TIME World

65-Year-Old German Woman Gives Birth to Quadruplets

She already had 13 children ranging in age from 9 to 44, from five fathers

(BERLIN)—A 65-year-old teacher from Berlin has given birth to quadruplets after a pregnancy that was widely criticized by medical professionals because of her age, RTL television said Saturday.

Annegret Raunigk, gave birth to a girl — Neeta — and three boys — Dries, Bence and Fjonn — by cesarean section at a Berlin hospital Tuesday, RTL said. The newborns weighed between 655 grams (1 lb., 7 ounces) and 960 grams (2 lbs., 2 ounces) each.

A spokeswoman for RTL said the babies stood a strong chance of survival but possible complications couldn’t yet be ruled out, because they were born in the 26th week of pregnancy. Their mother was doing well, the spokeswoman said.

“Ms. Raunigk basically has no medical risk anymore,” Heike Speda told The Associated Press. She said the woman had signed a contract granting RTL exclusive access in return for an undisclosed sum.

Raunigk already had 13 children ranging in age from 9 to 44, from five fathers. She told Germany’s Bild newspaper last month that she decided to become pregnant again because her 9-year-old daughter wanted a younger sibling. She also has seven grandchildren.

Raunigk traveled abroad to have donated, fertilized eggs implanted — a procedure that is illegal in Germany.

Her decision prompted criticism from doctors, who questioned whether her body would be physically capable of bearing four children.

But Raunigk defended her decision, telling Bild last month: “They can see it how they want to, and I’ll see it the way I think is right.”

 

TIME World

Indonesian Woman Who Offered to Wed Whoever Bought Her Home Finds Groom Is Already Married

For sale: House (and wife) in Indonesia
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Wina Lia, 40, poses at her home in Sleman, in Indonesia's Yogyakarta province, on March 12, 2015

A publicity stunt that could eventually turn into a soap opera

Perhaps it was always too good to be true. Indonesian homeowner Wina Lia, who offered to marry whoever agreed to purchase her house, has now discovered that the man of her dreams is in fact already married.

Redi Eko agreed to wed Wina as well as buy her home, and had admitted that he was once married, but another woman has since stepped forward, claiming she is still his legitimate wife, Indonesian media reports.

Wina, a 40-year-old single mother, is ostensibly surprised. “He never told me,” she said, as quoted by Kompas daily. “Yes, I am shocked when I read from mass media that he already has a wife. I am disappointed.”

Redi’s alleged wife, Endang Titin Wapriyustia, who, like Wina, who earns a living by running a beauty salon, also said that she was “surprised” when she heard her husband wanted to marry another woman.

Endang said she and Redi were married on March 8, 2014. They had known each other since they were teenagers and they reconnected after Redi’s first marriage ended and Titin’s husband passed away, leaving her with three children. The couple don’t see each other often because he lives in Lampung, in Sumatra, while she resides in the central Javanese town of Solo — not far from Yogyakarta, where Wina lives.

Endang said she wouldn’t stop her husband from marrying Wina, as long as they get divorced first.

But she hopes Wina would reconsider her plan to marry Redi. “He gave me many promises before, from buying me a luxurious house, a car for my child and taking me for an umrah [minor pilgrimage to Mecca], but until now, nothing,” Endang said. “Since we married [in March 2014], he didn’t give me money apart from 300,00 rupiah [$23] for Eid al-Fitr and 10 million rupiah [$760] for the wedding.”

Whether any of this has influenced Wina is unclear, though she has put her marriage plans on hold, saying: “I am postponing it, until this matter is taken care of.”

TIME

Watch an Animated Survey of Americans’ Views About Foreign Policy

See where Americans want the next President to take the U.S.

In his new book, Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, TIME foreign affairs columnist and president of Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer discusses the three choices the United States can make about its role in the world. Working with Surveymonkey, Eurasia Group polled more than 1,000 Americans about how they saw America’s position in the world—and found a surprising generational divide.

TIME 2016 Campaign

How the Presidential Candidates See America in the World

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts a small business forum with members of the business and lending communities at Bike Tech bicycle shop on May 19, 2015 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts a small business forum with members of the business and lending communities at Bike Tech bicycle shop on May 19, 2015 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

From Hillary Clinton to Jeb Bush to Scott Walker, charting the 2016 candidates by their foreign policy preferences

The Presidential candidates are finally talking about foreign policy, but, not surprisingly, they aren’t yet saying much. “America must lead. We must combat tyranny and defend freedom. Our allies are counting on us. Our enemies are watching.” We’ve heard all this before.

They have good reason, of course, to avoid detailed descriptions of their policy plans. A candidate’s message is crafted to maximize fundraising and vote counts, not to enlighten the public, and foreign policy is the area where candidates are most likely to go light on substance. Even in an uncertain world, the American voter cares much more about hot-button domestic issues like health care, immigration, tax policy, entitlement reform, gay marriage and gun rights than they do about Syria, Ukraine, trans-Atlantic relations, or China.

More importantly, the United States has been a superpower so long that many voters appear to think that successful foreign policy is mainly a test of toughness and will. They don’t see the need to make tough choices—or why those choices will matter so much for the lives and livelihoods of their children and grandchildren.

We’ll hear more about America’s role in the world in 2016, in part because Hillary Clinton served as President Obama’s secretary of state. That encourages Republicans to talk about foreign policy issues that voters would otherwise prefer to ignore. And that’s a good thing, because we need to talk more about foreign policy—and with a new sense of urgency. The next president will make crucial decisions in an increasingly complicated world—and without reliable public support for plans that demand a long-term U.S. commitment.

In my book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, I put forward three possible paths for the future of U.S. foreign policy:

  • Indispensable America: No other nation can provide the leadership that the world desperately needs
  • Moneyball America: We can’t do everything, but we must defend U.S. political and economic interests where they’re most threatened.
  • Independent America: We must rid ourselves of international burdens and focus on improving the country from within.

To help voters think about the top candidates and where they fit in on foreign policy, consider the following:

 

Jeb Bush: Indispensable America

Everywhere you look, you see the world slipping out of control,” warned former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in February 2015. This was not the first time he has argued that America must lead to set things right. “America does not have the luxury of withdrawing from the world…Our security, our prosperity and our values demand that we remain engaged and involved in often distant places. We have no reason to apologize for our leadership and our interest in serving the cause of global security, global peace, and human freedom. Nothing and no one can replace strong American leadership… …If we withdraw from the defense of liberty anywhere, the battle eventually comes to us.

This emphatic and unapologetic appeal to defend liberty anywhere it’s threatened comes from a candidate who has coined the term “liberty diplomacy” to describe his foreign policy aspirations. He has called for arms for Ukraine’s government and an aggressive approach against ISIS: “We have to develop a strategy that’s global, that takes them out. Restrain them, tightening the noose and then taking them out is the strategy. No talking about this. That just doesn’t work for terrorism.” While Rand Paul and Ted Cruz often speak to the Libertarian leanings of younger Republican voters with assertions of Constitutional limits on executive power, Bush, who has never served as a legislator, offers a more traditional Republican appeal for strong presidential leadership for a more forceful American role in the world.

 

Hillary Clinton: Edging from Moneyball to Indispensable America

As President Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton offered a Moneyball-inspired vision of America’s future, one that set aside risks in favor of opportunities, emphasized economic rather than military power, and focused on political and economic inroads in East Asia rather than a global assertion of American values. She firmly rejected an Independent America approach: “There are those on the American political scene who are calling for us not to reposition, but to come home. They seek a downsizing of our foreign engagement in favor of our pressing domestic priorities. These impulses are understandable, but they are misguided. Those who say that we can no longer afford to engage with the world have it exactly backward — we cannot afford not to.”

She was a forceful advocate of “economic statecraft” which she described like this: “first, updating our foreign policy priorities to take economics more into account; second, turning to economic solutions for strategic challenges; third, stepping up commercial diplomacy — what I like to call jobs diplomacy — to boost U.S. exports, open new markets, and level the playing field for our businesses; and fourth, building the diplomatic capacity to execute this ambitious agenda. In short, we are shaping our foreign policy to account for both the economics of power and the power of economics.” To promote a “pivot to Asia,” she said that “The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.” She argued that “A focus on promoting American prosperity means a greater focus on trade and economic openness in the Asia-Pacific. The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade.” She favored a pragmatic “reset” of relations with Putin’s Russia.

But in anticipation of the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton’s rhetoric has become more universalist and more ambitious. In her book Hard Choices, she wrote that “To succeed in the 21st century, we need to integrate the traditional tools of foreign policy–diplomacy, development assistance, and military force–while also tapping the energy and ideas of the private sector and empowering citizens, especially the activists, organizers, and problem solvers we call civil society, to meet their own challenges and shape their own futures. We have to use all of America’s strengths to build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries, more shared responsibility and fewer conflicts, more good jobs and less poverty, more broadly based prosperity with less damage to our environment.” Voters are left to wonder whether a President Hillary Clinton would pursue a shrewd, targeted foreign policy or one built atop a foundation of comprehensive global leadership.

 

Ted Cruz: Marching from Moneyball toward Indispensable America

Before he began to hone his message for a presidential campaign, Texas Senator Ted Cruz was an articulate advocate of a Moneyball foreign policy. In 2013, he opposed action against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. “Assad’s actions, however deplorable, are not a direct threat to U.S. national security. Many bad actors on the world stage have, tragically, oppressed and killed their citizens, even using chemical weapons to do so. Unilaterally avenging humanitarian disaster, however, is well outside the traditional scope of U.S. military action….it is not the job of U.S. troops to police international norms or to send messages…U.S. military force should always advance our national security.

It’s hard to imagine a more forceful articulation of Moneyball foreign policy. Yet he added that “No other country is capable of putting together a coalition of like-minded nations and leading the fight against tyranny.” Political rhetoric aside, advocates of Moneyball America don’t call for a fight against “tyranny.”

Yet, as campaign season approached, the rhetoric began moving toward an Indispensable approach: “I’m a big fan of Rand Paul. I don’t agree with him on foreign policy. I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world… The United States has a responsibility to defend our values.Or this: “One of the things [US] Ambassador [to the United Nations Susan] Rice said that was absolutely correct is that America is the indispensable leader. But what our allies are expressing over and over again is that leadership is missing… When America’s weak, when the American President is weak, it leaves our friends and allies vulnerable.” That statement and others like it leave him squarely in the Indispensable camp, where he will likely remain throughout the 2016 campaign.

 

Rand Paul: Caught between Independent and Moneyball America

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul offers a complex foreign policy vision, one poised uneasily between the Independent America approach his father advanced in past election campaigns and the Moneyball viewpoint more common within the mainstream of the Republican Party. In 2013, he wrote that, “America’s national security mandate shouldn’t be one that reflects isolationism, but instead one that is not rash or reckless, a foreign policy that is reluctant, restrained by Constitutional checks and balances but does not appease.” That’s an excellent articulation of Moneyball foreign policy.

One sentence later, he moves squarely into Independent America territory: “This balance should heed the advice of America’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams, who advised, ‘America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.’” Anyone who supports Independent America will find truth in this statement: “We should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.” Or this: “We cannot continue to try to bully allies or pay off our enemies. So many of the countries we send aid to dislike us…and openly tell the world they will side with our enemies.

Paul has, however, supported airstrikes against ISIS and a get-tough approach on Iran, a country he once said was “not a threat. Iran cannot even refine their own gasoline.” Senator Paul often appears uncomfortable with a full embrace of Independent America, but no candidate in the race offers a more forceful defense of this approach on individual questions of policy and principle.

 

Marco Rubio: Indispensable America

Ironically Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a candidate who often demonstrates an ability to connect with younger voters, appears to have fully embraced the Indispensable America point of view favored by his party’s establishment and so many older Americans. Consider these three statements. On the Middle East: I always start by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business. Every aspect of [our] lives is directly impacted by global events. The security of our cities is connected to the security of small hamlets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.On the needs of America’s economy: We’re 4 to 5 percent of the world’s population. So for us to grow our economy robustly and provide more economic opportunity to more people, we need to have millions of people around the world that can afford to trade with us, that can afford to buy our products and our services. On relations with non-democracies like Iran, China, and North Korea, Rubio has said that “There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the threat of totalitarianism.” For those who favor an Indispensable America, Marco Rubio is a compelling choice.

 

Scott Walker: Incoherent America

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker belongs in the Incoherent file. At times, he talks as if he might embrace the Indispensable. On ISIS, he has said, “We need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorists in and around the world….We have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes…. When you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom-loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don’t allow those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.” During a trip to Britain, Walker answered a question on sending weapons to Ukraine’s government by insisting, “I have an opinion on that … but I just don’t think you talk about foreign policy when you’re on foreign soil.”

Walker has said he would scrap any deal President Obama signs with Iran’s nuclear negotiators, even over the objections of America’s closest allies: “If I’m honored to be elected by the people of this country, I will pull back on that on January 20, 2017, because the last thing — not just for the region but for this world — we need is a nuclear-armed Iran.” Maybe it’s just that candidate Walker is simply a political opportunist. Every candidate is guilty of that. Or maybe he has an unrealistic view of what’s possible. In response to a question about his ability to handle ISIS, Walker once claimed that “If I can take on 100,000 protesters [in Wisconsin], I can do the same across the world.” Let’s hope his worldview has since deepened.

In his new book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, TIME foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer diagnoses the drift in U.S. foreign policy—and offers a few alternatives for the next President. But where do you want to see the U.S. go? Take this quiz and find out:

 

TIME Foreign Policy

What’s Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy?

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt speaks on technology on March 18, 2015 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.
Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt speaks on technology on March 18, 2015 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.

Identifying the major challenges as America navigates a new world

In this week’s issue—and at greater length in his new book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World—TIME foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer diagnoses the drift that has afflicted U.S. foreign policy, and the desperate need for a new direction. Bremmer has a few ideas himself, but he also reached out to major figures in international business and government to ask them to complete this sentence:

The biggest problem in American foreign policy today is….

“The growing trend toward isolationism given seemingly endless frustrations with the world.” —Admiral James G. Stavridis, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

“Maintaining domestic support for American underwriting of an open global system.” —Larry Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary

“[That] we focus on states, but need a strategy for people too.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of the New America Foundation

“[That] we have substituted comprehensive foreign policy with reactive, improvisational tactics.” —Greg Brown, CEO of Motorola

“[There is] no national alignment, and a leadership vacuum on where we’re going and how to get there.” —Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

“Our inability to develop a bipartisan national strategy and stick with it.” —Jon Huntsman, former U.S. Ambassador to China

“Short term partisanship, and a lack of long term strategy” —Joseph Nye, former dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

“[That] American politics can’t resolve what global power America should be.” —Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia

“That it seems to be stuck between self-doubt and stupidity.” —Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times

“A world in which disruptive non-state actors are as prominent as nation states.” —Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz

“The absence of policy consensus coupled with domestic political dysfunction.” —Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations

“A bipartisanship deficit, obscuring national strengths and undermining global leadership.” —William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“The lack of prioritization and dedication” —Javier Solana, former Spanish Foreign Minister

“Our failure to understand how quickly order collapses into chaos.” —Robert Kagan, senior fellow, Brookings Institution

“Believing that there is a U.S.-imposed solution to every problem.” —P.Chidambaram, former Indian Finance Minister

“Reallocating resources [and] leadership from 20th century legacies to address today’s realities.” —Dominic Barton, managing director of McKinsey

“[That] no one totals the immense costs in lives and money accurately.” —Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google

“Finding unifying, organizing principles for dealing with a diverse, multipolar world.” —Gary Hart, former U.S. Senator

“Domestic politics/system which impedes development/execution of coherent strategy.” —K. Shanmugam, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

“To help reduce geopolitical risks in a period of growing uncertainty and danger in the world system.” —Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil

TIME Crime

6 Chinese Nationals Charged With Stealing U.S. Trade Secrets

A logo sign outside of a facility operated by Avago Technologies in Allentown, Pennsylvania on April 12, 2015
Kris Tripplaar—Sipa USA/ AP A logo sign outside of a facility operated by Avago Technologies in Allentown, Penn. on April 12, 2015

Federal officials are concerned about China stealing U.S. technology

Three Chinese nationals who earned advanced degrees from the University of Southern California and three others have been charged with stealing wireless technology from a pair of U.S. companies.

Federal prosecutors say Hao Zhang, Wei Pang and Huisui Zhang met at the university and conspired to steal technology from Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Avago Technologies soon after graduating in 2006. Both companies are publicly traded chip suppliers for Apple’s iPhones and manufacture other communications-related products.

A 32-page indictment charging the six with economic espionage and trade secret theft was unsealed after Hao Zhang was arrested Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving from China to attend a scientific conference. The five others are believed to be in China.

Federal officials say foreign governments’ theft of U.S. technology is one of the biggest threats to the country’s economy and national security. They are particularly concerned with China.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday the U.S. government takes “economic espionage” very seriously.

“This case demonstrates that the U.S. is committed to protecting U.S. companies’ trade secrets and their proprietary business information from theft. This is an important issue for the United States,” he told reporters in Washington.

A spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The Chinese consulate in San Francisco was unaware of the indictment and declined to comment.

The indictment alleges that the three USC alums began plotting in late 2006 to steal trade secrets from the U.S. companies where Hao Zhang and Wei Pang worked.

Months after their 2006 graduation, Wei Pang sent an email to China discussing the trio’s plan to use purloined U.S. trade secrets to set up a factory in China to manufacture technology that eliminates interference from wireless communications, according to the indictment. Wei Pang boasted in the same email that the technology is worth $1 billion a year in the phone market alone, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that the men stole “recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential.”

Hao Zhang made a brief court appearance Monday in Los Angeles and remains in custody. It’s unclear if he is represented by an attorney.

The USC graduates received encouragement and support from officials at the state-run Tianjin University, according to the indictment.

In 2006, Hao Zhang worked for Skyworks Solutions Inc. in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Wei Pang took a job in Fort Collins, Colorado, with Avago Technologies, which has headquarters in San Jose, California, and Singapore.

Wei Pang allegedly sent an email to two other defendants soon after, forwarding notes he took during a work meeting in 2006.

“My work is to make every possible effort to find out about the process’s every possible detail and copy directly to China,” Wei Pang is alleged to have written.

Hao Zhang and Wei Pang quit their U.S. jobs in spring of 2009 to become professors at Tianjin University, a prestigious Chinese college 130 miles southeast of Beijing. The men worked with administrators and a graduate student to establish a Chinese company to make the technology.

Avago executives became suspicious of the Tianjin team when they saw Hao Zhang’s patent applications for technology created by the company, according to the indictment.

Richard Ruby, Wei Pang’s former boss at Avago attended a conference in China in late 2011 and toured the new Tianjin lab created by the defendants, according to the indictment. During that tour, he recognized technology stolen from Avago and confronted Wei Pang and Jingpin Chen, a college dean, the indictment stated.

Wei Pang and Jingpin Chen denied stealing any technology, according to the indictment.

Jingpin Chen is also named in the indictment along with Zhao Gang and Chong Zhou. None of the defendants in China could be reached for comment.

TIME World

This Might Be the Coolest House You Can Rent on Airbnb

Airbnb's fully functioning floating house arrives on the River Thames
Mikael Buck / Airbnb Airbnb’'s latest London listing is pictured floating down the River Thames, past the Houses of Parliament.

You can enter to win a free stay at this floating London home

Short-term housing rental company Airbnb’s latest stunt is a floating house that’s been traveling down the River Thames in London. That catch? You can actually stay there for a night.

The listing, simply titled Floating House, was designed by architects and twin brothers Nick and Steve Tidball. It features two bedrooms, one bathroom, a dog kennel, a book collection and a private garden. The designers say they “were inspired to create a fairy tale structure in the middle of London – something that would allow people to see the city from a different angle.”

This is a real, functional house — and you can enter to win a stay for four people on May 22. Oh, you’ll just have to follow the house rules, including “no swimming in the Thames” and no “acts of piracy.”

Here’s another view of the house floating past the London Eye:

Airbnb's fully functioning floating house arrives on the River Thames
Mikael Buck / Airbnb

And, if you’re wondering, here’s what it looks like inside:

Airbnb

Read next: Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s Former Apartment Is Now on Airbnb

TIME Middle East

These 5 Facts Explain the Troubled U.S.-Arab Relationship

Obama Hosts Gulf Cooperation Council Summit at Camp David
Kevin Dietsch—AP Obama encourages Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to make a statement alongside Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, following the Gulf Cooperation Council-U.S. summit at Camp David on May 14, 2015.

A summit in Camp David shows the growing gap between the U.S. and its Arab allies, thanks to changing oil politics and aging leaders

President Barack Obama just concluded a two day summit with America’s Arab allies. The meeting wrapped up a rocky week that started when Saudi Arabia’s King Salman publicly withdrew from the summit and sent his son and his young nephew in his place. These 5 stats explain the tense relationship between the U.S. and its Persian Gulf allies, and the challenges those alliances will face going forward.

1. It’s the Oil, Stupid.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia comprise the grouping of monarchies in the Persian Gulf known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). They are all major oil producers, with Saudi Arabia the heavyweight of the lot. Together they account for 24% of the world’s crude oil production. But after decades of critical dependence on their oil, America, thanks largely to the mid-2000s shale boom, has surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to lead the world in oil production. The GCC has felt this acutely—Saudi Arabia saw its oil exports to the US plummet 23.74% between 2008 and 2014. The Saudis are not content to take this lying down. Riyadh is busy ramping up its own production (achieving a record high of 10.3 million barrels per day this past April) in an effort to drive down oil and price more expensive U.S. shale producers out of the global market.

(Middle East Monitor, Bloomberg, Energy Information Administration, Financial Times)

2. The Paradox of Plenty

While Saudis are increasing production largely to strengthen their long-term market position, the gambit poses significant short-term risks. Oil prices had already been tumbling for months, and the price of oil directly affects economies like that are heavily reliant upon the commodity. 45% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP comes directly from oil and gas, 40% of the UAE’s, and around 50-60% each for Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. By keeping production high, Saudi Arabia is helping to keep oil prices low.

Economists often talk about the “resource curse,” when a country’s abundance of natural resources stunts the rest of its economy. In a healthy and balanced economy, the private sector should drive research, development and innovation. But only 20% of Bahraini nationals work in the private sector. The rest of the GCC are worse: a pitiful 0.5% of UAE nationals have the misfortune of private employment. The GCC countries have relied so long on oil that their workforces can’t compete in a globalized world. The ruling powers are keenly aware of this fact.

(Forbes, OPEC – UAE, OPEC – Qatar, OPEC – Kuwait, EIA, Al Jazeera)

3. Arab Spring, Still Blooming?

The GCC countries had a front-row seat to the Arab Spring. Beginning in 2011, countries throughout the Arab World erupted in demonstrations and protests, even bleeding into Bahrain and Kuwait. One of the main drivers of the movement was mass unemployment, which afflicts the affluent GCC as well. Ernst & Young estimates that unaddressed unemployment of youths aged 20-24 could eventually reach 40% across GCC member states. Those are numbers ripe for revolution.

The only thing scarier than the uprisings to the Gulf monarchs must have been the U.S. response to them. For years the understanding was that so long as the Gulf countries would keep the world market flush with oil, the U.S. would provide them with protection. Egypt had a variation of this type of relationship with Washington, but Obama wasted little time in throwing Hosni Mubarak under the bus in 2011—at least as the GCC see it. If Egypt could be sacrificed at the altar of democracy, why couldn’t Saudi Arabia be next?

(Bloomberg, Ernst & Young)

4. The Threat of Iran

Looming over the GCC Summit is America’s reengagement with Iran. Washington’s greatest leverage over Tehran is the possibility of lifting sanctions in exchange for a nuclear deal. Experts estimate that Iran’s economy could grow anywhere from 2% to 5% in the first year after lifting sanctions, and then 7-8% the following 18 months. Those are rates on par with the remarkable growth of the ‘Asian Tigers’ in the 1990s.

It’s not just the additional economic competition that worries the GCC. Saudi Arabia has spent the better part of the last decade combatting Iran’s influence across Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, even Bahrain—the end of sanctions would give Tehran additional financing to escalate the regional rivalry. Further destabilizing the region are serious threats posed by groups like ISIS. This is why the GCC sought a formal, Japan-style security alliance with the U.S. The leaders who showed up in Washington couldn’t get the pact they wanted—a treaty requiring Congressional approval is a nonstarter—but they did get assurances of America’s continued military support and significant arms sales.

(Financial Times, Vox, Reuters, Economist)

5. Age Matters

The absence of the Saudi king, along with his counterparts from the UAE, Bahrain and Oman, sent the message that the status quo in the Middle East cannot continue. Their snub of Obama was intended to project an image of strength in the region. But the reality is that the oil-dependent GCC countries have serious structural problems that will take generations to solve. Instead of dealing with four rulers with an average age of 75, Obama sat across from representatives with an average age of 56. This younger generation is poised to lead their countries for decades to come. After 70 years of intense engagement, it is clear that the GCC countries need America as much as ever. The question is how much America needs them.

(Crown Prince Court – UAE, Kingdom of Bahrain (a), Kingdom of Bahrain (b) AlJazeera, Reuters, BBC, Forbes, Al-Monitor, White House )

TIME World

Woman Who Offered Herself Along With Her House Finds a Buyer (and Husband)

For sale: House (and wife) in Indonesia
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Wina Lia, 40, poses at her home in Sleman, Indonesia, on March 12, 2015

The asking price was $76,500

An Indonesian woman who offered her hand to a suitable buyer of her house has found a man willing to both buy the property and marry her, local media reports.

“His name is Redi Eko,” Wina Lia, 40, told Kompas daily this week. “He is also looking for a wife.”

Like her, Redi is also a single parent. When he heard about Wina’s financial difficulties, the 46-year-old state-owned company employee offered his assistance. “He will sell his house in Lampung [in Sumatra] and will use the money to help me,” she said.

Wina put her two-bedroom, two-bathroom house, which comes with a fish pond and spacious backyard, in Sleman, in Yogyakarta province, up for sale two months ago. The asking price was around $76,500. Her online ad went viral, thanks to the tagline: ‘Buy the house and marry the owner at the same time.’

Redi said that he had already planned to move to Yogyakarta to be closer with his children, who go to university there. “Whether with Wina or somebody else, I will still live in Yogya,” Redi told Kompas.

The pair have yet to meet in person, but they have been talking on the phone and exchanging text messages daily, and will meet face to face soon. “The plan is, we will go on umrah [minor pilgrimage to Mecca],” Wina said. “If everything goes smoothly, we will get married next month.”

TIME Education

Here’s Where You’re Going to Find the Best Schools in the World

Schools in Asia outperform those everywhere else

Asian countries claimed the top five spots in a global math-and-science-education ranking administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) while the U.S. placed 28th, below much poorer countries such as the Czech Republic and Vietnam.

Singapore ranked best in the world, with Hong Kong placing second and South Korea, Japan and Taiwan rounding out top five, reports the BBC.

At sixth, Finland is the first non-Asian country to appear in the rankings; Ghana came in last place.

“The idea is to give more countries, rich and poor, access to comparing themselves against the world’s education leaders, to discover their relative strengths and weaknesses, and to see what the long-term economic gains from improved quality in schooling could be for them,” said OECD education director Andreas Schleicher.

The new rankings are different the more well-known PISA scores, which traditionally focuses on affluent nations. The latest version, based on tests taken in different regions worldwide, includes 76 countries of varying economic status.

“This is the first time we have a truly global scale of the quality of education,” said Schleicher.

Below is the top 10 as reported by the BBC.

1. Singapore

2. Hong Kong

3. South Korea

4. Japan

4. Taiwan

6. Finland

7. Estonia

8. Switzerland

9. Netherlands

10. Canada

[BBC]

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