China’s Growing Interest in Central Asia

Chinese President Xi Jinping's tour of four Central Asian countries in early  September highlighted a trend followed closely by Stratfor: China's  struggle to reduce its exposure to security risks and supply disruptions in the  South and East China seas by exploring new overland sources of and transport  routes for goods, energy and other natural resources. … Continue reading China’s Growing Interest in Central Asia

Economic Sentiment rises further in both the euro area and the EU

In September the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) increased by 1.6 points in the euro area (to 96.9) and 2.4 points in the EU (to 100.6). The sharp increase in the EU brought the indicator above its long-term average for the first time since July 2011. The Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) … Continue reading Economic Sentiment rises further in both the euro area and the EU

Russia: Structural Challenges to Growth Become Binding

Slowdown in consumption, stalled investment demand, and a continuing weak external environment led to the downward revision of the World Bank’s May growth projection for Russia from 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent in 2013. Despite the observed slowdown, the Russian economy is projected to accelerate to 3.1 percent growth in 2014, says the World Bank’s … Continue reading Russia: Structural Challenges to Growth Become Binding

As the Fed Turns 100, Currency Reform Gains Currency

by Ralph Benko We approach, on December 23rd, the centenary of the Federal Reserve System.  This anniversary has not gone unnoticed. The nearly million-strong, militantly Jeffersonian, Campaign for Liberty — the classical liberal counterpart to MoveOn.org — is using the occasion to press for an audit of the Fed as championed in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky). … Continue reading As the Fed Turns 100, Currency Reform Gains Currency

The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now

By George Friedman I am writing this from Greece, having spent the past week in Europe and having moved among various capitals. Most discussions I've had in my travels concern U.S. President Barack Obama's failure to move decisively against Syria and how Russian President Vladimir Putin outmatched him. Of course, the Syrian intervention had many … Continue reading The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now

Wearable technology is coming and it is connected

By Leo Beerden GADGET REPUBLIC Gadgets are gadgets because they are novelties, nice-to-haves, but essentially superfluous. Oh, really? They used to be anyway. But that was before we started carrying them around and trust them with our precious data. So what will happen once we’ll start wearing our gadgets while connecting them? Connected wearables will … Continue reading Wearable technology is coming and it is connected

Is Angela Merkel’s victory a pyrrhic one?

By Arnout Nuijt Yes, Federal Chancellor Mrs Angela Merkel’s CDU-CSU alliance won an astounding victory in Germany’s federal elections on Sunday September 22nd and that is exactly her problem now. Her party failed to win an absolute majority in the Bundestag by a narrow margin. Much worse, her preferred coalition partner, the liberal FDP, was … Continue reading Is Angela Merkel’s victory a pyrrhic one?

Mr Eike Batista’s incredible X-factor

By Arnout Nuijt In April 2010 I visited the EBX head offices in Rio together with a couple of foreign business reps. They were both seasoned fellows, gentlemen who had been everywhere and seen it all. For reasons of discretion, let’s call them the Accountant and the Banker. We were curious about EBX, the expanding … Continue reading Mr Eike Batista’s incredible X-factor

Should the King read out the King’s Speech?

It was King Willem-Alexander’s first King’s Speech, when he read out the yearly government statement in the historic Knight’s Hall of Dutch Parliament on September 17th. And what a first it was. Though he read it well, King Willem-Alexander was not to be envied. A Kings’ Speech about another 6 billion Euro to be collected … Continue reading Should the King read out the King’s Speech?

How a small band of heroes saved the internet and how Hollywood is trying to pirate it again, Part II

By Ralph Benko Continued from last week. Two years ago, Hollywood, no kidding, masterminded a plot to, in effect, steal the Internet (by criminalizing certain conduct, booby trapping the Web in ways that few non-mega-corporations can cope with).  There are signs, as perceptively flagged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that the perps are back at it. … Continue reading How a small band of heroes saved the internet and how Hollywood is trying to pirate it again, Part II

German voters say next German chancellor should back efforts to devolve EU powers to member states

Open Europe and Open Europe Berlin have published the second part of a poll looking at German voters’ views on Europe ahead of the country’s elections on 22 September. The poll, conducted by YouGov Deutschland, shows that there’s considerable support in Germany for slimming down the EU. Of 13 national and European institutions tested, Germans … Continue reading German voters say next German chancellor should back efforts to devolve EU powers to member states

Strategy, Ideology and the Close of the Syrian Crisis

By George Friedman It is said that when famed Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich heard of the death of the Turkish ambassador, he said, "I wonder what he meant by that?" True or not, serious or a joke, it points out a problem of diplomacy. In searching for the meaning behind every gesture, diplomats start to regard … Continue reading Strategy, Ideology and the Close of the Syrian Crisis

Why the German elections are unlikely to fundamentally alter eurozone policy

Open Europe has published an in-depth analysis of the German federal elections, to be held on 22 September, as the second part of its three part series covering German sentiment on Europe. Open Europe predicts possible coalition outcomes for the new government, and provide a detailed investigation of German party positions on key aspects of … Continue reading Why the German elections are unlikely to fundamentally alter eurozone policy

Why Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters could become a game changer for South African politics

By Arnout Nuijt South Africa's former African National Congress Youth League leader, Julius Malema, last week successfully registered his political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), for the 2014 national elections. Mr Malema promises to provide free and quality education, healthcare and sanitation, as well as redistributing land and nationalising the mines. Although he was … Continue reading Why Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters could become a game changer for South African politics

How the internet was saved from Being Hijacked: Now Beware SOPA 2.0

By Ralph Benko Two years ago, Hollywood, no kidding, masterminded a plot to, in effect, steal the Internet (by criminalizing certain conduct, booby trapping the Web in ways that few non-mega-corporations could cope with).  There are signs, as perceptively flagged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that the perps are back at it. We should care. This two-part … Continue reading How the internet was saved from Being Hijacked: Now Beware SOPA 2.0

Syria, America and Putin’s Bluff

By George Friedman In recent weeks I've written about U.S. President Barack Obama's bluff on Syria and the tightrope he is now walking on military intervention. There is another bluff going on that has to be understood, this one from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin is bluffing that Russia has emerged as a major world power. … Continue reading Syria, America and Putin’s Bluff

Why high-quality financial reporting matters

Roll back to February 2003: Ahold shares lose 60% of their value in a single day as investors react to news of major accounting irregularities at the company’s overseas subsidiaries. Other high-profile financial scandals such as Enron and Worldcom, Parmalat in Italy or Satyam in India have reverberated around the globe. And in some cases, … Continue reading Why high-quality financial reporting matters

West Africa: Bright Future?

Interview with Jennifer Giroux, senior researcher for the Risk and Resilience Team at the Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich. In five years, do you see Nigeria dealing with its internal security challenges, such as the insurgencies of Boko Haram and the MEND? If so, how would this affect its foreign policy? Nigeria’s security … Continue reading West Africa: Bright Future?

Weekend Break in Ouro Preto

By Arnout Nuijt When you are in Brazil’s third economic center, Belo Horizonte, and you have a weekend to spare, there is a range of old colonial towns to visit. One of the most famous is Ouro Preto, or Black Gold, a historic mining center and former capital of Minas Gerais. Once nicknamed Vila Rica … Continue reading Weekend Break in Ouro Preto

Brazil Weekly – September 6th Edition: Rio real estate prices down

The September 6th Edition of Brazil Weekly is ready for you at http://brazil-weekly.com with minimum wages set to rise,  how to avoid spying, exports still up, easy innovation money,  a Coca Cola takeover, more investment in fertilizers,  stock exchange to be overhauled, oil field auction set for Oct 21st, Brazil’s housing bubble,  a new virus … Continue reading Brazil Weekly – September 6th Edition: Rio real estate prices down

Is Donald Tusk about to lose his parliamentary majority?

By Remi Adekoya With Poland’s first black MP John Godson quitting Civic Platform (PO) last week, the ruling PO-Polish People’s Party (PSL) coalition saw its parliamentary majority shrink to three votes. Then it was announced that Jacek Żalek, an MP, was being suspended from PO for three months for having repeatedly broken with party ranks … Continue reading Is Donald Tusk about to lose his parliamentary majority?

Conservatism, Texas style: Latinos are making their home in a welcoming Republican Party

by Ralph Benko The political stakes could hardly be higher. Latinos, who have leaned Democratic, demographically are surging in Texas. And if the Democrats can turn Texas blue (or even purple) they would have a huge leg up at winning control of the executive branch of the U.S. government in future presidential elections. By achieving sufficient … Continue reading Conservatism, Texas style: Latinos are making their home in a welcoming Republican Party

Obama’s Tightrope Walk

By George Friedman Last week began with certainty that an attack on Syria was inevitable and even imminent. It ended with the coalition supporting the attack somewhere between falling apart and not coming together, and with U.S. President Barack Obama making it clear that an attack was inevitable, maybe in a month or so, if … Continue reading Obama’s Tightrope Walk

Why Carlos Slim will fail to win KPN

By Arnout Nuijt Late Thursday night news broke that Dutch telecoms firm KPN had activated its firewall against a hostile takeover by Mexican magnate Carlos Slim. A foundation, led by a handful of venerable representatives from Dutch business circles, exercised its right to emit emergency shares that would give it nearly 50% of voting rights … Continue reading Why Carlos Slim will fail to win KPN

In China, an Unprecedented Demographic Problem Takes Shape

From Stratfor Chinese society is on the verge of a structural transformation even more profound than the long and painful project of economic rebalancing, which the Communist Party is anxiously beginning to undertake. China's population is aging more rapidly than it is getting rich, giving rise to a great demographic imbalance with important implications for … Continue reading In China, an Unprecedented Demographic Problem Takes Shape