January 17, 2017


North Korea's Kim Jong Un Facing A Rebellion? (Seerat Chabba, Jan. 17th, 2017, IBT)

A senior North Korean diplomat in London who defected to South Korea last year said Tuesday that a much larger number of Pyongyang's civil servant defections have taken place recently than have been made public, South Korean media reported.

"A significant number of diplomats came to South Korea," Thae Yong-ho said at a conference hosted by the conservative Bareun Party, Yonhap News Agency reported. "Even now, there are a number of (North Koreans) waiting to head to the South."

"There will be an increase in the number of elite-class defectors seeking a better life," Thae added. "I am the only high-ranking official whose identity has been revealed to the public. South Korean media do not know but North Korean diplomats are all aware of it."

More than economic reasons, the political situation in Pyongyang has been the main factor for North Koreans fleeing the country, the Wall Street Journal quoted South Korea's Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo as saying in an interview Monday.

Vietnam Seen Moving Closer to Emerging Upgrade With Bank Opening (Giang Nguyen, Jan. 16th, 2017, Bloomberg)

The opening up of Vietnam's banks to more foreign investment is expected to speed the country's ascent to emerging-market status and boost a stock index that's already near a nine-year high.

The country's lenders surged on Tuesday after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said offshore ownership caps would be raised from the current level of 30 percent as early as this year. The government may exit completely from some troubled banks, Phuc said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hanoi on Friday, without saying what the new limit would be.

Meet Chiran (The Economist, 1/17/17)

The automotive industry is the 18th-largest in the world. The country has more than 50 pharmaceutical producers, many of which are listed on Tehran's stock exchange. Tourism has the potential to flourish thanks to 21 ­UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The food and carpet industries are already internationally competitive. Throw in an expansion of trade ties with friends old (in Europe) and new (in Asia), and rapid economic modernisation is not hard to imagine.

China also grew on the back of a huge demographic dividend. Iran is in a similarly favourable position: 60% of its population is under the age of 30. This wealth of labour will keep wage growth contained during the upcoming economic recovery, especially if it is accompanied by a rise in women's participation in work. Reversing Iran's brain drain--around one in four Iranians with college degrees currently lives abroad--would also help productivity.

The rapid rise of China's silicon dragon has allowed domestic firms like Alibaba to dominate the home market. Tehran's young, urbanised and tech-savvy population is already supporting a growing number of startups. Digikala, the local equivalent of Amazon, is a prime example. Launched in 2007, it focused at first on electronics but has since diversified into selling an array of consumer goods.

Posted by at January 17, 2017 7:42 AM