FA Today
China's Environmental Enforcers China's Environmental Enforcers
How Beijing Keeps Local Leaders in Line
By Deborah M. Lehr and Leigh Wedell

In early June, Chinese president Xi Jinping deployed eight SWAT-like inspection teams across China. Unlike that of a typical SWAT team, their mission was bureaucratic: to ensure that local officials were complying with Xi’s ambitious reform agenda, which includes meeting new environmental targets, eliminating unnecessary licenses for businesses, and cutting official spending on travel and entertainment. Armed with expert knowledge of Xi’s reforms, the teams, composed of more than 100 officials, interrogated local officials, raided offices, and pored over reams of data to root out non-conformers.  After ten days investigating China’s wayward provinces, the teams submitted a 1,000-page report with a simple conclusion: local leaders, looking out for their own financial interests, were consistently ignoring directives from...

The Sana'a Illusion The Sana'a Illusion
Why Yemen Is Not A Model for Iraq
By Farea Al-muslimi

Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama suggested that Yemen could be an example for how to bring stability to Iraq. “You look at a country like Yemen -- a very impoverished country and one that has its own sectarian or ethnic divisions,” he said. “There, we do have a committed partner in President [Abdu Rabbu Mansour] Hadi and his government.” His comments came as a shock to most Yemenis. The contradiction between their country’s political reality and its reputation as an Arab Spring success story has always been glaring, but now it had become absurd.  Just days before Obama spoke, demonstrations -- which were largely ignored by the international media, since few foreign journalists are allowed into country these days -- had broken out in the capital. Angry protesters shut down Sanaa’s main streets, burning tires and shouting chants against the transitional government and against Hadi, the man who heads it. Yemenis, it seemed, had simply snapped under the strain of severe fuel shortages, kilometer-long lines at gas stations, and 20-hour electricity...

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