The DailyBrief

Wednesday March 15, 2017

US China trade: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says Beijing and Washington have to avert a trade war because it would damage both countries as well as the global business environment, reports Jeff Pao. “We don’t want to see a trade war, which will result in an unfair trade environment and hurt both sides,” Li said at a high profile media briefing held after the closing ceremony of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress.

Malaysian Prime Minister: Since 2015, Najib Razak has survived a massive embezzlement scandal, opposition protests and internal power struggles, all with an eye on re-election, reports David Hutt. Prime Minister Najib has always maintained his innocence amid all the allegations, and is now working at restoring his domestic political fortunes with a campaign of suppression and savvy politicking that is building as the 2018 elections approach.

Yubari festival, Japan: High in the mountains of Hokkaido, the sleepy town of Yubari plays host each spring to a frenzied gathering of student and independent filmmakers specializing in the most exploitative echelons of genre cinema, writes James Marsh. Dedicated to the discovery and development of new talent, the Yubari Fanta festival devotes large sections of its program each year to short films and first or second features made entirely outside the Japanese mainstream.

China retail slowdown: Retail sales growth in the PRC witnessed a unexpected drop in first two months of 2017, reports Steve Wang. Growth sat at 9.5%, undershooting a median forecast of 10.5%, and although car sales didn’t match the surge seen in the same period last year, online shopping remains strong with growth exceeding 30%.