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CFR Backgrounder: The Chinese Communist Party (updated)

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Backgrounder: The Chinese Communist Party
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the founding and ruling political party of modern China, boasting more than eighty-six million members. In 2012, the CCP underwent a pivotal once-in-a-decade power transition that saw its fifth generation of leaders set the future agenda for the second-largest economy in the world. While the party has maintained a political monopoly since its founding, the effects of China’s rapid economic growth have triggered increasing social unrest and political destabilization that challenge the country’s rise as a global power. A spate of political scandals has also exposed deep power struggles inside the infamously opaque organization. The changeover has done little to affect immediate party policy and direction, however the implications of new leadership sheds some light on how China plans to position itself on the world stage.

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Turk-Life in India

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Turk-Life in India
Source: Microsoft Research

Previous studies on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), the most well-known marketplace for microtasks, show that the largest population of workers on AMT is U.S. based, while the second largest is based in India. In this paper, we present insights from an ethnographic study conducted in India to introduce some of these workers or ‘Turkers’ – who they are, how they work and what turking means to them. We examine the work they do to maintain their reputations and their work-life balance. In doing this, we illustrate how AMT’s design practically impacts on turk-work. Understanding the ‘lived work’ of crowdwork is a valuable first step for technology design.

India: the biggest democracy in the world

November 19, 2014 Comments off

India: the biggest democracy in the world
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

With 1 267 million inhabitants, of which 834 million can vote, India is the largest democracy in the world. Despite India’s linguistic and religious diversity, the 2014 general elections have given the newly elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, a strong mandate. Since coming into office, Modi has reinforced his focus on the economy and international trade, which may further cement EU-India relations. The EU and India have been strategic partners since 2004. They began negotiations on a free trade area in 2007, although several Indian political parties have concerns over these.

Oil Security Index — Who Is at Risk? (October 2014 Update)

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Oil Security Index — Who Is at Risk? (October 2014 Update)
Source: Securing America’s Future Energy

When launched in October 2013, SAFE’s Oil Security Index was hailed as an essential tool for those seeking greater insight into both what constitutes oil security, and which countries are most oil secure. The Index included then-current and historical data tracing national rankings back to 2000.

In this update, SAFE adds data through Q2 2014 and revises the rankings accordingly. The Index’s seven metrics capture three core aspects of oil security: the structural dependency of countries’ economies on oil, the economic exposure of countries to oil prices and the changes in those prices, and the physical supply security of a country’s domestic and imported oil.

This most recent update features a special focus on Japan, the Index’s most oil-secure country. Japan ranks highly in spite of its minimal domestic oil resources and high import levels, which are offset by several other indicators. Most notably, Japan’s high oil efficiency and its role as an international storage hub work in favor of the county’s long-term oil security.

The latest Index update also shines a light on India, where burgeoning demand has driven oil consumption up 75 percent since 2000. Amidst rising demand for gasoline and increasing incomes, India struggles with a heavy reliance on Middle East imports and low overall efficiency, leaving it suspended at 11 out of 13 in the Index rankings.

Pakistan: human rights situation

November 17, 2014 Comments off

Pakistan: human rights situation
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Human rights abuse is one of the most complex and challenging issues in Pakistan today. The EU has expressed concerns about the human rights situation and monitors events closely. The European Parliament is worried about the sharp increase in sectarian violence and religious intolerance, as well as the continuing repression of women in the country.

New Comparative Law Report — Approval of Medical Devices

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Approval of Medical Devices (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report describes the approval process for medical devices in the European Union and fifteen countries, and also indicates whether or not an expedited approval procedure is available. Many of the countries reference EU law, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Israel more readily approves devices with a CE mark (indicating approval in the EU) or an indication that they are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In many nations, particularly those influenced by the EU, part of the review process is conducted not by the government but by private, independent organizations called “notified bodies.” These organizations are designated by EU Member States.

In most of the countries in the survey, medical devices are categorized based on the risks associated with their use, and the approval process varies by category. For example, in the United Kingdom, manufacturers of low-risk devices may register with the government agency and simply declare that the devices meet the requirements to be approved. Devices classed as higher risk must undergo more detailed review, by a notified body.

On the question of an expedited approval process, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland permit some sort of rapid review in particular cases, often when a device is required for an individual patient and no substitute is available. Mexico has provided for more rapid approval of devices if they have already been approved in either Canada or the United States. No such procedure exists at present in Brazil, France, Israel, the Russian Federation, or the United Kingdom. The Russian Federation did have a rapid approval system in place prior to August 2014. Germany provides for temporary approval of devices in limited circumstances. South Africa is now considering draft legislation that would include expedited procedures in specified situations.

A pocket guide to doing business in China

November 7, 2014 Comments off

A pocket guide to doing business in China
Source: McKinsey & Company

China, a $10 trillion economy growing at 7 percent annually, is a never-before-seen force reshaping our global economy. Over the past 30 years, the Chinese government has at times opened the door wide for foreign companies to participate in its domestic economic growth. At other times, it has kept the door firmly closed. While some global leaders, such as automotive original-equipment manufacturers, have turned China into their single largest source of profits, others, especially in the service sectors, have been challenged to capture a meaningful share of revenue or profits.

This article summarizes some of the trends shaping the next phase of China’s economic growth, which industries might benefit the most, and what could potentially go wrong. It also lays out what I believe it takes to build a successful, large-scale, and profitable business in China today as a foreign company.

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