The DailyBrief

Wednesday March 22, 2017

Chinese overseas investments: China’s foreign exchange head has asked if the acquisition of foreign football clubs has simply been a cover for Chinese firms to sneak assets out of the country. Lin Wanxia writes that the comments from Pan Gongsheng, who is head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and also vice-governor of the People’s Bank of China, are one more indication that the government is trying to put the screws on overseas investment.

Russia in Syria: Since late January, Russia’s losses in Syria are more than three times higher than the official toll, a tally that shows the fight in Syria is tougher and more costly than the Kremlin has disclosed, writes Maria Tsvetkova. Military casualties abroad are not as politically sensitive in Russia as in some other countries but they will send a negative message ahead of a presidential election next year which is expected to give Vladimir Putin a fourth term.

Asian Film Awards: Chinese comedy I Am Not Madame Bovary, directed by Feng Xiaogang, scored the top prize among the three awards it won on Tuesday at a ceremony in Hong Kong. Poo Yee Kai and Liu Hsiu Wen report that the film, a comedy that tackles government bureaucracy in the PRC, won the Asian Film Awards’ film Best Film, Best Actress and Best Cinematography.

Thailand rice reforms: Four decades ago the Buddhist monk Luang Paw Nan launched a campaign in Surin province to reduce poverty among farmers by encouraging them to grow organic jasmine rice. Peter Janssen writes that while most of the country’s indebted farmers still teeter on the brink of poverty, Surin is today famed for its rice with the World Bank citing the province as an example of dramatic poverty reduction, attributed in part to good working coordination between the government, farmers and civil society.

World Water Day: Today, 35.8% of the world’s population still lacks access to any proper sanitation facilities, reports Tamara Avellán on World Water Day. That’s why in 2015, world leaders agreed to strive for access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030 as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and that means more than three billion extra people will need access to a toilet.