Top News: Chinese President Xi Jinping ended a party conference having secured a mandate to give the market a "decisive role" in his country's economy and new national security and economic decision making bodies that further consolidates Xi's power.
The so-called Third Plenum created a new economic decision-making body, widely expected to be led by Xi and which will be responsible for instituting a raft of economic reforms. Xi has indicated that he may alter long-standing policies on state control of interest rates and rural landownership, among other moves aimed at reforming the Chinese economy and making economic growth less dependent on massive government spending. The new decisionmaking body is aimed at facilitating that goal by circumventing the Chinese bureaucracy. "These guys report direct into the power center of the Communist Party," Steve Wang, the chief China economist at the Reorient Gorup in Hong Kong, told Reuters. This is definitely not something to be looked at as another layer of bureaucracy, this is something to speed things up, to make things more efficient." The group pledged to deliver "decisive outcomes" by 2020.
While the results of the plenum indicate that China will continue to move toward a market economy, the Communist Party remains firmly in control and indicated Tuesday that it sees its primary challenge as achieving the appropriate balance between state-control and market forces. "We must establish fair, open and transparent market rules," a communiqué from the meeting said. "The core issue is properly handling the relationship between the government and markets, giving markets a decisive role in the allocation of resources while better applying the role of government."
With China trying to assert its regional power and facing a series of maritime disputes, the plenum also approved the creation of a new national security council, one said to be closely modeled off its American counterpart. The body further consolidates Xi's control over foreign policy and gives the Chinese president a powerful tool in coordinating the various arms of his country's foreign policy.
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- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrapped a plan to add as many as 20,000 settlements in the West Bank.
- The Egyptian government said it will lift the country's three-month old state of emergency and night-time curfew, though the government added that the law will not be ended until it receives formal notification from the court that ordered it lifted.
- The White House blasted efforts in Congress to ratchet up sanctions on Iran as a "march to war."
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- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's plan to repeal the country's carbon tax looks to have stalled in the country's Senate.
- Vietnam and Russian signed a series of 17 agreements intended to boost trade, political, military, and energy ties.
- The Ukrainian parliament failed to find agreement on a measure to free jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, which would clear the way for closer ties with the EU.
- Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders, Europe's most prominent euroskeptics, met in The Hague to discuss closer cooperation.
- British police say that the death of an MI6 spy whose body was found inside a padlocked sports bag in his apartment was probably an accident.
- The Colombian government announced it had uncovered a plot by the FARC rebel group to kill a former president, Alvaro Uribe.
- A former Argentine army officer convicted of crimes against humanity escaped while in transit.
- A Senate Intelligence Committee review of American intelligence gathering will focus on how agencies receives orders about whom to target and how agencies structure their programs to gather information about those targets.
- The U.S. State Department will formally designate the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization, a move that will impose harsh financial restructions on the group.
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo refused to a sign a peace accord with the M23 rebel group, which recently surrendered, amid a dispute over the document's title.
- The deathtoll in a cyclone that struck northeastern Somalia rose to 140.
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