World News Brief, Tuesday April 9

Thatcher dies at 87, tributes pour in; China acknowledges "new challenges" to Asia region's stability; Bank of Japan launches its bond-buying programme; religious violence in Egypt escalates; Qatar pledges $500 million for Darfur; and more

Top of the Agenda:Thatcher, Transformative British Leader, Dies at 87

Margaret Thatcher, the UK's first female prime minister who served eleven years in the post, died of a stroke (Guardian) at the age of 87 after battling years of poor health. Thatcher, known as the "Iron Lady,"served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, championing free-market economics (WSJ) and playing a crucial role as the Cold War ally of U.S. president Ronald Reagan during its confrontation with the Soviet Union. Thatcher was overthrown by an internal Tory party coup in 1990 after her promotion of a poll tax led to rioting in Trafalgar Square. "We've lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton," said British Prime Minster David Cameron (BBC).


"She transformed not just her own Conservative Party, but the whole of British politics. Her enthusiasm for privatisation launched a global revolution and her willingness to stand up to tyranny helped to bring an end to the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill won a war, but he never created an 'ism," writes the Economist.

"By the time Mrs Thatcher won her third mandate in June 1987 she was a world statesman, a go-between for her old friend Ronald Reagan with her new friend Mikhail Gorbachev, and with an eye to winning the Cold War. The part she played in urging Gorbachev into reforms, and into a more moderate attitude towards satellite states in the Soviet bloc, led to the fall of the Berlin wall in November 1989 and the collapse, almost like a house of cards, of the other Soviet bloc regimes over the next two years," writes Gordon Rayner of the Daily Telegraph.

"Her term in office saw thousands of ordinary voters gaining a stake in society, buying their council houses and eagerly snapping up shares in the newly privatised industries such as British Gas and BT. But her rejection of consensus politics made her a divisive figure and opposition to her policies and her style of government led eventually to rebellion inside her party and unrest on the streets," writes a BBC obituary.



China Warns Against Regional Instability

Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged that Asia faced "new challenges" to its stability (SCMP), saying no country should cause chaos in the region. Although Xi did not reference a particular country in his speech, the comments come as the region battles North Korea's increasingly bellicose behavior.

JAPAN: The Bank of Japan on Monday launched its 1.2 trillion yen bond-buying program as part of its new monetary easing (JapanTimes) program to pump money into the financial markets.

This CFR Backgrounder explains Abenomics and Japan's landmark bid to jolt its economy out of deflation.


Religious violence in Egypt escalates

Qatar pledges $500 million to Darfur


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