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Lebanon risks becoming the next Gaza

BEIRUT — Squeezed geographically between a closed border with Israel and a sanctioned Syria, dominated by a proxy of Iran, and watching the last of its foreign reserves being ferried out of a collapsed financial system, Lebanon risks becoming the next Gaza. . France, the…

Hopes rising for an energy revolution in Japan

TOKYO – It’s hard to decide who had a worse September 22, Elon Musk’s Tesla or Kazuhiro Tsuga’s Panasonic. Musk’s stumble that day surely garnered the most headlines. Investors gave the thumbs down to his “Battery Day” presentation, which was bold on spin but hazy…

US Fed needs to accept necessity of negative rates

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell has told everyone from Princeton professor and former Fed vice chair Alan Blinder to Congressional committees to the public at large via press conferences that negative interest rates are not an “appropriate tool” for the United States. In a recent…

Race to ruin as US Fed Reserve turns Japanese

If you want to know why the US economy risks turning Japanese, look no further than the Federal Reserve’s swelling balance sheet. The US central bank’s efforts to rescue a Covid-19 ravaged economy have long since taken it into uncharted territory. In March, its balance…

AI translation rooted in not-so-deep learning

It is January 7, 1954. A select group assembles at the offices of the International Business Machines Corp to witness the first public demonstration of machine translation. The IBM 701, the company’s first commercial scientific computer, filled a whole room. With a memory capacity of…

Trump’s tick is louder than his tock

Art imitates life, but the ongoing tussle over TikTok’s ownership has begun to resemble the goofy sketches that made TikTok the most downloaded app in history. A compromise solution reportedly crafted by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposes cross-ownership so complicated that it’s impossible to…

No beachfront fire sale for Thai tourism assets

BANGKOK – With more than half of Thailand’s 60,000-plus hotels and guest houses still shuttered since the government closed the national borders in April and with a waiver on interest payments hotels and resorts owe to banks set to end in October, the Thai hotel…

The fatal flaw in America’s Indo-Pacific designs

A US-brokered peace pact between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and pledges to withdraw nearly all remaining US forces from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq are in line with President Donald Trump’s vow to extract the US from what he has termed “endless wars.”…

Japan Inc blindsided by Trump’s Huawei war

Japanese chipmakers were having a rotten enough year before Donald Trump opened another front of his China trade war. Even before Covid-19 wrecked Japan Inc’s 2020, the US president’s tariffs were upending export markets and supply chains. His moves to weaken the dollar were generating…

Dollar doomed as China shifts to consumption

Morgan Stanley’s former Asia Chairman Stephen Roach and Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio, among others, have recently warned that the US dollar may lose a third of its value. A chronically low savings rate, a large current account deficit and a huge federal financing requirement, Roach…

Lebanon on a precipice between war and peace

BEIRUT — Squeezed between Israel and Iran, faced with rising emigration of its fractured Christian community, and wracked by a widening wealth gap between a corrupt elite and increasingly desperate poor, Lebanon is being ripped apart. Whether those stresses break into a new era of…

Empire’s mask slips at Julian Assange trial

The concept of “history in the making” has been pushed to extremes when it comes to the extraordinary public service being performed by historian, former UK diplomat and human rights activist  Craig Murray.  Murray – literally, and on a global level – is now positioned…

Shanghai takes new aim at replacing Hong Kong

SHANGHAI – On the coastal reaches southeast of Shanghai, China’s ambitions to transform its most populous and affluent city into a global financial hub are beginning to take shape on a ring-shaped city reclaimed from the sea. Beijing is expected to loosen its tight grip…

NASA lands on a middle path to nuclear fusion

Earlier this year, a team of scientists based at NASA’s Glenn Research Center reported on a novel, promising method for generating nuclear fusion reactions in solid-state materials they termed “lattice confinement fusion.”  The experimental results and theoretical analysis were published in separate articles in the…

Time ticking down on US nuclear presence in Turkey

Growing US and NATO dissatisfaction with Turkey and its rising regional expansionism may soon drive the Americans out of the strategic Incirlik Air Base, a move that would have major implications for regional security and alliances. The US currently operates at two important bases in…

How Xinjiang is holding back an EU-China deal

A Beijing-Brussels-Berlin special: that was quite the video summit. From Beijing, we had President Xi Jinping. From Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel. And from Brussels, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The Chinese billed it…

Chinese debt a safe and sound market bet

Foreign holdings of Chinese debt grew at the fastest rate on record during July and August as the yuan rose against the dollar and the Chinese economy evinced clear signs of economic recovery. Foreign holdings of onshore bonds rose to 2.86% of the total market…

Suga needs to get radical to save Japan

TOKYO – When economists and investors wonder what to expect from Japan’s next leader, they’re not thinking of the front runner in the premiership race that will be decided on Monday, Cabinet Secretary Yoshide Suga. They are really thinking of Haruhiko Kuroda. The Bank of…

Gold surge stokes tribal tension in Philippines

TAMPAKAN – As gold shines through the coronavirus pandemic, touching new highs as a precious metal hedge to the dollar, the stakes for Southeast Asia’s largest undeveloped copper and gold minefield have never been higher. Nestled 1,300 meters above sea level, huge gold and copper…

Why China won’t weaponize its US Treasuries

Every few years, Chinese officials send a warning shot Washington’s way, hinting that they could dump mountains of US Treasury securities to show America who is boss. This “nuclear option” has been spoken of in hushed tones for years, spooking financiers fearing chaotic and disastrous…

From 9/11 to the Great Reset

The events of 9/11 were the foundation stone of the new millennium – ever as much indecipherable as the Mysteries of Eleusis. A year ago, for Asia Times, once again I raised a number of questions that still find no answer.  A lightning speed breakdown…

Putting the chip wars into competitive perspective

The semiconductor market is a global industry that is likely to reach $1 trillion in 2031 or 2032. The US is the leader in processors and other key products. South Korea is the leader in memory products. European companies are leaders in power semiconductors, where…

Samsung turns away from Huawei

SEOUL – As a tech war rages between Beijing and Washington over Chinese flagship Huawei, indications are that South Korea’s national champion and global semiconductor powerhouse Samsung Electronics has sided with the US. Widespread reports in South Korea that appeared in both TV and online…

US chip industry won’t survive tech war, Chinese experts say

Wars happen because the opposing sides have different views of the likely outcome. In the Sino-American tech war, though, both Chinese and American tech company executives argued that America’s semiconductor giants would be the losers. The outlier is the Trump Administration, which appears to believe…

Why AI still struggles to learn languages

Common sense would tell us that it is necessary to understand a text in order to translate it. So can an artificial intelligence system actually understand a text in the same sense a human being can?  The simplest approach to translation would be simply to…

Samsung digs in deep for the chip wars

SEOUL – IBM and Nvidia are two vastly different tech businesses but have one thing in common: They both recently announced that Samsung Electronics are making their most advanced semiconductors. IBM announced in an August 17 press release the science and capabilities of its next-generation…

China reminds the world not to count out Hong Kong

China has a firm retort for Western elites who argue that Hong Kong’s economy and financial hub future is a dead duck: follow the money. In a global finance forum in Beijing over the weekend, Fang Xinghai said all the appropriate and predictable things an…

Japan’s deflation troubles spreading across Asia

Japan’s multi-year deflation battle may be entering its most dangerous phase yet: contagion. The economic version of the pandemic upending nations everywhere might not be existential. But it does mean the specter of Japan-like funks around Asia can’t be downplayed. Not with Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan,…

Asia’s private equity wizard shares his profit secrets

NEW YORK – Even for finance’s most risk-tolerant players – private equity funds (PEFs) – 2020 is proving a grim year. But in this bear market, Weijian Shan, global chairman and chief executive officer of PAG, Asia’s largest private equity firm, is a raging bull.…

Huawei sanctions will destroy US chip industry

Next month, Chinese leaders will ratify a plan to dominate the world’s semiconductor industry by 2025, in response to US restrictions on Chinese imports of high-end computer chips made with American equipment. Directed against China’s telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE, the new US regulations…

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