On top of the graceful Baltit Fort, overlooking the Hunza Valley’s Shangri-La-style splendor, it’s impossible not to feel dizzy at the view: an overwhelming collision of millennia of geology and centuries of history. We are at the heart of Gilgit-Baltistan, in Pakistan’s Northern Areas, or – as legend rules, the Roof of the World. This is an area about 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) crammed with spectacular mountain ranges and amidst them, secluded pristine valleys and the largest glaciers outside of the Polar region. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox The location feels like vertigo. To the north, beyond the Batura Glacier, is the tiny northeast arm of Afghanistan, the legendary Wakhan corridor. A crest of the Hindu Kush separates Wakhan from the regional capital Gilgit. Xinjiang starts on Wakhan’s uppermost tip. Via the upgraded Karakoram highway, it’s only 240 km from Gilgit to the Khunjerab … [Read more...] about The new Great Game in the Roof of the World
Self build bridging loan
By Jeffrey E. Stern The New York Times Tues., Dec. 11, 2018 Just before midnight, a businessman named Rabee’a was on the phone, trying to calm his friend down. Rabee’a owned a drill rig, and his friend had heard stories from elsewhere in Yemen about jets bombing well sites. It was Sept. 10, 2016, a year and a half into the war between the Saudis and the Houthi rebels. But to Rabee’a, it was a war happening over the horizon, out of sight. He was unbothered. That kind of thing wouldn’t happen in a poor place like this one, a district called Arhab that, though deep in rebel territory, was home to nothing and no one of interest to a fighter jet. Besides, things like airstrikes didn’t happen to people like him. Rabee’a was a charitable man from a privileged family — a little self-satisfied, perhaps, but he had enjoyed good fortune for much of his life, and that wasn’t about to change. Despite a mischievous grin, he was a godly … [Read more...] about A tragedy in Yemen, made in America
By Jennifer Wells Business Columnist Fri., Oct. 26, 2018 “I think higher interest rates are always difficult when people haven’t seen them for a long time.” — Carolyn Wilkins, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada The pendulum continues to swing toward a more “normal” state of affairs, with the announcement this week from the Bank of Canada that it was raising its benchmark rate by 25 basis points, to 1.75 per cent, the fifth consecutive nudge upward. Prime lending rates at the big banks dutifully followed. Perhaps some mortgage holders will be number-crunching over brunch this Saturday morning, carrying out a self stress test just like Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz once advised. What if the bank raises again and then again? Does it relieve the pain at all to point out that my own mortgage once bore an interest rate of 12 per cent? I thought not. Article Continued Below I counted myself lucky, by the way, as … [Read more...] about Will higher mortgage rates dampen Canada’s economy?
The Maldives opposition said Friday that President Abdulla Yameen had pushed the Indian Ocean nation deeper into a Chinese "debt trap" with a new $200 million bridge opened just ahead of the country's election. Yameen commissioned the bridge with a Chinese fireworks display late Thursday night amid his campaign for the controversial September 23 vote, ahead of which he has jailed or forced into exile all of his main opponents. The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said the 1.4 kilometre (0.9 mile) three-lane bridge linking the congested capital of Male to the airport island was a symbol of Yameen's "corruption". "There was huge corruption involved in this deal," MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told AFP in Colombo where he lives in self-imposed exile. "We are getting pushed into the Chinese debt trap." The government has repeatedly denied claims of corruption. The International Monetary Fund reported that the Maldives' external debt was estimated at 42.8 percent of GDP in … [Read more...] about News ‘Debt trap’: Chinese bridge pushes Maldives deeper in debt
Too much of a good thing is dangerous for Pep Guardiola. Winning remains the Manchester City manager's serial habit, but also his biggest weakness. Boredom and formality tend to have a negative impact on him; when the going failed to get tough during three seasons with Bayern Munich, Guardiola moved to the Etihad Stadium. He prefers to face opposite numbers who pique his interest rather than fail to hold it; years of jousting with Jose Mourinho's trademark antagonism had kept him on his toes at Barcelona. FA COMMUNITY SHIELD CHELSEA MAN CITY TACTICAL EQUAL The new English Premier League season has at least provided him some refreshing company. Juergen Klopp may be taking the title fight to the reigning champions with Liverpool, but it is Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea who can become both Guardiola's greatest ally and challenger. Little should bond them ahead of a Community Shield clash on Sunday, yet the Londoners' new boss is Guardiola's tactical equal. Mutual respect and an … [Read more...] about Richard Buxton: Sarri offers a stiff challenge to Pep