First Past the Post: January 30


East and South Asia

The influence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Thai government.

Mongolia is booming.

A profile of Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen.

Japan’s budget as an economics lesson.

Approval for the new Japanese government’s record budget.

The ongoing smog crisis in China.

The new prime minister-designate in South Korea withdraws.

North America

The Obama administration plots immigration reform.

The U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly approved senator John Kerry for U.S. secretary of state.

ThreeHundredEight‘s analysis of the Ontario Liberal leadership vote.

Latin America / Caribbean

Mexican finance minister Luis Videgaray pledges not to privatize Pemex.  [Spanish]

Barbados will go to the polls on February 21.

Why you shouldn’t care too much about the Feb. 3 Cuban elections.

Raúl Castro takes over the CELAC leadership.


Awaiting a Dutch court’s ruling over Shell’s actions in Nigeria.

Even more on Ethiopian water plans.

Uhuru Kenyatta will definitely be running for president of Kenya.

Elections in Mali by year-end now that Timbuktu is secured?  [French]


UK prime minister David Cameron will go to Algeria.

Catalunya, fresh off a vote for independence, is now asking the Spanish federal government for a fresh bailout.

French labour minister Michel Sapin claims the country is ‘totally bankrupt‘.

A controversy over the longtime Siena bank, Monte dei Paschi.

Weighing in on Armenia’s upcoming election.

Polish GDP growth fell from 4.3% to just 2.0 in 2012.

Norwegian-European relations are getting testy.

Greece’s finance minister says the country will recover in 2014.

Rainer Brüderle, a top politician in Germany’s Free Democratic Party, is under fire for making sexist remarks.

Middle East

Israel may have given its Ethiopian immigrants birth control involuntarily.

Israeli Central Bank governor Stanley Fischer is stepping down early.  Martin Wolf at The Financial Times adds his thoughts.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning a coalition that includes two-thirds of the Knesset.

Jeffrey Goldberg pours cold water on the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Germany prepares for the visit of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

Meanwhile, his one-time presidential opponent and former regime figure Ahmed Shafiq is calling for a new constitution and elections.

Bassem Sabry’s 15 points on how Egypt can step back from its current crisis.


Prime minister Julia Gillard announces that the next federal election will be on September 14 (pictured above).


Who will be the next secretary-general to lead the World Trade Organization?

Photo credit to Alex Ellinghausen.

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