1H2017 Review: Japan

1H2017 Review: JapanFor Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 2017 has been the year that his political credibility came into doubt. A poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper on June 17 and 18 showed that Abe’s approval rating fell 10 points to 36%, and the rate of disapproval reached 44% - his first net negative rating since…

1H2017 Review: Singapore

1H2017 Review: SingaporeSingaporean politics was rocked in June by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings, who accused him of abusing his power. Their main grievance concerned what they considered the prime minister’s efforts to acquire and preserve the family home. His actions, they argued, ran contrary to the dying wishes of their father, Lee Kuan Yew, who…

1H2017 Review: Taiwan

1H2017 Review: TaiwanTaiwan’s gross domestic product is headed for its fastest clip since 2014, according to an economic think tank. GDP will probably exceed 2%, according to a forecast released in April by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER). Darson Chiu, deputy director of macroeconomic forecasting at TIER, said the figure is not necessarily “a very…

Myanmar-China Pipeline: Myanmar Pays a Price

Myanmar-China Pipeline: Myanmar Pays a PriceAlthough a 770-km pipeline complex between the Kyaukpyu port in Myanmar to Yunnan in western China has begun to deliver oil and gas across the country, issues of compensation, environmental degradation, safety and adequate compensation remain. In many ways, the story of the pipeline illustrates the price countries pay for participating in China’s ambitious One…

A New Bank of Crooks and Criminals

A New Bank of Crooks and CriminalsThe Cyprus-based FBME bank, permanently blocked in April by a US court from access to the US banking system and thus basically shut down, has among its depositors arguably the biggest collection of financial outlaws the world has seen in decades. It is as if every illicit international operation on the globe from the Russian…

Japanese Firm Got Almost a Free Indonesian Bank

Japanese Firm Got Almost a Free Indonesian BankA scandal-plagued Indonesian bank, now in the hands of a controversial Japanese company, was sold to its new owners for virtually nothing, adding another layer of intrigue to the long saga of what was once the notorious Bank Century.  It is now doing business as PT Bank J Trust Indonesia TBK.  The result, since Century's…

Modi on a roll as he meets Donald Trump for the first time

Modi on a roll as he meets Donald Trump for the first timeNarendra Modi is on a roll. The Indian prime minister arrived in Washington last night for his first meeting with Donald Trump, which takes place on June 26. after lining up two politically significant and headline-catching political and economic successes in India. The country’s long overdue-national sales tax, a major economic reform, is coming into…

India’s Tax Gamble

India’s Tax GambleOn July 1, India will toss its labyrinthine tax regime out the window and replace it with a more streamlined nationwide Goods & Services Tax (GST) that is hailed by many as the country’s most pathbreaking tax reform and deplored by others who fear it will turn the economy down. The new system will eliminate…

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”…