First Past the Post: February 20

East and South Asia

India’s trade unions are calling a two-day strike.

Japan hits a record $17.4 billion trade deficit for January 2013.

An interview with Democratic Party of Japan leader Banri Kaieda.

James Fallows on the Chinese hacking affair.

North America

Anti-corruption units swoop in on Québec politics.

On the U.S. prison epidemic.

On the fight over U.S. sequestration budget cuts.

Latin America / Caribbean

The opposition Barbados Labour Party is favored to win Thursday’s election.

Lula backs Dilma in 2014.

Mexicans approve of new president Enrique Peña Nieto so far by a margin of 56% to 29%.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Making the case for an African pope.

What China thinks about Ethiopian investment.

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga are essentially tied in polls for the Kenyan presidency.

Europe

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has announced her candidacy for mayor of Paris.  [French]

Irish taoiseach Enda Kenny makes an apology for the Magdalene laundries.

Greece prepares for the first general strike of the year Wednesday.

Hilary Mantel has some choice thoughts about the Duchess of Cambridge.

Germany’s view of the Italian election.

Edward Hugh on self-perpetuating Spanish contraction.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Raffi Hovannisian, who officially lost Armenia’s Monday presidential election, is declaring victory and calling on incumbent Serzh Sargsyan to concede.

The Economist considers Georgian mineral water.

Stability and progress in Central Asia.

Middle East and North Africa

Tunisian prime minister Hamadi Jebali (pictured above) has now resigned after technocratic government talks fail.

It looks like Tzipi Livni will soon join the coalition of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as justice minister with a portfolio for Palestinian negotiations.

An interview with Iyad al-Samarrai, secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party.

Australia and Oceania

The Labor-Green alliance is over, but the Australian government won’t fall.

Australia is going through yet another moment where Labor is looking to former prime minister Kevin Rudd as its electoral savior.

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