World News Brief, Friday July 26

Bo Xilai charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power; Shinzo Abe takes third trip to Southeast Asia since becoming Japanese PM; CIA closing secret bases in Afghanistan; Caroline Kennedy nominated for US ambassador to Japan; and more

Top of the Agenda: China Charges Bo Xilai With Graft

China has charged disgraced politician Bo Xilai, the former Communist Party chief of Chongqing, with bribery, corruption, and abuse of power, paving the way for a trial (SCMP) that caps one of the country's most significant political scandals. Bo, once a rising star within the CCP, was expelled from the party last year after a scandal surrounding the murder of a British businessman for which his wife was jailed. Observers say the incident exposed deep rifts (Reuters) within the party between Bo's leftist backers nostalgic for the revolutionary era of Mao Zedong, and reformers who advocate faster political and economic reforms.


"Party leaders, whatever their views on constitutionalism and judicial independence, might easily disagree about the detailed issues that prosecution involves. Should Bo only be charged with bribery, abuse of power and embezzlement, as the 'internal report' indicates? What kind of 'public' trial should he have?" writes Jerome Cohen for the South China Morning Post.

"The publishing of the indictment means that the trial is now imminent and the country's new leaders have judged the timing to be right for such a politically sensitive trial, perhaps wanting to get it out of the way ahead of the big economic planning meeting in the autumn," writes John Sudworth for the BBC.

"The party apparently considered a confrontational public trial too risky, and powerful factions within it had been uneasy about punishing Bo too severely. Although trial outcomes in China are routinely determined in advance by the party, a damaging standoff had developed in Bo's case, according to party watchers," writes Simon Denyer for The Washington Post.



Shinzo Abe Begins Third ASEAN Trip

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched his third trip (KyodoNews) to Southeast Asia since retaking office late last year, aiming to deepen ties with ASEAN nations on visits to Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

CFR's Sheila Smith discusses Abe's recent victory in Japan's Upper House elections in this blog post.


CIA closing secret bases in Afghanistan

Caroline Kennedy nominated for US ambassador of Japan

  This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on