© The Financial Times Ltd 2014 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
Gaza crisis: what does current conflict mean for Netanyahu, Hamas and the wider middle east?
As bombing reaches its ninth consecutive day, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is facing criticism abroad for causing unnecessary bloodshed, and at home for not sending troops into Gaza. Gideon Rachman is joined by Siona Jenkins, Middle east news editor, and from Gaza by John Reed, Jerusalem bureau chief to look deeper at the broader Israeli/Palestinian conflict and how Hamas has been able to use the current crisis to drum up support as chaos in the Middle East reaches levels unparalleled in recent decades.
As the man himself sings:
“When the rain’s blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I would offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.”
Nobody was feeling the love in Dublin on Wednesday after Garth Brooks, the US country singer, cancelled his five live concerts in a dispute with a local residents’ organisation that has left everyone involved embarrassed, sorry, and counting the cost.
Mr Brooks was due to play the five gigs on consecutive nights later this month in Croke Park, Ireland’s 82,300-seat national stadium for the traditional games of hurling and Gaelic football. Some 400,000 tickets had been sold, at around €60 each. That represents nearly 10 per cent of the Irish population, and is a testament to the enduring love of country music in a country that gave the world U2, Thin Lizzy and, um, Big Tom. Read more
- Secret sanctions-evading oil deals were only the start of the corruption that thrived in Iran under Ahmadi-Nejad. The FT’s Najmeh Bozorgmehr looks at whether the country can clean up.
- Philip Stephens considers the relationship between China and Russia: “The world is waking up from postmodern dreams of global governance to another era of great power competition.”
- The European Central Bank lobbed in everything it could – bar quantitative easing – to counter the threat of a vicious bout of deflation, writes Claire Jones.
- Egyptian presidential elections underdog Hamdeen Sabbahi wasn’t just beaten by Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi – he was also beaten by the number of spoiled ballots, of which there were over 1m.
- Sisi himself is channeling António de Oliveira Salazar, who ruled Portugal for nearly four decades beginning in the early 1930s, but can he last that long?
- Tony Blair is a narcissist with a messiah complex who lives a tragic life, says his former friend, best-selling author Robert Harris.
I still remember how I felt when I read these words, Maya Angelou’s words. Because I still feel it today. Breathless, simultaneously more alive and less. How did she know, I wondered, at 11, at 22, at almost 30. How did she know. Read more
Some good news for a change. Food security - the availability and affordability of food – has got better, according to research published on Wednesday.
The 66-page report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by DuPont, the chemicals company, found that despite last year’s freak weather patterns - drought in California, heatwaves in Australia and floods in Russia – food security improved in almost three-quarters of the world’s countries. Read more
Relations between Russia and China
President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Beijing took on added significance because of the deep divisions between Russia and the west, caused by the Ukrainian crisis. The two countries signed a landmark deal on gas supplies, as well as other agreements covering trade and arms sales. So is a new Russia-China axis emerging? Gideon Rachman is joined by James Blitz and James Kynge to discuss.
By Ben Bland
Prompted by anger over Beijing’s assertive stance in the South China Sea, the deadly anti-Chinese riots sweeping through Vietnam’s industrial parks have highlighted just how important the country has become to global supply chains.
This has been good for Vietnam too.
With the crucial banking and state-owned enterprise sectors hamstrung by huge debts and a lack of reform since Vietnam started overheating in 2008, it is the thriving manufacturing sector that has kept the economy ticking along, accounting for 17 percent of GDP and generating much-needed foreign exchange.
What’s behind this manufacturing boom? Read more
How should Nigeria tackle the militant threat of Boko Haram?
Nigeria’s status as the new economic powerhouse of Africa was supposed to be the talking point of a meeting of African leaders and top executives in Abuja this week. Instead, the world is in uproar over the government’s slow response to the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram terrorist group last month.
In this week’s podcast, Ben Hall, world news editor, is joined by William Wallace, the FT’s Africa affairs writer and Javier Blas, Africa editor, to discuss western governments’ increasing concern at the upsurge in attacks and the Nigerian state’s apparent inability to deal with the militant threat.