Topic Category: World

Approaching the midpoint of the current four-year parliamentary term, political conditions in Thailand remain generally calm. However, the recent gubernatorial election in the capital, at which the incumbent, a member of the opposition DP, only narrowly fended off a challenge from the candidate of the governing PTP, highlights the persistence of deep political divisions. If not handled with care, this could give rise to a repeat of the destabilizing protests that erupted in 2010.

Topic: World
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Politics has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in North Korea. One minute Great Successor Kim Jong-un is cavorting with American basketball great Dennis Rodman and telling President Barack Obama to call. Next the North Korean People’s Army is threatening to abandon the six-decade-old armistice and use “lighter and smaller nukes” against the United States and South Korea.

Topic: World
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The Kenyan presidential race was a game of building the broadest and most cohesive coalition of ethnic voting blocks, where kinship trumped detailed policy programs on the voters’ list of priorities. As such, Kenyatta’s victory brings little changes to the business environment with regard to the government’s inclination to raise taxes on foreign companies or corruption worries. Nonetheless, barring any complications in cooperation with the ICC, the new regime should remain open to foreign investment.

Topic: World
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The claim that the U.S.-China relationship will be the 21st century’s most important has become a cliché repeated at policy gatherings in Washington and Beijing. It also happens to be the truth. For better or worse, the trajectory of that relationship will be established firmly before the next U.S. president takes the oath of office.

Topic: World
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Rebel forces fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army and various Islamist militias have achieved significant gains since the launch of the armed effort to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in July 2011. The rebels are steadily consolidating their control in rural areas, and, if the current trend continues, the remaining government troops in the northern half of the country could find themselves completely cut off from Damascus and western coastal areas within the next six months.

Topic: World
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Public support for the governing Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has rebounded a bit since mid-2012, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s party will have to boost its numbers further before it can be confident of winning another majority at an election required by October 2015. In that regard, the CPC is unlikely to repeat its uncharacteristically strong 2011 performance in the Atlantic provinces, where support for the Tories has dropped especially sharply since the general election, and has remained stuck at a low level even as the party’s national standing has recently improved.

Topic: World
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Prior to the 1990s, it was acceptable for business and technical professionals not to fully understand the workings of intellectual property (IP). In fact, IP was largely viewed as an isolated topic for legal or research and development departments to handle. In turn, many innovative and high-tech firms didn’t even file for patents. However, due to the “patent wars,” this has changed.

Topic: World
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Mali’s risks remain heightened as its conflict continues to evolve. French-led international military intervention since 11 January has successfully repelled rebel forces to the more remote northern regions. Yet the country remains vulnerable to reprisals from both secular Tuareg separatist fighters and Islamist guerrillas linked to Al-Qaeda, which have regrouped among the safety of the Tegharghar Mountains in the Saharan north-east.

Topic: World
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Government financial support for corporate facility investment and expansion continues to be a common practice in most parts of the world. For the right project, economic development agencies in many parts of North America and Asia can be remarkably flexible and creative in structuring an attractive incentives package.

Topic: World
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The fragile three-party coalition government formed after two parliamentary elections held last year failed to produce a decisive winner. And the unwillingness of some coalition lawmakers to back various elements of a harsh austerity program dictated by the EU and the IMF has reduced the government’s majority in the 300-member Parliament from 179 seats to just 164.

Topic: World
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