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AssessmentsAug 12, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Cars and motorcycles line up at a fuel station in Purwokerto, on the island of Java, Indonesia, on Nov. 17, 2014.
In Indonesia, Energy Reform Takes a Back Seat to Pragmatism
Pragmatism is winning out over ambition, at least as far as energy reform in Indonesia is concerned. When he assumed office in 2014, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo promised big changes for both the upstream and downstream energy sectors in an effort to attain greater local control of hydrocarbon production and stanch the flow of state funds into expensive consumer fuel subsidies. With this, Jokowi hoped to foster long-term self-reliance in extraction and production while channeling subsidy savings into much-needed infrastructure improvements, right-sizing fuel demand and lowering the country's reliance on imported fuel. All of the changes were part of Jokowi's overall bid to foster an economy based on manufacturing and industry, rather than raw commodity exports. But five years on, the results have been mixed. Jokowi's government has taken a more cautious approach out of fears of a public backlash and economic repercussions, compelling gasoline prices to remain flat
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AssessmentsOct 30, 2017 | 09:30 GMT
Conspiracy Theories From Across the Iron Curtain
For any student of protection, the Kennedy assassination is one of a handful of cases that demand dissection and close study. Separating the facts of the case from the fiction it has inspired is a tall order, though. It's hard to find another case that has drawn so much scrutiny and generated so many conspiracy theories. The recent release of previously classified documents on Kennedy's assassination reveals just how far these theories reached and offers new insight into a harrowing moment in American history.
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AssessmentsMar 1, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
Saudi King Salman is on the hunt for investors and investment in Asia
Asia: Saudi Arabia’s One-Stop Shop for Economic Opportunities
Asia boasts the world's most dynamic economy. The region's markets have continued to grow over the last several years as the economies of the European Union and North America have stagnated. And along the way, they have caught the attention of the wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which are on the lookout for new investment opportunities and markets to buy their energy exports. Economic ties between the GCC's members and various East and Southeast Asian countries have exploded over the past decade. Between 2007 and 2012, for instance, Saudi Arabia's exports to China jumped from $17 billion to as much as $55 billion. Though the number has since fallen, in tandem with oil prices, Saudi Arabia's trade and investment ties with Asia will continue to increase in the years ahead. Considering the region's importance to the Gulf states, it is hardly surprising that Southeast and East Asia are the destination
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AssessmentsDec 29, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
The scandal at engineering company Odebrecht could topple the Brazilian president.
In Brazil, Testimonies Against Tradition
The political consequences of the record plea bargain struck by Brazil's largest engineering company, Odebrecht, have put Michel Temer's presidency at risk. Brazil's political scene has long been mired in corruption scandals, compounded by increasing fragmentation and unstable ruling coalitions. Temer himself only took power in August after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office for violating budgetary laws. But her exit from office did not bring stability and Temer, too, has been beset by corruption allegations surrounding Odebrecht, which has admitted to making illegal political donations and manipulating government contracts. If this scandal ends in the ouster of Temer, it would pave the way for an outsider to become a strong candidate in the next presidential election in 2018.
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AssessmentsJul 28, 2016 | 09:30 GMT
The Indonesian government blows up a foreign fishing vessel in its waters earlier this year.
Indonesia Guards Its Front Door
At least three times this year, Indonesian authorities have confronted Chinese fishing vessels in the waters near the remote Natuna Islands, an area whose 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) overlaps China's expansive nine-dash line. Each time, Jakarta has made a point of widely publicizing the incursions despite Beijing's objections. In the wake of the run-ins, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo visited the islands and promised to boost defense, fishing and natural gas production in the area. Despite its provocative fishing activities in the South China Sea, however, China is not the sole target of Indonesia's defensive measures; Jakarta has also made a public show of destroying dozens of Malaysian and Vietnamese vessels found fishing in the area. For Indonesia, protecting the Natuna Islands -- however small and remote they may be -- is key to exerting control of its territory and affirming its position in Asia's waterways.
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AssessmentsMar 4, 2016 | 20:25 GMT
Brazil: The Politics of Policing Corruption
Early March 4, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his close friend and political ally, businessman Paulo Okamotto, were detained for questioning in the 24th phase of the country's anti-corruption probe, known as Lava Jato. Both men have since been released, but the episode will have consequences for da Silva's party and for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. As the former president, da Silva is one of Rousseff's biggest political allies, and his friendship is all the more important to Rousseff while she is under investigation for her purported role in the Petrobras oil scandal. Some fear da Silva's detainment, and possible indictment, could strengthen the parties in Brazil calling for Rousseff's impeachment. Whatever the prosecutors' motives, the move will have important political ramifications.
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AssessmentsJan 8, 2016 | 23:09 GMT
Some oil producers will be pushed to the limit of what prices they can tolerate.
Who Wins and Who Loses in a World of Cheap Oil
Oil is the most geopolitically important commodity, and the ongoing structural shift in oil markets has produced clear-cut winners and losers. Between 2011 and 2014, major oil producers became accustomed to prices above $100 per barrel and set their budgets accordingly. For many of them, the past 18 months have been a period of slow attrition. And with no end in sight for low oil prices, their problems are going to only multiply.
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AssessmentsNov 13, 2015 | 09:01 GMT
Indonesian motorists line up in at a Pertamina fuel station in Jakarta.
Fueling Indonesia's Regional Strategy
In 2009, after 47 years as a member of the oil producers' cartel, Indonesia suspended its OPEC membership, having lost its status as a net oil exporter. On Dec. 4, despite being a net importer, Indonesia will officially rejoin OPEC at the bloc's meeting in Vienna. This time, however, Jakarta is pursuing a new strategy, hoping to barter its status as OPEC's only Asia-Pacific member to become a bridge between Middle Eastern producers and Asian consumers.
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ReflectionsOct 27, 2015 | 01:37 GMT
The Indonesian Conundrum
Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who finished the first year of his presidency on Oct. 20, campaigned on the promise of significant fiscal, regulatory and economic reform designed to help facilitate Indonesia’s transition from an economy based on raw commodity exports toward one more dependent on manufacturing and industry. However, Jokowi is contending with the challenge of balancing long-term economic plans with short-term domestic economic needs. This means that his reforms are often contradictory -- sometimes offering incentives for foreign investors and other times closing doors to investment in certain sectors.
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