World News Brief, Wednesday January 29

Ukraine's PM offers resignation; Thailand to hold general election; Japan raises tension over disputed islands -- in classroom; Sisi set to contest Egyptian leadership; India's central bank attempts to curb inflation; and more 

Ukraine’s PM Offers Resignation

Ukraine's prime minister, Mykola Azarov, offered his resignation in a move he said was designed to create "social and political compromise," and separately, parliament overwhelmingly voted to annul anti-protest laws that were introduced just two weeks ago (BBC). The government concessions to protestors were significant but didn't resolve opposition demands for President Viktor Yanukovich's resignation and a new election (AP). Meanwhile, the European Union's top two officials are scheduled to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Brussels on Tuesday for talks that will likely focus on tensions in Ukraine (Reuters).


"In Kiev, the future is being decided. A triumph for the protestors would mark the end of Mr. Putin's dream of a restored Russian empire. Their defeat would mean a huge rollback of European influence and values. The credibility of the U.S., already eroding in the region, would vanish. Mr. Putin knows it. Brave citizens of Ukraine know it," writes former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili in the Wall Street Journal.

"The violence in [Kiev] needs to end and Ukraine must not be allowed to descend into chaos, or even civil war. And the only way to prevent further escalation is through new elections - the opposition needs to make this clear to Yanukovich. His hypocritical offers of governmental restructuring will not solve the crisis. Early parliamentary and presidential elections need to take place," writes Bernd Johann for Deutsche Welle.

"If Poles and Balts adopt EU norms and standards, that is their choice. But if Ukraine does so, it raises the possibility that Russia might one day do the same. The logic is not new. Many of Russia's greatest reformers, from Alexander II to Mikhail Gorbachev, believed Russia would be imperilled if Ukrainians developed a political identity of their own," writes James Sherr in the Financial Times.


Pacific Rim

Thailand to Hold February 2 Election

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the country will go ahead with a general election on Sunday despite warnings that it could end in chaos after months of sometimes violent antigovernment protests (Reuters).

JAPAN: Education officials plan to instruct schools to teach children that disputed islands with China and South Korea belong unequivocally to Japan, a move that could raise further tensions in the region (AFP).

This CFR InfoGuide explains the disputes in the East and South China Seas.


Sisi set to contest Egyptian presidency
India's central bank attempts to curb inflation
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