Georgia’s Elections

When discussing politics in the post-Soviet space, Western editorials often opt for one of two lines: either the country in question is becoming part of Russia’s sphere of influence; or it is joining the long line of EU candidate nations. more >

Political Football

On consecutive days at the end of August, Chelsea FC announced two big-name signings, first the Brazilian midfielder Willian and then Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o. Both were acquired from top-flight Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, and were just two of a number of top players caught in a sudden and frenzied fire sale by Anzhi that raised eyebrows in the world of football journalism. more >

Corsican kingpins

Despite promises of police reinforcements in the region by the end of the year, Corsica, France’s Ile de beaute, retains the highest murder rate per capita in Europe. more >

SFO brings first charges under UK Bribery Act

Two years and two months after it came into power the UK’s leading anti-corruption body has brought its first charges under the Bribery Act.more >

Bishkek’s predicament

Located 4,000 metres above sea level in the Tien Shan mountain range in Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul region, Kumtor, Kyrgyzstan’s largest gold mine, poses a political problem for the Kyrgyz government. Caught between growing demands for the mine to be nationalised and Kumtor’s crucial importance to the Kyrgyz economy, Bishkek has been forced to navigate a precarious course. more >

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The US National Security Agency has been operating a mass electronic surveillance data mining program, PRISM, as we now know courtesy of whistleblower Edward Snowden. For the media the focus has been on what national intelligence agencies should be permitted to do with personal digital information, and where the divide between national security and civil liberties should be drawn. But perhaps the more important question to ask is who is watching us in the first place? Corporations are allowed to build up extensive personal profiles on individuals, but this is not given a second thought.more >

The SFO shows its teeth

David Green is unlikely to celebrate with a birthday cake. Exactly one year since being appointed as the head of the UK Serious Fraud Office Mr Green has seen the body’s reputation questioned by Parliament, attacked by the judiciary and trashed by the media.more >

The Tide Turns in Malta

On Monday, Malta’s new Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat pledged his support for Malta’s place in Europe. This is perhaps a surprising stance from a former virulently Euro-sceptic journalist who campaigned against Malta’s EU accession. more >

Old problems, new fault lines: Kenya’s forthcoming elections

What happens in Kenya affects the whole of east Africa and confidence in African markets more broadly. Kenya is the economic motor for around half the output of the region’s five countries. It is the regional transport, energy and investment hub. So, when Kenya has elections, there is a lot at stake. The next poll – on 4th March – is the first since the country went into near-meltdown of 2007-8. Anyone who cares about Kenya will get increasingly nervous as March approaches.more >

South Africa: a Zuma-Ramaphosa ‘pre-nup’?

​No one should be surprised that Jacob Zuma saw off the challenge from Kgalema Motlanthe for the ANC leadership at the party conference in Bloemfontein (Mangaung) in December. Zuma’s deficiencies in political leadership have long been balanced by natural skill at the dirty game of insider politics, stretching back to his time as an ANC intelligence operative during apartheid.more >

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