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Barry D. Wood
Barry D. Wood is North America economics correspondent for RTHK in Hong Kong. For two decades he was chief economics correspondent at Voice of America. He has reported from over 60 countries and been based in Washington, Prague and Johannesburg. He has written extensively about Eastern Europe, the € currency, Africa and the global economy. In each of the past five years, he has spent several weeks teaching and reporting in southern Africa.

Entries by Barry D. Wood

Defending Robert E. Lee

(2) Comments | Posted January 10, 2016 | 8:42 AM

Led by its white mayor Mitch Landrieu, the city council of New Orleans on December 17th voted with a 6-1 majority to remove four statues honoring the confederacy.

Foremost among them is the majestic Doric column upon which General Lee gazes north. It has stood at Lee Circle near...

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Remembering Kent State, When America Was Deeply Divided

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 4:56 PM

KENT, OH: Visiting the campus where four students were killed by National Guardsmen during an anti-war protest, you can't help but recall how divided America was 45 years ago. Strolling the grounds where America's Asian war came tragically home, the rhetoric of Donald Trump and the gulf between political parties...

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Lardy, Lagarde Say Worries About China Overdone

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 5:19 PM

Nick Lardy, China specialist at Washington's Peterson Institute for International Economics, says the rebalancing underway in the world's second largest economy is a good thing. Speaking October 1, Lardy said China's shift away from reliance on manufactured exports to domestic consumption "may be the beginning of a virtuous...

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Governors Alarmed: More Die From Overdoses Than Car Crashes

(1) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 4:14 PM

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV: At the July 25th summer meeting of the National Governors Association there was an unexpected bipartisan call to arms against drug abuse.

Oklahoma's Republican governor Mary Fallin described the prescription drug epidemic as "the enemy within," a threat to national security equal to...

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Overcoming Cycling Demons in the Mojave

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 1:27 AM

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, General George S. Patton took charge of a swath of sand that stretched from Palm Springs almost to Phoenix. Centered on the Mojave Desert and encompassing 18,000 square miles, it was here that Patton simulated tank warfare and toughened up recruits for Operation Torch, the November...

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Missing from the Berlin Wall Celebration -- Two Leaders Who Died Too Soon

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM

As the world marks the 25th anniversary of freedom returning to Eastern Europe, it is sad that two of the wisest post-communist leaders are no longer with us.

In the extraordinary events that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Poland was the inspiration. It had elected a non-communist...

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Ukraine's Uncertain Future

(8) Comments | Posted October 25, 2014 | 9:09 AM

Elizabeth Pond, the respected American author who has reported on Eastern Europe for three decades, recently wrote a eulogy for Ukraine. The seizure of Crimea, Russia's military rout of the Ukrainians in the east, and the humiliating ceasefire imposed on President Petro Poroshenko, she wrote, meant that Ukraine...

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Poland's Extraordinary Economic Transformation

(2) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 9:07 PM

WASHINGTON: Twenty-five years ago this month two remarkable events took place in Washington.

On September 27th, 1989 in the musty embassy ballroom of the Polish People's Republic on upper 16th Street, Leszek Balcerowicz, finance minister in the new non-communist government, outlined a plan to transform Poland's economy from communism to...

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Ukraine: Dissenting Views

(57) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 5:17 PM

Back in February Oxford's Timothy Garton Ash, arguably the wisest interpreter of events in Eastern Europe, observed that the future of Putin, Russia and Europe was at stake in Ukraine.

In the months that have followed, Russia annexed Crimea, Ukraine elected a new president, fighting intensified in the southeast, and...

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Democracy Wins in South Africa

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 11:54 AM

The biggest winner in South Africa's May 7th parliamentary election is democracy itself. Twenty years after the first all race ballot, Nelson Mandela's rainbow nation is alive and well in the country of 50 million. The election is a triumph of constitutional government and rule of law.

Eighteen million people,...

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Private Equity Assaults DC Supermarket

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 2:27 PM

WASHINGTON -- The gale force wind from Toronto struck DC December 2nd with the announcement by Natural Markets Food Group CEO Robin Michel that the Spring Valley Fresh and Green's would close by the end of the month, perhaps by December 15th. The unexpected Christmas gift was a shock to...

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Thessaloniki -- Heart of Macedonia

(30) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 12:46 PM

Thessaloniki, Greece: The Galerius Arch has been the eastern gateway into this pulsating port city since it was built in 299 A.D. commemorating the Roman emperor's victory over the Persians.

The thoroughfare passing beneath the arch -- the Via Egnatia -- is even older. It dates from 146 B.C....

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China Stakes Out Silk Road Riches as Deal Maker Xi Charms Central Asia

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 2:47 PM

In the 13th century, Venetian adventurer Marco Polo put the Silk Road on the European map. His two-decade long odyssey from Europe to Asia--across the Caucuses and Gobi desert--fueled a western appetite for the treasures of the east--tea, silk, gunpowder, and porcelain. As centuries passed, camel caravans gave way to...

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Building Blocks for Detroit's Revival

(12) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 11:33 AM

Make no mistake, Detroit's bankruptcy will be angry and contentious. This largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy is uncharted territory for the state, city residents, bondholders and unions. By comparison, resolution of the city's finances is likely to make the sanitized 2009 General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies look like a walk in...

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Too Early to Declare That Japan Is Back

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2013 | 6:11 PM

Poor Japan, a rich country that is mired in a deflationary trap. For 20 years economic growth seldom exceeded one percent. As living standards stagnated, people turned inward, increasingly fearful that Japan had lost out to China, its newly dynamic neighbor with ten times its population.

Japan's challenges are legion...

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Japan: Worse Than a Deflationary Trap

(12) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 2:36 PM

A couple years ago, an American journalist during a 10 year residency in Tokyo offered a provocative assessment: Japan, he said, had decided to gracefully withdraw from the world stage. This month, during my first return to Japan in a decade, I put that assertion to an English friend who...

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A Democratic Mayor and Republican Governor Cooperate to Revive Detroit

(2) Comments | Posted September 19, 2012 | 6:06 PM

On September 12th, Detroit's brave Democratic Mayor Dave Bing and Michigan's pragmatic Republican Governor Rick Snyder agreed to refurbish Belle Isle Park, a neglected cultural gem in the shadows of a once great city. The magnificent two-mile long refuge in the Detroit River between the U.S. and Canada was laid...

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Keep the Pressure on Greece

(10) Comments | Posted August 5, 2012 | 11:06 AM

WASHINGTON -- Greece's unwieldy coalition government that took office after elections in June is facing its first big challenge.

On August 1 Christine Lagarde, who heads the international agency that is Greece's most important creditor, said that despite impressive achievements, "there is still a lot the country can do"...

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Havel: Hero Of Our Time

(24) Comments | Posted December 18, 2011 | 5:01 PM

Twenty-two years ago, almost to the day, thousands in Prague's Wenceslas Square roared, "Havel to the Castle." Days later, like a house of cards, Moscow's puppet government collapsed. On December 29, 1989, Vaclav Havel, the dissident artist who had begun the year in prison, took the oath of office as...

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A Sobering Look Inside Putin's Russia

(1) Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 9:47 AM

PRAGUE -- Vaclav Havel was stooped and frail last week when he opened his annual Forum 2000 at the glittering Zofin palace beneath Prague Castle. While the voice of the iconic former Czech president is weakened by illness and the burden of 75 years, through these yearly events Havel still...

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