Insight and investigations from our expert reporters
Helen Popper reports today from Buenos Aires, where President Cristina Fernandez is keeping voters and financial markets guessing on whether she will run for a second term. See our special report “Widowhood, Peron nostalgia and Argentine politics.”
President Fernandez’s approval rating is now running at more than 50 percent, about the same level as when she was elected to suceed her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner.
She has staged a remarkable recovery. At the height of a messy conflict with farmers over soy taxes in 2008, her approval rating sank to 20 percent.
Few Argentine leaders have managed such a dramatic turnaround, but Fernandez has been given a helping hand by the opposition’s disarray, strong demand for the country’s grains exports and for cars from neighboring Brazil as well as an outpouring of public sympathy following Kirchner’s sudden death in October.
Scepticism in financial markets about how effective the EU bailout of Greece will prove has long been mounting . One reason is concern that the country cannot deliver on its privatisation schedule. We checked out Greek efforts to sell off real estate, which are supposed to make up the bulk of funds raised there, and found little doing.
A local mayor’s campaign to block the flagship Hellenikon airport project looks like building up into a major psychological battle. He’s used hunger strikes in his past campaigns, and appears to be morally fortified by the bust of Lenin that he keeps on his desk.
That’s what today’s special report by Ben Hirschler, “Big Pharma’s global guinea pigs,” is all about. If you live in the United States or Western Europe, you might be surprised to learn that most of the patients who took it in clinical trials probably lived in another part of the world altogether.
For the $850 billion-a-year pharmaceuticals industry, the globalisation of clinical trials into Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe has cut costs and opened new markets. Today, all new big drugs — whether for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or depression — are tested in one emerging economy or other, and in many cases trials are scattered across dozens of countries.
Our special report “Why the U.S. mistrusts Pakistan’s powerful spy agency” examines in the history of the ISI, and what led President Obama to make the decision to keep his supposed allies in the dark about this week’s raid on bin Laden’s safe house.
The killing of bin Laden exposes just how dysfunctional the relationship has become. The fact that bin Laden seems to have lived for years in a town an hour’s drive from Islamabad has U.S. congressmen demanding to know why Washington is paying $1 billion a year in aid to Pakistan. Many of the hardest questions are directed at the ISI. Did it know bin Laden was there? Was it helping him? Is it rotten to the core or is it just a few sympathizers?