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Eleven Republican candidates for president got three hours of exposure last night on CNN. Some 23 million people watched a debate that was as contentious as the network's moderators could make it. We hear how front-runner Donald Trump handled himself and how ten competitors handled him.

Also, the Federal Reserve makes a decision on interest rates. On today's Talking Point, there's been another military coup in West Africa…this time in Burkina Faso. We hear why it's been so hard to establish democracy and the rule of law in the aftermath of European colonization.

Photo: Benjamin Gottlieb

The Fed Makes a Decision on Interest Rates 6 MIN, 14 SEC

Since the Federal Reserve dropped the benchmark interest rates almost to zero, the financial world has been waiting for them to go up again. This week, the Open Market Committee, chaired by Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, has been meeting. Moments ago, they made an announcement. There will not be an increase. Neil Irwin is senior economics correspondent for The Upshot at the New York Times.

Neil Irwin, New York Times (@Neil_Irwin)

The Alchemists

Neil Irwin

The Showdown in Simi Valley 34 MIN, 6 SEC

At the Ronald Reagan Library near Los Angeles last night, CNN moderators were determined to generate conflict. Eleven Republican candidates for president responded with almost three hours of political theater. The big question: could anybody lay a hand on front-runner Donald Trump? What's changed in a campaign that's still just getting started? We hear a range of opinions.

Matthew Dowd, ABC News (@matthewjdowd)
Molly Ball, Time Magazine (@mollyesque)
Douglas Heye, Harvard Institute of Politics (@DougHeye)
James Poulos, The Week / The Federalist (@jamespoulos)
David Rothkopf, FP Group (@djrothkopf)

Dowd on political myth-making and myth-repeating in the presidential race
The Atlantic on the surprising victor in last night's debate
The Week on the GOP debate, terrible and boring but still consequential
The Federalist on candidates both coalescing, opening fissures between them
Foreign Policy on the debate as heavy on insults, light on details

National Insecurity

David Rothkopf

Burkina Faso on the Brink 9 MIN, 19 SEC

The nations of West Africa won independence from colonial powers in recent decades. When the European rulers departed, they did not leave stable institutions behind. Now, West Africa is a region of continuing military coups.

A street in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso
Photo by Philippe Streicher

Burkina Faso is a country of 17 million people, landlocked in West Africa. Yesterday it suffered its ninth military coup since 1960, when it gained independence from France. John Mukum Mbaku is senior fellow with the Africa Grown Initiative at the Brookings Institute and professor of economics at Weber State University. He's a native of the Central African country of Cameroon and travels often to Africa.

John Mukum Mbaku, Brookings Institution / Weber State University (@WeberStateU)

Corruption in Africa

John Mukum Mbaku

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