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Politics

What’s Happening in Brazil? It’s not Just 20 Cents.

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People gather at the September 7 square
 on June 18, 2013 in Belo Horizonte,
state of Minas Gerais
(AFP Photo / Douglas Magno)
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After Turkey, now it is the turn for Brazil. The ‘B’ of BRIC awakens and the intellectual students and protesters have gathered up in a hope to improve the situation in the country. Brazil is one of the four countries in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) which are recognized as future economic, regional or even super powers. When we see India and Brazil, what is stopping them to move ahead with the great pace is nothing but their own government. The corruption and inefficiency in the way government works has made the people and the economic statistics suffer. We as a students’ journal supported our fellow students in Turkey and now are supporting our fellow students in Brazil for their cause and inviting them to share their experiences and views with us on this students’ journal.

@TWRnews Just good journalism…and insightful truth, is all the world needs. Thanks for an article of such information. #OccupyGezi #Turkey
— The [email protected] (@The_101HiWay) June 19, 2013


Protests in brazil and turkey

Hiking the price fares of public transportation served as a catalyst for the developed overall massive protest against the government of Brazil for its incapability to serve the needs of the modern and more awakened citizen. One of the most raised point is that the government is spending enormous amount of its funding for the preparation of the FIFA World Cup 2014 that is scheduled to be hosted in Brazil from 12th June to 13th July. Protesters are appealing that Brazil has more other important issues which it needs to address like better educational and healthcare institutes and facilities, protection of its rain forests, tackling corruption etc. 
Brazil is an amazing team at soccer which is followed by the millions of youth around the world. Protesters in Brazil who are mostly youths and students, instead of waiting to watch their best team play, are actually appealing to the world cup fans to not to come to Brazil for the World Cup. So you can imagine the amount of seriousness and dedication at the moment Brazilians have for their country.
We have been seeing a series of such protest waves shaking the passive government worldwide, whether it was Arab Spring or Iceland, India, and now Turkey and Brazil. Almost at the same time citizen around the world are realizing their power and their rights. We have also been seeing that if a government actually helps its citizen then the country’s statistics automatically grows for good. 
While protests in India started as a massive attempt to force the government to stop the corruption by adopting new bill (Jan Lokpal bill) and to bring back the black money stashed in the foreign banks, the amount of passion diluted as the media suddenly stopped airing the updates and the protesters also got divided for various issues the attempt failed and the government survived. However, the protests in Iceland is something which is ideal and our friends in Brazil, Turkey and India who do not know the power of united protests then you must read this article – Lessons World Must Learn from Iceland Tackling its Financial Crisis.

In the meanwhile many cities, fearing that the protest might take an uncontrollable avatar, rolled back the fares. Will this help in pacify the streets? Will the protesters calm down now? Well, students have already declared that it’s not just 20 cents. From the beginning students and supporters of the protests are uploading their photos with a banner “It’s not just 20 cents” and sharing them with the hashtag #changebrazil. The supporters are also encouraging people worldwide to join them in the protest and upload a photo. The protests have taken a wider angle and now the motive is better Brazil. Therefore, it is too late to roll back the prizes now. This will in fact encourage the demonstrators that their voice in unity caused at least some positive actions by the government.

#ChangeBrazil massive thank you to @dylanobrien and @PoulterWill for their support pic.twitter.com/eFnjZQkYkP
— Kaya Scodelario (@kScodders) June 20, 2013

Like in Turkey, where police is following the brutal orders from Erdogan, In Brazil too we saw some police brutality, however what we saw in Sao Paulo was very interesting, the Military Police of Sao Paulo sat on the floor with the protesters and joined the protest, creating a wave of cheers among the protesters which has boosted the public confidence. Watch the video below. Not only this, players of Brazil’s national football team player also expressed solidarity with the demonstrators. 


“After seeing the people on the streets claiming for improvements, it makes me feel like joining them,” striker “Hulk” (Givanildo Vieira de Souza) was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “They are doing the right thing, what they are saying makes sense and we have to hear them. Brazil needs to improve, we all know that,” he added. 
Anti-government protests has not only shaken the government of Brazil, but also the FIFA and football governing bodies, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has even said to the extent that “protesters should not use football to make their demands heard worldwide.”
“People are using the platform of football and the international media presence to make certain demonstrations,” said the Swiss businessman, who heads the world football federation. He further added “The demonstrations and violent protests will not reach inside the stadiums for the Confederations Cup.”
Meanwhile Brazil has decided that it will deploy National Public Security force to control the demonstrations in the five cities hosting the football matches. The troops have been ordered to mediate the conflict rather than punish the protesters. National Public Security force in Brazil is usually deployed when there are serious security crisis such as prison riots or major gang violence which threatens the security of the common public.

What we are seeing in Brazil today can happen anywhere in the world. People are awakening, it is we who elect the government and government must address our problems. Therefore we urge the readers to help and support the Brazil demonstrations, upload a photo saying “it’s not just 20 cents” with the hash tag #changebrazil on twitter or facebook. Also share this article with the hash tag #changbrazil. Join the conversation with us. Let’s create a better world where people are for the people. 
We are students’ journalists reporting by the students for the students and the world. You are invited to express your views and experiences on this issue with us. Follow us on Twitter (@TWRnews) and Facebook.

Students’ Journal The World Reporter is with #Changebrazil pic.twitter.com/fWS0fMVm21
— TheWorldReporter (@TWRnews) June 18, 2013

protests in Brazil
Demonstrators run past burning garbage during protests against poor public services, police violence and government corruption in Sao Paulo June 18, 2013 (Reuters / Alex Almeida)
Protests in Brazil
Students take part in a demonstration next to the city hall building and the Municipal Theater in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 18, 2013 (AFP Photo / Miguel Schincariol)
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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Economy

Weathering the Storm: How Political Climates Affect the Financial Markets

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There are numerous factors that can potentially have an effect on financial markets and which traders have to be aware of. They can range from extreme weather events, terror attacks, corporate announcements, all the way to the political climate of a country. In most of these scenarios, the ramifications for an economy and the subsequent reflection in the stock markets can be relatively predictable – we expect to see a drop in stock prices when a disaster hits , for example. When it comes to the political climate, however, things become a whole lot less predictable. This is due to various reasons, not least because of the inherently fickle nature of politics itself and the sometimes vast differences in the political cultures and traditions of different countries.

To get a sense of just how a country’s political climate can affect various aspects of a nation’s economy and its financial markets, we’ll take a practical recent example of the USA following President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016. It serves as an interesting case study due not only to its unexpected nature which highlighted the basic unpredictability of political climates, but because it brought about some very interesting reactions and results from businesses and the financial sector in general.

Growth Expectations

A general statement can be made to the effect that a country’s political climate and its economic environment are closely related. Investors, no matter how large their risk appetite, like to have a reasonable assurance of their money’s safety, which is why stock markets are usually the first industries to react to any political climate changes. In fact, research suggest that stock markets follow a predictable general pattern along a four-year cycle punctuated by the Presidential Elections in the USA and perhaps many other countries worldwide, with the market showing signs of increased caution as election season comes around.

Following President Trump’s unexpected victory, many organizations held the hope that the bold fiscal proposals he had talked about during the campaign – including increased spending and tax cuts – would serve to boost the country’s economy. The Federal Reserve actually went ahead and increased interest rates in anticipation of the changes, showing how even the promise of a policy change will directly be felt on the financial market.

Anticipated Regulatory Changes

When a country undergoes a significant political change of pace, it is expected that this will come with significant regulatory standards and practices. It is widely acknowledged that increased government regulation and bureaucratic interference in a country’s economy and industrial activity will usually result in a slowing down of the economy in question.

President Trump had poised to relax the regulatory framework in the country as well as consolidating the numerous bodies tasked with formulating the regulations to make it easier to do business in the country, and this came as good news to organizations and their stakeholders.

Political Stability Concerns

Political stability has a very real effect on the state of businesses within an economy, as we can all agree. While many business owners and stakeholders were encouraged by the promise of deregulation and fiscal policy reform, many were also given cause for concern when it came to the President’s apparent pattern of unexpected and inconsistent policy decisions.

His stance on immigration, promise to wall of the USA’s southern border with Mexico, and his abandonment of previous trade deals all went into fueling anxiety and a sense of uncertainty in the financial markets. This was especially felt in the case of organizations with a global business presence. These feelings decrease investor confidence and often lead to a depreciation in stock market values as the more risk-averse investors keep away.

In Conclusion

When looked at in totality, countries all over the world face the same types of political risks. We’re not talking about complete government collapses such as might occur in times of a coup, but relatively smaller yet high-impact moves and policies by governments on matters such as regulation, currency valuation, taxes, spending, minimum wage laws, labor laws, environmental regulations, and the like.The financial market of a country, being highly sensitive to such shocks, can register an impact when such actions are merely proposed, without their implementation having taken place yet. The impacts may be long or short-term, but they are definitely felt throughout the financial markets.

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China

What a Rising Xi Jinping Means for China and the World

Manak Suri

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Xi Jinping China

Source: en.kremlin.ru

“Watch this man.” These were the three words used by the founding father of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew to describe a relatively unknown Xi Jinping while he was yet to become the President of the People’s Republic of China. Today, in addition to being China’s “paramount leader”, Xi is arguably the most powerful man in the world, and even if leaders across the world were doubtful about it till now, the developments in the previous week were sure to make them think again.

19th Party Congress: How it unfolded

Xi today, Xi forever?

The Communist Party of China assembled the previous week for its 19th Party Congress, a political summit that takes place every five years to decide upon the country’s future and the future is precisely what Xi has fixated his eyes upon. According to the current rules, Mr Xi must step down as the leader when his term ends in 2022 and as tradition dictates, a successor must be appointed. While only time will reveal whether Mr Xi steps down from the presidency at the end of his term, it increasingly looks that he is not keen to do so, having failed to hint towards any successor for the time being. His apparent intentions to stay put were further solidified with the appointment of the new members to the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest decision making authority in the country after the president. Each of the members appointed to the body is over 60 years of age, which means that they are highly likely to retire when their term comes to an end with the next meeting five years later. Interestingly, two-thirds of them are also known to be Mr Xi’s loyalists.

Xi Jinping Thought: A force to be reckoned with

“Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” or the “Xi Jinping Thought” for short was written into the party’s constitution at the end of the Congress. The thought consists of 14 principles calling for deep reforms, conserving the environment, the party’s complete control over the army, and the importance of the unification of the country. The development was highly publicised and with good reason. With the “Xi Jinping Thought” embedded in the constitution while still being in power, Xi Jinping has drawn comparisons from all over the world to Mao Zedong himself. Moreover, he has ensured that anyone that opposes him will do so at the cost of their removal from the party. When Xi asked the delegates at the end of his address for any objections, shouts of “meiyou” which means “none” rang through the Great Hall of the People.

Mr Xi has declared the start of a “new era” for China, and undoubtedly for the entire world. It is therefore important to ask what significance these developments hold for the country and for the world at large.

What this means for China

The inclusion of Xi’s thought in the constitution means that the same will be taught in schools, colleges, and other institutions throughout the country, infusing his ideology among the Chinese on a cultural level. Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center puts it aptly when he says that the move “greatly increases, … broadens, and deepens Xi Jinping’s personal power within the Chinese system”.

The president has already found a wide support of the Chinese population with his push for modernisation and his crackdown on corruption has been hugely popular among the masses. Since his election in 2012, Mr Xi’s anti-corruption drive, famously known within the country as the “tiger and flies campaign” has either disciplined or expelled nearly a million party members. As his stance on corruption remains as stern as ever, many have come to view it as a political tool used by him time and again to get rid of political rivals. However, the corruption drive has undoubtedly proved to be effective and fruitful for the country’s business climate.

While Mr Xi’s crackdown on corruption has garnered immense coverage, the crackdown on humans rights activists and NGOs has not received its fair share. China has struggled for decades in its battle for free speech. In 2015, many human rights lawyers were detained and many international NGOs faced stricter curbs to keep them from functioning. As the president has left little room for any opposition within the party, the authoritarianism and censorship are by no means expected to be relaxed, ensuring that there is no opposition from outside the party as well.

Powerplay: China’s standing on the global stage

Donald Trump was among the world leaders who wished the Chinese president when he congratulated him on his “extraordinary elevation”. The reverence he holds for Mr Xi was quite apparent when he said: “some people might call him the king of China.” The surprise, however, came when North Korea’s Kim Jong Un congratulated the president on his “great success” since the two leaders are not known to be fond of each other. The intent here is clear. Both sides need a China that is continuously growing in power on their side in their stand against each other, and that means a closer association with Mr Xi. Chinese influence in the world is unlikely to stop there.

While speaking to CNN, James McGregor, author of “No Ancient Wisdom, No Followers: The Challenges of Chinese Authoritarian Capitalism”, mentioned that “given the chaos in Washington and also the dysfunction in Europe, the world is looking for leadership.” Mr Xi enjoys a great level of stability and largely unquestioned authority in a time where the leaders of Western democracies face intense competition at home. As such, his message to his party and to the world is clear: in the coming decades, China will “stand proudly among the nations of the world” and “become a leading global power. ” However, it will do so on its own terms, emphatically rejecting the Western political models.

These intentions are perhaps best evidenced by The Belt and Road initiative, China’s attempt at connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa with each other through a modern take on the Silk Route, into which it has already pumped hundreds of billions as loans and aid to countries across all three continents. While the project has been met with opposition from Japan, India, and the USA, many of China’s neighbours have expressed their support for it, which speaks of its influence on the global stage.

With the people’s army under the control of the party, Mr Xi also looks to achieve the twin goals of increasing the military might and the protection of China’s sovereignty. “We will not tolerate anyone, using any means, at any time to separate one inch of land from China”, he said in his address which is seen as a warning to both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Enhancing combat capability is also linked to the Chinese interests in the South China Sea, where its activities of building and militarisation of islands have received backlash from the international community.

“If one is big”, Mr Xi said on the final day of the Congress, “one must act big.” There’s no doubt that Mr Xi intends to put these words into action at the global level. Lee Kuan Yew once rightly pointed out about China that the world would do well to remember:  “The size of China’s displacement of the world balance is such that the world must find a new balance. It is not possible to pretend that this is just another big player. This is the biggest player in the history of the world.”

References:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/china-congress-xi-jinping-petricic-1.4371251

https://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/03/interview-lee-kuan-yew-on-the-future-of-us-china-relations/273657/

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/10/china-xi/544035/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/xi-jinping-china-communist-party-constitutional-amendment-ideology-enshrined-superpowers-future-mao-a8017111.html

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Europe

UK Attempts To Bypass European Commission On Brexit Blocked By Brussels

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Brexit European Union

Via geographos

As the UK and EU draw deeper and deeper into uncharted waters, Brexit negotiations are becoming increasingly erratic. As negotiators from both states met this week to discuss items such as the Northern Ireland Border, the rights of EU citizens currently residing in the UK and the notorious ‘divorce bill’, there have been numerous reports of frustration within the British camp.

Frustration

Recently it was revealed that Prime Minister Theresa May, believing talks to be at an impasse, intended to go over the heads of the EU’s Brexit negotiators and appeal directly to world leaders such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. When questioned about this, however, Brussels officials close to the negotiations intimated that Mrs May would not be able to circumvent the negotiations process.

The officials pointed out that both French and German leaders had agreed prior to the talks that negotiations would come “as a single package” where “individual items cannot be settled separately” and that no member state would abstain from negotiations in favour of individual agreements.

One year on…

It has been over a year now since the UK referendum in which the country voted (at a rate of 52% to 48%) to leave the European Union in an unprecedented political and economic chain of events, the repercussions of which will take years to fully realise but which the world glibly knows as Brexit. It’s a small name for such a political leviathan. Many of the world’s leading bankers and economists still aren’t sure what to make of. Recently CEO Lloyds Bank Antonio Horta-Osorio (who has been lauded for restoring the bank’s profits to pre-financial crisis levels) expressed doubt and uncertainty over the long term economic effects of Brexit. It’s somewhat telling that former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned shortly after the vote, claiming that his involvement in the ‘Remain’ campaign put him at odds with the will of the people but it’s possible that he had the prescience to realise that he had no hope of taming this wily and unpredictable beast. One year on, the beast only seems to have become further enraged by the negotiating process.

Difficult negotiations

Theresa May has gone into Brexit negotiations with some questionably aggressive negotiating tactics. The first round of talks were mired by her strangely audacious assertion that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. The frustration has clearly been felt on both sides with chief negotiator Michel Barnier urging Mrs May to begin negotiating “seriously”. The French government also demonstrated an unwillingness to circumvent negotiations earlier this week, stating that it “fully supports, on the substance as well as on the method, Michel Barnier’s negotiating mandate” and asserting that claims that Mrs May can somehow bypass the procedure “are founded on absolutely nothing and do not reflect reality”. Brexit Minister David Davis, however, retains an optimistic tone, stating;

“Our goal remains the same: we want to agree a deal that works in the best interests for both the European Union and the United Kingdom and people and businesses right across Europe. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to work once more…”.

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