Hassan Rohani

Mr Bernanke scared markets after announcing Wednesday that the Federal Reserve will take a more heavy-handed role in the US economy with an “ambitious timetable” of quantitative easing. The announcement fueled a sell-off in equities, bonds and commodities causing world-wide financial turbulence and hitting emerging markets the hardest. People are questioning his earlier optimism in the US economy, the FT reports.

♦ Ashin Wirathu, leader of a radical Buddhist group in Myanmar, has launched a campaign against the country’s Muslim minority, according to the New York Times.

Manhattan-based analysts at United Against Iran, a “privately funded advocacy group,” are trying to keep Iranian merchant ships from breaking economic and trade sanctions via satellite transmissions, navigational data and computer algorithms.

♦ The FT’s Phillip Stephens finds the election of Iranian president Mr. Rohani will likely not stop the country’s development of a nuclear weapon.

China’s central bank has refused to ease the country’s credit crunch by injecting extra cash into the market, which has led to suspicions that the government is to blame.

♦ Actor James Gandolfini died Wednesday, having achieved recognition late in life for his lively characterization of Tony Soprano in the hit television series

♦ The BBC visits two Goodyear-owned tyre factories in Amiens, north France, to look at how the country is getting to grips with labour reform.
♦ The nuclear stand-off with Iran can be resolved now that Hassan Rohani has been elected, writes Ayatollah Seyed Salman Safavi.
♦ Thousands of mainland Chinese have permanent residency in The Gambia – as the fastest and cheapest way for a Chinese citizen to gain right of residency in Hong Kong is to first gain permanent residency in mainland Africa’s smallest country.
♦ For the first time in human history, overweight people outnumber the underfed, and obesity is widespread in wealthy and poor nations alike.
♦ The US scrambles to save Taliban talks after an Afghan backlash. Also, take a look at the Taliban’s new Doha office.
♦ With protests continuing in Brazil, it’s a good time to take a read through our São Paulo correspondent’s feature on BBQ activists. 

The impact of Iran’s election
What does the surprise victory in Iran’s presidential election of Hassan Rohani, the candidate backed by reformists, mean for the country and the region? Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor, and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran join Gideon Rachman

Hassan Rohani ( ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian voters rejected the hardline candidates in last weekend’s presidential election in favour of Hassan Rohani, a 65-year-old reformist-backed cleric.

Known as the “diplomat sheikh”, he is a former nuclear negotiator and convinced the regime to suspend uranium enrichment between 2003-2005. He has also served in Iran’s parliament and the security council.

Rohani “believes in the same pragmatic policies as Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president who has been in alliance with reformist forces in recent years”, wrote Najmeh Bozorgmeh, the FT’s Tehran correspondent. “Mr Rafsanjani’s backing for his campaign, and that of reformist leaders, was crucial to his victory.”

 

♦ The west’s dominance of the Middle East is coming to an end, says Gideon Rachman.
♦ Protests against student bus fares spread throughout Brazil’s major cities, with hundreds of protesters invading areas of the national Congress complex in Brasília.
♦ Hassan Rohani pledges greater transparency for the Islamic Republic’s controversial nuclear programme and says he will work to ease international sanctions.
♦ Iran’s hardliners blame each other for their election defeat, forgetting the millions who turned out in the streets for the jailed reformist Mir-Hossein Moussavi in 2009.
♦ America is the world’s number one and Germany is Europe’s, yet both seem content to punch below their weights, says Josef Joffe, editor of Die Zeit.
♦ The new governor of Luxor comes from the political arm of an Islamist group that once carried out terrorist attacks that killed dozens in the same city.
♦ Chen Guangcheng’s charge that he has been asked to leave NYU because of pressure from China will be followed closely by other universities grappling with the potential difficulties of setting up programmes and campuses in China. 

A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Tehran (Getty)

By Aranya Jain

Iran goes to the polls today, with 6 candidates competing to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, a group largely consisting of regime loyalists. The turbulent politics of the election and the large variety of support groups involved make the result unpredictable, with further ambiguity arising from the supreme leader’s claims that he has no favourite to win. These articles are the best guide on what to expect.