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Financial Times (December 30)

2014/ 12/ 31 by jd in Global News

During 2014, populists “enjoyed one of their most encouraging years since the second world war. Insurgent anti-establishment movements recorded electoral triumphs and opinion poll gains everywhere from France and Greece to Spain, Sweden and the UK.” Despite this resurgence, the populist movements are often at cross-purposes, differing widely in what they support.


Bloomberg (December 29)

2014/ 12/ 30 by jd in Global News

“The Greek parliament’s decision to trigger elections by rejecting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s presidential candidate throws Europe back into turmoil. The European Union can avert a full-blown existential crisis, however, if it acknowledges that Greece’s economic pain is real and not entirely self-inflicted.”


Washington Post (December 29)

2014/ 12/ 29 by jd in Global News

In China, rule by law is an “empty promise.” In the years since President Xi Jinping “came to power, hundreds of rights defenders and intellectuals have been thrown into prison for political reasons. Properties have been expropriated or demolished, free speech has been restricted, religion has been suppressed, women have been forced to have abortions, and torture has multiplied. In Xinjiang and Tibet, the authorities have carried out one shocking human rights catastrophe after another. The abuses have never stopped.” The current Government campaign of  “‘governing the country according to law’ is just another attempt by the party to address its crisis of legitimacy. Such slogans may help the party fool people within China and the international community.”


New York Times (December 27)

2014/ 12/ 28 by jd in Global News

A quarter century ago Tiananmen appeared to signal the downfall of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Today, “the world’s largest political organization, with 86 million members, seems as robust as ever.” Despite this seeming success, the CCP remains riddled with contradictions and insecurity over everything from protests to environmental catastrophe, a housing bubble and slowing growth. “The dark side of the Chinese dream — the negative fantasy that haunts China’s psyche — explains why Mr. Xi, the strongest Chinese leader since Deng, is so skittish, so ready to jump at shadows.”


USA Today (December 26)

2014/ 12/ 27 by jd in Global News

“America has much to be cocky about.” It has frequently been the world leader “and its entrepreneur-driven economy is again the envy of the world.” Nevertheless, the U.S. is plagued by “fear and anxiety. If you didn’t know better, you’d think this was a nation of wimps.” Whether it’s ebola or terrorism, today’s outsized fears “need to be tempered. The world’s greatest and most powerful nation deserves people who exhibit backbone and have the confidence to live by their principles.”


Financial Times (December 24)

2014/ 12/ 26 by jd in Global News

“The triumph and tragedy of space flight, manned and unmanned, have been on full view over the past year.” Funding both types of space exploration is essential, as each provides benefits. “Space exploration is a worthy activity for our modern industrial civilisation. It is the ‘manifest destiny’ of humanity to move beyond Earth.”


Wall Street Journal (December 24)

2014/ 12/ 25 by jd in Global News

“The serious threat posed by North Korea far transcends cyberspace. Only one approach is commensurate with the challenge: ending North Korea’s existence as an independent entity and reunifying the Korean Peninsula.”


LA Times (December 22)

2014/ 12/ 24 by jd in Global News

“At  the latest round of international climate talks this month in Lima, Peru, melting glaciers in the Andes and recent droughts provided a fitting backdrop for the negotiators’ recognition that it is too late to prevent climate change…. They now confront an issue that many had hoped to avoid: adaptation.”


Washington Post (December 21)

2014/ 12/ 23 by jd in Global News

“We have just witnessed the first major incident of cyber-blackmail or cyberterrorism. Sony Pictures Entertainment capitulated. This cannot be good, but it obscures a more unsettling message: Our digital dependence exposes us to catastrophic failures of basic services.”


The Economist (December 20)

2014/ 12/ 22 by jd in Global News

“A financial crash in Russia; falling oil prices and a strong dollar; a new gold rush in Silicon Valley and a resurgent American economy; weakness in Germany and Japan; tumbling currencies in emerging markets from Brazil to Indonesia; an embattled Democrat in the White House…. Add all this up and 2015 seems likely to be bumpy.”


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