Hard Times Ahead for China’s Economy, Says Alibaba’s Jack Ma
Nectar Gan, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
China’s short-term economic outlook will be “tougher than expected” and trade friction was inevitable with the US, Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma said as China was reported to be lowering its growth target for this year. “In the coming three to five years … the economic situation will be even more arduous than everyone had expected,” said the e-commerce billionaire on Wednesday.
China’s Banking Regulator Issues Guidelines on Outbound Investment
China’s banking regulator issued guidelines on Wednesday calling for the country’s financial institutions to strengthen their control and management of funding for outbound investment. The guidelines are the latest new rules on overseas investment as Beijing moves to clamp down on cross-border capital outflows and halt questionable investments. The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) instructed commercial banks to bolster their risk and compliance management for offshore investment projects, and improve their supervision of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing activities.
Cuban Entrepreneurs Dream Big but the Government Is in Their Way
Nora Gámez Torres, THE MIAMI HERALD
Like entrepreneurs in any country, Cuban entrepreneurs want more access to resources and fewer bureaucratic obstacles to expand and reinvest in their businesses, according to a new study based on interviews conducted on the island. The study was spearheaded by Cuban-born economist Carmelo Mesa Lago and involved interviewing 80 Cubans for Voices of Change in the Cuban Non-State Sector. “One of the main barriers that they mention, and there was an impressive unanimity in this, is the level of state interference,” said Mesa Lago.
North Korea Is the World’s Worst Persecutor of Christians
Olivia Enos, FORBES
North Korea once again tops the charts as the world’s worst persecutor of Christians, according to a recent report by Open Doors USA. Nearly three years ago, a United Nation’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) found the Kim regime guilty of crimes against humanity, in part due to its persecution of Christians. Surprisingly little has been done since then to improve religious freedom or human rights in North Korea.
Russia Arrests Third “US Spy” in Cyber Treason Case
THE DAILY BEAST
Russian media on Thursday reported the arrest of yet another security service officer accused of being a US spy in a treason case thought to be tied to the US hacking scandal. After news broke on Wednesday of the arrest of Sergei Mikhailov, the agency’s top cyber expert, two other FSB officers were reported under arrest for the same charge on Thursday–meaning either the US had a ring of infiltrators deep inside Russian security services, or Russia has a trick up its sleeve.
President Donald Trump Picks Kenneth Juster for Key International Economics Post
Ian Talley and Stephanie Gleason, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
The White House has tapped Kenneth Juster, a private-equity partner at Warburg Pincus and former export champion in the George W. Bush administration, to oversee President Donald Trump’s international economic policy. While working in the Bush administration, Juster advocated an export regime that limited controls while still protecting national security through transfer of sensitive technology overseas. “We must be more careful when we are exporting sensitive technology to countries of concern,” Mr. Juster said in 2001, when asked about trade with China.
Venezuela’s Leaders Ignore Reality
Venezuela’s economy shrank by nearly 19% last year, according to a leaked early estimate by the central bank. That would be bad even for a nation at war, which Venezuela is not. Inflation was 800%. Shortages of food and medicine are causing hunger and looting. Infant mortality is soaring. Caracas is the capital city with the world’s highest murder rate. Venezuela needs both economic rescue and political renewal, but it is hard to imagine where these will come from.
Videographer and Blogger Detained in Vietnam
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS
Vietnamese authorities should unconditionally release videographer Nguyen Van Hoa and blogger Tran Thi Nga, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Hoa has been accused of “abusing democratic freedoms” while Nga is being held on charges of “conducting propaganda against the state.” Vietnam held at least eight journalists behind bars when CPJ conducted its annual global census of jailed journalists on December 1, 2016. The country has consistently ranked among the 10 worst jailers of journalists in the world, CPJ research shows.