Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dazed and Confucius: Nine common myths about China

Dazed and Confucius: Nine common myths about China - Asia - World - The Independent:
 "Many executives of Western multinationals talk of China as a new capitalist Jerusalem, a land of eternally high GDP growth, the biggest untapped consumer market on the planet, the place where the state sees its proper function as to help the private sector to make money. Of course, occasionally they will come up against an awkward fact that challenges thisf dream – reports of baby milk formula adulterated with a harmful chemical by a Chinese manufacturer, for instance, or a corruption scandal – but these are seen as tests of faith to be overcome. They cannot be permitted to interfere with the glorious vision."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

China's Relaxed One Child Policy May Make No Difference

Beijing approved a wide-ranging package of reforms on Saturday (28.12.2013), including a relaxation of the country's infamous "one-child" policy. Many Chinese, though, say the new law won't make much difference. MORE

Friday, December 27, 2013

Japan's deflation era is not yet a thing of the past

Japan's deflation era is not yet a thing of the past | Larry Elliott:
"While a weaker currency was a central aim of Abenomics, it is noteworthy that core inflation – which strips out movements in food and energy prices and is much less sensitive to the level of the yen – rose by 0.6% in the year to November. That suggests the economy could easily slide back into deflation.
There are two significant risks looming in 2014. The bigger of the two is the planned increase in consumption tax in April, which is deemed necessary to tackle a budget deficit in excess of 200% of national output. In the short run, consumer spending will be strong as households race to get their purchases in before the tax hike, but there is the chance the economy could "hit the wall" in the spring."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Baucus, Conflicted Architect of Health Overhaul, Is Obama’s Pick for China - NYTimes.com

Baucus, Conflicted Architect of Health Overhaul, Is Obama’s Pick for China - NYTimes.com:
" Senator Max Baucus of Montana, soon to be nominated as President Obama’s next ambassador to China, is the powerful — and, to many fellow Democrats, infuriating — chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He is also the conflicted architect of Mr. Obama’s health care law."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

China confirms US warship near-collision

BBC News - China confirms US warship near-collision
"The US said its guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens was forced to take evasive action as the two ships neared each other on 5 December.
It has been described as the most serious Sino-US confrontation in the South China Sea since 2009.
However, China said the incident was handled with "strict protocol".
The US has said its ship was operating in international waters."

Friday, December 13, 2013

North Korea executes Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek

North Korea executes Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek for 'attempting to overthrow the state' - Asia - World - The Independent:
"Authorities announced Jang, a man long considered the country’s second in command, had been sacked amid allegations of corruption, drug use, womanizing and a generally “dissolute and depraved life” this month.
Images then emerged that showed the leader’s former mentor had been retrospectively cut out of official videos and photographs.
He was dramatically removed from a Communist Party session by armed guards earlier this week."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media

Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media | Reuters
"The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin's hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule.
Most Russian media outlets are already loyal to Putin, and opponents get little air time, but the shake-up underlined their importance to Putin keeping power and the Kremlin's concern about the president's ratings and image.
The head of the new agency, to be built from the ashes of RIA Novosti, is a conservative news anchor, Dmitry Kiselyov, who once caused outrage by saying the organs of homosexuals should not be used in transplants.
"The main focus of ... Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) is to highlight abroad the state policy and public life of the Russian Federation," said a decree signed by Putin."

China Bans Shark-Fin, Bird's-Nest Soups From Official Receptions | TIME.com

China Bans Shark-Fin, Bird's-Nest Soups From Official Receptions | TIME.com: "A document from the Communist Party of China explicitly states that the two dishes, considered delicacies in China, as well as wild-animal products are not allowed at official reception dinners, state news agency Xinhua reports. The rules are meant to regulate public funding of reception dinners, and they also ban cigarettes and alcohol from official meetings.
Cash, negotiable securities and souvenirs are also ruled out as gifts to politicians, according to the document."

Saturday, December 7, 2013

People of Beijing Say Farewell to Mandela

A man pays his respects to the former South African president Nelson Mandela in front of the South African embassy in Beijing, Dec 6, 2013. South African anti-apartheid hero Mandela died peacefully at home at the age of 95 on Thursday after months fighting a lung infection. [Photo by Wang Jing/Asianewsphoto]

Monday, December 2, 2013

Reflections on Nationalism in Russia

After the Russian March: Reflections on Nationalism in Russia | Foreign Policy Journal:
 "The hate speech that is spread, on an almost daily level, via the Russian mass media – not least of all through state-controlled television – has led to the strange phenomenon wherein many Russians now regard certain parts of Russia in the Northern Caucasus as not really belonging to Russia, while parts of certain foreign countries, such as Ukraine, are seen as belonging to Russia. This is a dangerous phenomenon for everybody involved – Caucasian Russian citizens that are not accepted as such, Ukrainian citizens whose state’s sovereignty is under question, and those ethnic Russian citizens who play with fire without fully understanding the risks involved, for their own country and people. A further spread of such attitudes can easily lead to a spiral of escalation within, or on the borders of, Russia, which may then be difficult to get under control. We have seen what happened to Yugoslavia, once it entered an ethno-centrist and irredentist discourse."