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Barry D. Wood
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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

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

(10) 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

(58) 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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What Impact Will QE2 Have on Housing?

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 9:16 AM

While there is no magic bullet to solve the three-year long housing crisis, Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve are doing all they can to help. The massive $600 billion purchase of treasury securities announced last Wednesday initially has had a positive impact on long-term interest rates. Bringing mortgage rates...

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A Bittersweet DC Farewell for Michelle Rhee

(9) Comments | Posted November 2, 2010 | 6:28 PM

It was a glorious affair at the Kennedy Center Monday night when 662 of the best public school teachers in Washington, DC were recognized for their achievements. College professor and vice-presidential wife Jill Biden, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and Meet the Press moderator David...

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The New Normal in Manufacturing and Housing

(2) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 1:43 PM

A couple items in the news suggest that the new normal of sluggish growth is making its way through the troubled U.S. economy.

On Oct 16, one hundred or so members of the United Auto Workers picketed their own union headquarters in Detroit to protest an agreement that allows...

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With Michelle Rhee Out, Is DC School Reform In Retreat?

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 1:02 AM

The short answer is probably yes, but it is too early to tell. However, there can be no doubt that the teacher accountability reforms championed by Rhee are under enormous pressure.

Wednesday's press conference where Rhee announced her resignation after 3.5 years as Washington's education czar was surreal. Flanked...

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Prolonged Housing Crisis Slows US Recovery

(5) Comments | Posted October 7, 2010 | 12:43 PM

If it is true that housing leads the economy into recession and similarly leads the way out, then the hard times are likely to continue for several more months. Dr. Doom, New York University professor Nouriel Roubini, told an American Enterprise Institute forum Wednesday that even though the recession technically...

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