Apr. 23 – The Taliban, who recently occupied the crucial Swat valley in Northern Pakistan, moved up a gear and seized the vital region of Buner, just 60 miles from the capital Islamabad.
The Taliban’s move appears to have taken the Pakistan military by surprise. In worrying developments, the group, which occupied the Swat Valley under implicit agreement from Islamabad, has introduced Sharia law and now refused to lay down weapons, a key component of the occupation deal that the government had brokered. The weapons agreement was to bring a ceasefire to the area in the hopes the Taliban would provide better security for its residents. That has now been dismissed as not being in accordance with the Koran. Continue reading
Apr. 23 – Can you think of any Asian tourism ad campaigns off the top of your head? Ask anyone you know, and probably two, maybe three will spring immediately to mind. But China isn’t there.
In a worrying sign as for what this means for the Chinese tourism and its related industries, a poll we conducted gave the top most memorable ad campaigns as being
Malaysia Truly Asia
Taiwan Touch Your Heart
Apr. 22 – Thaksin Shinawatra, the exiled former prime minister of Thailand, has launched a direct attack on the Thai monarchy, claiming that the king had prior knowledge of a coup plot to depose him two years ago. The palace has strenuously denied the accusations.
With King Bhumibol Abulyadej, revered by Thais and now 81, ill, and reluctant to interfere with politics, Thaksin’s motives appear aimed to further divide the country and to cast doubts on the ability of the monarch to reign. Many of Thaksin’s supporters are lower class peasants. An uprising or increasingly popular feeling that the monarchy is irrelevant or unable to unite the nation could pave the way for Thaksin to return to power. Continue reading
Apr. 21 – The Sri Lankan army is on the verge of defeating the rebel Tamil Tiger forces after 35,000 civilians held hostage by the rebels managed to flee. Sri Lankan troops captured a three-kilometer land bridge in fighting yesterday that was then used as a conduit to evacuate civilians caught between troops and the rebels. Some reports claim the rebels had been using civilians as human shields. With that protection now gone, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued an ultimatum to the Tigers to surrender or face certain death. That deadline expires today at 12 pm Sri Lankan time.
The conflict has existed for over 30 years as displaced Tamils have increasingly found themselves marginalized in a country they had called home. With a separate culture and language, many had been economic refugees from the nearby Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Tigers gained notoriety in 1991 when a Tiger assassinated then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for the Indian prime minister’s support for the Sri Lankan government. Indian troops were contributing to a peace keeping force at the time. Continue reading
Apr. 21 – Mergers and acquisitions in Asia have long been the subject of speculation; this is especially true in China, with stories of multibillion dollar deals and government interference; the most recent occasion being the failed Coke-Haiyuan deal.
The curious perception about M&A in China is that the market has been, or is expected to be, buoyant and that recent government involvement on anti-monopoly grounds has “killed” the Chinese M&A industry (PE firms and the like). The truth, however, is that M&A in both China and India remain strong. Few deals are expected to be as controversial as the failed Coke acquisition, which generated a lot of negativity about the ability to succeed in China, yet the real issue was the failure of Coke’s acquisition strategy. So why has the media hype over M&A in China been so off-kilter? Continue reading
Apr. 21 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have just released their International Yearbook of Manufacturing Statistics and have found that China and India rank first and fourth respectively in global manufacturing value added (MVA) output. Emerging markets have doubled their output in the past 18 years, with them producing 30 percent of global manufacturing value, demonstrating the increasing shift of production and the outsourcing of services to developing countries. The industrialized world gained a 30 percent increase.
A staggering 75 percent of global MVA was accounted for in Asian developing markets, with China contributing 42 percent of this. India’s growth rate of MVA output rose from 6.9 percent to 12.3 percent in two years from 2005 to 2007, with MVA accounting for about 15 percent of the country’s GDP. India’s fourth placed ranking is after China, the USA and Italy.
Apr. 20 – Steel output and a revival in the auto, housing and rural infrastructure sectors for Q1 in India point to a turning point for India’s economy, while other steel producing countries have seen a continuing downturn. India’s steel industry production and consumption grew at 1.2 percent and 3.8 percent respectively over the same period last year, according to The Economic Times.
The increase was spurred also by Chinese demands, with a 17 percent surge in iron ore exports to China in March, up to 12.6 million tons from 10.8 million tons in March 2008, a major indicator that China’s massive economic stimulus plan is starting to have an effect on development projects within China and boost its economic performance and GDP in the wake of the global financial crisis. Continue reading