

Here’s the story of 35-year-old American photographer Matthew Schrier and his seven months as a prisoner of Syrian jihadi fighters, who robbed and beat him and then assumed his online identity – before he managed to escape.

A good old-fashioned show trial? The FT’s Jamil Anderlini looks at what’s going on behind the scenes at the highly publicised trial of Bo Xilai. An attempt to rally the party or a smokescreen to deflect attention from the stagnating economy?

“It took a murder on August 20th of an anti-superstition campaigner to remind India of the lot of its faithless,” The Economist writes in an account of life in India for atheists and activists against powerful groups that “continue to exploit superstition and religious fear.”

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to boost the participation of women in the workforce “are not motivated by softhearted political correctness but by hard-headed economic logic”, writes economist Laura D’Andrea Tyson. If employment rates for Japanese women reach those of Japanese men, Goldman Sachs estimates Japan’s GDP could be 14 percent larger. Read more

Michael Steen

(Getty)

There is now less than a month to go before Germany’s general election. The summer holidays are mostly over. Children are either back at school, or due to return on Monday, in 12 of Germany’s 16 Bundesländer. And that means the so-called “hot phase” of the campaign is getting under way and the main parties are releasing their election TV ads.

Here is a quick round-up of some of the more notable ads hitting the airwaves ahead of the September 22 electionRead more

Pardon or no pardon, Silvio Berlusconi, who was handed a final conviction for tax fraud by the Supreme Court earlier in August, has for now retreated in his private residence just outside Milan, as uncertainty looms over his political future.

But, ever the master of reinvention, he has channelled his energies into launching the rebranding of his PDL party as Forza Italia (after an earlier attempt in 90s) and their move to new offices in Rome: decorators are at work, hauliers are being enlisted and preparations are underway for the grand opening expected in September. Read more

Currency jitters in India and emerging markets
India was once seen as a rising superpower and one of the world’s most dynamic economies, but now its rupee is plunging and the economy is stalling. What’s more, this seems to be part of a broader problem in emerging markets, as Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa and Brazil all experience currency jitters. Gideon Rachman is joined by Victor Mallet, New Delhi bureau chief and Ralph Atkins, capital markets editor, to discuss what’s going on and how deep the problems are.