Category: People

Who is Narendra Modi? (1950 – present)

  • Indian politician, 19th and current Prime Minister (since May 2014).
  • Hindu Nationalist and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), previously served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat state (2001- 2014), praised for growth-oriented economic policies but criticised for failing to quell sectarianism.
  • Most dominant Indian PM in living memory (power centralised, opposition crushed, deferential cabinet, hugely popular on the street).

Who is Vladimir Putin? (1952 – present)

  • Russian politician who has been President or PM of Russia since 1999 (President [May 2012-present] + [2000-2008], PM [1999-2000] + [2008-2012]).
  • Prior to entering politics, he spent 16 years in the KGB (the Soviet security agency).
  • Popular cultural icon in Russia + has cultivated an image of a strongman, yet his actions are regarded by domestic opposition and international community as undemocratic.

Who is Angela Merkel? (1954 – present)

  • German politician, former research scientist, leader of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000 + Chancellor of Germany since 2005.
  • Champions austerity i.e. budget discipline as only way of restoring European financial stability.
  • Described as the de facto leader of the European Union and named by Forbes Magazine in 2014 as the most powerful woman in the world.

Who is Donald Tusk? (1957 – present)

  • Polish politician, former Poland Prime Minister, current head of European Council.
  • One of the few EU leaders who won re-election after 2008 financial crisis and guided Poland through 3 years of economic growth while rest of Europe faltered.
  • Healthy working relationship with Angela Merkel (German Chancellor).

Who is Barack Obama? (1961 – present)

  • US politician (Democrat), 44th US President (since 2009) and first African American to hold the office.
  • Cautious approach to foreign affairs and prolific use of "Presidential memoranda" used to bypass a hostile Congress.
  • Presidency characterised by domestic partisan gridlock and recent foreign policy successes.

Who is Geert Wilders? (1963 – present)

  • Populist Dutch politician, founder and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) which is the 4th-largest political party in Holland.
  • Known for euroscepticism & criticism of Islam, he is at the forefront of the surge anti immigration sentiment in W-Europe.
  • In Dec. 2014 charged with discrimination & incitement of hatred after anti-Moroccan statements at a political rally.

Who is Jeb Bush? (1953 – present)

  • US politician (Republican), 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007.
  • 2nd son of former President George H. W. Bush and younger brother of former President George W. Bush.
  • Announced his intention to "actively explore" the possibility of running for US President on 16 Dec. 2014.

Who is Shinzō Abe? (1954 – present)

  • Current Prime Minister of Japan (re-elected Dec. 2012 after 1 year term 2006/7) + President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
  • Economic policy dubbed Abenomics (monetary & fiscal expansion and inflation target of 2%).
  • Viewed as a right-wing nationalist.

Who is Colleen Bell? (1967 – present)

  • US TV producer (the Bold & the Beautiful) & philanthropist, & raised US$2.1m for Obama's '12 Presidential campaign.
  • Appointed US ambassador to Hungary in December 2014.
  • Made it clear in her Senate hearing that she knows little about the country.

Who is Alan Gross? (1949 – present)

  • US contractor jailed in Cuba for 15 years for alleged spying.
  • Arrested in 2009 for installing internet networks for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an act which Havana considered subversive.
  • Barack Obama's efforts at better relations with Cuba might ensure his early release.
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