Posted inAT Finance, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Middle East, Myanmar, Northeast Asia, Pakistan, South Asia, World

The Daily Brief for Friday, 3 November 2017

Asia Times cyberattack: At approximately 8pm Hong Kong time on Thursday, the main page of the leading pan-Asian news website was taken down by suspected Turkish hackers, Asia Times staff report. Though interior pages on the domain were still accessible, visitors to the main page were redirected to an image of children waving a Turkish flag behind a caption referencing Gaza and Palestine. Beneath the caption was an insignia emblazoned with the Turkish word Akincilar, which translates as “Raiders,” a moniker used by a group linked to cyberattacks targeting Dutch websites last March. Asia Times’ Tel Aviv-based IT partner RGB Media identified the hackers as a Turkish group known in the Israeli cyber community. RGB was able to remove the image posted by the hackers and restore the website within hours of the attack.

US Federal Reserve: The growing likelihood of an interest rate hike in December – with several others likely to come in 2018 – will put more heat on Asian central banks as divergent monetary policies heighten the risks of capital outflows and currency upheaval, Alan Boyd writes. As expected, the US Federal Reserve left its benchmark rate unchanged at 1.0% to 1.25% on November 1, but board members indicated they were ready to launch a preemptive strike on rising wage pressures which could eventually feed into higher prices. Wages grew by 2.9% in the US between January and September, the biggest gain since December 2016; job markets are soft, but the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% in September, which was the lowest level since February 2001. US rates were lifted in March and June, and odds have tightened on a further rise at the board’s mid-December meeting. Outgoing Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen has said three hikes are likely in 2018; all will probably be of 25 basis points.

Japan entertains Trump: It’s tempting to wonder if Tokyo is having a chuckle at the US president’s expense by having the pop singer Pikotaro croon for the American delegation, due to visit the country from Sunday, William Pesek writes. At 45 seconds long and containing just 35 words, Pikotaro’s irritably catchy hit Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen may be a commentary on the president’s famously short attention span. The performance will follow a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japanese pro Hideki Matsuyama, who is ranked fourth in the world, besides other cultural excursions. Delaying tactics will abound as Team Abe seeks to avoid opportunities to discuss trade – Trump’s main focus. Abe will be happy to discuss security issues, but his minders will maximize the J-pop galas, golf outings and other distractions to limit opportunities for Trump to press Tokyo into a bilateral trade deal it doesn’t want.

Myanmar’s peace process: Aung San Suu Kyi’s embattled government recently produced a glossy brochure of its policy achievements and priorities, a bid to spin some positive news out of resoundingly negative international coverage of its handling of the Rohingya Muslim exodus and refugee crisis, David Scott Mathieson writes. In a section entitled “Peace. Reconciliation, not retribution,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs extolled the inclusiveness of the government’s efforts to resolve 70 years of civil war, where “progress is being made and the Panglong Conferences place a new focus on dialogue and finding political solutions to Myanmar’s challenges.” But as state, military and ethnic leaders gathered in the capital Naypyidaw last month to mark the second anniversary of the signing of a partial Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement between the government and a handful of ethnic groups in October 2015, claims of progress rang wholly hollow. Myanmar’s peace process has spluttered to a halt despite Suu Kyi’s aim to make peace and reconciliation her government’s centerpiece policy.

Pakistan political corruption: The South Asian country’s major parties have joined hands to overthrow the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), an autonomous anti-graft body that was enshrined in the constitution in 1999,
FM Shakil writes. They aim to replace it with a National Accountability Commission that will have no powers of prosecution, as accountability courts will be abolished and corruption cases heard in ordinary lower courts. With leaders from both the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) facing high-profile graft cases in the NAB, the two have agreed that the new commission should only investigate federal institutions and that the country’s provinces should have their own accountability mechanism. This last amendment is music to the PPP’s ears, with the party having made several abortive attempts in the past to have the NAB abolished in the face of persistent corruption claims against it in Sindh province, its main power base.

Asia Times app: Asia Times has launched an app for both iOS- and Android-based devices that delivers the publication’s regular daily news, commentary, blogs and live coverage while also bringing readers added functionality. As we report here, the app, launched on July 25, includes content notification, share and save functions and is free to download from both the Apple Store and Google Play

Posted inChina, Shanghai, World, Wuhan

China Digest for Friday, 3 November 2017

China’s first import expo slated for Shanghai in 2018

The first China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai from November 5 to November 10, 2018, with the goal of helping promote China’s burgeoning market to the world, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.

E-commerce ‘blacklist’ to be released before Double 11

The National Development and Reform Commission recently held a special meeting aimed at solving credit problems in China’s e-commerce sector during the Double 11 online shopping festival, the China Securities Journal reported.

Wuhan now owns biggest general aviation airport in China

Newly opened Hannan General Aviation Airport, currently the largest general aviation firm in China, covers an area of ​​919.85 acres, twice the size of competitors at Qiandaohu Airport and Shenyang Airport, reported.