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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?

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 most expensive place for expats? You'll never guess

If you’re scouting for a job or a new office in a foreign capital, this is one city you may want to avoid. Cereal can cost $100 and the latest iPhone thousands of dollars.

Egypt police 'inflict pain like it's an art'

MINYA, Egypt — Inside a police station in Upper Egypt, Mohamed Farouk writhes in pain on the floor. As a plain-clothed officer whips his torso, a colleague films the screams. What the grainy footage reveals is not an isolated incident, according to lawyers and human rights groups. They say that Mohamed Farouk’s ordeal is just one example of escalating levels of abuse in police custody. 

What ordinary North Koreans may be thinking after Jang Song Taek's execution

Months ago, trying to visualize how events might eventually play out in North Korea, I wrote a fictional scene: A North Korean crowd witnesses a tantrum by the supreme leader, videotaped earlier in the day by security cameras and now, because it relates to a huge news story, shown on national television.

For Bogota’s mayor, a pink slip could lead to resurrection

BOGOTA — Getting fired may be the best thing that’s ever happened to Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro. Until last week, he was widely viewed as autocratic and ineffective. His dream of using Bogota City Hall as a launching pad for the presidency appeared dashed. But then came Monday’s drastic decision by the Colombian government’s inspector general to remove Petro from his post and ban him from holding public office for 15 years over a scandal involving — of all things — a failed plan to improve garbage pickup.

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.

NSA tracks cellphones around the world, Snowden documents say

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal that the National Security Administration is collecting almost 5 billion international cellphone records a day, feeding a massive location database.

Azerbaijan’s leading dailies pay steep price for criticism of the regime

Commentary: Financial pressure threatens loss of critical voices on important public issues.
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This photo from Jan. 27, 2005 shows Azerbaijan's Azadliq newspaper, one of the country's leading dailies. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN — No one expected any surprises in October’s presidential election in my home country, Azerbaijan, and their expectations were accurate. The incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, won a landslide victory, following a campaign marred by restrictions on fundamental freedoms. His re-election moves Azerbaijan even further along toward a family dynasty; 20 years of rule by the Aliyev family so far. With no term limits, Ilham Aliyev could be president for life. Some in Azerbaijan hoped that once the election was over, the government might lighten up on the unprecedented crackdown that’s been under way all year. Those hopes were dashed.

Biden time in Asia

Commentary: China is the looming superpower, but with a tradition of taking the long view.
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Vice President Joe Biden with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao. (Andy Wong-Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
OWLS HEAD, Maine — Vice-President Joe Biden has set off on perhaps the most sensitive and significant foreign policy venture of his five years under President Obama. Indeed, it may be a more important undertaking than anything Hillary Clinton did in the 956,733 miles she traveled as Secretary of State. During three decades of record growth, China has pole-vaulted its citizens into virtually undreamt-of economic prosperity and equally unimaginable pollution. Now, China has decided its time to parlay its position as an economic powerhouse into one as a forceful strategic player in East Asia. Biden's trip will take him to a triangle of countries, Japan, China, and South Korea. Each has competing interests and conflicting friendships.
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