Two new books from respected scholars try to make sense of the country under Xi Jinping. Both see it fast moving toward a more centralised political regime, with messy and probably unpredictable consequences. As interesting is the shifting mood among China analysts themselves.
Raul Castro's coming handover of Cuba's presidency is an effort to prolong beyond his own life span the communist revolution he built with late brother Fidel. Trying to modernize could also destroy it, though. And with neighbor Venezuela getting less able to provide cheap oil, economic reform can't wait.