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World Digest

American View:Pakistan’s prime minister is defying the clerics very carefully

Washington Post Tim Craig During a speech to international business leaders here in late November, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shocked the country’s powerful religious community by calling for a new, more “liberal” Pakistan. Amid an outcry, within hours, Sharif’s staff was playing down the speech, saying he didn’t really mean …

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A new low? Chinese defence spending takes a hit

Asia Times RICHARD A. BITZINGER Most militaries would kill for a 7.6% increase in their defense budgets. For China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), however, this amount is considered a major hit. That is because it is the lowest increase in Chinese defense spending in nearly twenty years, and it could …

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‘New’ Iran at a crossroads

Gulf News Joseph A. Kechichian There is now a reformist/moderate conservative bloc in parliament and a significant change within the Assembly of Experts that may pick the next supreme leader No matter how unpalatable hard-line clerics may be in their skewed visions for Iran, few denied the reality that they …

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Why India must heed geography

The Hindu SUHASINI HAIDAR In October 2006, India supported Shashi Tharoor’s bid to become United Nations Secretary General. The battle for the post was closely fought, but what hurt India the most was not losing but the fact that its candidate, who is now a Congress MP, was pitted against …

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This racist backlash against refugees is the real crisis in Europe

The Guardian Apostolis Fotiadis A coalition of the inhumane is rising in Europe. A group of political leaders have been meeting this week in Vienna to coordinate how to seal the western Balkan refugee passage. The countries involved, including Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia, don’t want to risk hosting thousands of …

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Is This the Next Woman to Run Germany?

Foreign Policy Magazine LUCIAN KIM Until recently, Julia Kloeckner was a little-known provincial politician from Germany’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Before she joined the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, in 2002, her main claim to fame was her one-year reign as the country’s 1995-1996 “Wine Queen.” As German viniculture’s promoter-in-chief, she …

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India’s Congress party needs young leaders, not cheering sycophants

Asia Times RAJA MURTHY The disruption of parliamentary proceedings in India over the past six months saw key laws being stalled, economy damaged, people’s mandate subverted and the government sabotaged. The unfortunate saboteur-in-chief, Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, leads a wrecking crew of a few parliamentarians in blocking legislations needed …

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For economic revival, Iran will do a balancing act between East and West

Asia Times SALMAN RAFI Amid conflicting claims about Iran’s foreign policy approach in the post-sanctions scenario, it has become evident that ‘economic pragmatism’ has attracted overwhelming attention of Iran’s policy makers. Regardless of Iran’s direct involvement in Syria, its policy makers seem to be equally mindful of the need to …

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