The DailyBrief

Wednesday August 2, 2017

Identity card scam: A spiraling US$172 million parliamentary scandal has tainted Indonesian President Joko Widodo while boosting the electoral prospects of comparatively clean opposition leader Prabowo Subianto, who has his eye on another bid for the presidency in 2019, John McBeth writes. Heeding widespread public condemnation, Prabowo’s opposition party has pulled out of Parliament’s critical inquiry into the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK), saying it was the “wrong step” and would only weaken the fight against corruption.

Abuse of power: China’s anti-graft watchdog said one of its former senior inspectors, Zhang Huawei, had been expelled from the Communist Party after an investigation found he had taken bribes, Philp Wen writes. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement on its website that the vice-ministerial level inspector from the Central Inspection Team had “lost his ideals and convictions,” and damaged the reputation of the commission.

New Russia sanctions: The “free trade” wing of the Republican Party has taken the United States into a trade war that it cannot win, David P Goldman contends. The new sanctions passed by the House and Senate last week force Europe into a de facto alliance with Russia against the United States, and by extension with China as well. It is the dumbest and most self-destructive act of economic self-harm since the United States de-linked the dollar from gold on August 15, 1971, and it will have devastating consequences.

Aiming to please: Apple Inc is binding itself more closely to China as its share of the world’s biggest smartphone market slips and it becomes more reliant on selling services that require government approval, Adam Jourdan and Pei Li write. A flurry of recent action by Apple underlines its push to get on the right side of China’s notoriously tough tech regulators, as it looks to revive sales there.

China deleveraging trend: Highly leveraged large-caps are massively outperforming the market composite index, David P Goldman writes. As investors show confidence in China’s approach to gradual deleveraging, debt-burdened state-owned enterprises have turned in torrid returns on the Chinese stock market during the past several weeks.

Asia Times app: The Asia Times has launched an app for both iOS- and Android-based devices that will deliver the publication’s regular daily news, commentary, blogs and live coverage while also bringing readers added functionality. Asia Times Staff report that the app, launched on July 25, includes content notification, share and save functions and is free to download from both the Apple Store and Google Play.