What's Romney's problem with Ecuador?

A comment made by Mitt Romney at a Jerusalem fundraiser, in which he attributed Israel's high GDP relative to the Palestinian territories to the power of culture, has been getting a lot of attention. But those weren't the only places he mentioned:

"And that exists also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador; Mexico and the United States," Romney added, before noting that culture "makes all the difference." It's a point he consistently stressed on the 2008 campaign trail.

While poorer than the United States, Mexico's actually been doing okay lately, when it comes to economic growth. It also seems a little odd, coming from Romney, that he would choose to attribute Ecuador's poverty to cultural factors rather than political mismanagement -- particularly that of leftist President Rafael Correa. I doubt, for example, he would ever say the same thing about Cuba -- a country with a pretty similar GDP per capita to Ecuador. 


Erdogan insinuates that IOC is anti-Islam

From Beijing to Moscow from Rio to Sydney, the Olympics have spanned continents, traversed intense political terrain, and remained competitive for bidders of all colors and creeds. That said, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan recently questioned the IOC's fairness:

"No country with a majority of Muslim population has ever hosted the Olympics," Erdogan said in London after watching the Turkish women's basketball team beating Angola 72-50 in its first Olympic match.

"This is the third time for London, Madrid was the host twice," he said. "Tokyo has hosted three games. Istanbul has bid to host the Olympics five times but has never been handed the rights. This is not a fair approach."

Not yet jaded by his fourth rejection since the 2000 Olympics, Ergodan has been working to bolster Turkey's fifth bid to host the 2020 Games in Istanbul and to understand why Turkey's never won the bid. With a 75,000-person stadium already built, Ergodan's sparing no line of argument to help sway Jacques Rogge, head of the IOC.

While  a number of other cities in Islamic countries have vied for the games in recent years including Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, and Doha, the winner won't be announced until  September 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires.

Islamic practice has already caused some controversy in this Olympics with the dispute over whether Saudi Arabia's female Judo competitor Wojdan Shaherkani will be allowed to compete with her headscarf.