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2014: A year of electoral fireworks

A big year ahead for Dilma, Modi, Jokowi and Barry, too.
NEW YORK — Some of the largest nations on Earth — including Afghanistan, Brazil and India, not to mention the United States — will hold important elections in the coming year, any of which could affect the global political landscape profoundly.

The world in 2014: Balancing the rebalancing act

Analysis: Global risk is lurking for Joe CEO.
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Be prepared for emerging giants like Brazil to rage again as governments face new demands and multinationals face new scrutiny. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK — The world’s largest corporations enter the new year with real trepidation. Why the long face, Joe CEO?

Don't fear the global economic jargon. We've got you covered

Here’s the latest need-to-know from Wall Street, from tapering to the Volcker Rule and beyond. In plain English.
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New $100 bills are printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Are the tapering, forward guidance and carry trade making your head explode? Here's what the jargon's all about.

Why Israel and Saudi Arabia really hate the Iran deal

Analysis: Israeli and Saudi condemnation of the current first steps on the agreement with Iran goes beyond cynicism.
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Saudi newspapers headlining an Iran agreement. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK — As the prospect of a long-term deal over Iran’s nuclear program has gone from remote to possible, Middle East leaders are demonstrating once again why their region remains a graveyard of diplomatic initiatives — and thus the most violent and hateful corner of our planet.

Jellin’ for Yellen

Analysis: In emerging markets, Bernanke’s replacement atop the Fed is seen as a reprieve — for now.
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Janet Yellen is earning support to become the new Fed chief. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — Little noticed amid the fur flying over Obamacare has been the slow but steady progress of Janet Yellen, the president’s nominee to replace Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chair.

America is losing its allure

Analysis: A disturbing new trend suggests foreign investors may be falling out of love with the US economy.
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The president hopes more foreign firms like Germany's Daimler, which operates this plant in Detroit, will invest in the United States. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK — The numbers are troubling and suggest that traditional heavy foreign investors may have decided their money would best be spent elsewhere.

Jury's out on Libya? At least it's not Syria

Analysis: Benghazi bickering is a distraction from real progress to be made with Tripoli.
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Two years on, can Libya still celebrate? (John Moore/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC — The Libyan government, weakened by continued divisions among the regional militia groups that toppled the notorious Muammar Gaddafi, braced this week for downbeat assessments of the country's performance two years after the civil war officially ended.

By any fair assessment, Libya's brave effort to forge a tolerant, relatively open society on the ashes of one of recent history's most venal and reckless dictatorships would be deemed a qualified success.

This should be a moment to take a breath, assess progress made, and rededicate US policy to keeping it all moving in the right direction.


Is Brazil lost at sea?

Analysis: After a rough season, Brazil hopes bidding for its massive offshore oil reserves will right the ship. Now Brazilian oil workers are striking and energy majors like Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and BP aren't placing their bids.
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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff poses with workers of state-run oil giant Petrobras. (Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)
HOUSTON — Brazil has had a lousy year. Many hope Monday's sale of its vast Libra offshore oil reserves will turn the tide. But only about a quarter of the expected firms will actually turn out for the bidding round.

Is the US military shut down, too?

Analysis: Whatever the politicians say, the US armed forces are taking hits from the one-two punch of sequester and government shutdown.
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The Groton, Conn. naval base. (Peter D. Blair/Getty Images)
GROTON, Conn. — The US military, true to its nonpartisan ethos, has taken great pains to emphasize that the business of defending America has not shut down as result of the impasse between the House and Senate back in Washington. But that does not mean the armed forces — or the intelligence and border patrol agents they work closely with — have been unaffected. US military commanders say the vast majority of their forces' operational pace and day-to-day realities has been radically curtailed by the one-two punch of "sequester" and shutdown.

Iran: Have sanctions finally paid off?

Analysis: After decades of cat-and-mouse economic punishment of Iran, the latest round may have hit home.
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A poor neighborhood in the town of Ghaleh Hassan Khan on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED NATIONS — They are the diplomatic world’s version of passive aggressive: economic sanctions. Now, once again, sanctions and their value are in the spotlight. The phone line had barely gone dead after Friday’s historic call between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Barack Obama when the great sanctions debate reignited. It’s far too soon to know if this telephonic exchange of presidential greetings will lead to a lessening of friction — let alone accommodation — between the United States and Iran.