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- 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
Hong Kong’s political crisis
The scale and persistence of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have taken many by surprise. Gideon Rachman is joined by David Pilling, Asia bureau chief, and Tom Mitchell, Beijing correspondent, to discuss the crisis and China’s response.
- Beijing’s Communist party elite is leaving the chief executive of Hong Kong, CY Leung, to grapple with pro-democracy protests himself
- In Saudi Arabia, there is little soul-searching on how the kingdom’s ultraconservative religious ideology inspires Isis and other jihadist groups
- How Nauru, a tiny island in the South Pacific, went from briefly being one of the richest countries in the world to one of the poorest (and fattest)
- A vast Qatari network of Islamist-leaning proxies has played a major role in destabilising nearly every trouble spot in the Middle East and supporting the rise of jihadi factions
By Gideon Rachman
The demonstrations on the streets of Hong Kong present China with its biggest political challenge since the pro-democracy movement was crushed in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989. The parallels between the demonstrations in Hong Kong now and those in Beijing, 25 years ago are eerie – and must be profoundly unsettling to the Communist party leadership. Once again, the demonstrations are led by students demanding democratic reform. Once again, the central authorities have lost control – and risk facing a choice between repression and a humiliating climbdown. Once again, the ultimate question is the power and authority of the Communist party in Beijing.
There can’t be many uprisings where those being tear gassed stop to pick up their own rubbish. It is a mark of Hong Kong’s sense of civic responsibility – of course precisely the quality that makes so eminently reasonable its aspiration to choose its own leader – that even its radical vanguard behaves so courteously. Read more
By Gideon Rachman
In 1990 Kenichi Ohmae, a management consultant, published a book called The Borderless World, whose title captured the spirit of globalisation. Over the next almost 25 years developments in business, finance, technology and politics seemed to confirm the inexorable decline of borders and the nation states they protected.