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  • gold-mcguire-ISS18-wide

    Everything Gold Is New Again

    In stormy times, investors look for something solid to hang onto—something like gold. The World Bank president himself, Robert Zoellick, suggested in November that the world’s economies could use the old reliable metal to help stabilize their currencies. For these and many other reasons, professional gold-fund manager Shayne McGuire argues that gold has nowhere to go but up. The following essay is adapted from McGuire’s latest book, Hard Money: Taking Gold to a Higher Investment Level.
  • italy-greek-embassy-bomb-hsmall

    Behind Rome's Embassy-Row Bombings

    The Italian capital's tony diplomatic neighborhoods are in a panic after the discovery of another parcel bomb, days after two others exploded.
  • corporate-cash-ISS14-vl

    Companies Flush With Cash

    The recession has been over in most countries for more than a year now, and as economists continue to decipher how and why this downturn differed from others, an interesting anomaly has emerged. While nations like the United States, Great Britain, and Japan are saddled with debt, companies in the U.S. and Europe have more than $1.5 trillion sitting on their respective balance sheets. In normal times, this abundance of cash would be good for the economy, as companies would invest, expand capacity, and create jobs. And indeed, over the next year, analysts say there may be a slight uptick in spending as cash-heavy firms turn to mergers and acquisitions, dividend payments, capital expenditures, and a variety of job-creating investments, particularly in high-growth countries such as China, India, and Brazil.
  • Protesters Cry Shame, but Verdict No Surprise

    Angry protests underscored that even after 22 months of hearings, not many in Russia understood how prosecutors could accuse Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his codefendant of stealing billions of dollars' worth of oil from their own company.
  • world-poverty-ISS11-vl

    Welfare for the Developing World's Poor

    In the depths of the global financial crisis in 2008–09, China stunned the world with its massive $596 billion stimulus spending program, which helped Asia avoid the worst of the downturn. Another of Beijing’s initiatives drew much less attention but will prove even farther-reaching: a first-ever comprehensive pension plan aimed at alleviating crushing poverty in the Chinese countryside, home to two thirds of its 1.4 billion population, who live on an average wage of about $2 a day. The program distributes government-subsidized pensions to 55 million rural Chinese, 16 million of whom are already drawing benefits of up to $45 a month. Though enrollment is voluntary and requires each participant to kick in between $15 and $75 a year, the government picks up the lion’s share of the costs. By the end of 2010, nearly a quarter of China’s rural areas will have been covered. Now Beijing is working to extend the program to urban centers as well.
  • greece-economy-theil-ISS04-wide

    How Europe’s New Goals Will Pay Off

    Call it Greece’s China moment. Like an economy run into the ground by decades of socialism, as China’s was before the country began reforms in 1978, Greece’s political and economic order had failed. Greece wasn’t crushed by Maoism but by its $400 billion national debt. When the market for Greek bonds dramatically collapsed in the spring of 2010, the country’s prime minister, George Papandreou, managed to secure a $140 billion credit line from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund—under the strict condition that he slash public spending, raise taxes, and reform the Greek economy.
  • haqqani-father-son-taliban-hsmall

    Pakistan Arrests Key Taliban Leader

    Appearing to answer U.S. calls for greater toughness against Taliban networks operating on their border, Pakistan this week arrested the son of feared insurgent leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, according to Taliban and Pakistani government sources.
  • france-protests-gross-ISS03-wide

    Economy: Debt and Politics

    Global leaders may not have much time in their schedules for Broadway shows, but it’s their loss if they’ve missed Al Pacino’s star turn on Broadway as Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice."
  • hugo-chavez-hsmall

    Chávez Uses Natural Disaster to Grab More Power

    As torrential rains swept Venezuela in early December, leaving some 35 dead and 130,000 homeless, the president wasted no time in leveraging the elements to his advantage. On “humanitarian grounds,” the man Venezuelans know as El Comandante asked—and on Dec. 17 won—Congress’s blessings to rule by decree for the next 18 months.
  • lori-berenson-FE21-hsmall

    Lori Berenson: Freed Peruvian Prisoner

    I’ve never killed anyone, never harmed anyone, never done anything to cause physical damage to anyone. And I’m sorry that I am seen as a person who would do that.
  • north-korea-sc40-wide

    North Korea Holds China Hostage

    The Chinese, Pyongyang’s main protection against total collapse, privately confess to being sick of their neighbor’s disruptive demands for attention.
  • sc21-israel-wide

    Palestine Goes It Alone

    Odds are that 2011 won’t be the year Israelis and Palestinians make peace. Expect instead a Palestinian push toward independence by other means.
  • sc20-afghanistan-hsmall

    Afghanistan Feels the Squeeze

    If Gen. David Petraeus gets his wish, this will be the year of the snake. America’s top officer in Afghanistan recently explained his war plan as the “anaconda strategy,” designed to “squeeze the life” out of the Taliban insurgency. And according to the Pentagon, it’s working already. In Helmand and the Taliban’s home province, Kandahar, the military says, the insurgents’ momentum has been slowed or even reversed by thousands of U.S. reinforcements using get-tough tactics. In fact, another year or two of such victories might conceivably reduce the insurgency in the south to a worrisome but tolerable nuisance.
  • sc41-iran-wide

    The Regime’s New Dread in Iran

    No one knows how many Iranians have joined the electronic underground. But the Revolutionary Guards aren’t having much success shutting it down.
  • Holbrooke in the Trenches

    When Richard Holbrooke took up his assignment as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan early last year, trying to lay the foundations for long-term stability at the epicenter of the Obama administration’s tremulous policy, he knew as well as anyone that his mission was close to impossible.
  • italy-riots-beating

    Berlusconi Wins Confidence Vote While Rome Burns

    Italy’s 74-year-old prime minister narrowly won back-to-back confidence votes in the Senate and lower house of Parliament amid shouts of “coward” and a barrage of insults lobbed at him from opposition lawmakers as they cast their votes, and as students and anarchists rioted outside.
  • germany-Open-Source-Wave-hsmall

    'Open Source' Anger Unites Europe’s Antigovernment Protesters

    Recent protests in Stuttgart, Germany, were part of a grassroots anger that has taken hold across Europe in the wake of the financial crisis. In this "open source" phenomenon, people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of different objectives are lashing out against governments that they feel are ignoring them.