China-Syria Silk Road? China and Syria have begun discussing post-war infrastructure investment and a “Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction” was held in Beijing last week. Pepe Escobar reports that the fair, organised by the China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy and crammed with hundreds of Chinese infrastructure investment specialists, is the precursor to a series of even larger scale China-Arab trade expos that will be held in the coming months.
Sharif to resign? The beleaguered prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, is believed to have decided to step down after a judicial probe found him guilty of amassing wealth incommensurate with his declared sources of income, sources in his party have told Asia Times. F.M. Shakil writes that insiders are saying the question is now not if but when Sharif will resign and talk has now turned to who will fill the prime minister’s shoes.
Japan’s banking crunch-time: Policymakers at the Bank of Japan see little to cheer in successfully defending their yield target as European and US central banks start to stem the flow of ultra-cheap money. Leika Kihara reports that a global plug is being pulled on the extraordinary monetary support deployed during the global financial crisis which casts doubt on the BOJ view that global bond yield gains will be short-lived.
Bitcoin not temporary: The CEO of one of China’s largest bitcoin exchanges says the cryptocurrency is here to stay and thinks it is only a matter of time before Beijing establishes a regulatory body for the digital currency, writes Poo Yee Kai. Talking at Hong Kong tech conference Rise, Bobby Lee from Shanghai-based BTCC — that was China’s first bitcoin exchange — said cryptocurrencies are an important new “asset class” as they are based purely on information and not reliant on identity or physical possession.
Kashmir-Chemical attacks planned: Audio intercepted in June by Indian security agencies points to a plot by the Kashmiri separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen to use chemical weapons against security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. E Jaya Kumar reports that the revelation comes after a terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims killed seven in Batingoo, near Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district late on Monday.