Cambodia-Hun Sen’s history: Forty years ago, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen defected from the Khmer Rouge and now his ruling Cambodian People’s Party is using this anniversary to praise his bravery then and also to celebrate the role he played in helping the country maintain peace and economic growth. David Hutt reports how critics are saying that the anniversary makes little mention of Hun Sen’s role as a Khmer Rouge deputy commander and ask if it just another bid to build his cult of personality in the lead up to general elections in 2018.
Pyongyang-Aid not bombs: Seoul has said it wants to work with Pyongyang on developing the infrastructure of North Korea, specifically on modernizing the country’s transport, power and water systems. Robert E. McCoy writes that in addition to reducing the expected astronomical costs of reunification, such projects would greatly improve the lives of ordinary North Korean citizens and, if done right, the money would not necessarily be diverted into Kim Jong-un’s military coffers.
Asia earnings bump: Regional stock benchmarks may have already jumped by double-digits this year but investors say the Asia rally still has more room to run as earnings look to grow more and keep valuation levels in check. Nick Westra reports that the rally comes while funds keep flowing from West to East, causing the US dollar to continue to depreciate, and as investors prepare to hedge against a potential overheating in US stocks.
Auto Robot Ants: An Alibaba fintech affiliate is launching an artificial intelligence product that can assess damage on vehicles for insurance companies, reports Asia Times. The system, offered free to insurance companies, will rely on “image-recognition” of exterior damage and maker Ant Financial says it will eventually reduce the workload of adjustors by 50%.
Dalian looks forward: A diverse range of breakthrough technologies, including “artificial leaves” that turn CO2 into fuel, and a technique that harvests water from air, could soon be playing a role in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges, according to a list published today by the World Economic Forum. Oliver Cann reports that the technologies, selected by the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network and Global Future Councils in collaboration with Scientific American, were announced at the Forum’s summer “Davos” meet in Dalian.