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An Odd Incentive in Venezuela

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Via the BBC: Venezuela mango-thrower gets flat from president A Venezuelan woman has had her wish for a flat granted by President Nicolas Maduro after she made her point by hitting him on the head with a mango. Marleny Olivo threw the fruit at the president while he was driving a bus through the central […]

Mapping Languages Worldwide

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Some interesting stuff via WaPo:  The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts.

Two Hostages, Including One American, Killed In Raid On Al Qaeda Targets

Predator Drone

An attack on al Qaeda outposts in January resulted in the death of two hostages, but also resulted in the death of two high value al Qaeda targets.

China Warns U.S. About North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

North Korea Nukes

Chinese analysts are telling their American counterparts that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is far more sophisticated than previously believed.

The Complexity of Genocide

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The Holocaust was a very atypical case of genocide.

Egyptian Court Sentences Former President To 20 Years

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An Egyptian Court has sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi, who was deposed in a July 2013 coup, to 20 years in prison for his alleged role in the deaths of civilians during protests while he was in office: CAIRO — An Egyptian criminal court on Tuesday sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years […]

Cuba To Be Removed From List Of Terrorist States

Cuban American Flags

Another step forward for U.S.-Cuban relations.

US-Latin American Relations

Barack Obama, Raul Castro

Some thoughts on a column by Roger Noriega on the Obama administration and Latin America,

Pope Francis Speaks The Truth About The Armenian Genocide, Turks Get Predictably Upset

Armenian Genocide

Unlike most world leaders, Pope Francis is wiling to call a genocide a genocide.

Chart of the Day: An Example of American Exceptionalism

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The following charge underscores how exceptional the United States is in this policy area is when compared to other democracies (note the countries the US finds itself neighbors with, so to speak).  Source:  The Economist.

UK Poll Tracker

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House of Commons elections are set for May 7th.  Here is the Economist‘s poll tracker:  click.

A History of Failed Rapprochement

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Worth a read from Foreign Policy:  From Washington to Tehran: A Legacy of Failure. If this deal holds it is a very, very big deal.

Reactions To Iran Nuclear Deal About What You’d Expect

Iran Nuclear Accord Photo Op

The Iranian nuclear accords are barely 24 hours old and some people have already made up their mind about them.

Most Cuban-Americans Support Obama’s Opening To Cuba

Diana Nyad

New polling on President Obama’s opening to Cuba is likely to surprise some, and disappoint others.

Yemen Civil War Becoming Regional

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With everything going on in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia, the last thing that the world needed was for unrest and war to spread to yet another country in the Middle East. Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula and a historic site of unrest, is the latest to be engulfed in the sectarian […]

Lee Kuan Yew’s Legacy

lee-kuan-yew

Modern Singapore’s founder passed away at age 91 earlier this week.

Rand Paul Tries To Explain Why He Signed The Cotton Letter To Iran, And Fails

Rand Paul

Rand Paul now says he signed the Cotton Letter to strengthen the Administration’s bargaining position.

Benjamin Netanyahu Appears To Secure Victory In Israeli Elections

Netanyahu Victory

After appearing to be behind in pre-election polling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have secured a victory in Israel’s elections.

Netanyahu Trailing In New Polls, But He Could Remain In Power

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu is trailing in the final polls leading to Tuesday’s election, but he still may be able to form the coalition needed to stay in power.

Some Charts for the Morning: Latin American Economies

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Via The Telegraph:  Colombia: from failed state to Latin American powerhouse Some regional comparisons:  

In the Company of Misery

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Via Bloomberg:  The 15 Most Miserable Economies in the World. Misery, as in the misery index (“unemployment rate + change in the consumer price index = misery”):

From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up” File (TP for Oil Edition)

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Via Bloomberg:  Tissue Paper-for-Venezuelan Oil Swap Offered by Trinidad. The absurd nature of the headline aside, this is not a funny story at all given the utter disaster that is the Venezuelan economy.  The unnecessary and man-made nature of the the situation just adds to the tragedy.

Latin American Stall?

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An ominous headline from The Economist:  Latin America’s progress has stopped For the past three years, the poverty rate has stayed stubbornly at around 28% of the population, according to household surveys collated by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The proportion that is extremely poor (with a daily income of […]

Denmark Terror Attacks and Machine-Gun Censorship

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Yet another attack on religious freedom in Europe.

Minsk Talks Result In Ukrainian Cease Fire Agreement

Minsk Leaders Photo

A cease fire deal in Ukraine, but a long term settlement will require compromises from both Moscow and Kiev.

Obama’s National Security Strategy Is Better Than His ‘National Security Strategy’

barack-obama-vox-pointing

My latest for War on The Rocks, “IS OBAMA REAL(IST) CONFUSED?”

Netanyahu Reportedly Considering Canceling Speech To Congress

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is apparently realizing that speaking to Congress may not be a good idea after all.

Three Minute Words: China’s Passive-Agressive Internet

china-internet-censorship

Can a country entry reap the benefits of the connected age while successfully tying down the Internet?

From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up” File

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Via NPR:  China Seizes Toilet Tissue Featuring Likeness Of Hong Kong Leader.

Netanyahu’s Speech To Congress Becoming Even More Of A Partisan Football

U.S. Israeli Flags

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu’s speech to Congress is becoming even more partisan, much to the apparent chagrin of the Israelis.

Democrats Consider Boycott Of Netanyahu Speech To Congress

U.S. Israeli Flags

Some Congressional Democrats are considering skipping a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a Joint Session Of Congress.

Congress Is Making The U.S.-Israeli Relationship Even More Partisan

Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu

By inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress, Republicans are damaging the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Syriza Wins Greek Elections

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The anti-“austerity” party Syriza has won a commanding victory in Greece’s parliamentary elections: Greece’s far-left Syriza party, which seeks to renegotiate Greece’s loan deals with Europe’s central authorities, won the largest share of seats in the Hellenic Parliament in historic elections Sunday, capturing 35.5 percent to 39.5 percent share according to exit polling. Syriza’s victory […]

The Global 1%

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Via the BBC:  Richest 1% to own more than rest of world, Oxfam says The wealthiest 1% will soon own more than the rest of the world’s population, according to a study by anti-poverty charity Oxfam. The charity’s research shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% […]

John Kerry Outsources American Foreign Policy To James Taylor

John Kerry JJames Taylor

With some still criticizing the Administration for not sending a higher-ranking officials to Sunday’s unity rally in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry decided it might be a good idea to stop by Paris on the way home from India. And, to show our French friends that America stands beside them in the fight against […]

Obama’s Absence From Paris Rally: Egregious Diplomatic Error, Or Much Ado About Nothing?

World Leaders Paris

Some are criticizing the President for not going to Paris for yesterday’s rally.

Cuban Activists Released; US-Cuban Talks Set

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Via the BBC:  Cuba releases dozens of opposition activists The Cuban authorities have released at least 36 opposition activists since Wednesday, according to dissident organisations. They are believed to be from a list of 53 activists the United States requested to be freed as part of efforts to mend links. More info at the link. […]

Terror Attack Kills 11 at French Satirical Newspaper Charlie Hebdo

coran-merde-charlie-hebdo-karim-achoui-balles

At least 11 are dead and 10 wounded in an attack on free expression.

Venezuela Officially in Recession

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Via the BBC:  Venezuela recession confirmed as Maduro attacks US ‘oil war’ The Venezuelan economy is now officially in recession after the central bank released figures showing that it has been shrinking all year. The bank said the economy had declined by 2.3% in the third quarter of 2014. It also revealed for the first […]

Rousseff Starts Second Term

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Via the BBC:  Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff sworn in for a second term Representatives from more than 130 countries attended the swearing-in ceremony, which also saw Vice-President Michel Temer take his oath. The presidents of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro; Uruguay, Jose Mujica; Bolivia, Evo Morales, and Chile, Michelle Bachelet were among the leaders present. US Vice President […]

Public Opinion on Cuba

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Via WaPo‘s The Fix: Sixty-eight percent support ending the trade embargo with Cuba — up 11 points from 2009 — and 74 percent support ending travel restrictions to Cuba — a jump of 19 points from five years ago. The main issue over time: More info at the link.

Dangerous Times: Perception and Reality

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Steven Pinker ad Andrew Mack remind us over at Slate that:  The World Is Not Falling Apart News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not […]

North Korean Internet Connections Collapse

North Korea

What does exist of North Korea’s connection to the Internet has largely collapsed in what may be an attack from outside sources: SAN FRANCISCO — North Korea’s already tenuous links to the Internet went completely dark on Monday after days of instability, in what Internet monitors described as one of the worst North Korean network […]

China Losing Patience With Pyongyang? Don’t Believe It Until You See It Happen

China North Korea

There are again reports of Chinese frustration with the Kim regime in North Korea, but change is unlikely to happen in the DPRK until Beijing is ready to let it happen.

Russia Invades Ukraine, Hookers Raise Prices

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Talk about your second- and third-order effects.

Comparative Human Rights Abuses

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Via the Monkey Cage (Putting Cuban human rights violations in some context), Erik Voeten notes In a recent article (ungated) in the American Political Science Review, Penn State political scientist Christopher J. Fariss develops a smart measurement model that captures the common component among different measures of physical integrity rights. Moreover, this model generates measures […]

Drezner on Cuba

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If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend Dan Drezner’s piece on Cuba from yesterday:  Every big question you have about the U.S. opening to Cuba, answered

Some Questions for Those who Oppose an Opening with Cuba

Cuban American Flags

A little round of Qs and As on US-Cuban policy.

Ok, This is Silly: No “Team America”

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Via TPM Livewire:  Paramount Blocks 2004 Movie ‘Team America’ From Being Shown In Theaters

Rand Paul Breaks With Other 2016 GOP Contenders In Backing Obama’s Opening To Cuba

Senate Homeland Security Holds Hearing On Federal Programs Equipping Police Departments

Rand Paul is one of the few Republicans who seems to be evaluating the new policy toward Cuba through something other than an outdated Cold War perspective.

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