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January, 19, 2017

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Commentary
Two months after India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the controversial decision to withdraw 500 rupee (US$7.4) and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation, his country is still reeling from the effects.
 
The page has been turned. And the new U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres of Portugal has assumed office with a stoically realistic vision of both the crises and opportunities facing the international community. In his first remarks to staff, Guterres stated, "I think we should have no illusions. We are facing very challenging times."
 
The most fashionable word after Brexit and Trump's triumph in 2016 as U.S. president-elect was "post-truth," roughly defined as the "cherry-picking of data to support emotive politics." If there is no truth or objective facts, because all media is subject to manipulation, are we then living in "alt-future," an alternative future where there are no truths, only selective lies?
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Every president taps a legislative affairs director to work with Congress. President-elect Donald Trump appears ready to use a legislative whip like none other: Twitter.
 
U.S. Gulf allies are looking at Donald Trump to tilt Washington in their favor, analysts say, but fear a dangerous void if the incoming president goes so far as to tear up the Iran nuclear deal.
 
His country mired in recession, Brazilian President Michel Temer's government ordered more than US$400,000 worth of food, including 500 cartons of Haagen-Dazs ice cream and nearly 1.5 tons of chocolate cake, for his official plane trips in 2017 only to cancel the order hours later amid public outrage.
 
Milton Friedman once described Lee Kuan Yew as a "benevolent dictator" from whom a lesson can be drawn: that a free, private-market economic system can be combined with a strongarm political system.
 
Donald Trump's inauguration as the next U.S. president is less than three weeks away. Judging by his appointment of ardent China hawk Peter Navarro to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council, hard-nosed trade negotiations with U.S. trade partners are in store during his term.
 
There was a time when the word "development" referred to a process that would transform society altogether into an image of the advanced industrial democracies, with abundance and freedom for all.
 
As he goes through the wrap-up motions of his eight-year presidency, Barack Obama has effected a robust reprisal against Russia ... barely a fortnight after he pledged to respond to cyber-attacks by Moscow during the elections and "at a time and place of our choosing."
 
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