BRUSSELS (NYTIMES) - As the European Union's (EU) importance on the world stage grows, its politics are fragmenting: Smaller, more ideological parties, including populists and nationalists, have made gains and weakened the traditional, more centrist parties. How have the bloc's leaders responded? By calling on strong consensus builders to head up its key institutions. Here are the major names you need to know. URSULA VON DER LEYEN: THE FIRST WOMAN TO LEAD THE EU Germany's centre-right defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, will be returning to the city of her birth, Brussels, once she's confirmed to lead the European Union's most important institution and her father's former workplace: the European Commission. A medical doctor and economist by training, she is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right party. She is likely to bring a fervour for more European integration to the job - music to the ears of much of her 32,000-strong staff of bureaucrats, but less so to … [Read more...] about Who did the EU’s leaders choose for its top jobs?
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A toast through generations MANILA, Philippines — One early evening in February, Kevin Tan steps out of a sleek dark blue sedan and strides purposefully toward the majestic Arco de Emperador in Megaworld’s Arcovia City township along C-5 in Pasig City. Kevin, the eldest son of tycoon Dr. Andrew Tan, is his usual dapper self. But he’s not heading to a party or to have a good time with his barkada. He is about to lead the unveiling of the arch, the newest addition to one of Megaworld’s latest townships. He delivers a speech, cuts the ribbon and offers a toast to the crowd that had gathered. He smiles for the klieg lights and the cameras, exchanges pleasantries with the guests, dishes out a few lines for persistent journalists and then rushes off to another engagement. The young Tan no doubt juggles his time between his duties as chief executive officer of Alliance Global Group Inc., the conglomerate his father founded, and as husband to Michelle and a doting … [Read more...] about The Emperador’s Son
BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who will be officially crowned on May 4 as part of elaborate three-day coronation ceremonies, has been listed as the world's richest monarch by publications such as Business Insider in 2018. His father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was also listed by Forbes magazine as the world's richest royal ruler in 2011, edging out the Sultan of Brunei. Estimates of King Vajiralongkorn's personal wealth start at US$30 billion (S$41 billion), according to Business Insider. That puts him among the wealthiest individual rulers, although when it comes to royal families, Saudi Arabia's tops the list with an estimated US$1.7 trillion, according an MSN Money report in 2019. The Thai royal family ranked fifth in that list. Reuters was unable to independently confirm those estimates. The Crown Property Bureau did not respond to Reuters'request for comment. The Bureau of the Royal Household did not respond to written questions about the value of royal … [Read more...] about Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn among world’s wealthiest monarchs
By Jeff Horwitz WSJ Tues., April 30, 2019 Facebook Inc. rolled out a substantial redesign of its website and mobile app, as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg seeks to address criticism of the social-media giant’s influence by nudging users toward different types of engagement and more private communication tools. The end result is a platform with more emphasis on private groups and visual stories, and less on the News Feed where abusive content and polarization took root in recent years. One casualty of the changes: the iconic blue Facebook banner that has appeared atop screens since the social network’s 2004 debut. Mr. Zuckerberg said in an interview that the changes unveiled Tuesday mark the most significant alteration to Facebook’s core platform in five years and are part of a larger effort to offer less-public ways of communicating. “Groups are at the heart of the app, not just friends,” he said. On Tuesday, at Facebook’s annual F8 … [Read more...] about Facebook Gets New Look, Zuckerberg Declares New Era
TAIPEI - A generation ago, from mid-1995 into early 1996, China lobbed missiles in the waters around Taiwan as the self-governing island prepared to hold its first fully democratic presidential election. Washington forcefully intervened to support its ally, sending two aircraft carrier battle groups to patrol nearby. The carriers, then as now the spearhead of American power, intimidated Beijing. The vote went ahead. The missiles stopped. How China is replacing America as Asia's military titan Today, with tension again running high, Washington still backs Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 2 renewed Beijing's longstanding threat to use force if necessary to restore mainland control over the island. But the United States is now sending much more muted signals of support. On Sunday, American ships sailed through the Taiwan Strait. This was the seventh passage of U.S. warships through the narrow, strategically sensitive waterway since July. Each time, though, just two U.S. … [Read more...] about News China’s vast fleet is tipping the balance in the Pacific