The DailyBrief

Thursday November 17, 2016

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group plans to spend 103 billion yuan (US$14.99 billion) on a tourism-focused development and 19 shopping malls in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, home to the terracotta warriors. The strategic cooperation agreement, signed with the Shaanxi government this week, follows the earlier announcement by Wanda of a similar US$14.7 billion project in the southern province of Hunan.

Iran’s comfort level with the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency is steadily rising, notwithstanding the welter of doomsday predictions in the US media that the nuclear agreement of July last year faces sudden death any moment after January 20. Iran watched closely the zigzagging by the presidential candidates in the run up to the Nov. 8 election, but kept its thoughts to itself, apart from one sardonic remark by President Hassan Rouhani that it was a choice between “bad” and “worse.” Now that the die is cast and Trump will be the American president, Iran is making its stance known.

A US congressional panel has warned of an “alarming” rise in Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong, noting fears over the former British colony’s continued role as a global financial hub. In its annual report to the Congress, the bipartisan US-China Economic and Security Review Commission highlights the “chilling” abduction and detention of five booksellers based in Hong Kong as well as pressure on media and academic freedoms. The commission urges a fresh probe from the State Department on hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms.

Malaysia’s central bank has demanded foreign banks to send written commitments to halt ringgit trading in offshore markets to protect a weakening currency. The letters were sent by banks in Malaysia who hold bonds and other Malaysian assets as custodians for foreign banks. The form letters are addressed to Bank Negara Malaysia.

India’s shock decision to scrap large currency notes last week is now being blamed for more than 30 deaths throughout the country. People have committed suicide in the belief that their invalidated 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee notes have become worthless overnight, while many others, mainly elderly people, have died while standing in long, snaking queues waiting to exchange their banknotes.