Chinese President Xi Jinping must have felt pretty pleased with himself earlier this year, after he dispatched rival and former Politburo member Bo Xilai in a dramatic, humiliating show trial. When it comes to staging purges, though, North Korea's brash young leader Kim Jong Un has him beat.
Kim didn't just arrest his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, the second-most powerful man in the country. The boy-dictator appears to have had Jang brought out of seclusion in order to arrest him again at a televised leadership meeting, then tried and executed on the grounds of being ``an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element and despicable political careerist and trickster," according to the judgment of a secret military tribunal. No doubt.Read more »
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was certain that Democrats would maintain control of the chamber in next year's elections, though he added that his Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, might not be back in 2015.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn't campaign against McConnell, in keeping with the usual Senate customs. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat who is running for the Senate seat, is tied in the polls with McConnell, who also faces a primary battle.Read more »
By early next year, all seven members of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors will have been appointed by President Barack Obama. Too bad that so far he hasn't taken advantage of the openings to pick someone with a background in markets rather than academia.
Not that there is anything wrong with two of the people he has recently selected, first Lael Brainard and now, according to Bloomberg News, Stanley Fischer. Both come with stellar backgrounds and important experience, and are eminently qualified to serve on the Fed. But a third appointment needs to be made in a few weeks and Obama should use it to nominate John Geanakoplos, who though he is an economics professor at Yale University has also worked in financial markets for more than two decades.Read more »
Would you buy high-end copper-clad cookware for Christmas if you knew that its enduring long-term legacy wouldn’t be family happiness, but rather a half-millennium of pollution monitoring at the mine where the metal was extracted? British Columbia-based PolyMet Mining Corp. is betting that you won’t care and is pushing forward with a proposal to mine in northern Minnesota that, if approved, will likely prove its case.
The NorthMet project, as it’s known, will be located in a scenic area within hiking distance of 1.3 million acres of federally protected wilderness and -- most crucially -- rivers that flow into Lake Superior. The mine will be big -- it’s designed to tap into the Duluth Complex, one of the world's largest unexploited nickel and copper deposits -- and it will have significant environmental risks. Specifically, the tailings (leftover rocks) brought to the earth’s surface during mining will leach acids when exposed to rain and melting snow. Potentially, that will be a lot of acid: PolyMet plans to mine 32,000 tons of rock per day. Similar so-called sulfide-mining operations in other parts of the U.S. have left expensive, polluting legacies that will last in perpetuity. PolyMet needs to do better, a fact it knows.Read more »
(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 »