Top news: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died from a stroke Monday morning, her spokesman announced.
The first female prime minister in her country's history, Thatcher came to embody a turn toward a free-market political program that sought to unleash economic dynamism through an aggressive program of privatizations and tax reductions. Thatcherism -- as her political program became known to both her supporters and detractors -- would throw off the heavy hand of the state and seek a Britain with greater vitality. Her perhaps defining moment came in 1984 when she broke a major strike launched by the miners union, a victory that consolidated her political power and represented a triumph over the country's strike-prone unions.
The woman who came to be known as the Iron Lady matched her pioneering domestic agenda with a muscular foreign policy that saw Britain come to blows with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. And just as she refused to cede British sovereignty in the South Atlantic, she remained deeply skeptical toward the European project and laid the groundwork for Britain's taciturn relationship with the European Union and its decision not to adopt the euro. Together with Ronald Reagan, a man who would become a close friend, she emerged as a canny leader in the Cold War, recognizing early on that Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms presented an opportunity for the West.
But to her detractors, Thatcher's free-wheeling market ideology came to embody an uncaring political philosophy, one willing to sacrifice at the altar of economic dynamism a state apparatus directed toward the common good.
Regardless, she is likely to go down in history as Britain's greatest post-war prime minister.
Korean Peninsula: North Korean authorities announced that they have suspended production at the Kaesong industrial zone, the last remaining symbol of North-South cooperation amid heightening tension on the Korean Peninsula. The closure of Kaesong deprives the North of crucial hard currency, and its continued operation has been seen as a weather-vane in the current conflict over North Korean nuclear and missile tests and subsequent sanctions imposed on the regime.
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expected to take up shuttle diplomacy to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, expressed interest in reviving the Arab Peace Initiative.
- The Syrian army launched a counteroffensive to roll back extensive rebel territorial gains in the south of the country and elsewhere.
- Heavy fighting between Coptic Christians and Muslims on the streets of Cairo claimed the lives of two people.
- Speaking at an Asian regional forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that no one country should be allowed to cause "chaos for selfish gain," a comment interpreted as a rebuke of North Korea.
- Amid fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban, an airstrike in Afghanistan killed 11 children.
- Pakistan's top court ordered Pervez Musharraf, the country's former president, to appear before the body on charges he committed treason.
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said at a meeting with Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the EU's executive, that European governments should ease off austerity measures and seek to generate demand.
- Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Madrid, Paris, and Berlin this week to pitch skeptical European leaders on his vision for EU reform.
- Amid an ongoing crackdown in Russia in civil society groups, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to encourage civil society groups.
- Following treatment for pneumonia, former South African President Nelson Mandela was discharged from the hospital.
- Fighting between Christian and Muslim villagers in central Nigeria left 11 people dead.
- South Sudan restarted oil production, more than a year after tensions with its northern neighbor led to a halt in output.
- A group of independent prosecutors in Brazil opened an investigation into allegations that would directly connect former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
- The head of a Cuban publishing house was fired from his post after he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times describing persistent racial discrimination in Cuba.
- The body of poet Pablo Nerudo is being exhumed in an effort to definitively establish whether he died of natural causes or was killed by the government shortly after the military took power in a coup in 1973.
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