- Russia in Ukraine.
- Russia & Iran in Syria.
- China in S-China Sea.
- Self-declared maritime border that asserts China's claim to territorial waters.
- Contested locally by Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
- China & Japan locked in separate dispute over the East China Sea.
- Looking pretty good.
- Growth solid and inflation trend healthy (i.e. receding fear of deflation).
- Bank of England keeping interest rates low to ensure recovery sustained.
- Real: Controls territory (in Iraq and Syria).
- Virtual: Dominates social media, inspires, motivates.
- If Russia plane incident in Egypt turns out to be an ISIS offshoot act of terrorism, signifies how dangerous the virtual ISIS can be.
- 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.
- 2013: Sisi (army chief) overthrows post-Mubarak, newly-elected Islamist government (of President Morsi) in popularly backed coup.
- 2014: Sisi wins Presidential election - starts clamping down on any dissent.
- 2015: Sisi authoritarianism re-ignites old confrontation in Egypt between radical Islamists & army - volatile situation.