The DailyBrief

Monday April 24, 2017

America needs game-changer: In the Middle East, America is in what chess players call zugzwang, where any move it makes loses, and the situation in the Korean Peninsula is even more dismal, writes David P. Goldman, who argues that America needs a game-changer. Innovation is the most destructive force known to man, argues Goldman, and if America can restore this to its economy, it will be China’s turn to worry.

Pyongyang, tough call: The US President called his counterparts in China and Japan on Monday morning to discuss the response if North Korea marks its army’s anniversary on Tuesday with another missile launch. Asia Times writes that as China continues to call for calm, Japanese destroyers have sailed with the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group and may be also joined by the South Korean navy.

China’s pollution problems: Beijing’s environment ministry said that almost 70% of 250 companies it inspected across 28 cities were found to have “pollution problems,” reports Asia Times’ China Digest. The ministry’s checks constitute the largest inspection it has conducted since announcing its intention to reign in pollution in the Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin area last year.

Udine Film Festival: At the Far East Film Festival, a new generation of Hong Kong filmmakers, represented at Udine by debut directors Yan Pak-wing and Chiu Sin-hang, are attempting to come to terms with a city that is now riven with political and social discord. In his Udine film diary, Mathew Scott writes that Yan and Chiu’s film, Vampire Cleanup Department, shows how this discord has disconnected the generations in today’s Hong Kong today, played out here between the old guard of vampire hunters and the new.