If Xi’S Gotta Have It, Xi’ll Get It

China’s communist party has moved to eliminate presidential term limits, in a shock move that opens the way for President Xi Jinping to dominate Chinese politics for the next decade or more.


Since taking office five years ago, Mr. Xi has already amassed more power than any Chinese leader since Mao, and at last year’s party congress he pointedly broke with tradition by declining to anoint a successor. To be fair, it’s still not a lock that he’ll choose to stay in power after his current term ends in 2023. But why might he want to leave the door open to that possibility?

Consider: over the next ten years, we will learn the answer to two critical questions about China. On the international front, can China really become a superpower to rival the United States as Xi has pledged it will? And domestically, as China’s middle class grows, can the government continue to pull off the trick of wedding authoritarian politics to a market economy?

Xi may decide that the moment is too pivotal to leave it to anyone else, and perhaps he’s right. But if he sticks around, the challenge is this: the flipside of total power is total responsibility. If things get choppy in economic or geopolitical terms, both the public and the Party will have one man to blame, and the consequences of an internal rupture in China would be felt globally, and fast.

It’s a gamble. In film buff terms, call it the Godfather principle: once you go beyond two installments, the chance of things going horribly wrong increases exponentially.

Scientists, engineers and technologists are turning to nature in search of solutions to climate change. Biomimicry is now being applied in the energy sector, medicine, architecture, communications, transport and agriculture in a bid to make human life on this planet more sustainable and limit the impacts of global warming. New inventions have been inspired by humpback whales, kingfishers and mosquitoes.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

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January 27 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp. But even as some 40 heads of state gathered in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the six million Jews who were killed, a recent Pew survey revealed that many American adults don't know basic facts about the ethnic cleansing of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Fewer than half of those polled knew how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and close to a third didn't know when it actually happened. Here's a look at some of the numbers.

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A quarantine in China– Local authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak of a new and potentially deadly respiratory virus that, as of Thursday morning, had infected more than 540 people in at least six countries. Other nearby cities were also hit by travel restrictions. Rail and air traffic out of Wuhan has been halted. Public transportation is shut, and local officials are urging everyone to stay put unless they have a special need to travel. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, many of whom were about to travel for the Chinese New Year. We're watching to see whether these extraordinary measures help stem the outbreak, but also to see how the people affected respond to the clampdown.

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