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AssessmentsJun 5, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Seven-year-old Hamza Haqqani, a 2nd grade student at Al-Huda Academy, uses a computer to participate in an online class with his teacher and classmates at his home in Bartlett, Illinois, on May 1, 2020. Al-Huda Academy has had to adopt an e-learning program to finish the year after all schools in the state were forced to cancel classes to curb the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Pries Open the U.S. Education Market for Those up to the Task
Since schools began shutting down to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, distance learning has become an increasingly essential tool for the U.S. primary and secondary education sector. But for the companies selling those technologies, uneven financial resources and inconsistent curriculum standards across America's 13,506 school districts will preclude any national "one-size-fits-all" approach to the U.S. market. Instead, companies will need to design flexible and highly customized products and instructional content in order to seize the opportunity at hand, and become a mainstay of classrooms across the country.
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ReflectionsJan 14, 2020 | 19:37 GMT
Teams examine the scene of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed being unintentionally targeted by Iranian air defenses shortly after takeoff in Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020.
Why Iran Came Clean on Flight 752
After three days of denial, it was a stunning about-face. On Jan. 11, Iran's Armed Forces General Staff admitted that one of its surface-to-air missile systems shot down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 due to human error. The full acknowledgment turned heads, yet there was a reason for Iran's reversal: The country has no desire to turn itself into a pariah but rather find a way to engage with the rest of the globe, limit the impact of U.S. sanctions and negotiate with the West. The frank admission goes to show that such strategic goals influence many of Iran's choices -- including its volte-face on the aviation disaster.
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AssessmentsApr 3, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
A picture taken on March 13, 2019, shows the construction of a number of new buildings in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia Comes to a Crossroads on Economic Reform
After a year in office, Ethiopia's ambitious Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made considerable progress on multiple fronts by striking a peace deal with Eritrea, ousting entrenched elites, reforming the security sector and opening up the political system. But after promising to open up several key economic sectors, foreign investors are eager to see more progress. Nevertheless, Abiy and his allies are taking a careful approach to easing state control over key sectors as part of a larger bid to move the economy away from state-controlled growth to one of private sector-led growth. But while many in Ethiopia have hailed the developmental state model as an overall economic success, it has not come without its costs. For starters, government spending has kept inflation rates high. At the same time, authorities have effectively turned domestic lenders into piggy banks by obliging them to contribute portions of their deposits to the Development Bank
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AssessmentsFeb 11, 2019 | 12:00 GMT
Cranes unload containers from ships at the international container yard in Tokyo's port on Jan. 23, 2019.
Japan Drafts a Delicate Approach to U.S. Trade Talks
It's no secret that Tokyo's export prowess is less than appreciated in the White House. With Japan long in U.S. President Donald Trump's crosshairs due to its trade surplus with the United States, the two countries have finally agreed to sit down this year to talk trade. The timing for the start of the talks remains unclear. In October 2018, Washington extracted an agreement from Tokyo to come to the negotiating table by threatening to impose steep automotive tariffs. On Dec. 21, 2018, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published its negotiating objectives, paving the way for talks to begin in late January. The two countries failed to convene, however, in part because of the long U.S. government shutdown, the increased tempo of U.S.-China talks and the beginning of Japan's ordinary Diet session. According to speculation, the U.S.-Japan talks may not begin until at least April. Nevertheless, the clock
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AssessmentsNov 29, 2018 | 00:19 GMT
A car transport ship sits at anchor at the Nissan Motor's Oppama plant in Yokosuka, Japan, on Nov. 26, 2018.
Japan Has Carefully Paved the Way for Trade Talks With the U.S.
Japan will need to make some tough decisions on trade in 2019. This past year has been one of successes for Tokyo with the completion of its long-hoped-for Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement and the signing of an economic partnership with the European Union. Both will take effect in 2019. But just as these kick in, Japan will enter potentially contentious bilateral talks with the United States, Japan's largest export market and its second-largest trading partner overall.
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AssessmentsOct 19, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks to reporters in Mexico City on July 5, 2018, to announce that his pick for foreign minister is former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.
Mexico's President-Elect Continues to Refine His Energy Policies
There are just about six weeks to go until Mexico's new leader takes office, yet policy in one area that has attracted some of the hottest speculation, energy, remains very much a work in progress. Leftist President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- popularly known by the nickname AMLO -- rode a wave of public discontent with the incumbent administration and corruption to the presidency. On the campaign trail, however, Lopez Obrador also directed his ire at another bugbear: the country's 2013 energy reform. And now that Lopez Obrador is about to assume power, it's becoming clear that his administration is exploring options to craft an energy policy distinct from that of his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto. Although the incoming administration has leaked numerous potential policy choices to the press, just a few plausible options are emerging -- in part because the country's economic and fiscal realities have narrowed Lopez Obrador's
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AssessmentsAug 30, 2018 | 12:00 GMT
Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a press conference to announce Marcelo Ebrard's appointment as foreign minister on July 5 in Mexico City.
Mexico's President-Elect Works to Solidify Power
With a transfer of government just over the horizon, Mexico's domestic political scene is in for some monumental changes. On Dec. 1, power will pass to President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his political alliance. The coalition, led by the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), has never previously held the presidency but now controls it, as well as both houses of Congress. Despite the presence of ideologues within the incoming coalition, it will first focus its considerable resources on the more mundane task of cementing its power as the foremost political force in Mexico. But such outsized domestic power will ultimately give the new government a chance to turn its attention to matters of ideological interest -- and that could create difficulties for some investors, especially in the energy sector. In its quest to remake Mexico, the Lopez Obrador government may accordingly consider action that hurts the private sector as it
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AssessmentsJul 25, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is Mexico's president-elect. He's pictured here during a June 27, 2018, campaign event in Mexico City.
Why More Democracy Might Mean More Disruption in Mexico
Mexico witnessed radical change in its elections at the beginning of this month, and it appears the prospects for profound transformation are only likely to grow. After riding a populist wave of support to victory on July 1, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador released a list of priorities for Mexico's Congress -- which his coalition will also dominate -- when newly elected lawmakers assume their seats on Dec. 1. Amid the raft of anti-corruption proposals is one item that could prove crucial: the elimination of restrictions on referendums, together with a related constitutional amendment to make such votes legally binding. Though the proposal is brief and buried within the incoming president's lengthy to-do list, the manner in which Lopez Obrador goes about expanding and amending Mexicans' right to vote in referendums could have wide-ranging and unintended consequences -- not least for politicians, the private sector and foreign investors.
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AssessmentsJul 6, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Cyberspace is an expanding battleground between China and the United States.
China Won't Back Down on Cyber Espionage Anytime Soon
The United States and China will keep using the internet and cyberspace against each other. A 2015 agreement stipulating that neither would engage in cyber espionage to steal trade secrets or intellectual property from the other has reduced but apparently not eliminated these practices. In November 2017, for example, the United States charged three Chinese hackers working at an internet security firm based in China with eight separate counts of conspiring to commit computer fraud and trade secret theft. As U.S. President Donald Trump's administration takes aim at China's economic and industrial strategies through tariffs and trade investigations, Beijing will use cyberspace to insulate itself from the United States.
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On GeopoliticsJul 5, 2018 | 20:24 GMT
Mexico's new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, speaks July 1 during a celebration at Zocalo square in Mexico City.
What Will Lopez Obrador Do About Mexico's Corruption?
Some political regimes bend for decades until they break. After years of pressure building on Mexico’s political establishment, an overwhelming presidential and legislative victory by populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Mexican voters propelled Lopez Obrador into the country’s highest office with more than half the national vote, the highest tally for any presidential candidate since 1994. Lopez Obrador has a strong platform to target well-entrenched political adversaries under a broad, anti-corruption umbrella. The new president, however, could trigger major upheaval as he strives to tackle graft that has infested the public and private and sectors. The question now is whether Lopez Obrador turns to political pragmatism once in power – becoming a product of the system he was elected to dismantle – or uses the powerful tools at his disposal to try and upend the country’s political order.
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SnapshotsJul 3, 2018 | 14:38 GMT
Mexico: President-Elect Lopez Obrador and His Morena Party Secure Congressional Control
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been declared the winner of Mexico's July 1 presidential election, and now that nearly all the votes from the federal elections of the same day have been counted, the country's populist president-elect and his National Regeneration Movement (Morena) have emerged as big winners in Congress as well. Preliminary information from the National Electoral Council, reported July 3, indicate that Lopez Obrador's National Regeneration coalition will pick up about 69 seats in the Senate and about 309 in the lower house. These figures will give Morena uncontested majorities in both houses of Congress.
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AssessmentsJun 30, 2018 | 13:08 GMT
Presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador greets supporters at a rally in Acapulco, Mexico, on June 25, 2018.
Historic Elections Could Change the Face of Mexico
Historic elections that could change the political face of the country are fast approaching for Mexico. On July 1 -- for the first time since the founding of the modern Mexican state -- voters could elect a president outside of the two political parties that have held the post for more than 70 years. That candidate is the populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is running as the head of a coalition led by his National Regeneration Movement (Morena). For more than a year, Lopez Obrador has led in the polls, widening his lead as he gained popularity among undecided voters and supporters of the other major parties. Now, he seems poised to win the election with a third to half of the vote, and according to some polls, he could also gain a majority in both houses of Congress, where all 628 seats are up for election. Those majorities
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AssessmentsJun 19, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A laptop screen displays the message that pops up when users try to access Facebook, a blocked website in Iran.
Bending the Internet: Iran Brings the National Information Network Online
For as long as Iran has had cyberspace, the Iranian government has been trying to control it. The spate of color revolutions in the 2000s, followed by the Green Movement in Iran in 2009, further illustrated the dangers of electronic communication, prompting the Islamic republic's hard-line factions to push for more stringent oversight online. And since the United States has begun backing a policy akin to regime change and supporting domestic opposition movements, the need to control the internet is greater now for Tehran than perhaps ever before.
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Quarterly ForecastsJun 10, 2018 | 23:18 GMT
Stratfor's 2018 Third-Quarter Forecast, looking ahead at the coming months.
2018 Third-Quarter Forecast
It promises to be an especially fractious quarter as the United States continues to spar not only with adversaries but allies as well. The simmering trade dispute with China will continue, Russia will struggle to break its stalemate with the West, Europe has a litany of problems to address, and anything could happen on the Korean Peninsula.
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