Barack Obama’s first trip to Beijing as president in 2009 took place at a moment of great weakness in the US during a deep recession, and apparent strength in China, which had rapidly engineered a return to growth.

The roles seem oddly reversed ahead of Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington later this month. In contrast with steady if unspectacular US growth, Chinese leaders are struggling on multiple fronts, to calm a wobbly stock market and maintain output in a slowing economy. Read more

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Who would be a political pollster in Singapore? It is perhaps unsurprising that they are pretty much redundant in Singapore, where every election since the Southeast Asian nation’s independence 50 years ago has been won resoundingly by the People’s Action party . Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is right that the current refugee crisis is forcing Europe to consider whether it can live up to its own, self-proclaimed values. Unfortunately, the answer is likely to be “No”.

Rupert Murdoch has been on a month-long working holiday in Australia – and judging by his Twitter feed he is not enamoured with the state of politics in his native country.

“Great month in Oz – beautiful country, gtreAT [sic] people but with large problems,” declared the 84-year-old media mogul in the first of a series of tweets. Read more

Yesterday a colleague asked me what I’m planning to write my next column about – “The migrant crisis”, I said. “Why are we calling them migrants”, he replied. “Why don’t we call them refugees?” It’s a good question and one that has been exercising many commentators. Al-Jazeera, for example, has already said that it will not use the word “migrant” since that implies a choice to move country. The correct term, they argue, is “refugee” – since most of the people on the move are in fear of their lives. David Miliband, the former British foreign secretary and now head of the International Rescue Committee, makes the same argument. He says that the word migrant “suggests these people are voluntarily fleeing, whereas in fact, if you’ve been barrel-bombed out of your home three times, life and limb demand that you flee.” The FT, however, is still running headlines about the “migrant crisis”. So are we wrong? I don’t think so. Read more

The European Central Bank kept rates on hold as expected and downgraded its inflation and growth forecasts, as Mario Draghi adopted a more dovish tone in his press conference.


Europe’s borders under strain
Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis in decades, with Germany assuming the greatest burden for absorbing the asylum seekers. Gideon Rachman talks to Jeevan Vasagar, FT correspondent in Berlin, and Tony Barber, FT Europe editor, about the political strains caused by the crisis.

By Gideon Rachman
The gigantic military parade that will pass through Beijing on Thursday is meant to be all about the past. But, inevitably, many in the Asia-Pacific region will see it as a disturbing message about the future.

How risky is China’s volatility for the global economy?
The impact of China’s stock market volatility has been felt around the world this week. Martin Sandbu is joined by the FT’s economics editor Chris Giles, and US economics editor Sam Fleming, to discus show risky this is for the health of the global economy.

Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim

Not content with threatening to cut off funding for artists she deems disloyal to Israel, Miri Regev, Israel’s far-right culture minister, is apparently seeking to project power onto her country’s preeminent foreign policy issue: the recently signed nuclear deal with Iran. Read more

Ukraine faces battles on two fronts
Rising violence in eastern Ukraine has prompted the leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine to convene an emergency summit to try to halt the fighting; at the same time Kiev’s negotiations with its creditors are reaching a critical point. Ben Hall discusses the twin crises with Neil Buckley and Elaine Moore.

In recent days North and South Korea have resurrected the practice of blasting threats and propaganda at each other across their shared border. But last weekend, amid all the sabre-rattling, one South Korean turned some of his country’s border loudspeakers to a more harmonious use.

Won Hyung-joon, who has been trying to organise a cross-border concert for seven years, deployed them on Saturday at a concert in which Antoine Marguier, conductor of the UN Orchestra, led South Korean instrumentalists through Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Korean folk song ArirangRead more

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio’s star may be rising and Tony Abbott’s falling among senior News Corp executives, a Sydney speech on Thursday night by chief executive Robert Thomson suggested. Read more

China’s renminbi devaluation
China this week stunned financial markets with the biggest devaluation of the renminbi in two decades, only to intervene to stop the slide. Was it a move towards liberalisation or a desperate bid to halt the country’s economic slowdown? Ben Hall discusses the move and its consequences with James Kynge and Gabriel Wildau.

GOP Presidential Candidates Debate In Myrtle Beach

It was the showdown that has had US political junkies on the edge of their seats for weeks: bombastic billionaire Donald Trump squaring off against nine rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. 

For the first time, at midday today, the Bank of England is publishing simultaneously its decision on interest rates, the minutes of the rate-setting meeting and its quarterly inflation report. Mark Carney, the governor, is holding a press conference 45 minutes later. Key things to look out for include whether the vote on rates was unanimous and the Bank’s inflation prediction.


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Flexibility is a prized trait for leaders in a world of uncertainty, constant change, and unpredictable competition. So it is hardly surprising that leaders should seek the same flexibility from their own staff.

Administering such a system of shorter-term or temporary contractors is ostensibly easy, using shift-management software that matches hours required to hours on offer. The economic advantages look attractive.

But if companies treat temporary workers as factors in an equation rather than as individuals, they will undermine the benefits of a less rigid labour system. It is training that will make the difference between a flexible but durable approach, which is of mutual benefit to employer and employee, and one that eventually disadvantages both company and worker.

 Read more

Barack Obama’s climate plan
President Barack Obama this week unveiled America’s most far reaching action so far on climate change by imposing stringent emissions cuts on the power sector. Orla Ryan asks Pilita Clark and Barney Jopson about the significance of the move.

  • Owning a top English football club used to be every tycoon’s dream, but five stalled sales this summer suggest the asset appears to have lost some of its lustre
  • Fears are growing that Ukraine’s Right Sector, the only big volunteer battalion Kiev has not brought under regular army control, could turn its fire on the government itself
  • The desire to avoid a power struggle within the Taliban and the Pakistan military’s push for peace talks in Afghanistan explain the silence around the death of Mullah Omar, writes Ahmed Rashid
  • Ankara is organizing Syrian rebels for an assault on the Islamic State’s last stronghold along the Turkish border and could even use its warplanes to support their advance (Foreign Policy)
  • Rohingya female migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar seeking to escape turmoil and poverty are often tricked or forced into marriages to pay smugglers for their freedom (New York Times)

 Read more