Political uncertainty in Russia fueling capital flight says NY-based Russian analyst

By Ted Regencia
Written for the Business and Economics Reporting Class
at Columbia Journalism School

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency for the third time is causing political uncertainty among Russia’s business elite, so much so that it is fueling a capital flight, a Russian energy analyst said.

Natasha Udensiva, a visiting Russian scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, said a retreat in direct investments particularly in the energy sector could cost Russia its current position as the number one oil-producing country in the world.

“There is a lot of outflow investment coming from Russia because there is no political stability,” Udensiva said during the forum, “Russian Energy Diplomacy under Putin,” in New York. “There is a lot of doubt how [Putin] will handle the economy.”

Putin was voted back to the presidency in March with over 60 percent of the vote. He is expected to take over the post from President Dmitry Medvedev on May 7.
Continue reading “Political uncertainty in Russia fueling capital flight says NY-based Russian analyst”

Yemenis in South Bronx can’t forget the turmoil they left behind

Text by Ted Regencia and Mahmoud Sabbagh/Photo by Ted Regencia

NEW YORK — “Papa, take me with you,” Abu Hamad recalled his five-year-old son pleading with him on the phone from Sana’a last Oct. 10. The Hunts Point shopkeeper’s half smile could not hide the worry in his dark round eyes. His three young children and wife are still living in the capital of Yemen, he said. And not even his American citizenship could help them out of the mountain city that is reeling from an increasingly violent civil uprising.

On Sept. 24, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president for the past 33 years, returned to his homeland after a brief medical exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia. He was forced out of the country after an assassination attempt. The departure raised hopes for reform in the Arabian Peninsula nation of 24 million people. But his abrupt return has sparked fresh violence, which has already claimed close to 2,500 causalities since February. On Oct. 16, 18 more people were killed and 30 others were wounded in clashes between Saleh’s troops and his rivals, according to news reports from the region. (With reporting from Mahmoud Sabbagh)

To read the full story, please visit BronxInk.org

Jews and Palestinians find a separate peace in Hunts Point

By Ted Regencia and Janet Upadhye

On one corner of Southern Boulevard and 163rd Street, a 25-year-old Palestinian refugee stirred chicken kebabs over a hot fryer in his halal cart, contemplating the tensions between his country and Israel being reignited this week in the United Nations General Assembly.

Down the block in Hunts Point where Musab Abusbeih peddled his $5 kebab and shawarma specials, Jewish and Palestinian-owned businesses operate peacefully side by side.  Abusbeih believes that if only the warring parties learned to talk like the merchants of Hunts Point peace might be attainable.

“We don’t even fight about parking on this block,” said Ron Levy, a former Israeli soldier.  “And everybody fights about parking in New York City.”

Downtown in United Nations headquarters last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought official statehood recognition from the General Assembly. Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu opposed Palestine’s unilateral declaration of statehood, saying a two-state solution can only be achieved through a negotiated settlement, which would include Hamas dropping its call for the destruction of Israel.

To read the full story, please visit BronxInk.org