The World Next Week:Thailand Votes While Venezuela Wonders
The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Thailand’s upcoming July 3rd election; the 200th anniversary of Venezuela’s independence from Spain; and the final flight of NASA’s thirty-year Space Shuttle program.
- Thai voters go to the polls amidst growing concerns that Thailand’s democracy is crumbling. The opposition Puea Thai Party is favored by some to win the most votes, but the incumbent Democrat Party is expected to have an easier time forming a governing coalition. All of this takes place against the backdrop of last year’s violence that left parts of Bangkok in ruins.
- Venezuela has canceled a major regional gathering intended to celebrate its bicentennial amidst speculation that President Hugo Chávez is gravely, if not mortally, ill. The reports have left many people inside and outside Venezuela wondering about the country’s future. (Update: Chávez made a surprise appearance on Venezuelan state television shortly after this post went up. He announced that he had undergone an operation to remove a cancerous tumor. He did not reveal what kind of cancer he had, and he said he would “continue battling.”)
- The Space Shuttle program is coming to an end, and while NASA still has many projects underway, the nation seems to have lost its love affair with space.
- Bob’s Figure of the Week is $14.3 trillion. Mine is Richard Henry Lee. As always, listen to the podcast to find out why.
Agence France Presse reports on the U.S. government’s hopes for the outcome of Thailand’s election, and Reuters writes about the two main parties competing for power. BBC News and the Wall Street Journal both cover President Chávez’s recent health problems, and Foreign Policy delves into the possible repercussions of Chávez’s prolonged absence. CNN outlines a likely scenario for the future of commercial space travel, and NASA provides an interactive graphic with the history of the Space Shuttle program.