(Corrects photo caption to remove reference to Trotsky and changes date of Trotsky assassination to 1940 in last paragraph.)
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un purged his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, during a high-level meeting of the Political Bureau, part of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party. Footage of the meeting on Monday displayed all the classic setpieces of a totalitarian purge: a bizarre litany of charges, tearful denunciations by former comrades and the forcible removal of the renegade. Jang then disappeared, and North Korea said Friday that he had been executed after being convicted on charges he tried to organize a military coup.Read more »
Sometimes it seems nothing ever changes in Washington, and then suddenly change comes so fast it makes your head spin.
Case in point: For decades, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had been dominated by judges appointed by Republican presidents. Considered the U.S.'s most important court after the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit's balance of power remained lopsided -- broadly in favor of business and against costly regulation -- even under President Barack Obama because Senate Republicans used the filibuster to prevent his selections from being confirmed.Read more »
Earlier today Bloomberg View columnists Margaret Carlson and Ramesh Ponnuru met online to chat about Nelson Mandela's funeral, Pope Francis and Republican messaging. Below is a lightly edited transcript.
Margaret: We're going to need a bigger boat. I'm using a movie metaphor to describe what the South African government faces by having either a fake sign language interpreter flapping his arms around or one that was hallucinating steps away from many world leaders, including our own. It is kind of sweet the way everyone in the government has their own response. The junior minister for disabilities admitted the interpreter was not a true professional and apologized. The minister said, yes, mistakes were made, "but I don't think he was picked up from the street." Then the interpreter got into it, doing a little public relations for himself, admitting he has schizophrenia as if that would make the situation better.Read more »
With the news out that JPMorgan Chase & Co. is close to reaching a deferred-prosecution agreement over its dealings with Ponzi scheme maestro Bernard Madoff, the usual (and justified) carping over JPMorgan's status as a too-big-to-jail bank is in full force.
So now is as good a time as any to ask: What would it take for the government to ever require that a U.S. bank plead guilty to a criminal charge? There aren't many precedents, but here's a start: It would help if the bank already had a buyer in waiting.Read more »
The Chinese workers who assemble Apple Inc. (AAPL)'s ubiquitous iPhones aren’t committing suicide as often as they used to. Still, according to a report by the Fair Labor Association, they work in what would be considered sweatshop conditions by developed-world standards.
Last year, Apple became the first technology company to be admitted to the FLA -- part of the iPhone maker's response to the public-relations disaster known as the Foxconn suicides. From January to November 2010, 18 employees of Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., also known as Foxconn, attempted to take their lives, and 14 succeeded. Reports of inhumane working conditions proliferated, and though the company's suicide rate was lower than China's national average, Apple had to respond.Read more »
The foes of genetically modified food have this one huge issue that won't go away: the science keeps going against them.
The latest example took place late last month, when a prominent journal withdrew the one study that seemed to show a definitive link between health problems and food whose genetic mix has been altered to make it more resistant to pests or grow under less-than-ideal conditions.Read more »