First Past the Post: January 23

first dance

East and South Asia

Quartz considers the weirdness of the Bank of Japan.

Nitin Gadkari is out — and Rajnath Singh is back in — as chief of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in India.  More analysis here.

Foreign Policy features a photo essay of Tibet during the Cultural Revolution.

Pakistani prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf starts to consider a caretaker government and upcoming spring elections.

South Korea’s outgoing president Lee Myung-bak has vetoed a taxi reform bill.

It didn’t take long for Japan’s new finance minister Taro Aso to make a gaffe.

Filipino candidates may now be campaigning ‘Gangnam style.’

The popularity of Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying is nosediving.

North America

After all the inaugural balls have ended (pictured above), U.S. House Republicans may pass a short-term extension of the debt ceiling.

Considering the fate of the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

 Latin America / Caribbean

Tyler Cowen considers what a ‘Coasian’ bargain between Asia and relative underpopulated Latin America would look like.

Latin America is decriminalizing abortion.

Back in Venezuela, ministers are optimistic about president Hugo Chávez’s return from medical care.


Eritrea is calm after what appears to have been a failed coup.

Senegal wants to curb its baby boom.

Malians are fleeing for Algeria as the French-led efforts to back the government intensify.

The opposition NPP will now also boycott the vetting of the ministers of Ghanaian president John Dramani Mahama.

Kenya’s Amani coalition presidential candidate Musalia Mudavadi announces his running mate.


David Cameron promises an ‘in-or-out’ referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union by 2017.

Georgian foreign minister Maia Panjikidze reinforces its Europe-oriented policy.

Not incredibly reassuring news from Ukraine.

A gay rights demonstration in Moscow turns violent.

Fifty years of amicable Franco-German relations.

Middle East

Final results from the Israeli Knesset elections will come in shortly.

Bahrain’s opposition has agreed to talks with the government.

Hamdeen Sabahi rides again — this time, to win Egypt’s parliamentary elections.

A scandalous video emerges on election day in Jordan.

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