May 23, 2016                            
Dossier: Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati


Hardliner named to head group that will pick Khamenei's successor


B A C K G R O U N D E R

Putin concerned, but not that concerned, about Russia’s economy

The Russian economy is in dire straits.

Sagging under the dual burdens of international financial sanctions imposed after the 2014 annexation of Ukraine and a sharp decline in revenues triggered by the drop in energy prices, the economy is in its second year of negative growth, a recession.

Vladimir Putin

Years of major spending increases for the Russian military, a Putin 2012 campaign promise and his highest funding priority, are now being delayed or scaled back although the military already has achieved many, not all, of its modernization goals.

Against this backdrop, the Russian president is convening on May 25 a presidential council to recommend policies aimed at reviving the economy.



U.S. House unanimously passes ‘6 Assurances’ for Taiwan
For the first time ever, the U.S. House of Representatives confirmed in writing the cornerstone of the U.S.-Taiwan relations in a document called the "6 Assurances." The "6 Assurances" was first issued to Taiwan by President Ronald Reagan on Aug. 17, 1982, the same day Washington and Beijing jointly issued an important Aug. 17 Communiqué in an effort to further bring the U.S. and Communist China together to fight the Soviet Union.
Inside China
Off the record on China's bottom line: Growth rate is non-negotiable


A commentary on May 17 calling on Chinese not to “misunderstand” the "authoritative figure."



Posters of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shanghai. Comments by an “authoritative figure” led to a 3 percent drop in the Shanghai Stock Index the same day. Reuters

Focus on Terrorism
U.S. adds ISIL in Yemen, Libya and Saudi Arabia to its terror list
Inside Iran
Hizbullah asked journalists to avoid saying Israel killed its military chief
Inside North Korea
Nuclear Kim: Leader launches 'Byongjin' doctrine to mark his era
Technology Wars
Israel to use precision capabilities for faster battlefield victories
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