Wednesday morning (December 17), USAID contractor Alan Gross boarded a Washington-bound plane upon his release from Cuban prison on humanitarian grounds.
This news was already groundbreaking—but what would unfold in the following hours was even more so.
On December 14 Japan’s ruling coalition won a convincing victory in an election for the Lower House of the Diet (parliament), consolidating Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s power and raising expectations for his policy agenda centered on economic revitalization.
On December 11, Bloomberg News reported that swaps traders are more certain than ever that Venezuela will default on its debt as falling oil prices add pressure to already-strained government finances and drive the country’s bond prices to a 16-year low.
Beijing is fast approaching a December 15 deadline to submit its defense in the arbitration case against its South China Sea claims brought by the Philippines. That case, brought under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’s (UNCLOS) compulsory dispute mechanism, is summarized here .
Q1: What was the outcome of Taiwan’s local elections held on November 29?
On the sidelines of the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders in Beijing on November 9 came a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Russia’s Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) for natural gas supply from West Siberia.
On November 18 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan made two widely expected, yet still bold, decisions. He announced that his government will postpone a planned increase in the consumption tax from 8 percent to 10 percent originally scheduled for next October and also dissolve the Lower House of the Diet on November 21 for an early election.
Australia and China finalized a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) during President Xi Jinping’s November 17 visit to Canberra following the Group of 20 summit in Brisbane. The agreement is the fruition of nine years of negotiations.
The U.S. midterm elections have passed, and, as was largely expected, Republicans now hold a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The elections, like the year that preceded them, were characterized by deep partisanship and a contentiousness that will be hard to leave behind going into the new year.
On Sunday, Brazilians reelected current president Dilma Rousseff to a second term, in elections marked by poll twists and unprecedentedly heated debates.