Politics this week
Barack Obama laid out the themes that will form his re-election campaign in his state-of-the-union message to Congress. The president warned that the wealth gap in America was threatening the living standards of the middle class and called for more fairness in America’s tax system. See article
Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina Republican presidential primary by a 13-point margin over Mitt Romney, stunning the party establishment and throwing the race wide open again. Mr Romney has now won just one of the first three presidential contests, in New Hampshire; a final count in Iowa revealed that Rick Santorum was the actual victor in the caucuses on January 3rd, by 34 votes. See article
Mr Romney released his tax returns for two years, after his refusal to do so caused a furore in the South Carolina campaign. The files showed that the candidate’s income in 2010 and 2011 was $42.5m, almost all of it from capital gains on investments and compensation from his time at Bain Capital, on which he paid an effective tax rate of around 15%.
In a closely watched decision that could influence the way congressional districts are redrawn this year, the Supreme Court sided with the state of Texas by rejecting a redistrictingplan from a lower court in San Antonio, which favoured minorities. It ordered the San Antonio court to come up with new maps based on those created by the Texas legislature, which favour Republicans.
Leaving on a jet plane
Ali Abdullah Saleh, the embattled Yemenipresident, went into temporary exile under a deal with the opposition that will see power transferred to a new government. See article The European Union banned all new oil contracts with Iranand decreed that existing contracts must be phased out by July 1st.
The Muslim Brothers and their hard-core Islamist rivals won a joint 70% of the seats in Egypt’s first free parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, Egyptians celebrated the first anniversary of the protests that led to Hosni Mubarak’s departure from power.