Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:28 pm
The Federal Reserve said today that it is not slowing down its monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds.
The program is intended to stimulate a sluggish economy and the Fed was widely expected to announce that in light of a recovering economy, it was tapering the bond-buying program. Instead, it delivered a surprise that caused the markets to jump, as the Dow and the S&P closed at record highs.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:06 pm
Regular Monkey See readers know that I've been a fan for some time of Rainbow Rowell, whose first book, Attachments, was a thoughtful romance that utterly charmed me. (Full disclosure: It was after I began reading her books that I got to know Rowell a bit, enough that we actually met in person for the first time Tuesday night for dinner, ahead of her Wednesday night event at Politics & Prose in Washington, where she'll be talking about her new book, Fangirl.)
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:59 pm
In the aftershocks of a mass shooting event — like the one that occurred Monday at the Navy Yard in Washington in which 12 victims and the gunman were killed — an inevitable question recurs: Does it make any difference to society's response — calls for more guns, calls for fewer guns, mental health arguments — if the gunman survives the event?
A police officer blocks photos from being taken outside Zhongnanhai, the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China, in Beijing last year.
Credit Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images
Zhang Xuezhong, a professor of law, was recently suspended from teaching at his university in Shanghai. Among Zhang's offenses was writing articles that urge the Chinese Communist Party to respect the country's constitution.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
President Xi Jinping speaks at a congress in Beijing marking the 30th anniversary of the implementation of China's constitution, on Dec. 4, 2012. In the speech, he vowed to uphold the constitution and the rule of law.
Several weeks back, officials with the East China University of Political Science and Law met one of its professors, Zhang Xuezhong, at his favorite hangout, a coffeehouse in Shanghai.
Sitting in a private room, they told him he was suspended from teaching for articles he had posted on the Internet. In them, Zhang had argued that China's government needs to build a real rule of law — one to which even the party is accountable — as well as a system of checks and balances.
One way to start, he says, is to live up to the promises made in China's 1982 constitution.
A man relaxes at a downtown park in Seoul. The pronounced demographic shift triggered by a plummeting birth rate and soaring life expectancy is seen as one of the greatest challenges facing Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 5:43 pm
A story in the Financial Times caught our eye this week. It was on foreign workers in South Korea.
The story looked at the town of Ansan, where about 7.6 percent of the population is foreign. They come from other Asian countries, as well as from Russia. Here's one of the reasons for the change in South Korea, a highly homogeneous society:
Celtic musicians are often interested in forging a global fusion. Here are some that also strive to preserve distinct regional voices. They include flute player Cathal McConnell's with a collection of old field recordings and more hidden treasures with singers Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Christine Kydd, and fiddlers Pete Clark and Chris Stout.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:11 pm
Latvia is in the midst of a financial transition. The country has had "the fastest growing economy in the EU for the last two years," Pauls Raudseps, an economics commentator for the Latvian news magazine IR, said recently on Morning Edition.