April 23, 2014
Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power grab of Ukraine’s Crimea region and intend to sign the treaty to establish his ambitious Eurasian Economic Union next month, but the Kremlin’s bad behavior is causing some consternation among its allies. With even Europe’s last dictator, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, breaking ranks with his buddies in the Kremlin over Ukraine, Putin’s Eurasian dream is unlikely to become the united rival to the European Union he desperately wants to create.
Putin’s Ukraine Moves Rattle His Eurasian Union Allies
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, right, arrive at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 24, 2013. (Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Can Gold Regain Its Luster? Don’t Bet Against It
April 2, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD

No change in the macroeconomic climate can explain the disgorgement of $40 billion of gold exchange-traded funds last year. Fully one-third of the stock of gold ETFs, measured by weight, has been liquidated in a year. All of the increase from October 2009 has been reversed.
Erdogan’s Assault on Internet Exposes Disdain for Democracy
April 2, 2014
Seeking to stop a damaging corruption scandal from growing larger, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched an all-out assault on Internet freedom, targeting social media sites and then blocking workarounds that kept Turks connected. While heavy-handed censorship might tamp down dissent within Turkey, such tactics damage the country’s image and could deal a mortal blow to the country’s chances of being admitted into the European Union.
US Military Cuts Open Door for Latin American Drug Runners
April 1, 2014
Drug traffickers in Central and South America are finding the going easier along the cocaine trail north into U.S. markets, thanks to deep military budget cuts. Desperate for more ships and surveillance aircraft, U.S. Southern Command is unlikely to receive the help it needs to meet its 2015 goal of reducing by 40 percent the influx of drugs from Latin America to the United States.
Coup Rumors Fly as 3-Way Power Struggle Consumes Pakistan
April 1, 2014
With the trial of former President Pervez Musharraf providing background noise, a three-way struggle is unfolding in Pakistan, the final outcome of which will be of great significance for both South Asia and the Middle East. The government of President Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani army, and the Pakistani Taliban are locked in a violent, complex dance that is spilling over into India, Afghanistan, and Iran.
Competing Projects Race to Establish Global Internet Access
April 1, 2014

High-flying balloons, fixed satellites and circling drones are just some of the methods developers are trying to extend Internet access to the two-thirds of the world that cannot get online. Keeping the cost low, even free, is a key goal of several competing projects, including efforts by Silicon Valley giants Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB).
The Paradox of Financial Repression
April 1, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
By Peter Warburton, PhD

In 2013, the governments of North America and Western Europe had a wake-up call as the real rate of interest on benchmark bonds lurched back into positive territory. This unwanted monetary tightening is antagonistic to the expansionary aims of central bank policies and poses a threat to debt servicing costs in countries with persistently large government budget deficits and short debt maturities.

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