Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Deterring Iran's nuclear weapons program is a foreign policy priority for the United States. Candidates for the 2012 presidential elections debate the best options, including a military strike.

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Amid sluggish growth and high unemployment, the economy has emerged as the central issue of the 2012 presidential campaign, as the candidates debate the role of government in jumpstarting the economy and creating jobs.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney accuse China of currency manipulation and unfair trade practices and support an expanded U.S. presence in Asia, but Romney dismisses the president's efforts as inadequate.

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President Obama is generally supportive of the UN mission while raising questions about its effectiveness, but GOP candidate Mitt Romney is harshly critical of the organization.

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President Obama has expanded sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear ambitions while making attempts to engage with it, but Mitt Romney has criticized the engagement policy as weak.

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Governance in India: Women's Rights

Author: Beina Xu

Several high-profile sexual assault cases in India have sparked a national debate over women's rights and the need for social reform in a rapidly modernizing country, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in India; Women