The DailyBrief

Friday January 27, 2017

In a deal valued at around US$800 million, Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba has announced its intention to buy US money-transfer company MoneyGram International. The indebted American company is second only to Western Union among money-transfer providers.

Since the end of the Cold War, America has been exporting a mirror image of its domestic self: not the classic combo of democracy and freedom, but guns, prisons, and security forces, writes William J. Astore. Globally, the label “Made in the USA” has increasingly come to be associated with violence and war. Weapons, warriors and fear are shaping up as the New Order for America under Donald Trump, who is like a Batman villain, a man who doesn’t believe in heroes — only in himself.

Pakistan’s ultimatum to Afghan refugees living on its soil to leave the country by March 31 or face deportation has evoked much apprehension among the latter, writes Sudha Ramachandran. They are being forced back, but the situation in Afghanistan is hardly conducive to their return. The Global Peace Index notes that Afghanistan is the third least peaceful country in the world after Syria, and Iraq, where the overall security situation worsened “considerably” in 2016.

If you happen to be celebrating the Year of the Rooster, Asia Times is looking to share your most stunning images of the Lunar New Year. We’ll share the best of them with the world, so please be sure to say where each photo was taken and include a brief description of what it shows. Share it on Facebook with this hashtag, or on Twitter #atimescny.

Asia Times would also like to wish everyone a Gong Xi Fa Cai. The Daily Brief will be taking a short break before returning to your inbox on February 1.