(CNN) – Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who died this week, built his support on a populist platform of sharing the country's oil wealth with the poor.
Yet Venezuela's economy, and the future of its oil industry, remains deeply vulnerable.
CNN's John Defterios talks with Fereidun Fesharaki, the chairman of FACTS Global Energy, who says the country's oil industry is in a "shambles." So what challenges a new leader face?
(CNN) - The Moscow Stock Exchange is the latest company to trade on its own platform.
It comes after the company sold its shares at an Initial Public Offering last week - at the low end of the IPO range.
The stock began trading Friday , providing a valuation of more than $4 billion.
John Defterios sat down with Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and asked him why, despite the lukeman response, he sees potential in the exchange.
Editor's note: CNN is at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Follow CNN's coverage here.
Davos (CNN ) - "The future's bright ... the future's Orange" was the tag line for mobile phone company Orange's UK advertising campaign in the 90s. It was annoying but it caught on, and was regularly co-opted in conversation whenever someone was looking on the dark side of life. FULL POST
On board the California Zephyr (CNN) – Mary Jane Loder is 92 and taking the train from Denver to California; what's more, she is travelling alone.
“Why not?’ she says. Of all the people I have met on the California Zephyr, none has inspired me quite as much as Mary Jane, whom I was privileged to meet in the dining car.
Mary Jane held court at her table. Lively, witty, and with an infectious laugh that had everyone laughing with her; that is until we came to talking about this election. It's the most important, she believes, because of the state of the economy and the level of unemployment among young people. Giving them hope is crucial.
Iowa (CNN) – The face was oh so familiar. The words, I recognized at once. The way they were delivered amplified their significance. This truly was Abraham Lincoln; or in this case, Lance Mack, a Lincoln impersonator addressing a Civil War re-enactment in Bloomfield, Iowa. How appropriate that Honest Abe, arguably America’s greatest president, should be on hand to offer his 19th century wisdom to a 21st century problem.
Mack has an uncanny resemblance to his alter ego. It is more than just the beard. His face, long and languid; the mournful eyes; his stature, reaching way over six foot. All together, along with the top hat and long grey coat, and there, right there, was Abraham Lincoln. His audience, a group of school children, was spellbound. FULL POST
(CNN)– The plain modest clothes; the women in their white head scarves, the men with their braces and beards. They are quiet, polite and keep themselves to themselves. Riding an Amtrak train is a unique opportunity to see the Amish people up close - or at least as close as anyone from so far outside their close knit community is likely to get.
The Amish people reject modern machinery and the motor car, but train travel is acceptable for longer journeys. At a time when just about everyone in America is following the presidential election, this is one group who are letting the event pass them by. They can’t follow it on radio and television as both are forbidden. They don’t really talk about it in their communities. They won’t be voting on November 6.
Far from feeling left out, one young Amish man in Bloomfield, Iowa told me not being involved “feels good.” Levi Miller (pictured above) smiled, “Oh yeah, it really does,” he said. “A lot of things you’d hear about on TV or radio we don’t find out about. So we don’t have that worry of what’s going to happen.” As barely interested observers, would they have any preference at all? “Naturally we would lean Republican. That’s more our thought process.”
Chicago (CNN) – The first clue was in the window. The Obama-Biden poster told me that the Old Ale Town House in Chicago was not going to be a bastion of neutrality. But it got more extreme inside. There we were greeted by a subversive scene of anti-Republican sentiment. Every inch of wall space in this self-styled dive bar, with its local draft ales and a musty sense of history, was covered in bawdy caricatures of famous Republicans. In pride of place above the bar was a naked Sarah Palin, standing proudly on the skin of a polar bear and brandishing a rifle. But considering all this obvious partisan sentiment, the two dozen or so patrons who settled down to watch the vice-presidential debate were remarkably well behaved.
Editor's note: The Outlook series spotlights a country to give a deeper understanding of the business, industry and consumer trends that fuel its economy. While exploring the current challenges and opportunities facing a country's economic progress, Outlook also seeks to provide an insight into its future development.
Ten months into his eight-year term, the man hailed as ‘’Super Mario’’ is facing his biggest test yet.
And though the outcome of the European Central Bank’s latest meeting is by no means a given, what’s sure is his words will resonate far from the region’s shores.
Now into its third year and counting, the single currency’s funding crunch has claimed the scalps of three eurozone countries so far and threatens to engulf others which are ‘too big to bail’ but too big to fail.
What started as a financial crisis has morphed into an existential one and left ECB President Mario Draghi to fill the vacuum of leadership left by the eurozone’s squabbling politicians.
While the ECB will formally be contemplating its interest rate policy on Thursday, Draghi’s most pressing task will be far less mundane: instead investors are relying on him to keep the next troubled members solvent, even if that means creating an artificial market for their debt.
How nice to start the week on an upbeat note. It would seem the markets rather liked the eurozone summit moves towards closer EU co-operation and agreeing to work towards fiscal union, albeit at some point in the probably distant future.
As well as a €120 billion package to boost growth, politicians have agreed on a “single supervisory mechanism” for eurozone banks, giving the ECB a wider role and which would allow the ESM bailout fund to recapitalize troubled banks directly.
Government borrowing costs fell for Ireland, Italy and Spain as the plans reduce their liability to bail out failing banks.
It is progress towards creating a banking union, but is unlikely to be a turning point or the “game changer” the Irish contingent at the summit hailed it to be. The scheme is sketchy, with no mention of a deposit guarantee scheme or a bank resolution authority and still does not address the fundamental problems the eurozone faces.
A rehabilitated banking system needs solid foundations and euroland is still on shaky ground. In short, the eurozone summit has not solved the debt crisis. But you probably did not need me to tell you that.
All eyes then are on Thursday’s ECB monthly meeting. With all the weak economic data out of the region, plus casual comments over the last few weeks, the markets are expecting a cut in official rates.
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