Prosper or perish: Time for Sustainable Development

Prosper or perish: Time for Sustainable DevelopmentWith US President Donald Trump's walkout of the Paris Deal, the agreement that aims to keep planetary warming by 2030 below the 2°C rise ceiling, the debate about sustainable development has gained increased traction, with advocates directly contradicting the president and saying it could generate millions of jobs. In this new development model, the United…

Reviving a Once-Raffish Shanghai Theme Park

Reviving a Once-Raffish Shanghai Theme ParkGangsters and secret society members once roamed the tiled corridors of Shanghai’s Great World, rubbing shoulders with European businessmen, prostitutes, fortune-tellers, magicians and gamblers. The indoor theme park on the border of the French Concession and the International Settlement was described by one visiting Hollywood director in the 1930s as a “house of multiple joys”…

Vietnam Turns to Coal

Vietnam Turns to CoalPAGE 1 of 3 Shaken by news that Vietnam had confirmed plans to build another 40 gigawatts worth of coal-fired power plants by 2030, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim ad-libbed a few lines into a May 2016 speech to an audience of government and business leaders. “If Vietnam goes forward with 40GW of coal, if the entire region…

Christie’s Trims South Asian Sails, Does Well in London

Christie’s Trims South Asian Sails, Does Well in LondonChristie’s yesterday scored at its annual early summer auction in London of South Asian modern art with sales totaling £5.9 million (US$7.66 million) with more than 90 percent of 69 lots finding buyers. That has helped rebuild Christie’s regional reputation after a poor auction result in Mumbai last December and a subsequent cost-cutting decision to stop holding the high profile annual…

Trump Budget Cuts Endanger Developing Nations’ Clean Energy Plans

Trump Budget Cuts Endanger Developing Nations’ Clean Energy PlansIf US President Donald Trump has his way, developing countries will struggle more than ever to clean up their energy programs. Clean energy innovation is one of the main casualties of Trump's detailed budget proposal for 2018, released yesterday. It is US research networks that drive the low-carbon innovations that many developing countries benefit from. The budget also includes…

A New Look at North Korea

A New Look at North KoreaThe Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been in the news a lot lately, with the DPRK testing new missiles and the United States moving a naval strike group off the Korean peninsula.  The commentary almost always revolves around strategic issues, especially North Korea’s nuclear program. But in focusing so narrowly on the country’s military and…

India Shies Away from the OBOR Party

India Shies Away from the OBOR PartyChinese President Xi Jinping's highly-choreographed One Belt One Road Summit in Beijing last weekend, touted as China’s “grand coming out globalization party,” saw attendance from presidents, prime ministers and global leaders from 28 countries. However, one country was conspicuous by its absence from the megawatt show: India. The event was aimed to map out China's…

China’s OBOR Vision: No Development Masterpiece

China’s OBOR Vision: No Development MasterpieceThe One Belt-One Road summit held last weekend in Beijing is fundamentally the elaboration of a Chinese dream wherein participant countries appear only as facilitators and fade away when compared with the gains China would make out of it. A look at the extent of money China is planning to pour in justifies the contention…

Nha Trang and its Tourist Lure

Nha Trang and its Tourist LureIs the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang on the way to becoming another Pattaya, the vast and notorious resort two hours south of Bangkok where sun, sex, sleaze, sports and second homes are all in abundance? Or even just another Patong, Pattaya’s younger sister on Phuket? Or could it be the center point for focusing,…

Chinese Company’s Monument to Disaster

Chinese Company’s Monument to DisasterA vast, ornate, moldering gambling resort complex on the Gulf of Thailand has come to embody many of the problems plaguing foreign projects in Cambodia – lack of transparency, poor planning, environmental hazards and displacement of local communities. The resort, built by the Tianjin-based Union Development Group (UDG), a Chinese entity, was meant to be…