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Week in Review

A lot happened in Asia this week. Chinese officials are suffering the revenge of scorned mistresses, while the country’s young working class is agitating for higher pay. China’s state-owned oil company CNOOC bought a Canadian firm for a cool $15 billion earlier this year, and might already be feeling buyer’s remorse. China is increasingly looking abroad for oil to fuel its burgeoning domestic energy demand, and is displacing the US as the world’s top importer of oil. Meanwhile, the country’s big bet on solar energy continues to hit roadblocks, as a US firm escalated a trade war with Chinese solar panel manufacturers with a lawsuit.

Farther south, Pakistanis were ambivalent on Malala Yousufzai, the young woman from the mountains of Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education. The Pakistani government has been less ambivalent about building up its navy, but while its intentions might be dangerous, its capabilities remain limited. In India, Wal-Mart abandoned its attempt to break in to the country’s large but onerously regulated retail market. India won’t be building Wal-Marts, but it is building the world’s first baby factory. And New Delhi is trying anything and everything to solve the country’s growing energy problem.

In the Asian Game of Thrones, Taiwan issued a call for help after a report showed that China will be capable of invading by 2020 regardless of any foreign interference. India is wooing Sri Lanka away from China’s embrace with a $500 million coal-fired power plant. Beijing is concerned about a possible shift in momentum in the region’s geopolitics, and is especially jealous of America’s growing team.

In Europe, Britain’s Royal Mail left the 20th century (and the USPS) in the dust with privatization. Lithuania managed to scare off its only shale suitor with opaque, onerous regulations. And sex selective abortion gained ground in Europe and, more broadly, the West. In the Middle East, White House policy is risking the ire of America’s allies. And after the Prime Minister of Libya was (briefly) kidnapped, it seems like it’s time to admit that the Libyan adventure was a really bad idea.

On the domestic front, Americans fell further behind their international competition on math literacy. Bill de Blasio, the odds-on favorite to become New York City’s next Mayor, declared war on the city’s charter schools. And American MOOCs are embarking on a foreign gold rush, looking to take advantage of new education frontiers in Europe and China.

Obamacare’s second week didn’t go much better than its first—people are still having trouble signing up for federal exchanges. In fact, the Affordable Care Act’s biggest problem is still emerging: it isn’t making health care affordable for everyone as promised. The fate of the ACA and the government shutdown are intertwined, much to the chagrin of Congressional Democrats, but a medical device tax cut could be the move that ends the shutdown. And we saved what may be the best news of the week for last: researchers at the University of Leicester believe they have reached a key “turning point” in the search for a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

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