America and Iran: Backchanneling In Plain Sight

President Barack Obama confirmed in an interview broadcast today that he has exchanged letters with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in what may be the first successfully reciprocated communication between leaders of the two countries. The confirmation vaults what had been a quietly evolving process of bilateral diplomacy between the two long-time adversaries into the public eye at a particularly sensitive moment — immediately on the heels of a U.S.-Russian deal to avert military action in … [Read more...]

AGOA: Building on Today and Looking Forward Beyond 2015

The African Growth and Opportunity Act: An Empirical Analysis of the Possibilities Post-2015   AGOA: Building on Today and Looking Forward Beyond 2015 – A Conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman On August 5, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman for a conversation about the future of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Signed into law in May 2000, AGOA offers African countries that open their economies … [Read more...]

Greek Myths and Reality

The Brookings Institute shares: Greek Myths and Reality The crisis Greece has been going through has been one of the most serious challenges any country, anywhere, has faced in peace-time. It has also had a big impact on Europe. A successful Greek recovery is crucial, not only for Greece itself, but for the whole of Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region. Greece has and can continue to have a stabilizing role in the region, and has played this role particularly effectively after George … [Read more...]

Poverty end has been moved to 2030, with rise before the fall!

Over a billion people worldwide live on less than $1.25 a day. But that number is falling. This has given credence to the idea that extreme poverty can be eliminated in a generation. A new study by Brookings researchers examines the prospects for ending extreme poverty by 2030 and the factors that will determine progress toward this goal. Below are some of the key findings: 1. We are at a unique point in history where there are more people in the world living right around the $1.25 … [Read more...]

Suzanne Maloney, Saban Center for Middle East Policy

Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney discusses how one “big bet” — bridling Iran’s nuclear ambitions — will be a defining factor in the Obama administration’s second term. Suzanne, a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where her research focuses on energy, economic reform and U.S. policy toward the Middle East. She studies Iran, the political economy of the Persian Gulf and Middle East energy policy. A former U.S. State Department policy advisor, … [Read more...]

Africa, Top Priorities for the Continent in 2013

Africa, Top Priorities for the Continent in 2013 Africa starts 2013 with hope and optimism. Africa has dropped its mantle as a “doomed continent” and has weathered several global economic crises fairly well. Today, the continent is a land of opportunity both for Africans and international investors. Many now see the region as “emerging Africa” because of the "positive changes" that have taken place and continue to take place across the continent. Each year, the Africa Growth … [Read more...]

The Fiscal Cliff Has Been Avoided, But at What Cost?

The Fiscal Cliff Has Been Avoided, But at What Cost? Some thoughts on the new fiscal agreement: The economy needs a stimulus, but under the agreement, taxes will go up in 2013 relative to 2012 -- not only on high-income households, as widely discussed, but also on every working man and woman in the country, via the end of the payroll tax cut. For most households, the payroll tax takes a far bigger bite than the income tax does, and the payroll tax cut therefore -- as CBO and others have … [Read more...]

Children’s Literacy: Raising the Bar – October 2 at Princeton U

Good jobs in the nation's 21st century economy require advanced literacy skills such as categorizing, evaluating, and drawing conclusions from written texts. The adoption of the Common Core State Standards by nearly all states, combined with tough literacy assessments that are now under development, will demonstrate that the literacy skills of average students fall below international standards and that the gap in literacy skills between students from advantaged and disadvantaged families is … [Read more...]

The Brookings Institute asks “End the War in Syria? How? When?”

“The beginning of wisdom,” a Chinese saying goes, “is to call things by their right names.” And the right name for what is happening in Syria — and has been for more than a year — is an all-out civil war. Syria is Lebanon of the 1970s and ’80s. It is Afghanistan, Congo or the Balkans of the 1990s. It is Iraq of 2005-2007. It is not an insurgency. It is not a rebellion. It is not Yemen. It is certainly not Egypt or Tunisia. It is important to accept this simple fact, because … [Read more...]

The Brookings Institute, THE BURDEN OF PUBLIC DEBT AROUND THE WORLD

The Brookings Institution and the Financial Times have released an update to the "Burden of Public Debt Around the World" interactive feature, which reflects the sovereign sovereign debt crisis in Europe and issues surrounding the U.S. debt ceiling debate. Brookings Senior Fellow Eswar Prasad and his colleague Mengjie Ding illustrate how the ongoing debt burden in advanced economies is now a global threat. The interactive feature at FT.com illustrates the vast difference in public debt held by … [Read more...]

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