Cairenes are not modest about their beloved city. It is Umm al-Dunya, they say, the mother of the world. They also call it simply Masr, the Arabic term for Egypt, suggesting, of course, that there is really nothing worth noting in the vast country beyond their grand city on the Nile.
Fifty miles east of Cairo, a Chinese construction firm is giving the aged, crowded, increasingly decaying “mother of the world” a face-lift of sorts. China State Construction and Engineering Company (CSCEC) has broken ground on a new business and administrative district to the tune of $3 billion, mostly financed by Chinese banks. When completed by late 2019, according to projections, much of Egypt’s government will move to this new “capital.” Continue reading
China has entered the global monetary-easing fray, along with more than a dozen other economies, after its central bank surprised investors by cutting reserve requirements 50 basis points to spur lending and combat deflation. But Beijing may be raring for an even bigger and more perilous fight — in the currency markets.
At the same time, something else is afoot in Beijing could have even greater global impact. The central bank is cooking up measures to widen the band in which its currency trades. People’s Bank of China officials say it’s about limiting volatility as capital zooms in and out of the economy. Let’s call it what it really is: the first step toward yuan depreciation and currency war. Continue reading
Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s plane, the German foreign affairs minister, reportedly disappeared for several hours from radar screens on Saturday as he was travelling in Asia, sending diplomats and government officials scrambling in alarm.
The airbus A 340, “Theodor Heuss”, took off from Seoul at 3pm on Saturday and was due to land in Jakarta, the next stop in his Asian trip, after seven hours. Steinmeier was accompanied by actress Natalia Wörner, who was preparing for her role in the German TV series, “The Diplomat”. Continue reading