World News Brief, Tuesday August 26

Hollande dissolves French government; Thailand's junta leader sworn in as prime minister; South Korea, China and Japan to hold free trade talks; fighting intensifies in Gaza; White House officials to attend funeral of unarmed youth killed in Missouri; and more

Top of the Agenda

France Dissolves Government

French president Francois Hollande dissolved the government on Monday, marking the second reshuffle (FT) of his beleaguered Socialist government in six months following an internal cabinet dispute over the direction of the country's stagnant economy. The move comes after the resignation of Prime Minister Manuel Valls (Guardian), who accused the outspoken economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, of crossing a line with his blunt criticism (AFP) of the government's policies. France, with an unemployment rate of roughly ten percent and virtually no growth, is under heavy pressure from the European Union (France24) to adopt austerity measures in order to kick-start its growth.


"More and more, however, France's crisis is about the presidential system of government and the Fifth Republic itself," writes the Financial Times.

"It is possible to argue, as Paul Krugman has been doing lately, that the French crisis is overstated, even by the French, and that the top-heavy French state—which we are all supposed to sneer at and mock as we drive around in our Cadillacs—is actually performing pretty well through the crisis, at least as well as the grimly austere one of Britain," writes Adam Gopnick for the New Yorker.

"Polls suggest that Mr Sarkozy would beat Mr Hollande if a run-off between them were held today—and do better that Mr Hollande against the National Front's Marine Le Pen were she the rival second-round candidate," writes the Economist.



Thailand's Junta Leader Takes PM Position

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thailand's junta leader who seized power in a coup three months ago, was sworn in as prime minister (AP) on Monday after an endorsement from King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The move is the latest by the military to consolidate power after adopting a newly written constitution in July.

EAST ASIA: South Korea, China, and Japan will hold a fresh round of free-trade talks (Yonhap) later this week in Beijing despite fraught diplomatic relations between Japan and its two neighbors.


Fighting in Gaza intensifies


White House officials to attend funeral of unarmed boy shot in Ferguson