Finance officials in Beijing, Tokyo and elsewhere in Asia have a Brazil-sized headache as 2019 approaches. Their governments are by far the biggest holders of US government debt, the amount of which has swelled by nearly US$2 trillion under the presidency of Donald Trump. That tidal wave of red ink is roughly equivalent to the size of Brazil’s annual gross domestic product. And that should worry Trump’s Asian bankers. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox Pyramid schemes seldom turn out well for punters, particularly those late to the party. Yet President Xi Jinping’s government in Beijing and Shinzo Abe’s in Tokyo face a difficult decision: continue adding state money to the scheme, or cut their losses. Losses are indeed likely on the $1.2 trillion and $1.03 trillion of US Treasury debt that China and Japan own, respectively. That goes, too, for America’s other financiers around the region: Hong Kong ($192 billion), … [Read more...] about Trump’s Asian bankers hold Brazil-sized debt tranche
AFTER about 50 years in the education sector, I had the privilege of being invited to Wisma Putra for a Town Hall session with newly minted Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and his top officers. It was held as part of the consultative-participatory processes that the new government is earnestly advocating. We have heard before that the days of the government knows best is over, but that is more talk without much walk. This time it looks different. The minister briefed the audience regarding the items that make up the framework of our foreign policies and then invited the floor to respond and intervene. It seems unreal too because usually, it tends to be a monologue (top-down) as though all else is cast in stone. Perhaps that is true to a certain extent but in reality, there is always room for improvement. Three aspects were cited to make this possible. First, where Malaysia is in a position to make and shape policies at the global. We must be active in articulating our views … [Read more...] about Roaring or toothless tigers?
‘Really keeping my eyes fixed on North Korea. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump — those are the brains that we need to pick right now.’ As a longtime CNN viewer, I got to know Kristie Lu Stout by her distinctive style of delivering the news and unique look. The award-winning news anchor became a familiar, reassuring voice of reason guiding viewers through shows like World Report and the current News Stream. The fact that she is half-Asian (Han Chinese on her mother’s side) made her even more interesting and relatable. They say you should never meet your idols because they’re bound to disappoint, but meeting Stout had the opposite effect on me: away from the news desk and standing at her full height of 5’11”, Kristie looks less like a seasoned journalist and more like a fashion model, albeit a highly articulate one. Don’t let her striking looks deceive you, though: she founded a speech-and-debate club in high school and holds both undergraduate … [Read more...] about Kristie Lu Stout on fashion, being a half tiger mom and her awkward encounter with Lady Gaga
Human-animal conflicts are rampant in the vast Southeast Asian archipelago, especially in areas where the clearing of rainforest to make way for palm oil plantations is destroying animals' habitats and bringing them into closer contact with people. A handout photo dated 30 January 2018 and made available by San Diego Zoo Safari Park showing Moka, a Bengal tiger cub at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Tull Family Tiger Trail, while exploring his new outdoor exhibit space for the very first time. // EPA-EFE PHOTO Locals from Hatupangan village in North Sumatra had initially suspected the tiger was a supernatural creature so they followed it to its jungle lair, the official said. The tiger -- which has been seen around the village since last month -- attacked the curious group Sunday, leaving two villagers seriously injured. They later announced plans to kill the animal, despite warnings by conservation officials not to hurt the … [Read more...] about Endangered Sumatran tiger disemboweled, hung up in Indonesia
The survey of more than 100 tiger conservation areas, where an estimated 70 per cent of the world’s wild tigers live, found that only 13 per cent of them are able to meet global standards. This is according to a joint statement from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS), an accreditation system designed to measure and improve the management of tiger conservation areas, issued yesterday. At least one-third of the areas are severely at risk of losing their tigers. Alarmingly, most of these sites are in Southeast Asia, where tigers have suffered the most dramatic decline in the past decade. Reassuringly, two-thirds of the areas surveyed reported fair to strong management. Yet, basic needs, such as enforcement against poaching, engaging local communities and managing conflict between people and wildlife, remain weak for all areas surveyed. “Ineffective management of tiger conservation areas leads to tiger … [Read more...] about Tigers at risk in SE Asian reserves, says survey