This post was published at George Webb
Nearly two years after the historic, and still mysterious “Shanghai Accord” which in early 2016 halted what at the time appeared to a global collapse in capital markets courtesy of what appears to have been unprecedented political, fiscal and monetary coordination between the developed world and China, on October 18 the world turns its attention to what is arguably the most important political event of the year, and the logical conclusion to the stabilization process which started with the Accord, when the Chinese Communist Party kicks off its 19th Party Congress, the political event that will determine the country’s leadership lineup and policy priorities for the next five years.
Given the emphasis on maintaining stability in the run-up to this pivotal political transition, what the Congress will mean for China’s economy, its markets, and its place in the world is why Goldman has dedicated its latest “Top of Mind” periodical to the Congress, with editor Allison Nathan asking two experts on Chinese politics how Xi Jinping – who is already widely regarded as the most powerful leader of China since Mao Zedong – can use the reshuffle to further consolidate power. And, more importantly, what he intends to do with it: pursue economic reforms more aggressively or maintain the status quo.
Specifically, five of seven seats on the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) – the senior-most CCP leadership – are expected to turn over, as is about half of the Politburo, the 25-member decision-making body that sits just below the PSC.
To explore these issues, Goldman sat down with two Chinese political experts, David Shambaugh of the George Washington University and Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Both anticipate the Congress will cement Xi Jinping’s absolute authority over the CCP and the country. And both raise the possibility that Xi could be paving the way to stay in power beyond two terms, in a break with historical norms. However, Shambaugh and Lam view Xi as a visionary, not a reformist. They believe his overriding goal is to strengthen and perpetuate CCP rule, with no tolerance for policies that could destabilize the political order. (Lam argues, for example, that Xi is determined to avoid the political self-criticism that he believes brought down the USSR.) As such, both experts see only limited prospects for economic reform. But one possibility to watch: a potential reshuffling involving the role of premier that might signal a more aggressive reform stance.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.
Marylou Danley, a former high-limit hostess and longtime girlfriend of Mandalay Bay shooter Stephen Paddock, landed in Los Angeles late last night and is meeting with local and federal authorities today to try and provide some insight into what motivated Paddock to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, an attack that it appears was meticulously planned by Paddock.
Video footage published by NBC News shows Danley, 62, traveling through Los Angeles International Airport in a wheelchair, accompanied by three law enforcement officers.
Danley traveled to Manila from Tokyo on Sept. 15, more than two weeks before the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Reuters reported. She then flew to Hong Kong on Sept. 22 and returned in Manila on Sept. 25. She was there until she flew to LAX on Tuesday night. Mangrobang added Danley had arrived in the Philippines from Tokyo on September 15. There has been communication between authorities in the Philippines, the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security, the spokeswoman said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.
There are very few places on Earth that remain ungoverned, and even the tiniest islands and city-states tend to have rules in place for things like taxation and citizenship.
Government control is an established reality for most of the world, but what would happen if a neighborhood in your city suddenly became a lawless free-for-all? What type of industries would emerge, and how would people cooperate within that environment to ensure basic services continued to operate?
As Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley details below, one example from recent history sheds light on just how such a situation could work: Kowloon Walled City.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 12, 2017.
A day after China confronted a US warship that came within 12 miles of one of China’s artificial reefs in the South China Sea, Reuters is reporting that Beijing decided to respond by sending two Chinese fighter jets to intercept a US military surveillance plane near Hong Kong, with one plane coming within 200 yards of the American aircraft.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 26, 2017.
The explosion of housing costs is one of the greatest economic crises in the developed world. From San Francisco and New York to London and Vancouver, the average worker’s paycheck is being devoured by the cost of rent. This daunting financial barrier is putting people on the streets, and preventing the next generation from raising families and entering the middle class.
For people who live in these cities, there’s really only one thing they can do. Their only option is to look for a smaller apartment, even if it’s tragically tiny. That’s what’s happening in Hong Kong, a city that now has the most unaffordable housing market in the world. Over 200,000 of the city’s poorest residents are forced to live in subdivided apartments, many of which are so small they’ve been dubbed ‘coffin homes’ according to the Daily Mail. Take a look at what it’s like to live in one of these hovels.
This post was published at shtfplan on May 11th, 2017.
Earlier this morning we reported that according to Korea Times, China had allegedly sent North Korea what amount to a final warning over its military provocations. The rumor cited the May issue of Hong Kong monthly news outlet Dong Xiang. It said a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs junior minister invited Park Myung-ho, an official of North Korea, for a meeting. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the meeting and asked his junior to read aloud the warning to the North over the nuclear test. The memorandum mentioned that China will condemn strongly, pull back on all economic cooperation and even blockade North Korea if it conducted the test.
It didn’t take Korea long to respond…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 3, 2017.
According to the otherwise credible UPI, or United Press International, China has ordered its military to be on nationwide alert, in addition to areas near the North Korea border, as tensions escalate on the peninsula.
Citing the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, a nongovernmental organization in Hong Kong, UPI writes that Beijing has ordered troops at all five military “regions” to maintain preparedness because of the situation in North Korea, according to Oriental Daily News in Hong Kong. According to the NGO, China’s armored and mechanized infantry brigades in the provinces of Shandong, Zhejiang and Yunnan received the state mandate.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 12, 2017.
A rare pink diamond dubbed the ‘Pink Star’ has become the world’s most expensive gemstone to sell at auction, coming under the hammer in Hong Kong on Tuesday for $71.2m (57.3m).
The oval-cut 59.6 carat jewel, discovered in a mine in Africa by De Beers in 1999, is the largest fancy vivid pink diamond, categorised as ‘flawless’ or ‘internally flawless’, that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded.
It sold after a five-minute bidding war, that started at $56m, to Hong Kong jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook at Sotheby’s.
Tuesday’s sale breaks the record previously held by the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, which sold for $57.5m at Christie’s in Geneva in May last year.
This post was published at The Independent
China is wasting no time to project power in a world in which it believes Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine has created a “superpower vacuum.”
One day after a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday that Beijing is prepared to “assume a role of world leadership if others step back from that position” after U. S. President Donald Trump pledged in his first speech to put ‘America first’, Beijing has reportedly deployed an advanced Dongfeng-41 ICBM system in Heilongjiang Province, which borders with Russia.
According to China’s nationalist Global Times tabloid, “the Chinese military intentionally revealed the Dongfeng-41 and connected it with the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. They think this is Beijing’s response to Trump’s provocative remarks on China.”
The Global Times added that ‘pictures of China’s Dongfeng-41 ballistic missile were exposed on Chinese mainland websites,’ citing reports in ‘some Hong Kong and Taiwan media.’ One of the reports was identified as the Apple Daily, another tabloid-style resource based ot of Hong Kong, according to RT. ‘It was revealed that the pictures were taken in Heilongjiang Province. Military analysts believe that this is perhaps the second Dongfeng-41 strategic missile brigade and it should be deployed in northeastern China,’ the report in the Chinese newspaper notes.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 24, 2017.
China’s production is forecast to fall by as much as 7 percent this year, extending a record decline in 2016, according to analysts at CLSA Ltd., Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc. That’s about the same size as the output cut agreed by Iraq, the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which late last year reached a deal to trim supply to support prices.
‘China’s domestic crude output decline will certainly help OPEC’s plan to reduce global supply,’ said Nelson Wang, a Hong Kong-based oil and gas analyst at CLSA, who sees a 7 percent slide this year. ‘Even if that isn’t China’s intention, it’s just the reality that China can’t produce more under the current circumstances.’
While China consumes more oil than almost any other country, it’s also one of the world’s biggest producers, with fields stretching from offshore its southern coast to the far north east. The collapse in prices that began in 2014 is taking its toll, and the nation’s output suffered a record decline last year. That plays into the hands of OPEC as it seeks to prop up the global oil market, forcing China to depend more heavily on imports.
This post was published at bloomberg
As the world focuses on the race for the White House, China unveiled three major decisions within three minutes of each other on Monday.
Among a raft of statements issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Beijing named a new finance minister, effectively barred a pair of elected Hong Kong ‘localists’ from office, and passed a cybersecurity law that may hamstring foreign companies in Asia’s biggest economy.
The news from the nation’s top legislative body followed a plenum of top Communist Party officials last month, where President Xi Jinping was declared the ‘core’ leader of China — a designation that boosted his authority.
This post was published at bloomberg
This article is entitled Chung Kuo, which means Middle Kingdom.
The Chinese have long seen themselves as superior to every other race (like almost every race does) and the center of the world. It’s because they were so confident of this that they never ventured out as Europeans did, with a brief exception in the 15th century when a gigantic Chinese fleet, composed of ships vastly superior to those of Europe, ventured as far as Africa. Since dropping the ball on world conquest back then, or at least exporting their culture wholesale, they’ve been in stasis, and on the receiving end of what Europe had to dish out.
The Chinese resent the ‘gweilo’, or ‘laowai’ (loosely translated in Cantonese and Mandarin respectively as “foreign devil”) for appropriating places like Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, and numerous other enclaves. They resent episodes like the Opium Wars, which resolved whether they were to be used as a market for narcotics. They never learned to appreciate lots of foreign soldiers running around their countryside, even though Westerners felt it was a birthright.
The Chinese absolutely resent the U.S. government parading its aircraft carriers off the China coast as if it owned the place. The U.S. government is not showing strength, it’s displaying arrogance and stupidity by antagonizing a sleeping dragon. And the thought of American politicians – which is to say an assortment of insular lawyers, egg-headed wannabe social engineers, and refugees from Arkansas trailer parks – negotiating with people who’ve been through what the Chinese have, is just scary. The U.S. government may feel like it can call the shots now because it has a dozen aircraft carriers and a couple thousand fighter planes. But it’s making a serious enemy while it’s going to bankrupt America in a counterproductive projection of force to the other side of the planet. And that’s not all. Because the day will go to the people with the most wealth, not the ones that have the most expensive military hardware.
This post was published at International Man
The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a hot-button issue in this 2016 presidential race. It’s especially paramount to American workers…
Those for the agreement, such as President Barack Obama, claim it will improve American manufacturing by removing tariffs.
But those opposed to the deal, including GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, say it expands corporate rights across member states to the disadvantage of U. S. workers. Specifically, they believe millions of jobs could be lost in the name of ‘free trade.’
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was once a staunch supporter of the TPP…
‘That is the spirit behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP, which we hope to outline by the time of APEC in November, because this agreement will bring together economies from across the Pacific – developed and developing alike – into a single trading community,’ Clinton said on Jan. 25, 2011, at the Principles for Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific conference in Hong Kong, according to the U. S. Department of State website.
More recently on Jan. 18, 2013, the former first lady told policymakers in Washington, D. C., about a discussion she’d had with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida earlier that day: ‘We also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we shared perspectives on Japan’s possible participation, because we think this holds out great economic opportunities to all participating nations.’ (U. S. Department of State website, 2013)
But now, come election 2016, Hillary Clinton says she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Should American workers strongly vested in the outcome of the TPP believe her when they take to the polls in November?
Here’s what we know…
This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Money Morning Staff Reports – August 8, 2016.
It all started with 9/11.
After the twin towers fell in 2001, the US government sprang into action to wage the global war on terrorism.
Within days following the attack, Congress pushed through the USA PATRIOT Act, providing unprecedented authority to the US federal government.
The legislation also gave several government agencies sweeping powers over the US banking system. And they made an important discovery.
You see, the entire world relies on the US banking system… at least for now.
The US dollar is still the world’s most dominant reserve currency.
Oil contracts around the globe from Iraq to Indonesia are settled in US dollars.
Foreign governments and central banks hold US dollars as their reserves.
This post was published at Sovereign Man on August 1, 2016.
One month ago, Bank of America said that “We Do Not Have An Explanation” – when it observed that spending on luxury items had unexpectedly tumbled into the summer.
And while we don’t know the specific catalyst that has led to such a notable slowdown in spending by the wealthiest part of the population, we have yet another confirmation that it is continuing, nowhere more so than in the world of “luxury” art. As the WSJ reports, London-based auction house Christie’s International offered further proof of a downturn when it said it sold $3 billion in art during the first half of the year, down a third from the same period last year. Christie’s latest total included $2.5 billion in auction sales, down 37.5% from a year ago. Its $464 million total in privately brokered art sales also fell 10% from the first half of 2015. Contemporary art, long the engine of Christie’s market dominance, was hardest hit, its $788 million in auction sales down 45% from a year earlier.
As the FT adds, in the first half of the year, sales in America totalled 729.8m, down by almost half from the same period last year, Christie’s said. Sales in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India shrank 12 per cent to 736.5m, while Hong Kong contracted 11 per cent to 256.5m.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 20, 2016.
The Best Thing About the EU is J. C. Juncker’s Alcoholism
We recently discussed the post-Brexit landscape with a friend (in fact, our editor), who bemoaned that ‘the EU is led by a drunkard’. Our immediate reaction to this was to exclaim: ‘That’s the best thing about the EU!’
Why do we think so? It makes this overpaid, useless bureaucrat human. Not only that, it clearly raises his entertainment value. As our regular readers know, we have insisted for many years that entertainment value is the by far most important criterion by which a politician’s worth should be judged.
The reason for this is simple: it is nigh impossible to achieve fundamental change by voting. Similar to everybody else, politicians and high-level bureaucrats act first and foremost in their self-interest. A young person deciding to enter politics may well be driven by antiquated notions of ‘public service’. Such ideas are quickly discarded once a political career actually begins.
A great many politicians are also psychopaths. Who knows what they would be up to if their jobs didn’t exist? Again, it is fairly simple to come to this conclusion – one doesn’t have to study psychology to arrive at it. The mere fact that these people want to have a job in which they will exercise power over others is already a strong hint as to their mental state (we acknowledge that there have been a few extremely rare exceptions to the rules laid out here, such as e.g. former Hong Kong governor John Cowperthwaite, Ron Paul, or Godfrey Bloom – but these people were/are really ‘anti-bureaucrats’ and ‘anti-politicians’).
This post was published at Acting-Man on June 30, 2016.
No doubt you know the basic story.
Beginning June 5th 2013, a series of explosive articles ran in The Guardian (and subsequently a handful of other newspapers/magazines) detailing a vast web of global surveillance (engineered by the U. S. National Security Agency and U. K. partner GCHQ). The revelations were backed by large troves of primary information (code-names/programme descriptions) and internal documents (charts and diagrams) apparently directly sourced from the NSA.
A storm of controversy soon erupted over the breadth and ubiquity of this global surveillance. Forthcoming details on the myriad of previously secret programmes made it clear that email, text, phone data and communications were being scooped-up, recorded and analysed on a mammoth and almost unimaginable scale around the world.
On June 9th, 4 days after the earth-shaking leaks began, the then 29 year-old Edward Snowden identified himself as the source of the leaks. Secreted in a Hong Kong hotel room, Snowden volunteered his motives and personal history to a voracious media and public. What followed in the succeeding 2 weeks resembled an international spy-thriller, as Snowden fled from one safe-house to another throughout Hong Kong, always one step ahead of the press and (presumably) U. S. law enforcement.
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JUNE 20, 2016.
It’s no secret that the Chinese government has no problem making people disappear that are causing a problem for the communist regime – we have written about the topic many times (here, here, and here).
However, the latest case of a disappearance (that we’re aware of) is most interesting. Beginning late last year, five booksellers from the shop Causeway Bay Books (which among other things sells books containing political gossip) in Hong Kong went missing, and all of them later surfaced in China in police custody for illegally trading banned books in mainland China. All have returned to Hong Kong except one, and the most recent to be returned home is Lam Wing-kee, who was reportedly back in Hong Kong earlier this week. At the time, Lam didn’t have anything to say about what happened, “he refused to disclose other details regarding his absence” the police said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden – Jun 17, 2016.