Category Archives: Assorted Links

First Past the Post: May 31, 2013


South Asia

Bhutan gets ready for only the second set of parliamentary elections in its history.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (i.e., the Pakistani Taliban) confirms death of second-in-command Wailur Rehman and suspends pending peace talks with the incoming Sharif government.

Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf will stay in Pakistan to face his various charges.

East Asia

One out of every four elderly Chinese live under the poverty line.

Now the Philippine economy is overpowering everyone in Asia, including China.

North America

Two more staffers of Toronto mayor Rob Ford have resigned.

Latin America / Caribbean

Thoughts on U.S.-Caribbean relations.

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles goes to Colombia (pictured above with Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos).

U.S. president Barack Obama will host a state dinner for Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff this October.

Argentina gets a cabinet reshuffle.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Both houses of Nigeria’s parliament have now passed a bill criminalizing same-sex marriage.

The International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor entertains repatriating the case against Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta to Kenyan courts.

Who ‘owns’ the Masaai brand?

Is Senegal becoming more susceptible to Islamic extremism?

Guinea’s election campaign kicks off in advance of June 30 voting.

Considering the end of the 27-year regime of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.

Jeune Afrique interviews Rwandan president Paul Kagame.  [French]

Western Europe

Spain’s two main parties agree a broad anti-austerity pact before next month’s European Commission meeting.

French president François Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel finally agree on something — the Eurogroup needs a full-time boss.

Belfast residents and Northern Irish survivors of the 1972 shooting are not fun of London’s new ‘Bloody Sundae’ cocktail.

Economists argue that Alex Salmond’s vision of Scottish independence isn’t quite so independent.

Iceland’s new government puts EU accession negotiations on hold.

Central and Eastern Europe

Poland’s economy, one of Europe’s few bright spots, slows significantly.

Serbian prime minister Ivica Dačić hopes for confirmation of EU accession talks by June.

Cyprus’s economy will contract by nearly 9% this year.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

As the European Union moves toward lifting its ban on providing weapons to the Syrian opposition, Russia considers loosening restrictions on weapons to the Assad administration.

Ukraine’s constitutional court postpones Kyiv’s municipal elections through at least 2015.

Moldova gets a new coalition government.

Middle East and North Africa

The Wilson Center’s invaluable May 30 Iran election update.

First Past the Post: April 30

* I’m returning to Suffragio‘s assorted links after a Caracas and post-Caracas hiatus.  As it turns out, people really do find these useful, so I’ll continue to do this as time allows.


South and East Asia

James Traub at Foreign Policy has a very good piece on Rahul Gandhi and Indian democracy.

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf remains in judicial trouble over Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.

Imran Khan’s appeal to young Pakistanis.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai admits receiving cash from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Team PNoy marches forward in advance of May’s Philippine elections.

North America

A Kirsten Gillibrand 2016 presidential bid?

British Columbia’s only provincial election debate.

Québec’s Liberal Party takes a turn upward in polling.

Latin America / Caribbean

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles is expected to formally contest the April 14 election results in the next week.

The Argentine press links Paraguayan president-elect Horacio Cartes to narcotrafficking. [Spanish]

Bolivian president Evo Morales can run for reelection.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Former Madagascan president Didier Ratsiraka has returned from France after over a decade to contest the July elections.

From last week: a fairly professional cabinet for Kenya under newly elected president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo and current president Goodluck Jonathan quarrel over corruption.

A cheetah attacks Botswana president Ian Khana.

Western Europe

Enrico Letta’s new government wins a confidence vote by 453 to 153 in Italy.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy re-engages French politics … in Montréal.

Matthew O’Brien at The Atlantic fears for Spain.  Edward Hugh on Spain.

French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault wants his government to avoid English words.

Also from last week: European Commission president José Manuel Barroso’s remarks apparently in favor of a more growth-oriented Europe.

The Netherlands prepares for King Willem-Alexander.

Central and Eastern Europe

Albania’s Nationalists are divided ahead of June elections.

From last week, but still relevant: how Slovenia could be the next European domino to fall.

Polls show the Bulgarian parliamentary elections will be close.

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk sacks justice minister Jarosław Gowin.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

A Ukrainian presidential commission has recommended against the pardon of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Middle East and North Africa

The 76-year-old Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered a mini-stroke and flew to Paris for treatment Sunday.

The final edition of Egypt Independent.


Joseph Nye, who practically invented the concept of soft power, explains why China and Russia don’t have any.

First Past the Post: April 8


East and South Asia

Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf cleared to run in the May parliamentary elections.

North America

Anne Smedinghoff, 25 and a State Department foreign service officer (pictured above), was donating books to students when she was killed an attack in Afghanistan.  An opportunity to honor the best of U.S. diplomacy.

Suffragio officially receives ‘Honorable Mention’ from the Online Achievement in International Studies blogging awards.

Maybe the sequester is good for America.

U.S. representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart haz a sad because Beyoncé and Jay-Z might (but probably don’t) violate a likely unconstitutional ban on U.S. travel to Cuba that dates from 1959.


Nicolás Maduro curses his opponent’s supporters.

Latin America / Caribbean

Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva face charges.

Mariana Silva remains a top commodity in Brazilian politics.

Meet João Santana, the Lee Atwater of Latin America.

Dilma Rousseff is not a lock for reelection as Brazilian president.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta looks to his cabinet.


Portugal’s top court attacks austerity, and its prime minister outlines new cuts.

ECB chief Mario Draghi throws shade on the initial plan for Cyprus.

Luxembourg considers bank transparency.

Florence mayor Matteo Renzi puts the pressure on center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani.

Two candidates claim victory in Montenegro’s presidential election.

Complications between the German and French left.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Two allies of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko are freed from prison in Ukraine.

Middle East and North Africa

Tammam Salam is the consensus candidate to become Lebanon’s next prime minister.

New charges levied against former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

First Past the Post: April 4-5

East and South Asia

Newly minted Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda is expected to push through massive pro-growth monetary policy on Thursday.

Snark (and rightfully so) from FP Passport about the double standards applied by Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai confirms he won’t seek a third term.

Previewing the Malaysian election.

North America

Business interests not so stoked about the current U.S. immigration reform.

Ezra Klein daydreams that the U.S. government will break up big banking.


Henrique Capriles attacks a plan to use the Venezuelan military to turn out the vote.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Former Central African Republic president François Bozize blames Chad for aiding the rebels that deposed him.


Italy could begin voting on a successor to president Giorgio Napolitano on April 18.

Incumbent Montenegrin president Filip Vujanovic leads in polls in advance of Sunday’s presidential vote.

Portugal’s government survives a no-confidence vote.

Wise words, as usual, from Tyler Cowen on France and austerity.


First Past the Post: April 3


East and South Asia

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak dissolves parliament ahead of elections later this month.

Another Aquino to run for vice president in 2016?

Baijiu in the time of modesty.

James Fallows and his readers give us reason to doubt the seriousness of the North Korean threat.

What to make of new North Korean prime minister Park Bong-ju?

Martin Wolf at Financial Times worries about the Chinese economy.

India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh inveighs against a future ‘perennially stuck’ at 5% growth, warns government action is crucial.

North America

It’s a hot economic topic this week but if you haven’t read it yet, former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman’s New York Times piece is still very much worth a read on its own terms.


Acting president Nicolás Maduro kicked off his campaign Tuesday in Barinas state, the home of late president Hugo Chávez.

Challenger Henrique Capriles kicked off his campaign in Barinas, too.

Maduro relates what he heard from a little birdie.

Latin America / Caribbean

Why Colombia is no longer the world’s top cocaine producer.

Uruguay’s senate votes in favor of same-sex marriage.

Paraguayan president Federico Franco confirms that neither presidential contender possesses a ‘Bolivarian tendency‘.  [Spanish]

An interview with Daniel Sánchez, the head of the Confederación de Empresarios Privados de Bolivia, on Chilean-Bolivian relations. [Spanish]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Former South African president Nelson Mandela remains hospitalized.

Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta makes the case for dropping his ICC charges.

The plight of Gambia’s opposition parties and April 4 local elections.


The problem with mortgages and evictions in Ireland.

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano holds talks with 10 ‘wise men’ over Italian political impasse.

Cypriot finance minister Michael Sarris has resigned.

Eurozone unemployment rises to 12.0%, a 1.1% increase in the past year.

Former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac admits having an undisclosed Swiss bank account.

Senegalese immigrant Karamba Diaby could become Germany’s first black MP.

Serbia-Kosovo talks aren’t going so well.

New polls in the Paris mayoral election.

Polls show support for the Social Democrats in Sweden is rising.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

The latest on Armenia’s presidential standoff.

Middle East and North Africa

So Israel and Gaza are once again exchanging fire.

Russians illegally climb the Great Pyramids and take some amazing photographs.

American comedian Jon Stewart comes to the aid of Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, sparks diplomatic crisis.

The agenda for Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Washington on May 16.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will work for Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.


A primer on the nine candidates to become the next secretary-general of the World Trade Organization.

Photo credit to Guillermo Legaria / AFP / Getty Images.

First Past the Post: April 2


North America

Tensions grow between First Nations and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s government.

What voters cite as the biggest problem with the U.S. Republican Party.

Latin America / Caribbean

Felix Salmon’s latest on Argentina on the brink of default.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Former Liberian president Moses Blah has died.

Outgoing president Mwai Kibaki and incoming president Uhuru Kenyatta make plans for the April 9 transition.


Former SPD German chancellor Gerhard Schröder talks to Spiegel.

Prime minister Boiko Borrisov’s GERB has an even wider lead in Bulgaria over the Bulgarian Socialists.

Galicia premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo is in trouble over his connections to drug traffickers.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Russia won’t bail out its depositors in Cyprus.

Middle East and North Africa

Hamas reelected Khaled Meshaal (pictured above) as its leader.

Najib Mikati seems likely to return as prime minister of Lebanon.

First Past the Post: March 28-29


Light links at the end of this week, apologies!

East and South Asia

Pervez Musharraf goes to court.

Things are getting real on the Korean peninsula.

Via Tyler Cowen, a defense of the Chinese political system.

North America

It’s a fool’s errand to stand in the way of this, but here’s the meat-and-potatoes argument against same-sex marriage in the United States.


A former Bush administration Latin American official argues that United States actually tried to save Hugo Chávez’s life, and Foreign Policy prints it.

Latin America / Caribbean

Bolivia is about to become the Saudi Arabia of lithium.

Chilean student protests become heated.

Argentina tangoes one step closer to a sovereign default.

Perú controversially reinstates a military draft.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya awaits a Supreme Court ruling Saturday.

Fallout from the CAR coup.

Can you imagine Barack Obama on a trip like the one Xi Jinping is now finishing — in Congo?


No new government in Italy after a day of talks headed by president Giorgio Napolitano.

Banks reopened in Cyprus.

Felix Salmon wonders if Cyprus will take the Ecuadorian path.

Middle East and North Africa

A comeback for Najib Mikati as Lebanon’s prime minister?


First Past the Post: March 27


East and South Asia

More threats from North Korea.

New protests in Bangladesh among those still gathered at Shahbagh.

North America

Ezra Klein’s wrap-up of the main arguments in Tuesday’s same-sex marriage case (on Proposition 8 in California) before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Total coverage of the Prop 8 case from SCOTUSBlog.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider a second case on same-sex marriage rights today — the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The New Democratic Party holds a 20-point lead over the Liberal Party in upcoming British Columbia provincial elections.


Acting president Nicolás Maduro appoints a new chair of the foreign exchange management committee.

Venezuela has loaned $2.1 million to Nicaragua in the past four years. [Spanish]

Presidential challenger Henrique Capriles pledges to protect the misiones of former president Hugo Chávez.  [Spanish]

Latin America / Caribbean

Problems with the stadium in Rio de Janeiro that was to be used in the upcoming 2016 summer Olympics.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Spiegel interviews Malian coup leader Amadou Sanogo.

Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda appears before the International Criminal Court.

Former Zambian president Rupiah Banda (pictured above) pleads not guilty over oil-related charges.

International implications of the rebel coup in the Central African Republic.

Kenya’s top court delivers a setback to the challenge of presidential candidate and prime minister Raila Odinga.


Former British foreign secretary, onetime Labour leadership contender (he lost the Labour leadership to brother Ed) David Miliband will leave Parliament to head the International Rescue Committee in New York.

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk opens a path for a referendum on Poland’s eurozone membership (sometime after 2015).

Former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing thinks Germany finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble should be president of the Eurogroup.

Doubts about Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi has resigned over the flap over Italian marines in India.

Still no movement in the Italian government formation process, with center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani running out of time.

Google gets aggressive with Sweden for coining the term ‘ungoogleable’ (‘ogooglebar‘ in Swedish).

Pope Francis has shunned the papal apartments in the Vatican for something simpler.

Croatia will become the 28th member of the European Union on July 1.

Middle East and North Africa

Syria’s opposition gets a seat at the Arab League’s table.

New curbs on the right to protest in Egypt.

Prime minister Najib Mikati may lead a new national unity government in Lebanon (very good news, if true).

Speculation about Jordan’s new government.

First Past the Post: March 26


East and South Asia

Bangladesh marks 42 years of independence today.

A third way for India in 2014?

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar wins ‘backward’ status for his region.

South Korea President Park Guen-hye’s sixth nominee withdraws — this time the nominee for chairman of the Fair Trade Commission.

China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan is making a fashion statement.

A poor reception on Sunday for the return of former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf.

Mir Hazar Khan Khoso is sworn in as Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister.

Japan and the European Union to start free trade negotiations.

North America

The U.S. Supreme Court (pictured above) will consider gay marriage in California — and the successful ballot measure (Proposition 8) that revoked it — today.

Did the U.S.-led Iraqi war cause the Great Recession?

Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty goes to China.


A very good summary of the past seven days of pre-campaigning, courtesy Caracas Chronicles.

An English translation of an El Universal interview with presidential candidate Henrique Capriles: acting president Nicolás Maduro is ‘a fascist in his own right’ and a ‘lousy imitation of Chávez.’

Maduro warns that ‘outside experts’ are sabotaging the country’s electricity supply.  [Spanish]

El baile de ‘Nicolás’ and el beso de Nicolas (though Al Gore’s beso was better in 2000). [Spanish]

Here’s the kiss:

Latin America / Caribbean

All you wanted to know about the Mexican economy, courtesy Marginal Revolution.

Colorado candidate Horacio Cartes leads polls to become Paraguay’s next president.  [Spanish]

Georges Henry Honorat, a top official to Haiti’s president, has been killed in his home.

México’s lower house has passed president Enrique Peña Nieto’s telecommunications reforms.

Salvadorans want sainthood for slain priest Oscár Romero.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Supreme Court has ordered a new recount of some of the March 4 presidential election results.

The Central African Republic’s new rebel leaders are suspending the centrafrique constitution.

Former Zambian president Rupiah Banda is arrested.

Ghana has a George Walker Bush highway?

The European Union lifts many of its sanctions on Zimbabwe following its March 16 constitutional referendum.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front holds its first congress after the death of Meles Zenawi.


Cypriot banks will remain closed until Thursday.

Far left French leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon accused of anti-Semitism?

Spiegel interviews former World Bank president Robert Zoellick.

Spain’s economy minister is worried about Cypriot contagion.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky died by hanging, according to UK officials.

Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan has responded to opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian, still on hunger strike in protest of the February presidential election results.

Middle East and North Africa

Egypt has arrested five top opposition activists.

Erin Cunninghanm at Global Post asks if Qatar is abandoning Egypt.

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad in trouble?


An interactive map of world hunger.

First Past the Post: March 25

East and South Asia

Hazar Khan Khoso will be Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister until May 11 elections.

Former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf has returned to Pakistan.

With another one of her nominees resigning due to scandal, South Korean president Park Guen-hye will retain current defense minister Kim Kwan-jin.

North America

The shrinking U.S. role in advising policymakers in Iraq.


Venezuela’s government admits that homicides rose 14% in 2012.

Latin America / Caribbean

The Cuban revolution hasn’t been such a great thing for Cuban blacks.

The Vatican won’t intervene in the Falklands/Malvinas dispute.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Rebels capture the capital of the Central African Republic.

Eight Nigerian governors are set to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party.

The significance of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Tanzania.

Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe has died.


Cyprus and the IMF/European ‘troika’ reach a deal — with a 40% haircut for deposits at the Bank of Cyprus over €100,000.

Felix Salmon already has some must-read comments on the latest Cyprus deal.

The previously planned capital controls would have essentially meant the end of Cyprus’s membership in the eurozone.

Police say there’s no evidence that Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch living in exile in London, was murdered.

Paris hosts a widespread rally opposed to same-sex marriage.

Middle East and North Africa

Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati has resigned, three months ahead of parliamentary elections.

Australia and Oceania

Australian prime minister Julia Gillard announces her post-spill team of ministers.

First Past the Post: March 21-22


East and South Asia

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s first overseas trip will be to Russia and then, to Africa.

South Korea’s new nominee for defense minister offers to resign.

The PML-Q in Pakistan is falling apart.

Pakistan is still scrambling to pick a caretaker prime minister until May 11 elections.

Agitating for a presidential-style debate between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi?

Pro-democracy groups form a new ‘Alliance for True Democracy’ in Hong Kong.

Bangladesh’s president Zillur Rahman has died.

Thailand’s leadership encouraged to move beyond the shadow of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

North America

All about the 2013 Canada budget.  Québec is not happy. (When is it ever?)

Liberal Party leader frontrunner Justin Trudeau says ‘just watch me’ about his chances of defeating Tory prime minister Stephen Harper.

Greenland’s new government wants to ban Danish from its national parliament.


More problems in U.S.-Venezuelan diplomacy.

The country remains in a state of suspended animation.

Peruvian author and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa says Venezuela faces a choice between populism and modernity.

Student protestors clashed with chavistas in Caracas on Thursday. [Spanish]

Corporate Brazil prefers Nicolás Maduro as president.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles dismisses polls after allegations of cash payments from the government. [Spanish]

Latin America / Caribbean

A second chance for Peruvian mayor Susana Villarán.

Will El Salvador end sovereignty?

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos is optimistic for a peace accord with the FARC by the end of 2013.

Sub-Saharan Africa


Taking Ethiopia to the next level.

The pardon for Nigerian Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha is a touchy issue.

Senegal’s president Macky Sall fights corruption.  [French]

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir says he’ll step down in 2015.

Congolese war crimes indictee Bosco Ntaganda certainly seems headed to the Hague.

The ICC still seems set to proceed against Kenya’s president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenya’s new National Assembly will sit next Thursday.


Italian president Giorgio Napolitano is set to likely give center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani the first chance to form a government on Friday afternoon.

UK chancellor George Osborne announced the new budget Wednesday.

Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s colleagues were a bit wobblier on the 1982 war over the Falkland Islands.

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond announces the date of Scotland’s independence referendum: September 18, 2014.

Tobias Billström, Sweden’s migration minister, apologizes again over his ‘blonde, blue-eyed’ comments and won’t resign.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is charged with campaign violations from financing his 2007 presidential campaign and taking advantage of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Cyprus will try to raise money through an Investment Solidarity Fund.

More on the Cypriot financial sector and its now likely demise.

Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem says a levy on Cypriot savers is unavoidable.

Brad DeLong uses the World War interregnum as a history lesson for today’s eurozone.

Malta’s new cabinet.

Germany won’t ban the far-right National Democratic Party after all.

Romania’s Party of Democrats-Liberals (PDL), the main opposition, chooses a new leader this weekend.

Macedonia holds local elections on Sunday.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev thinks that both the EU and the Cypriot government are acting like a ‘bull in a china shop.’A key constitutional vote in Georgia’s parliament.

Middle East and North Africa

Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan called for a PKK cease-fire and withdrawal from Turkey.

U.S. president Barack Obama calls for the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in the West Bank.

The Israeli take on the Obama visit.

Pro- and anti-Syria clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

Australia and Oceania

Kevin Rudd rules out any future leadership runs.

First Past the Post: March 20


East and South Asia

Nitish Kumar may or may not make a run for Indian prime minister in 2014.

India has passed a tough new anti-rape law.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has placed a 120-day delay on a reproductive law that would provide free contraception.

Chinese president Xi Jingping meets U.S. treasury secretary Jack Lew, who opted for a cheap dumpling lunch.

Will Nawaz Sharif return as prime minister of Pakistan?

North America

Low hopes for U.S. president Barack Obama’s trip to Israel and the Middle East.

Latin America / Caribbean

Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles takes a shot at Cuba.

The trial of former Guatemalan leader Efrain Ríos Montt on genocide charges began Tuesday.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has a 79% approval rating.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe’s constitutional referendum has passed overwhelmingly, as expected.

The Jubilee coalition that supported Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential campaign is set to control both houses of Kenya’s parliament.

Losing presidential candidate Raila Odinga wants the IEBC’s electronic system audited.


Former Bank of Cyprus chair Anthanasios Orphanides says the European project is dying.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble warns Cyprus.

French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac has resigned over an alleged Swiss bank account.

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano will kick off formal government talks today.

Swedish Migration Minister Tobias Billström (pictured above) is under fire over a remark about migrants who are not ‘blond and blue-eyed.’

Middle East and North Africa

Lebanon tries to hold back spillover violence from Syria.

The Obama trip is about Iran, not the Palestinian peace process.

First Past the Post: March 19


East and South Asia

The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan holds a 41% to 13% lead in this summer’s upper house elections against its chief rival, the Democratic Party of Japan.

North America

Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton, widely believed to be the 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner, supports gay marriage.

Québec’s Liberal Party chooses Philippe Couillard as its new party leader.

Latin America / Caribbean

Pope Francis meets up in Rome with Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (pictured above).

Mexicans resist foreign investment in Pemex, México’s state-owned oil industry. [Spanish]

Susana Villaran, the first female mayor of Lima in Perú, has survived a recall vote.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wants to reform the country’s education system.

Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta calls on the ICC to drop his case.

Was Raila Odinga’s campaign team to blame for his Kenyan presidential election loss?

Zimbabwe’s government arrests key opposition figures and human rights lawyers.


Will Pope Francis appoint a new Vatican secretary of state?

EU council president and former Belgian prime minister Herman Van Rompuy will step down in 2014. So will EU foreign representative Catherine Ashton will also step down.

In Bulgaria, both the ruling GERB and opposition Socialists have low support.

Leftist and human rights activist Laura Boldrini and Piero Grasso, a former anti-mafia magistrate, are the new speakers of the Italian lower and upper houses, respectively.

Middle East and North Africa

Syria’s rebel opposition has formed an interim government under a new prime minister, Ghassan Hitto.

Imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan expected to call a ceasefire with Turkey.

First Past the Post: March 15

East and South Asia

Haruhiko Kuroda wins parliamentary approval as the new governor of the Bank of Japan.

Li Keqiang is sworn in as China’s new premier.

North America

Justin Trudeau is all but certain to become the next Canadian Liberal leader.

Latin America / Caribbean

Christopher Sabatini on the legacy of Hugo Chávez.

Juan Nagel thinks the challenger campaign of Henrique Capriles in Venezuela is ‘kinda hopeless.’

Sub-Saharan Africa

Is the end near for Eritrea’s Isaias Afewerki?


SYRIZA leads in a potential Greek election.

And former French president Nicolas Sarkozy would defeat president François Hollande.

Middle East and North Africa

Israel has a new cabinet (more on this later).

First Past the Post: March 14


East and South Asia

Xi Jinping officially becomes the president of the People’s Republic of China.

A senior leader of the Khmer Rouge has died.

North America

Siumut wins Greenland’s election.

Liberal MP Marc Garneau drops out of Canada’s Liberal Party leadership race and endorses Justin Trudeau.

Vali Nasr makes waves with his criticism of being inside the Obama administration’s foreign policyteam.

Latin America / Caribbean

More on the Malvinas/Falklands vote.

Is Nicolás Maduro so assured of victory in Venezuela’s April 14 vote?

Maybe the body of Hugo Chávez will not be embalmed.

Argentina stunned to source the world’s next Catholic pontiff.

The political impact of the election of Pope Francis on Argentine politics.  [Spanish]

An interview with former Mexican president Vicente Fox.  [Spanish]

The love-hate relationship in Brazil.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Digging deeper into the Kenyan election victory.


Martin Wolf calls UK austerity indefensible.

UK home secretary Theresa May feels the wrath of 10 Downing Street for her murmurs of leadership challenge.

The collapse of François Hollande’s popularity.

Middle East and North Africa

Tunisia’s new government has been sworn in.

Settlers have much power as Israel’s new government takes shape.