Category Archives: Asia

Hillary threatens China with a ‘ring’ of missiles

Oh fercrissakes!

Yep, Hillary’s rattling sabers, and if a very dangerous way, given that Barack Obama has already ramped up U.S. military forces in the region as part of his “asian pivot.”

But, hey, all those defense contractors must be salivating, right?

From the Associated Press:

Hillary Clinton privately said the U.S. would “ring China with missile defense” if the Chinese government failed to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.

Clinton’s comments were revealed by WikiLeaks in a hack of the Clinton campaign chairman’s personal account. The emails include a document excerpting Clinton’s private speeches, which she has refused to release.

China has harshly criticized the U.S. and South Korea’s planned deployment of a missile-defense system against North Korea, which conducted its fifth nuclear test this year. But Clinton said she told Chinese officials that the U.S. might deploy additional ships to the region.

She also derided China’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea, saying that by China’s logic, the U.S. after World War II could have labeled the Pacific Ocean the “American Sea.”

Japan on the brink: IMF deputy’s desperate plea

Things are not looking good in Japan as the economy stagnates, the declining population rapidly ages, and many of its young people have lost interest in sex.

And now the International Monetary Fund’s second-ranking official is warning that Japan’s economy, and that of the world, is poised on the brink.

From Reuters:

International Monetary Fund First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton welcomed the Bank of Japan’s new policy framework as a boost to its credibility, but called for more vigorous fiscal and structural policies to reflate a fragile economic recovery.

Lipton also shrugged off the view that monetary policy was nearing its limit as a means to revive economies across the globe, stressing that central banks must be open to new ideas to help spur growth.

“Central banks have to always be ready to do whatever they can based on the realities they face,” Lipton told Reuters on Saturday. “The BOJ has been an example of imaginative approaches.”

The BOJ last month switched its policy target to interest rates from the pace of money printing, after years of massive asset purchases failed to jolt the economy out of stagnation.

Chart of the day: Top concerns of China’s people

From a new survey from the Pew Research Center:


Map of the day: The ongoing spread of Zika virus

From the latest World Health Organization Zika Situation Report, with the darker the  country, the more recently the virus has become endemic, carried by local mosquitoes:


CDC issues more Zika travel advisories

And a new warning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Today, CDC posted Zika virus-related special travel considerations for 11 Southeastern Asian countries. CDC now recommends that pregnant women should consider postponing nonessential travel to these countries because of the uncertain risk of Zika virus infection. CDC is issuing these special travel considerations so that travelers, especially pregnant women, can make informed decisions about their travel and their health.

The countries included in these considerations are Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), and Vietnam.

Zika virus has been present in areas of Southeast Asia for many years, and several countries have reported occasional cases or small outbreaks. Recent variations in the number of cases reported in the area have been observed. Zika virus is considered endemic in some of these countries, and many people who live there are likely immune. But US travelers to areas where Zika is endemic may not be immune to the virus and infections have occurred in travelers to Southeast Asia.

The level of risk for Zika virus infection in these countries is unknown, but it is likely lower (but not zero) than in areas where Zika is newly introduced and spreading widely. However, because Zika virus infection during pregnancy causes severe birth defects, including microcephaly and other severe brain abnormalities, pregnant women should talk to their healthcare provider and consider postponing nonessential travel to Southeast Asia. Zika virus testing should be offered to pregnant women and considered for other people who have symptoms of Zika virus disease if they have recently traveled to Southeast Asia.

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Philippine president likens himself to Adolf Hitler

Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president who has launched a vigilante massacre of drug dealers [previously], raised the stakes today in his deadly campaign, likening himself to history’s most-loathed murderer.

And it’s not just drug sellers he hopes to massacre; it’s their customers as well.

From the Guardian:

Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines president, appears to have compared himself to Hitler, saying he would be “happy to slaughter” millions of drug addicts in his bloody war on crime.

During a press conference in his home city of Davao, the former prosecutor told reporters that he had been compared to a “cousin of Hitler” by his critics.

“If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” he said, pausing and pointing to himself.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews … there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”


Duterte has spent his first three months in office running a campaign to kill all involved in the rampant drugs trade, including alleged addicts, causing outrage from rights groups and foreign governments.

More than 3,500 alleged drug dealers and addicts have been killed, about a third of them in police operations but the majority by armed vigilante militias. Duterte has publicly encouraged civilians to kill addicts and said he will not prosecute police for extrajudicial executions.

“You know my victims. I would like (them) to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” he said during the press conference early on Friday.

Chart of the day II: EU asylum seekers increase


From Eurostat, which reports:

During the second quarter of 2016 (from April to June 2016), 305,700 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), up by 6% compared with the first quarter of 2016 (when 287,100 first-time applicants were registered).

With nearly 90,500 first-time applicants between April and June 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States, ahead of Afghans (50,300 first time applicants) and Iraqis (34,300).

These quarterly data on asylum in the EU come from a report issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

They represent the three main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU Member States over the second quarter 2016, accounting for almost 60% of all first time applicants.

Six in ten applied for asylum in Germany

During the second quarter 2016, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with almost 187,000 first time applicants, or 61% of total first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (27,000, or 9%), France (17,800, or 6%), Hungary (14,900, or 5%) and Greece (12,000, or 4%).

Among those Member States with high numbers of asylum seekers, numbers of first time applicants in the second quarter 2016 more than doubled compared with the previous quarter in Greece (+132 %) as well as in Hungary (+118%), and rose notably in Poland (+65%) and Spain (+37%). In contrast, decreases were recorded in particular in the Nordic Member States — Denmark (-59%), Finland (-53%) and Sweden (-42%) — as well as in the Netherlands (-47%), Belgium (-44%) and Austria (-22%).

Map of the day: Unauthorized immigrant patterns

From a new report from the Pew Research Center, two graphics on shifts in the patterns of America’s unauthorized immigrants.

The report reveals that while the largest single source of those immigrants is still Mexico, the number of Mexicans living in the U.S. without official approval has declined significantly, while growing numbers are coming from other Latin American nations and from Asia.

Our first graphic is a map revealing another shift, this time isn the pattern of destinations for those immigrants:


And another shift is revealed in the second graphic, this time a significant shift in the years of residence in the U.S.: