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Latest from Taiwan includes conclusion of protests amidst impending natural disaster (hopefully not that bad). Elsewhere, the TPP stalls over disagreement, and the world reflects on Hiroshima during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb.

#Antirevision #Cosplay #OverseasCommunity #SenkakuIslands #Weather #ECFA #TPP #Olympics #Environment #Stocks #JoshuaWong #Hiroshima 

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Last Week on KM:

  • Ministry of Education: A Pyrrhic Victory. Solidarity.tw examines recent events in the curriculum change protests. In “winning” its argument against the students by not agreeing to their demands, the KMT Administration takes a pyrrhic victory with the disillusionment of an entire generation, whose idealistic hearts are broken by their first encounter with “officialdom”. Chinese translation here.

Latest from Taiwan:

  • More the merrier. People First Party chairman James Soong announced his candidacy for Taiwan’s 2016 Presidential election. Actually, we’re not surprised. But does this mark the beginning of the end for the KMT?
  • Students vs Ministry of Ed continues. A Legislative solution to the standoff fails to materialize, a gangster engages in cosplay, and support comes from abroad. In the end, the Ministry concedes to dropping charges while students finally withdraw ahead of the approaching typhoon.
  • More vying versions of history. Former President Lee Tung-hui says the Senkakus belong to Japan, prompting corrections from Taiwan’s politicians.
  • Mother Nature has the final say.  A week after the Komen Cyclone devastated Myanmar, the world’s “biggest storm of the year” Super typhoon Soudelor arrives in Taiwan on Friday, impacting students’ plans in the curriculum change protest.
  • Where are ECFA’s economic benefits now? Taiwan’s 0.64% GDP increase falls far short of the 3.0% forecast, accompanied by a 9.8% drop in exports. The contraction in China’s economy might prove those who argue that Taiwan should find its own place and way in the world economy right.
  • A humanitarian reprieve continued.  Former President Chen Shui-bian’s medical parole has been extended three more months.

Ongoing Trends in Asia and the World:

  • A different kind of reprieve. (If you’re opposed to the TPP, that is.) Negotiators left Hawaii without a final agreement after disagreements on dairy, drug IP, and origin-labeling of autos. The countries will try again in one month.
  • Revenge served cold. One month prior to Xi Jinping’s first US visit, the US could offer asylum to defecting businessman Ling Wancheng after China’s massive hack of US federal employee personal data. Mr. Ling may possess a wealth of embarrassing insider information on Chinese officials.
  • 2022 Winter Olympics. Beijing wins the bid over Kazakhstan’s Almaty, and China will have to make all the snow artificially.  Some people took shots at the IOC’s credibility in response, but for others the issue goes back to 2008.
  • Not as cute as a K-9 Unit? Maybe to some. African giant pouched rats are being used to help detect the millions of land mines still left uncleared in Cambodia.
  • Western hedge fund frozen. China suspended an account at hedge fund Citadel amidst continuing support that will impact future foreign consideration of China’s stock market.

Matters of Perspective:

  • ‘We had no clear goals.’  Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement leader Joshua Wong offers BBC a retrospective, and also a look forward.
  • Freedom of perspective. Professor Norman Yin of National Chengchi University in Taiwan warns against taking too much of it when it comes to economic statistics. A good review of examples from all around the world.
  • 70th Anniversary. Several decades after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Young and the Old share discussion, and differing views.

For Something Completely Different:

  • If you’re in Washington, DC, check out the National Arboretum. In the arboretum’s National Bonsai and Penjing Museum there is a 390-year old bonsai, that survived the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima.
  • Mount Everest. Climbing the world’s tallest peak is a metaphor for the highest of challenges. Today, a challenge of a different sort has the Nepali government enforcing each climber to carry off 18 pounds of trash, or forfeit a $4,000 deposit.



The Debrief

A well informed citizenry is the foundation of our modern society. Every week, our news team brings you the most important stories on current affairs, diplomacy, business and human rights, in Asia and around the globe. Not only can we be well informed, but better informed, about the relationship between our lives, our communities, and the common world.

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