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- The European Central Bank is at last expected to embark on quantitative easing – but there are four reasons why its version will be potentially less effective than elsewhere
- A battle between reason and irrationality will decide Greece’s fate – and its future in the eurozone – following decisive elections this weekend
- As China’s growth drops to its lowest level for 24 years, notoriously unreliable statistics could mean that a hidden army of jobless people is about to test Beijing’s sang-froid
- An award-winning Russian film about the plight of an individual at the hand of corrupt authorities in a provincial hinterland has polarised opinion in the country – before even being screened
- Twelve years after the end of “Africa’s great war” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, can the country ensure a peaceful transfer of power ahead of likely elections next year?
The recent Sri Lankan presidential election was remarkable for several reasons.
First, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the over-confident incumbent, lost the vote, despite a booming economy. Second, Mr Rajapaksa – who was often accused of authoritarian and dynastic tendencies – seems to have accepted the voters’ verdict without a fight. His best riposte to those who accused him of not being a democrat may turn out to be the way in which he accepted unfavourable election results, and allowed his rival, Maithripala Sinisena, to assume power. The change of government in Sri Lanka also has a wider geopolitical significance. Read more
- An FT survey of 32 leading eurozone economists found that most expected the European Central Bank to launch quantitative easing in 2015 – but they believed this would fail to boost growth and inflation
- France’s surging far-right National Front party, whose economic programme has been dubbed ‘Peronist Marxism’, is targeting traditional left-wing voters in industrial regions hit by Europe’s stagnation
- Morocco is exploiting the spectre of Isis, the fanatical Islamist militant group that controls swaths of Syria and Iraq, to roll back civil liberties
- The stark differences between Antonis Samaras and Alexis Tsipras will define the contours of the battleground as Greece heads to snap polls on January 25, a clash whose outcome will also affect Europe (Guardian)
- China’s Maoists ideologues have been buoyed by the traditionalist tilt of President Xi Jinping and internal decrees declaring open season on those deemed disloyal to Communist Party orthodoxy (New York Times)
- The ascendancy of the political strongman across the globe – from Russia’s Putin to China’s Xi, and Turkey’s Erdogan to Japan’s Abe – shows a permanent shift in the nature of international relations between states
- After years of fiscal largesse, Brazil is braced for a new finance minister – known in the presidential palace as “Scissorhands” – who is preparing an austerity plan to rebalance its bleeding public finances
- The political crisis in Sweden, once a byword for stability and famed for its social model, is a warning for other European countries faced with the rise of anti-establishment and populist parties
- Political uncertainty and bitter factionalism are blighting Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer, ahead of elections next month – and foreign investors are watching anxiously
- Washington’s friends in Saudi Arabia continue to oppress and marginalise 15 per cent of the population. That’s going to lead to disaster. (Foreign Policy)
- The cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline deals a blow to Serbia’s efforts to attract Russian investment, yet the country still treads a narrow path as it courts both Moscow and Brussels
- The flow of Opec petrodollars into global financial markets is set to dry up as the collapse in the oil price delivers a $316bn hit to the cartel’s revenues, removing a pillar of support from the global system
- The latest collapse of an investment firm offering high returns highlights financial risks lurking in the outer margins of China’s shadow banking system – and confusion over who regulates such companies
- A deadly epidemic caused by superbugs resistant to antibiotics is responsible for tens of thousands of newborn baby deaths in India, and it poses an overseas threat (New York Times)
- U.S. and allied forces have reportedly killed dozens of civilians in airstrikes while bombing the Islamic State. But the Defense Department refuses to take responsibility (Foreign Policy)
- Magnus Carlsen retained his crown as world chess champion without the aid of supercomputers or a huge team of assistants – reinforcing the view that he is the best player the game has ever seen
- Foreign travellers are returning to the pyramids in Giza and Cairo’s ancient markets as Egypt’s tourist industry picks up, a sign that the country’s broader economic picture may be improving
- “Lung washing tours” are the new thing in Chinese tourism, as smog drives mainland tourists into novel migration patterns to escape the worst days of autumn
- As China increasingly uses its state-owned television network as an arm of the law, not only are its journalists embarrassed to wear its logo in public – they don’t even believe the things they report (Foreign Policy)
- Mumbai gangsters have returned to targeting Bollywood celebrities in an effort to find a “new business model”, police in India’s commercial capital say (Guardian)
By Gideon Rachman
For centuries European navies roamed the world’s seas – to explore, to trade, to establish empires and to wage war. So it will be quite a moment when the Chinese navy appears in the Mediterranean next spring, on joint exercises with the Russians. This plan to hold naval exercises was announced in Beijing last week, after a Russian-Chinese meeting devoted to military co-operation between the two countries.
A breakthrough in the fight against climate change
The US and China surprised the world last week with an outline agreement in which both countries agreed to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Gideon Rachman is joined by Pilita Clark, FT environment correspondent, and Paul Bledsoe, senior fellow on climate and energy in the German Marshall Fund in Washington, to discuss how big a breakthrough it is.
“If you have not shown up by midnight I will assume you are a no-show. Checkout is at noon. You are alone? For girls on their own, for safety, we recommend these tents here.” The receptionist gestures to a row of camouflaged tents nearby. “The only problem is it will be more noisy.” Read more
- After a bitter election campaign in which she eschewed market economics and painted her main opponent’s party as bloodsucking bankers, Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff is now adopting the more orthodox economic policies of her defeated rival
- The “disappearance” and presumed murder of 43 students in Mexico, along with claims of impropriety surrounding president Enrique Peña Nieto, has raised doubts over his ability to deliver much-needed reform
- Asia cannot replace the west as a source of financing for Russia’s sanctions-hit economy, according to a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, who downplayed Moscow’s attempt to pivot east as Russian companies seek to refinance $40bn in debts maturing this year
- Turkey must continue the peace process with the Kurdistan Workers Party to prevent sectarian and ethnic bloodshed from spilling over from neighbouring Syria
- A landmark climate change deal will cut China’s emissions for more than a decade and it is going to be tough for the US to meet its requirements. But it is a good start (Foreign Policy)
- Relations between Beijing and Tokyo are at a 40-year low amid territorial disputes and rising nationalist rhetoric, but with the leaders set to meet, can they do anything to ease tensions?
- Catalans will turn out on Sunday to cast votes on the region’s independence despite Spanish courts suspending the ballot, said a leading grassroots activist who called for unity in the separatist movement
- After mass protests in Taiwan earlier this year against perceived moves towards closer ties with China, Beijing’s plan to lure back Tapei into its embrace risks backfiring
- Myanmar has given its Rohingya minority a dispiriting choice: prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation, reports NYT
- A chilling video dispatch by Vice on the creeping presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) in Lebanon
What hopes for detente between Japan and China?
What are the prospects for some form of detente between Japan and China? Ahead of next week’s Apec summit, where leaders of the two countries are expected to meet, Ben Hall discusses the reasons for the strained relations between the two countries with Beijing bureau chief Jamil Anderlini and David Pilling, Asia editor.
- The Republicans’ midterm victory, built on strong grassroots and a disciplined campaign, gives the GOP new hope of taking the White House in 2016
- A quarter of a century after the Berlin Wall was toppled, a party including ex-communists and other leftists is set to take charge of a regional government in Germany
- Overnight US-led airstrikes on Jabhat al-Nusra mark the first major offensive against a radical group in Syria other than the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis)
- Australia’s hardline ‘stop the boat’ asylum policy may be controversial, but its success is the envy of European governments grappling with immigration issues
- China is seeking to scatter ethnic minorities such as the Muslim Uighur across majority Han territories through labour programmes in order to defuse tensions in restive areas, reports the New York Times
Historians may record that Brics mania reached its height during the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil. President Dilma Rousseff used the occasion to host a summit of the leaders of the five Brics: Brazil itself, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The formation of a new Brics development bank was announced, with its headquarters in Shanghai.
- The Assad regime is stepping up its use of chemical weapons against Syrian rebels as the west’s attention is diverted by Isis, say opposition activists
- Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are shining a light on the city’s deepening income divide in an attack on its laissez-faire economic system
- When it comes to Europe’s energy networks, Spain is an island – and it blames France for its isolation
- Do China’s GDP figures actually count for anything? Premier Li Keqiang’s past words are coming back to haunt him
- An obituary of Benjamin C. Bradlee, the legendary editor who led the Washington Post when the newspaper exposed the Watergate scandal
- A titanic canal project to draw water from the south of China to its industrial north is causing shortages in other parts of the country, risking environmental and economic fallout
- A billionaire Saudi investor broke ranks to slam the country’s oil minister’s sanguine stance on weakening oil prices, warning of a “catastrophe that cannot go unmentioned”
- US officials’ code of silence surrounding the strength of the dollar is evaporating, as they publicly discuss what an appreciating greenback means for the economy
- Iran’s Dark Knight, veteran spymaster Qassem Suleiman, is stepping into the limelight as the face of Tehran’s intensifying battle with the Islamic State
- Soccer in England is so expensive, fans are travelling all the way to Germany
With protests now into their second week in Hong Kong, many are asking what it will now take to get the city back to normal. While schools and government offices are back open, many key roads in three of Hong Kong’s main business districts remain behind the barricades. Though protester numbers have dwindled, previous efforts to remove them have merely served as a rallying cry. So what’s the likely endgame? Read more