Saturday, November 29, 2014

Astrakhan: Where the Volga meets the Silk Road


Fifteen killed in "terrorist attack" in China's Xinjiang

Fifteen killed in "terrorist attack" in China's Xinjiang: state media - Yahoo News
A group of "terrorists" launched an attack on civilians Friday in Shache county, leaving four people dead and 14 wounded. Eleven "terrorists" were also shot dead during the violence, according to CCTV, China's state broadcaster.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua confirmed the death toll, citing a statement from local authorities.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Escape From China

Kim Jong-Un's Little Sister Takes Top Job

Kim Jong-Un's Little Sister Takes Top Job
North Korea has named Kim Jong-Un's younger sister as a senior party official, confirming her rise to become a potential key aide to the leader.
Kim Yo-Jong first made a public appearance at the funeral of her father and longstanding ruler Kim Jong-Il in December 2011.
Believed to be 26, she since been seen occasionally accompanying her brother to political events and on his "field guidance trips", but without any specific title attached to her name.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

India tea workers kill owner in pay dispute in West Bengal

BBC News - India tea workers kill owner in pay dispute in West Bengal
The owner of the Sonali tea estate in West Bengal was dragged out of talks on the payment of arrears. He died after being beaten up and stabbed by a crowd.
Police say the owner had come to pacify angry workers who had reportedly not been paid for two or three months.
Correspondents say many workers in India's tea plantations are malnourished and poorly paid.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Japan's economy makes surprise fall into recession

BBC News - Japan's economy makes surprise fall into recession
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is widely expected to call a snap election to seek a mandate to delay an increase in the sales tax to 10%, scheduled for 2015.
The tax increase was legislated by the previous government in 2012 to curb Japan's huge public debt, which is the highest among developed nations.

Putin Gets G20 Scolding

Friday, November 14, 2014

China Covertly Providing Oil To North Korea

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>China &#39;covertly providing oil to North Korea&#39; <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Ian Geldard (@igeldard) <a href="">November 14, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Thai police ban Scot's book for 'insulting' royal family

BBC News - Thai police ban Scot's book for 'insulting' royal family
A Kingdom In Crisis, by Andrew MacGregor Marshall, was released last week by British publishers Zed Books.
Thai police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung said its contents "might affect national security and order".
Anyone violating the ban faces a maximum three years in jail, a fine of 60,000 baht (£1,160), or both.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

India wins US support for massive food stockpiling scheme

India wins US support for massive food stockpiling scheme | South China Morning Post
Under the pact with Washington, India will lift a veto on a global agreement on streamlining customs rules that is likely to add US$1 trillion to the world economy as well as 21 million jobs - 18 million of them in developing countries.
Modi, elected in May, had pulled the plug on the World Trade Organisation agreement four months ago because he objected to a related deal on food security.
Washington, which was the principal opponent of India's food scheme on the grounds that it distorted trade, hailed yesterday's deal. Trade Representative Michael Froman said it would "give new momentum to multilateral efforts at the WTO" and predicted the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) struck by the WTO last year in Bali, Indonesia, would now win quick ratification.
Yet, at a conference call to brief reporters on the deal, Froman declined to answer questions on what concessions India had given in return.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

US and China strike deal on carbon cuts

US President Barack Obama looks on as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
US President Barack Obama looks on as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Photograph: GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

The United States and China have unveiled a secretly negotiated deal to reduce their greenhouse gas output, with China agreeing to cap emissions for the first time and the US committing to deep reductions by 2025. MORE

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pakistan wins China investment worth $42 billion

IBM to Build Cloud Data Center in Korea

IBM to Build Cloud Data Center in Korea

The world's second largest software company IBM will build a cloud data center in Korea next year. 

No decision has been made on the exact location, but the center will manage at least 20,000 servers, according to an IBM executive on Thursday.

IBM is going to establish data centers in 10 locations, including Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. Currently, IBM has only one Asian regional data center in Hong Kong.

Korea will then host data centers for both the world's largest software firms since Microsoft early this year also announced plans to build one here.

Korea is thought to be a more suitable location than Japan or China because it is less prone to natural disasters, electricity is relatively cheap, and maintenance staff are excellent. 

China Approved More Than $100 Billion In Infrastructure Projects To Boost Economy: Report


Marco Polo in reverse: China pledges $40bn for new Silk Road


North Korea frees detained US men Miller and Bae

BBC News - North Korea frees detained US men Miller and Bae
Clapper held direct talks with the North Korean authorities to secure the releases.
The BBC's Charles Scanlon says that the contact will lead to hope of a breakthrough in the long diplomatic deadlock between the two sides.
The US department of state said in a statement that it "welcomes the release of US citizens Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller from the DPRK [North Korea], where they have been held for two years and seven months, respectively".
It added: "The United States has long called on DPRK authorities to release these individuals on humanitarian grounds. We join their families and friends in welcoming them home."

Amid budget shortfall, South Korea’s social welfare spending at OECD bottom


Thursday, November 6, 2014

RMB (Renminbi) Clearing Bank Opens in Seoul

An RMB clearing bank has officially opened in the Euljiro district of Seoul. The Bank of Communications of China held its opening ceremony on Nov. 6, attended by Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol, Bank of Communications Chairman Niu Siming, and many others.
The clearing bank is going to be responsible for Korean companies’ yuan-based settlements in transactions with China. Before its opening, they had to go through a Korean bank, then a commercial bank in Hong Kong, a clearing bank in Hong Kong, and finally the China National Advanced Payment System (CNAPS) of the People's Bank of China for yuan-based payments and collections. However, the procedure is now simplified to three steps including a Korean bank, the Bank of Communications, and CNAPS, which means they can save fees and avoid financial risks.
At the same time, the clearing bank is supposed to fulfill the function of an off-shore branch of the People's Bank of China supplying short-term yuan liquidity.
When yuan-based transactions take place in Korea, a temporary liquidity shortage could follow. In this case, the clearing bank provides short-term loans for commercial banks and securities companies in Korea, the Korea Securities Depository, etc.
- See more at:

South Korea and the Politics of Patience

South Korea and the Politics of Patience

Seouls’ Pimatgol, an ancient thoroughfare once used by commoners to avoid having to bow to aristocrats on the main boulevard. (Photo: riNux / Flickr)
Horse Avoiding Alley is almost gone.
For more than half a millennium, this narrow alleyway in the heart of Seoul stretched for several kilometers parallel to and just half block north of the major thoroughfare of Jongno Street. Its name, Pimatgol in Korean, refers to the route that commoners took to avoid constantly bowing to the aristocrats on horses on the main boulevard. When I first visited Seoul in the late 1990s, it was truly breathtaking to walk through the hypermodern city and then duck, suddenly, into this Chosun-era back alley of pungent restaurants and teashops.
Today, only a tiny stretch of Pimatgol remains, along with a commemorative placard and a wooden gate that leads into a half-block of modern storefronts.
The fate of Pimatgol reflects the forward-looking trajectory of South Korea. It is constantly leapfrogging over itself, with barely a backward glance, in an effort to keep pace with early adopter Japan and latecomer China. This is a country not of narrow back alleys but of global firsts: cellphones with the first curved touchscreen, the world’s largest rooftop solar power plant, the world’s biggest tidal power plant, and what will likely be the first 5G wireless system.

Vietnam - State of Economy In 2014

Vietnam’s stock market continues to rank among the top five fastest growing markets in the world. During the first nine months of 2014 the key indices (VN-Index and HNX-Index) rose by 19.9% ​​and 30.4% respectively compared with the same period in 2013. The Vietnamese real estate market is growing as well, the rate of the Vietnamese Dong remains stable, and the country’s currency reserves reached a record level of US $35 billion.
The situation in the economy today is so favourable for investment that the US Chamber of Commerce in Singapore include Vietnam in the list of the most attractive ASEAN countries for American businessmen. The well-known Fitch rating agency recently announced its intention to increase Vietnam’s rating from B + to BB- due to the stable growth of the economy.

Monday, November 3, 2014

South Korea Serenades U.S.A. "I'm Your Puppet": Decision to once again postpone OPCON transfer leaves South Korea without key aspect of national sovereignty

...................Gen. Richard Stilwell, a former USFK commander, has called it the “most remarkable concession of sovereignty in the entire world.”
“The true significance of this decision is that a country that can’t decide for itself whether to go to war - a matter of the state and its people‘s survival - is voluntarily qextending measures that basically make it a military protectorate,” said military affairs critic Kim Jong-dae.............

The Bank of Japan’s Very Bold Move


China, Indonesia Vow to Strengthen Maritime Cooperation

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (R) shakes hands with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C) as Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi looks on at the presidential palace in Jakarta, November 3, 2014. [Photo: CFP]

31 Inventions By Ordinary Chinese People

Korea’s Balloon War


Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens At Pakistan Border Parade

Japan's rich Muslim past and present


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Chinese Probe Returns In Disastrous Week For Space Travel

Half of South Korean Salaried Workers Earn Less Than W2 Million ($ 1897.00)

Half of Korea's salaried workers make less than W2 million a month (US$1=W1,057). Statistics Korea unveiled employment data on Thursday showing that 49.7 percent of the 18.73 million salaried workers here earn less than W2 million a month.

Some 12.4 percent earned less than W1 million, 37.3 percent between W1 million and W2 million, 24.8 percent between W2 million and W3 million and a lucky 13.1 percent between W3 million and W4 million. Altogether 87.6 percent made less than W4 million. 

The highest-paid jobs were in the science and technological fields with 31.1 percent there earning more than W4 million a month, followed by the financial and insurance industry with 29.6 percent. 

The most poorly paid industries were fisheries and agriculture with 55.3 percent of workers earning less than W1 million a month, followed by hospitality with 30.6 percent.