First Past the Post: January 9

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East and South Asia

Longtime lawmaker Moon Hee-sang will become the emergency leader of South Korea’s Democratic United Party.

Foreign Policy considers India’s new direct-benefit transfer policy.

More on the LDP’s planned stimulus for Japan’s economy.

North America

On the expiration of the U.S. payroll tax holiday.

Arguments for and against the ‘platinum coin’ solution.

Latin America / Caribbean

Although president Hugo Chávez will miss his swearing-in on January 10, the Venezuelan National Assembly has voted to allow him to remain in Cuba for cancer treatment indefinitely.

Africa

M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have declared a ceasefire.

More ICC woes for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.

Former Ghanaian president John Kufuor weighs in on the NPP’s court challenge to the December 2012 presidential vote.

Europe

French far-right Front national leader Marine Le Pen is scolding the West on its pro-rebel stance in Syria.

The eurozone unemployment rate reaches a new high of 11.8%.

Fully 50% of Scots oppose independence, while just 32% support it, according to a new poll.

Middle East

Libya’s liberals have withdrawn from the national assembly over delays in drafting the country’s constitution.

Possible early elections in Iraq.

Australia

A heat wave sends temperature from red-hot to purple-hot (pictured above), and causes alarm among environmentalists.

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