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from Breakingviews:

Review: China gives Africa handy investment lesson

By Stephanie Rogan

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

In the last decade nearly a million Chinese citizens have taken up residence in Africa. In his vivid new book, “China’s Second Continent,” Howard French tells stories of these migrants and the Africans whose lives they affect. The book weaves anecdotes and interviews with historical and geopolitical background to tell a larger tale of the PRC’s economic engagement in the continent. The result is an unflattering portrait of China’s involvement.

China’s push into Africa began in the 1990s when former President Jiang Zemin challenged Chinese enterprises to “go out” in search of opportunity abroad. Since then, the Middle Kingdom’s companies have poured into Africa, typically seeking entry into natural resources and related infrastructure development.

Along with the companies came the first wave of Chinese workers, many of whom stayed on. French makes a case that the interactions of these smaller actors will ultimately have a bigger impact on China’s future relationship with Africa than Beijing’s broader policies.

from The Great Debate:

For Biden, Mexico’s endless allure

Vice President Joe Biden recently canceled the Panama leg of his trip to Latin America, citing the need to be in Washington, focusing on Syria. He did not, however, cancel his visit to Mexico.

Biden arrived in Mexico late Thursday night and is due to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, and kick off the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED). There were plenty of reasons for the vice president to stay home -- including the brewing budget battle, and the shootings in Washington's Navy Yard -- in addition to Syria. So it is worth asking why he didn't.

from Photographers' Blog:

The immigrant behind the eyes

Safi, Malta

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

"Go get 13i38 from warehouse 2," barks the army NCO to his subordinates. We know his name now, but the military personnel providing security in the detention center continue to refer to him, as with all detainees, by the reference number given to him when he arrived here.

He is Mohammed Ilmi Adam, a 17-year-old, from Mogadishu, Somalia. The piercing gaze which made him an iconic figure is gone; he's just like so many other teenagers of his age, eyes flicking from side to side, rarely making eye contact. Slouching on a chair in a small office at the army's Safi barracks detention center, he looks dejected, submissive, sullen, lost, and indifferent to our presence.

from Photographers' Blog:

Tightening Croatia’s borders

Along the Croatia border

By Antonio Bronic

Two months ago, I started working on a story about Croatia's border police preparing for the country's EU accession and trying to prevent illegal migrants from crossing into Croatia. For a media person, it is indeed rare to hang out with the police for 24 hours and I was afraid they would be stiff and uncooperative. How wrong I was. They were friendly and nice and, in the end, even took pity on my efforts to capture something dramatic on camera.

I visited three border crossings, two in the south, with Bosnia and Montenegro, and one in the east, with Serbia. I was mostly interested in finding out who were the people trying to cross the border illegally. They were mostly poor and unemployed citizens of Afghanistan, Syria and Albania, who wanted to reach rich European countries through Croatia, in hopes of finding salvation there.

from Photographers' Blog:

Along the deadly Southern border

Along the U.S./Mexico border

By Eric Thayer

I’m running through the desert outside a tiny town called Encino with a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter flying above me. As I move through trees and bushes, the sand is soft and every step is an effort. It feels like I am running on the spot as I hold my cameras close so they don’t swing into my sides. Border Patrol agents are all around me and the only noises are the helicopter above, my own labored breathing and the sound of footsteps in the sand.

GALLERY: SCENES FROM THE BORDER

In south Texas, the Rio Grande River separates the U.S. from Mexico. It is a brown river that varies between 50 to 100 yards across. On the surface, the water looks calm as it meanders through the brush, but it hides swirling currents - just one of the many hazards faced by those who cross. The line between the two countries is imaginary here, but if you could see it as it appears on a map, it would be right in the middle of the river.

from Full Focus:

Along the deadly Southern border

Photographer Eric Thayer travelled to Brooks County, Texas and Reynosa, Mexico to investigate the rising rates of immigrant deaths along the border, spending time at a migrant’s hostel in Mexico and with U.S. Border Patrol in Brooks County. In 2012, sheriff’s deputies in Brooks County found 129 bodies, around double the amount from the year before and six times the number recorded in 2010. Most of those who died succumbed to the punishing heat and rough terrain that comprise the ranch lands of south Texas. Many migrants, after spending several weeks travelling through Mexico and past the Rio Grande, spend a few days in a “stash house”, such as the Casa del Migrante, in Reynosa, Mexico, and many are ignorant of the treacherous journey ahead. Read Eric's personal account here and a Reuters story here.

from Judgement Call:

Weighing immigrants’ economic power

“Now is the time to [reform immigration laws] so we can strengthen our economy.” So said President Barack Obama on Tuesday as he challenged Congress to give 11 million illegal residents of the United States a road map to citizenship.

“When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs.” So said Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), senior member of the Judiciary Committee, earlier this week.

from Photographers' Blog:

Russia’s untouchables

By Denis Sinyakov

I don’t remember a time when Moscow hasn’t been flooded with them - migrants from Central Asia.

When I moved here in 1997 they were already here. They had started appearing more than 20 years ago, the time when the Soviet Union was falling apart. Some fled civil wars, but more often they were escaping the awful economic situation in their homelands. Not exactly an escape, but they came to make some money, leaving their families at home. The economic situation in Russia even now isn't enviable, at the beginning of the 1990’s it was woeful, but none the less better than there.

from Entrepreneurial:

Small business, America and the “Disenfranchized Diligent Optimist” gene

-- John Krubski is an entrepreneur and the architect of The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners. He is currently working on his next book, “Cracking the America Code: How to Get US Back on Track”. The views expressed are his own. --

In their latest book -- "That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back" -- authors Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum maintain that our hope for a happy future lies in how we address four critical issues: resolving the impact of globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption.

from Reuters Money:

Friday is D-Day to voluntarily tell the IRS about your offshore assets

If your financial life spans multiple countries and you've not been paying close attention to your tax issues, be forewarned: This Friday is the deadline for the Internal Revenue Service’s latest offshore tax reporting voluntary disclosure program.

It’s one of those deadlines that most people pay little attention to, despite how much it’s been publicized. It’s the second in a series of IRS efforts — some 15,000 came forward for the previous initiative in 2009 — to bring offshore assets and income into the tax system through a voluntary disclosure program that let taxpayers avoid an array of civil and even criminal penalties (including potential jail time) for foreign income and account violations. Taxpayers who choose the program still face penalties, which may be hefty, but they are far less severe than those the IRS can impose if it uncovers your tax transgressions.

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