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'Occupy' with Chinese characteristics

Thrilling demonstrations of people power in China create a new challenge for foreign observers who view protests through the prism of the Tiananmen Square uprising and of US-adoring and democracy-worshipping dissidents. As the heated battle last month in Qidong over alleged pollution shows, a new generation is embracing its own kind of "Occupy" activism, and the Communist Party hasn't quite figured out how to handle it. - Peter Lee (Aug 3, '12)

Obama brings Erdogan into bat
The image the White House used to illustrate United States President Barack Obama's phone call to Recep Tayyip Erdogan conveyed a simple but blunt message, according to the Turkish press: "Whack Bashar, Erdogan Bey". However, in helping overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Turkish prime minister is hamstrung by a state of disarray in Turkey's armed forces that he helped to engineer.
- M K Bhadrakumar (Aug 3, '12)

China addicted to Hong Kong's 'opium'
Mainland China has learned much from the ways of Hong Kong to help transform its own economy over the past three decades. The use of land sales to generate government income was among them, and that was a mistake.
- Wu Zhong (Aug 3, '12)
This concludes a three-part report.
Part 1: The myth of a free Hong Kong economy
Part 2: The rulers of the game

Sacrificing Iran's queen
It is time for Europe's leaders, their currency in its death throes, to reconsider relations with the United States and calculate the benefits of looking east to build a Eurasian framework of political and economic co-operation largely based upon energy and trade. Iran may hold the key card. - Chris Cook (Aug 3, '12)

Voices stifled in Cambodia

Cambodian independent radio station owner Mam Sonando was arrested supposedly over a plot by a village to become an independent state, but his detention was more likely down to his Beehive Radio's criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen. As Cambodians increasingly use new methods to speak out about injustice, the government has retorted by stepping up repression.
- Rupert Abbott (Aug 3, '12)

India drowns in its own waste
One chance to combat energy-conscious India's waste-disposal problem is to recycle sewage gases to generate electricity. But with recycling still a pipedream in most cities across the country, and raw, untreated sewage ending up in rivers and lakes, that safe solution remains largely untapped. - Keya Acharya (Aug 3, '12)

Saudi uprising trumps sectarian card
The Saudi Arabian counter-revolution against the Arab Spring relied on a time-honored strategy of exploiting sectarian divisions, with successes from Bahrain and Yemen to Egypt bolstering Riyadh's confidence that Wahhabi ideology - not democracy - would be the biggest winner. Fresh anti-regime protests spreading across the kingdom suggest the regime has overplayed this card.
- Zayd Alisa (Aug 3, '12)

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Obama does Syriana
As Western media finally confirm that the floodgates of US assistance to Syria's rebels have opened, the conflict is becoming a redux of the 1980s' Afghan jihad, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar playing the role of Pakistan, the Not Exactly Free Syrian Army as glorious mujahideen "freedom fighters" and US President Barack Obama as Ronald Reagan. Similarly disastrous blowback looms large. - Pepe Escobar (Aug 2, '12)

Budget fears wag Israeli war dogs
Speculation that tax hikes in Israel are a veiled attempt to create a war chest for hitting Iran have been dismissed by some critics: it's the talk of war that's spin, they say, to mask austerity measures. However, right-wing pressure is growing on the leadership to keep its promises over stopping Iran's nuclear program, as hawks complain that US sanctions aren't hurting Tehran enough. - Victor Kotsev (Aug 2, '12)

The rulers of the Hong Kong game

In Hong Kong, financial muscle rules, grabbing the best locations - near mass transit systems or by the spectacular waterfront. That is great for folk belonging to the city's elite. Behind the facade of all the glitzy malls though, life is hard for those who are tenants in a rigged market.
- Eddie Leung and Pepe Escobar (Aug 2, '12)
This is the second article in a three-part report
Part 1: The myth of a free Hong Kong economy

Kim Jong-eun comes of age ...
Seven months into his rule and North Korea's Kim Jong-eun is throwing off the training wheels. He has shown his ruthless streak by discarding his high-ranking military mentor, and his caring side by marrying a sophisticated lady. But promoting the image of a powerful head of the family reveals change in form, not substance. - Leonid Petrov (Aug 2, '12)

... in a Mickey Mouse world
An affinity with the cast of Disney characters promoted by Kim Jong-eun provides a fascinating glimpse into what is really in store for North Koreans. The worlds created by Walt Disney and Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, are not that far apart, and the implant of Mickey Mouse and friends is in line with the kind of social engineering that the regime continues to embrace. - John Feffer (Aug 2, '12)

We don't want them, you take them
The "Not In My Back Yard" sentiment that's fueled Australia's toxic debate on asylum-seekers is keenly felt in Indonesia, where Canberra has proposed refugees be processed. Peering through the fences of safely housed, well-fed refugees enjoying free healthcare courtesy of Australian taxpayers, Indonesians living on less than US$2 per day may agitate against the proposed "transit lounge" arrangement.
- Duncan Graham (Aug 2, '12)

Mission failure: Afghanistan
Afghans closest to the American project - the soldiers, policemen, or security guards being trained by the US or its allies - are now regularly and in ever-increasing numbers shooting their foreign mentors down. "Green-on-blue" violence is historically unprecedented, and sends a message written in blood that no one in Washington or the US military has the stomach to read.
- Tom Engelhardt (Aug 2, '12)

Labor rights a sore in US-China relations
A common United States perception is that China's rise has been helped by multinationals allowing Asian suppliers to bend Western-standard labor rules. Politicians in Washington have limited scope to halt such violations, helping to sour the mood towards China. - Benjamin A Shobert (Aug 2, '12)

Food and Asian integration
The gradual integration of Asia's diverse economies will bring improvements in certain parts of their economies - and carry risks that existing disparities will widen. Food security must be at the forefront of such concerns. - Yong Kwon (Aug 2, '12)

Kabul property boom bursts
A surge in Kabul's population, lots of foreign aid, and demand from diplomats and international organizations helped to drive a boom in the city's property prices and make fortunes for local realtors. The military drawdown now underway means the heady days are over. - Frud Bezhan (Aug 2, '12)

India seeks some light in the dark
The power failure that this week brought half of India to a standstill is the result of energy shortfalls caused by an addiction to over-consumption, with gadgets such as air-conditioners now seen as essential by the newly prosperous. The answer isn't India sacrificing its chillers to swelter in ascetic discomfort, or modern nuclear plants. An alternative to reliance on hydro-power and imported electricity is needed, with the sun a glaringly obvious candidate. - Raja Murthy (Aug 1, '12)

Where is Prince Bandar?
Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar "Bush", the presumptive orchestrator of "Damascus Volcano", the failed attempt to obliterate Bashar al-Assad's inner sanctum, has dropped off the radar. Has Syrian intelligence bumped him off? Or did the Iranians get their man in a tit-for-tat bombing in Riyadh, where the prince was newly crowned head of Saudi intel? As the rumor mills hit overdrive in Syria, the House of Saud is cloaked in silence. - Pepe Escobar (Aug 1, '12)

Philippines arms itself with new pacts
The Philippines, faced with renewed assertiveness by China in the South China Sea and an ambiguous attitude by the United States to military defense ties, has forged new pacts with Australia and Japan to hedge its bets. With those in the bag, it will now auction three contested areas for oil and gas exploration.
- George Amurao (Aug 1, '12)

The myth of a free Hong Kong economy

Hong Kong has been hailed as the world's freest economy for more than two decades. Yet the main sectors of the economy are dominated by a few families, with limited land availability at the heart of their vast wealth. - Eddie Leung and Pepe Escobar (Aug 1, '12)
This is the first article in a three-part report

WalMart leads
call for higher pay
in Bangladesh

WalMart, Nike, Gap and other international buyers of clothing from Bangladesh are calling for increases in garment workers' pay while warning the government in Dhaka that industrial unrest is threatening their ability to do business in the country.
- Syed Tashfin Chowdhury

Tashkent's sticky fingers
The recent woes in Uzbekistan of Russian cellphone giant MTS, hit by employee arrests and a three-month suspension, highlight the perils for foreigners of doing business in Central Asia's most populous country. - Joanna Lillis

Marketing guru
chooses a tough sell

The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that Will Disrupt the World
by Shaun Rein
No longer a mere source of cheap labor, China is becoming the world's most compelling consumer market. The author not only has stellar credentials to describe this new reality, and offer advice on how foreign business can cash in on it, he does so in a clear and highly readable style. It's his spin on politics that falls flat.
- Muhammad Cohen


Outlook brighter
Microsoft has called it a day for Hotmail, in spite of its still strong user base, in the hope of recouping market share lost to Google's Gmail. The new service will prove popular if at least it can handle spam and the other evils of modern communications. (Aug 3, '12)
Martin J Young surveys the week's developments in computing, gaming and gizmos.

Monetary madness
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and European policymakers last week hit the panic button, burning once more those with bearish hedges and bets. Global monetary injections are ensuring only that more "money" flows to the global leveraged speculating community.
Doug Noland looks at the previous week's events each Monday.

TONY ALLISON (1953-2012)
Asia Times Online's Editor-in-Chief Anthony Allison died on June 20 after a short illness. We extend our sympathy to Tony's family for their tragic and premature loss.



Tehran reaches out
to Egypt's Morsi

This is a development that holds the potential to shake up Middle Eastern politics Iranian vice-president visiting Cairo. The two countries pulled down the shutters following the Iranian revolution in 1979 and a dark period continued right till the end of the Hosni Mubarak era...
- M K Bhadrakumar

The rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, a high standard of living, freedom of the press, organization, cleanliness, and opportunity to earn a decent living is superior and better than the rule of chaos.
Hjalmar Ericksson
United States 
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. Iran's fate after Assad

2. Obama does Syriana

3. Where is Prince Bandar?

4. Mission failure: Afghanistan

5. Budget fears wag Israeli war dogs

6. The rulers of the Hong Kong game

7. Kim Jong-eun's Mickey Mouse world

8. The myth of a free Hong Kong economy

9. Kim Jong-eun comes of age ...

10. We don't want them, you take them

(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, Aug 2, 2012)


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