Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from MacroScope:

Unlocking the Yuan

Reuters's top news and innovation teams have put together a web site on the yuan and the debate over its revaluation. Particularly worth a look after the weekend's statement by China that it would allow more flexibility in its currency exchange. You can access it here, but it looks like this:

Yuan2

Defiant North Korea takes case to UN press corps

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North Korea's UN Ambassador Sin Son-ho (center)

North Korea's UN Ambassador Sin Son-ho (center) speaks to reporters at UN headquarters.

Officials working for the government of communist North Korea seldom appear in public — especially in front of reporters from countries they view as hostile. But Pyongyang’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sin Son-ho, turned to the U.N. press corps in New York on Tuesday to defend his nation against Seoul’s allegtions that the North Korean military torpedoed a South Korean naval ship on March 26, killing 46 sailors.

from Andrew Marshall:

Political risk in Asia: What to watch this week

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JAPAN-POLITICS/

My regular roundup of key Asian political risk themes to watch in the week ahead, with links to the news stories and analysis produced by Reuters correspondents across the region.

JAPAN GETS A NEW PRIME MINISTER (AGAIN)

Japan has its fifth prime minister in three years -- Naoto Kan, 63, a fiscal conservative with a reformist image.

from MacroScope:

Spend Save Man Woman

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Far from being lauded as a virtue, China's high savings rate has been blamed for the economic imbalances underlying the global financial crisis. The criticism being that the Chinese spend too little and rely too much on exporting to Western consumers.

The IMF and World Bank have long called for Beijing to ramp up social spending so its citizens will feel less need to save for a rainy day and instead consume more.

from Tales from the Trail:

The coming conflict with China

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2008 was the last presidential election when voters didn't know or care about the candidates views on China, argues political risk analyst Ian Bremmer.

NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/Bremmer's new book "The End of the Free Market" argues that the Chinese economic model -- which he calls state capitalism -- is so fundamentally different from Western free market capitalism that tensions and economic conflict are inevitable in the years ahead.

China holds Rio trial behind closed doors

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The trial of four Rio Tinto employees began early on a chilly, gray Monday morning in Shanghai, when four police vans in a convoy led by a cruiser with flashing lights swept the defendants to the courthouse well before 7 am.
 CHINA-RIO/

Quick glimpses from outside the modern courthouse are all that most outsiders will get.

Did the manufacture of your iPhone make someone sick?

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(Corrects name of author on March 17 and 6:38 p.m. ET)
This story by Kathleen E. McLaughlin is part of an ongoing GlobalPost investigation into the supply chains that make some of your favorite electronic gadgets.  In this installment, GlobalPost examined the fallout after a factory that supplies Apple and Nokia used the toxic solvent n-hexane in violation of local codes and without proper safety equipment. Though seven current and former workers said the chemical was used on Apple touch screens, Apple refused to comment.

SUZHOU, China — The mysterious illness began with an odd tingling of the fingers one week, a creeping numbness in the feet the next.

Lapland’s part in EU foreign policy

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Last weekend, Finland’s foreign minister gathered six of his colleagues and the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, in the frozen far reaches of Lapland for two days of talks on the future of European foreign policy.

As informal ministerial gatherings go, it was a rather jolly (if cold) affair, complete with a ‘family photo’ taken with a pair of nervous reindeer, a chance to see the northern lights and activities such as skiing, sledging and snow-mobiling. Some of the ministers even brought along their families.

from Afghan Journal:

Pakistan getting ahead of itself on the Afghan chessboard?

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(An Afghan woman outside  a shop in Herat. Picture by Morteza Nikoubazl )

(An Afghan woman outside a shop in Herat. Picture by Morteza Nikoubazl )

If you have been reading news reports and blogs in recent weeks on Pakistan's Afghanistan strategy, you would think Islamabad has emerged at the top of the heap, holding all the cards to a possible endgame. Its close ties to the Afghan Taliban put Islamabad in a unique position for a negotiated settlement to the eight-year-war, with little place for arch rival India which has been trying to muscle into its sphere of influence.

But Pakistan must not be taken in by all the hype; it has neither delivered a strategic coup nor has it fully secured its interests, argue two experts in separate pieces that seem to cut through all the noise.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il says bye-bye bouffant. Hello China?

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NORTH KOREANorth Korean leader Kim Jong-il appears to have abandoned his trademark bouffant, relegating one of the world’s most noticeable hair styles to the scrap heap of history.

Reports have said that Kim may travel to China this month for a visit that would be the reclusive leader’s first trip abroad since apparently suffering a stroke in 2008. Kim’s trips to China, his destitute and isolated state’s biggest benefactor and the closest thing it can claim as a major ally, have often led to moves that decrease the security threat Pyongyang poses to the economically vibrant region. This would be Kim’s first trip abroad since falling seriously ill.

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