Hugo Swire The British foreign office minister probably thought he was being helpful when he offered support for Hongkongers for a "smooth resolution" to the quest for universal suffrage, but his comments went down like a lead balloon with Beijing and Hong Kong leaders, including Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. The message for Hugo was: thanks but no thanks. Lawrence Summers Amid a chorus of criticism, the former National Economic Council director was forced to pull out of the race to head the US Federal Reserve. Summers was seen as relatively unenthusiastic about the Fed's aggressive bond-buying programme, which has helped push down interest rates to spur lending and economic growth following the financial and economic crisis five years ago. US-Brazilian relations An infuriated Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a state visit to Washington next month over reports that the United States spied on her personal communications. Even a 20-minute phone call from President Barack Obama failed to change her mind.