The DailyBrief

Wednesday May 3, 2017

Property-London’s the one: London retook New York’s spot as the world’s hottest real estate center as investors – especially from Hong Kong and China – swooped onto bargains brought by the drops in sterling and prices since last year’s Brexit vote. Ben Richardson writes that Hong Kong buyers, who alone spent almost US$3 billion on UK properties during Q1, 2017 – up from US$842 million a year earlier – outspent global funds and all other foreign groups by a whopping margin of almost US$1.3 billion.

Beijing-Pyongyang-Washington, game playing: Beijing could shut down the Pyongyang regime in a week. Yet, writes Grant Newsham, there is scant real evidence that China wants to although it has always been clear about it’s ultimate regional objective — to displace the United States from its leading role in Asia.

Taipei’s Pyongyang links: Should the Trump administration be asking its new friends in Taipei about the businesses in Taiwan openly trading with Pyongyang, asks Wendell Minnick. United Nations sanctions bar most trade with North Korea owing to its nuclear weapons program but Taipei would appear to be home to a North Korean trade office.

Indonesia-mining, Freeport progress? The Indonesian government and American mining giant Freeport are finally taking tentative steps in quiet negotiations to end the impasse over the future of the world’s most profitable mine. John McBeth writes that to be successful, these talks must stay out of the public arena, where economic nationalists dominate the agenda.

Myanmar’s anti-Muslim problem: Aung San Suu Kyi’s studied silence amid a new rise in anti-Muslim sentiment is the latest mark on her elected government’s rights record. David Scott Mathieson writes that an issue appears to be that Suu Kyi views civil society not as valued allies who supported her nearly three decades long struggle against military rule but as unruly, unaccountable and a threat to national unity.