The DailyBrief

Wednesday January 11, 2017

Rural poverty and a weak education system are driving children to look for work in Myanmar’s big cities. It’s a form of migration that has almost become a new norm, Matthieu Baudey and Carole Oudot report for Asia Times. Every night, after office hours, Yangon becomes paralyzed with traffic for at least two hours. Barefoot, breathing in the fumes, Ko Myint, 7, strolls between the lines of stuck cars, used to it all. The tiny boy sells flowers, finding few customers among the wary drivers and passengers. Other children sell cold drinks, cigarettes, newspapers and betel nuts, which many taxi drivers chew to fight exhaustion.

In the final of a two part series, Asia Times Editor-at-Large Doug Tsuruoka looks at the global implications of China’s interests in the Northwest Passage and other northern routes. The Chinese may see the need to protect their shipping militarily as well as diplomatically. The issue has been given some credence when five Chinese Navy ships raised eyebrows in September 2015 by entering US territorial waters off Alaska in an unprecedented patrol. The move was allowed under the maritime rule of “innocent passage.” But the US media touted it as a sign of China’s growing naval capability and its interest in Arctic resources.

Japan came into the frame in film industry news at Asia Times. Russell Edwards reports in his box office roundup that gender-bending anima drama Your Name hit three out of three, topping the charts in South Korea. Your Name has so far earned US$10 million since its release. While producer and director Kazuyoshi Okuyama chats to Suvendri Kakuchi in Tokyo on where Japan’s film industry is heading.

China’s forex regulator is telling banks to keep its instructions about curbing capital outflows secret and to ensure that research analysts keep any negative views about the yuan’s prospects to themselves, several bankers said in a Reuters report. Both demands are seen as an attempt by the authorities to prevent alarm that could trigger further declines in the yuan, the bankers from local and foreign banks said.

Even though China may be the world’s largest maker of ballpoint pens, it has not mastered the craft of making one component – the tiny ball-holding sockets — at least until now, Caixin Global reports. After a five-year effort northern Chinese steelmaker Taiyuan Iron & Steel in Shanxi province has finally cracked it.