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Hong Kong: one country, two systems?

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Hong Kong: one country, two systems?
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The on-going heated debate about the introduction of universal suffrage for the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive has turned into widespread protests on the territory’s streets. Hopes that the public would be able to nominate candidates were dashed by China’s decision to allow only committee-based nomination of candidates in the 2017 election. The Occupy Central protests, widely known as the Umbrella Revolution, kicked off on 28 September. Agreement to talks, scheduled for 10 October, saw tensions lowered, but after those talks were cancelled by the authorities, organisers called for protesters to return to the streets. With numbers not reaching earlier heights, the authorities appear to have concluded that the protests’ momentum is going.

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CRS — U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and FY2015 Appropriations (September 10, 2014)

October 21, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and FY2015 Appropriations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Geographic proximity has forged strong linkages between the United States and the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, with critical U.S. interests encompassing economic, political, and security concerns. U.S. policy makers have emphasized different strategic interests in the region at different times, from combating Soviet influence during the Cold War to advancing democracy and open markets since the 1990s. Current U.S. policy is designed to promote economic and social opportunity, ensure citizen security, strengthen effective democratic institutions, and secure a clean energy future. As part of broader efforts to advance these priorities, the United States provides Latin American and Caribbean nations with substantial amounts of foreign assistance.

Eleventh Circuit Provides Guidance for the Definition of “Foreign Official” under the FCPA, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 15, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Eleventh Circuit Provides Guidance for the Definition of “Foreign Official” under the FCPA, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On May 16, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Eleventh Circuit) issued its opinion in United States v. Esquenazi , a case important for being the first federal appellate court decision to provide guidance for and flesh out the definition of the term “foreign official” under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA or Act). The FCPA, first enacted in 1977 and significantly amended in 1988 (with an additional amendment in 1998 to implement the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions), was enacted principally to prevent the bribery of foreign officials. It has three major parts: 1. Requires corporations to keep accurate books, records, and accounts; 2. Requires issuers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to maintain a responsible internal accounting control system; and 3. Prohibits bribery by American corporations of foreign officials. (For additional information on the FCPA, see CRS Report R41466: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement.)

Reinvigorating the EU Single Market

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Reinvigorating the EU Single Market
Source: OECD

The EU Single Market remains fragmented by complex and heterogeneous rules at the EU and national levels affecting trade, capital, including foreign direct investment, and labour mobility. Further development of the Single Market and removing barriers to external trade would bring substantial growth and employment gains by enhancing resource allocation in Europe, by generating economies of scale and by strengthening competition and hence incentives to innovate. Reforming regulation and other implicit barriers can also yield a double dividend: it would stimulate cross-border activities and support the necessary reallocation process within countries. Such reallocation can cause hardships, especially for the less-skilled workers who may not be able to compete. To deal with such problems, it is important to enhance active labour market policies and training. The Single Market would also benefit from better networks between countries that can be supported by a well-targeted infrastructure policy. New digital networks can be promoted by an appropriate regulatory framework to strengthen confidence and to promote fair competition. Regarding external trade, the first-best solution is clearly multilateral trade negotiations, but short of that external trade and investment barriers can be reduced with Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the United States and other partners. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of the European Union (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-european-union.htm).

The Ebola Outbreak: Select Legal Issues, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 6, 2014)

October 17, 2014 Comments off

The Ebola Outbreak: Select Legal Issues, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On August 8th, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The recent arrival in the United States of several health care workers who contracted the disease, combined with the first diagnosis of a case in the U.S. at a hospital in Dallas, has sparked discussion about the appropriate government response. Aside from the various policy considerations at issue, the outbreak has generated several legal questions about the federal government’s authority to restrict specific passengers’ travel and/or contain the outbreak of an infectious disease. These questions include, inter alia, whether the federal government may: (1) restrict which countries U.S. nationals may travel to in the event of a public health crisis; (2) bar the entry into the United States of people who may have been infected by a disease; and (3) impose isolation or quarantine measures in order to control infectious diseases.

Keeping the South China Sea in Perspective

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Keeping the South China Sea in Perspective
Source: Brookings Institution

The United States seeks to promote Asia-Pacific economic interdependence and dynamism and to mitigate security tensions in the region. Unfortunately, maritime territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea increasingly threaten these dual objectives of U.S.-Asia policy. This policy brief focuses on the South China Sea set of issues.

Complex Rivalries and Claims in the South China Sea

U.S. Principles and Interests

Recommendations for a Diplomatic Strategy

Issue Guide: What’s at Stake in Hong Kong?

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Issue Guide: What’s at Stake in Hong Kong?
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Twenty-five years after the brutal Tiananmen crackdown, continuing protests in Hong Kong calling for greater democracy in the territory have once again focused the world’s attention on China’s rise and challenges to its authoritarian rule. The following guide provides background and analysis of the issues at stake for Hong Kong and the wider region.

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