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Locked behind a subscription wall, the article itself was hard to access, but this had the paradoxical effect of allowing every critic of India's beleaguered prime minister to project his or own civic and economic discontents onto the provocative cover line, whether anger over rising prices and corruption, distress over a slowing economy, annoyance at red tape and paralysis in government and cronyism in business, impatience with some of the more disruptive partners in the coalition government, or annoyance at Singh's apparent lack of power within his own party, the Indian National Congress. The cover provided a single point of focus for discussion in the Indian print media -- and even more, prominently, on television, with its love of a good story generated at no cost and its two- and three-minute rhetorical wars -- and allowed every Indian news website to recycle the question in its own Internet polls.READ MORE
At 1 p.m. on July 6, two well-known Chinese microbloggers arrived at the south gate of Beijing’s Chaoyang Park to settle their differences. The encounter was publicly pre-arranged on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog.
No (uniformed) police arrived, despite the fact that in the 48 hours after the challenge was issued and accepted, the event's details were re-tweeted thousands of times on Chinese microblogs.READ MORE
On July 10, the Russian-language Wikipedia greeted its millions of users with a largely blank page and a message asking them to “imagine a world without free knowledge.” The impetus for the web site's one-day protest: Russia's leaders are moving toward the creation of a "great firewall," along Chinese lines, to limit what the country's Internet users can see and read.
The next day, the lower house of Russia's parliament passed a bill that, while ostensibly aimed at protecting children from information that could be “harmful to their health and development,” allows broad censorship of the Internet. It sets up an official roster of websites containing forbidden information, including child pornography, “propaganda of drug use,” information that “may cause children to undertake actions threatening their life or health” or “any other information banned by court decisions.”READ MORE
(Corrects blog post published July 6 to correct spelling of name in paragraph seven and remove erroneous information in original paragraph six.)
It was a dizzying height from which to drop. Eike Batista is the quintessential high-achieving, alpha male entrepreneur. He's the richest man in Brazil, with a group of companies active in everything from mining and shipping to oil and real estate.READ MORE
India's finance minister, the veteran politician Pranab Mukherjee, 76, tendered his resignation last week after three years in office. This was his second term in that post -- he first served from 1982 to 1984 -- an extraordinary feat of political endurance, as well as a study in contrasts between the challenges of running the economy in pre- and post-liberalization India.READ MORE
If you are an opposition politician in Russia and someone hacks into your e-mail, the police will not be interested in the hacker, even though his name is no secret. Parliament deputies will, however, demand that you, the victim, be placed under investigation based on the content of your private mailbox.
Welcome to the surreal world of Alexei Navalny, the lawyer and anti-corruption blogger whom many consider to be one of the leaders of recent “white ribbon” protests against President Vladimir Putin's authoritarian rule.READ MORE
The demise of Brazil's military dictatorship in 1985, after 21 dark years, was supposed to have ended government intrusiveness in people's lives.
But searching through government documents, the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo has found evidence to the contrary. Papers show that Brazil’s secret service spied on both Dilma Rousseff, now the president, and her mentor and predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, from the time democracy was restored until the early 1990s.READ MORE
At 6 a.m. last Wednesday, residents rushed out of a Shanghai housing compound and discovered the bloody aftermath of the latest episode in what may be China’s most ancient and intractable conflict: the war between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
In this case, the carnage was particularly ferocious. Two women, a 60-year-old mother-in-law, and her five-month pregnant daughter-in-law, left a trail of blood from the building to their respective ambulances. The supposed cause of the bloodshed became an immediate Internet sensation:READ MORE
Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh became the first Indian head of state in 25 years to make a visit to Myanmar (formerly Burma), the eastern neighbor that has for 50 years been ruled by a repressive military junta. The visit was both a welcome gesture of reconnection and a reminder of a wasted half-century in relations between two newly independent states (Burma was decolonized in 1948, a year after India) that share a border of more 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).
The meeting of top representatives of the world's largest democracy and an authoritarian but liberalizing regime was also a reminder of how the ideology of the nation-state -- appearing in this region in response to colonization, straining against local traditions of feudalism, despotism and dynastic rule to fashion a secure transition to democracy, and eventually spawning a fresh jostle for power and influence in an often arbitrarily broken-up subcontinent -- has served to disrupt age-old civilizational links in South Asia, probably for good. Realists would also say that the rapprochement was geopolitically inevitable, given Burma's vast reserves of natural resources (including natural gas) and China's growing influence over its economy, a reward for a no-questions-asked engagement with the junta. A team of prominent Indian businessmen accompanied Singh on his visit, seeking new markets in areas such as telecommunications and manufacturing.READ MORE
A bizarre sight greeted selected guests at this year's St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Russia's version of Davos: four little girls in silver face paint and metallic headdresses, confined from their necks down in the walls of a chrome-plated bath, blowing at paper boats under a hot sun.
The "Four Winds" art installation, featured at a lavish reception hosted by St. Petersburg Governor Grigory Poltavchenko, added to an overarching impression of feast amid the plague. With a second wave of the global economic crisis looming, the Russian government sought to display its imperial greatness at its premier international showcase event. As usual, the president made a major speech, and state-owned companies put off the signings of big contracts so they could take place during the forum.READ MORE
Its rivalry with the prettier, more glamorous Rio de Janeiro is intense but, deep down, Brazilians know that Sao Paulo, the center of finance, business, advertising and banking, is where the big decisions are made.READ MORE
Mr. Gu, an unmarried pharmacist in north China’s Jilin province, never aspired to be a champion for privacy, much less porn. Yet, sometime this spring -- probably in March -- Mr. Gu, possessor of 95 downloaded pornographic films on his hard drive, uploaded the wrong photo to a popular Chinese bulletin board.
It was not titillating.READ MORE
When I left my house in Delhi on the last night of April, summer had just arrived in the north of India. The next evening, I found myself in a radio station in Copenhagen, discussing ideas of love in the 21st century with the Danish poet Mette Moestrup and two very opinionated musicians.
From Copenhagen, I voyaged to New York, where I had two weeks to myself in a flat on the Upper West Side with a marvelously idiosyncratic cat as my companion. I spent my mornings drinking iced coffee and writing in that grotto of sweet pleasures, the Hungarian Pastry Shop, and my evenings browsing in the city's magnificent used bookstores and drinking and dining in Chinatown and Greenwich Village.READ MORE
What if the director of the FBI threatened to decapitate a journalist and the threat became public? The result would be scandal, resignation and possibly criminal proceedings.
Not so in Russia. When Alexander Bastrykin, who runs the FBI's local equivalent, the SKR, made such a threat to an investigative reporter, he got off with an apology. Many journalists, including the recipient of the threat and his editor-in-chief, considered the apology sufficient. Case closed.READ MORE
Two decades into their country's post-liberalization new economy, many Indians, especially the sizeable middle-class, have substantially revised ideas about government spending that were accepted without question in the old days of socialism.
But the drift rightward is a slow one. If pressed for a "yes" or "no"' answer, most Indians today might still be sympathetic to the current government's adherence to welfarism and subsidies in the sectors of agriculture, education, food and labor.READ MORE
The facts of the case are clear, the killer having confessed. Elize Matsunaga, a former prostitute, murdered her rich, cheating husband Marcos, chopped his body into pieces and left them on a dirt road.
Still, the interpretation of those events and the behavior of Elize, 30, and Marcos, 42, have all of Brazil talking.READ MORE
Ksenia Sobchak, a TV personality often portrayed as Russia's Paris Hilton, had a rocky start as a leader of the country's opposition movement. At one point, demonstrators tried to boo her off a stage.
Now, President Vladimir Putin's ham-handed effort to punish protesters is making her a star.READ MORE
Monday morning June 11, 9:45 a.m., a microblogging account devoted to news about China’s Hubei Province tweeted three photos depicting downtown buildings wrapped in gray-orange haze.
According to the text, they had just been taken in downtown Wuhan, Hubei's provincial capital, population 10 million : “It’s suddenly enveloped by smog and the air is thick with a combustible smoky smell! Is it like this where you are?”READ MORE
The worst kept secret in contemporary China is the role that corruption plays in the function and disfunction of public life. Take, for example, Zhang Shuguang, the former deputy chief of engineering for China’s Railway Ministry.
In 2011, at the time of his arrest, state media briefly reported that he had $2.8 billion stashed away in foreign bank accounts . The scale of Zhang’s avarice was grand, but it differed only in scale from the documented acts committed by thousands of other Chinese public officials every year. A few months after Zhang’s arrest, the People’s Bank of China (China’s Central Bank) posted a report –- subsequently deleted -– claiming that 16,000 to 18,000 public officials had fled China since the mid-1990s, taking with them $120 billion .READ MORE