- Narendra Modi is India's PM and head of ruling BJP - landslide election win 2014.
- His dominance of the party has been unchallenged since then, and he has moved to centralise power.
- But BJP defeat in the state of Bihar this last weekend resulted in unprecedented criticism from within his own party - Modi magic is waning - he's accused of being divisive instead of consensual.
- Oil price has more than halved in the last year, so as OPEC cartel leader, one would expect Saudi Arabia to cut output (and hence force the price up).
- But instead they have chosen to maintain supply, despite the financial pain this is causing domestically.
- Strategy is to prioritise its own long-term market share, and perhaps to inflict pain on fellow OPEC members Iran and Russia (who Saudi Arabia believes have destructive geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East).
- Debate and decision were largely political.
- i.e. both the democrat-against argument (bad for environment) and conservative-for argument (creates jobs) were exaggerated according to energy & policy experts.
- Major victory for environmental movement, gives US credibility ahead of Paris December climate talks + boosts Obama's environmental credentials during last year in office.
- First meeting between leaders of Chinese Communist party and Taiwan's Kuomintang since 1945.
- Chinese motivation: Good for international image + concerned about strength of pro-independence opposition party in Taiwan.
- Taiwanese motivation: Current president wants to boost image domestically as opposition party looking poised to defeat him in January.
- These days governing Kuomintang is relatively pro-China and anti-independence.
- Pro-independence opposition DPP has gained strength in recent years.
- Looks like DPP could win January Presidential election, and also win majority in legislature.
- Not strictly recognised as a country, but 22 small countries/entities have diplomatic relations with it.
- Lost its UN seat in 1971, but it has it's own military.
- US established diplomatic relations with China 1979, but also committed to defending Taiwan's self-governing status.
- Civil war in China 1927-1950 (Communists vs. Kuomintang).
- Mao Zedong's Communists take power in Beijing in 1949.
- Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang nationalists form their own government in Taiwan - China considers it a renegade province.