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A spike in the cost of government borrowing is raising the spectre of Venezuela defaulting on its more than $80bn of sovereign debt
Italy’s anti-euro, anti-immigrant Northern League party is seizing on the Scottish referendum to relaunch calls for secession of the north of Italy
A meeting between the leaders of China and India next week underscores the slow thaw in the countries’ relations as their economic links strengthen
- Vladimir Putin has put soldiers in the far east of Russia on a war footing by ordering surprise inspections of military units and government agencies, as the west and EU prepare new sanctions against Russia
- South Korea is failing to cast off its reputation as the “Republic of Plagiarism“, with experts warning the widespread stealing of academic ideas and texts bodes ill for the country
- Europe should spend a fresh €700bn over the next five years to avoid prolonging the continent’s economic decline, Poland’s finance minister Mateusz Szczurek has told the Financial Times
- A group of 44 UN peacekeepers from Fiji held captive for two weeks by Islamist militants in Syria have been freed, according to reports
By Gideon Rachman
At the beginning of the year, I gave a talk about “geopolitical risk” to a big conference of investors. I trotted briskly around the course: Russia, the Middle East, the South China Sea, the eurozone. Afterwards, I was having coffee with one of the other speakers, a celebrated private-equity investor, and asked him how much he thought about geopolitical risk.
- Turkey is tightening its southern borders in a bid to prevent jihadi fighters crossing into Syria and Iraq and to clamp down on oil smuggling.
- Volunteers are wanted for urgent trials into Ebola vaccines as big pharma steps up efforts to tackle the virus that has killed more than 1,900 people in west Africa.
- The cleric and the cricketer leading protests in Pakistan claim to be champions of democracy, but their speeches and actions suggest the opposite, argues Victor Mallet.
- What is the best course for US foreign policy? Intervention or isolation? Four writers debate.
By Gideon Rachman
The people who prepare President Barack Obama’s national security briefing must be wondering what to put at the top of the pile. Should it be the Russian assault on Ukraine, or the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) in Iraq and Syria? And what items should go just below that?
The UK decision to send ground attack aircraft to perform reconnaissance missions over Iraq has led to mounting speculation that it could soon join the US in conducting bombing missions against Islamist extremists terrorising the local population.
The British government has so far resisted calls from some politicians and former officers to join the US in launching air strikes against insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis). But the type of aircraft it has sent to the region – the Tornado GR4 – leaves the option open. Read more
Recep Tayyip Erdogan just won his ninth straight popular vote in just over a decade, to become the first directly elected president of Turkey, in what is supposed to be his apotheosis, raising him to the historic height of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, father of modern Turkey. As his opponents have recurring reason to know, Mr Erdogan has established an almost preternatural grip on the electorate that not even prima facie evidence of corruption, willful policy decisions, and creeping authoritarianism seem able to loosen. Now Turkey and the world will see if he is truly a statesman.
Nobody can gainsay Mr Erdogan his victory which, despite a comparatively low turnout, has given him a comfortable first round win. But after more than a decade as prime minister of a nation he has helped transform – not least by spreading wealth and giving a voice to those whom Ataturk’s secular republic kept at the margins of society – Mr Erdogan must now decide where to take a great and pivotal country he increasingly treats as his personal patrimony. Read more
The call this weekend by bishops of the Church of England for the UK to grant asylum to the Christians driven out of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul by the jihadi fanatics of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, seems instinctively right. As the Right Reverend David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, observed: “this is, in part, our mess”.
“We have created the space in which Isis have moved in and have expelled Christians from northern Iraq and would like to expel them from the whole of that country,” he told the BBC. Read more