China’s National Congress: The appointment of four new Chinese state ministers raises the curtain on a much-anticipated year of key promotions that will culminate, in the autumn, with the unveiling of a revamped supreme leadership at the five-yearly National Congress, writes Steve Wang. Three of the new appointments were closely linked to finance, with commentators saying this sets the theme for what will be a business-dominated 19th Communist Party National Congress.
Egypt and Iran: The two powerhouses of the Sunni Arab and Shia worlds are, respectively, Egypt and Iran and cooperation between them can play a critical role in managing regional conflict, alleviating Sunni-Shia sectarianism, and containing regional civil wars. Seyed Hossein Mousavian & Yassin El-Ayouty argue that as Cairo and Tehran have a similar stance on terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, a close working bond between the two would play a strong role in establishing common strategic policies and this would go a long way in helping alleviate regional crises.
Chinese Super League: A new season starts on Friday for the Chinese Super League, with its member clubs setting a new transfer record of US$410 million during the winter transfer window, despite an attempt by the domestic game’s regulators to curb spending. The Asia Times reports that the League’s vast outlays have made China the fifth biggest global spenders in football last year, up from 20th the year before, and the amount spent in the 2017 winter window beat the US$270 million spent in the English Premier League during the same period, making the Chinese Super League, for now, the world’s most expensive.
Kim Jong-nam assassination: The only North Korean arrested over the airport murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is to be freed, Malaysia said on Thursday. Agence France-Presse reports the announcement came the day after two young women appeared in court charged with the dramatic murder, that Malaysia says was carried out using a banned nerve agent. Seven other North Koreans are wanted in connection with the killing, including a diplomat and an airline employee.