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• An oil smuggling network created to evade UN sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is being exploited by the Islamist group Isis.
• In Libya hardline Islamists are pushing their agenda amid the chaos they created.
• Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs lifts the veil on its relationship with the Gaddafi-era Libyan sovereign wealth fund.
• The New York Review of Books rounds up the latest books on Iraq: The outlaw state.
• China is risking a ‘balance sheet recession’ as the impact of its stimulus measures wane.
• Linda Tirado on why globalisation and technology are to blame when the poor are accused of failing to make long term plans.
- Edward Luce examines EU-US drift: “Without US leadership, the transatlantic alliance will not spring back to life.”
- Philip Stephens argues that London’s Heathrow airport has turned its “manifest failings into a potentially golden asset” by convincing travellers that “the only way to improve the dismal lot of passengers is guarantee Heathrow still higher profits”.
- David Pilling asks: what is the real point of GDP and can it ever be accurately measured?
- Smart view: the French government hopes that its package of business reforms will encourage investment – the FT’s Michael Stothard sees whether France’s business community is convinced.
- The conflict between China and Vietnam in 1979 lasted less than a month, but the legacy of ferocious fighting permeates the sour relations between the two countries even now.
- Isis’s PR department is pushing its vision of an Islamic state.
- Industrialisation has left China with soil pollution that is damaging health and livelihoods across the country. The government had declared soil pollution data a “state secret”, but officials have slowly started acknowledging the issue.
- The US Navy’s most sophisticated warship is designed to be operated by video gamers – the young sailors who crew their ships have, after all, been raised on video games.
- Neil McArthur, a philosopher, asks if humans will ever be liberated from basic biological needs when it comes to sex.
- Steve Negus in The Arabist details how Iraq has been mismanaged by the Maliki goverment.
By Gideon Rachman
The headlines are dominated by regional crises – in Ukraine, in Iraq and in the South China Sea. But is there a common thread that ties together these apparently unconnected events?
- Fuel shortages and power outages are putting pressure on the Islamist insurgents who seized control of Mosul last week.
- Their military offensive has been matched by a digital offensive of equal prowess.
- Moderate Islamists are being eclipsed by their extremist counterparts, while jihadists are on the march, roving unchecked across broad sections of North Africa and the Middle East.
- Hong Kong is undergoing deepening tensions over its political future as a self-governed territory under Chinese sovereignty.
- Argentina is playing a game of chicken with NML, saying: we are prepared to go as far as the possibility of default not to pay you. Given that, how are we going to settle this case?
- Oil majors including ExxonMobil and BP started evacuating staff from Iraq as Sunni militants battled for control of the north’s main oil facility.
- China has been moving sand onto reefs and shoals to add several new islands to the Spratly archipelago, in what foreign officials say is a new effort to expand the Chinese footprint in the South China Sea.
- Anti-Brussels sentiment in Hungary is manifesting itself in a fight over home-brewed palinka.
- China’s increased border security and pressure on Nepal to turn away Tibetans has reduced the flow of Tibetan refugees to a trickle.
- Germany, the previous Darth Vaders of football, are keen to put an end to being beautiful losers and become beautiful winners.
- Richard Lloyd Parry, Asia editor for the Times, writes about class war in Thailand and the story of Thaksin Shinawatra.
- Nouri al-Maliki has made mistakes, but the real culprits in the present upheaval are the faultlines running through Iraq, contradictory Western policies and the predatory approach of Iraq’s neighbors
- The seizure of 160 computer flash sticks has revealed how Isis came from nowhere and having nothing to possessing Syrian oil fields and control of Iraq’s second city.
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.