21 Jul 17:
'Forbes magazine dumps an article on an influential HK tycoon' - but Asia Sentinel has stepped in to republish it, adding further context and concerns. The combined report notes that 'the continuing tightening of the noose around democratic practices in Hong Kong now appears to be playing itself out in the New York-based Asia Society, the prestigious nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding between Asians and the United States, and its billionaire Hong Kong chairman' [Ronnie Chan of Hang Lung Properties], and asks 'whether the Asia Society headquarters in New York, including its Co-Chair and 66 trustees, are complicit in what appears by its repeated programming decisions in Hong Kong, to be amplification of Chinese government propaganda'. It notes Chan's connections 'at Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC, the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the East-West Centre in Hawaii, and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and Washington DC' and the suspicion that 'these connections are facilitated by donations or the hope of donations... the Chan family, through its Morningside Foundation, donated $350 million to Harvard University... the largest ever single donation to Harvard.' Options for remedial action by the Asia Society and its illustrious trustees are suggested, in the interests of democracy, free speech, their own reputations - and a more interesting Asia Society.
Asia Sentinel also explains a new loss to investigative journalism and critical reporting, the takeover of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 'arguably the country's most important newspaper': 'Philippines' Duterte claims a crusading newspaper's scalp'.
18 Jul 17:
The 2Q report touches on Chinese regional investment, and control of strategic territory over the last two millennia.
11 Jul 17:
Michael Vachon, an advisor to George Soros, requests that we spread the news of the anti-Semitic, xenophobic, anti-Soros advertising campaign launched by the government of Hungary: 'Darkness Falls'.
4 Jul 17:
The Apollo Asia Fund NAV rose 4.8% in June to US$2,231.09, a new high; charts.
29 Jun 17:
Following the publication of the annual BP Statistical Review of World Energy, sites providing helpful graphical analysis of the data include crudeoilpeak.info, Energy Matters (euanmearns.com), and the Energy Export Databrowser.
2 Jun 17:
The Apollo Asia Fund NAV rose 3.2% in May to US$2,128.89, very slightly above the previous high; charts.
15 May 17:
The 2016 report of income for UK Reporting Fund purposes is now available here; the page listing all reports (starting 2013) is www.apolloinvestment.com/UKreportingfund.html.
3 May 17:
The Apollo Asia Fund NAV rose 1.6% in April to US$2,062.85; charts.
9 Apr 17:
The 1Q report discusses business risks under capricious rulers, and a regional stock exchange seeking suggestions for improvement.
4 Apr 17:
The Apollo Asia Fund NAV rose 5.2% in March to US$2,030.55; charts.
1 Mar 17:
The Apollo Asia Fund NAV rose 3.3% in February, to US$1,930.46. Charts will be updated later in the month.
23 Feb 17:
Returning to the topic of Disappearing Hills, a New York Times article mentions more - in Cambodia, where iconic limestone karst scenery and undocumented ecosystems are being quarried by joint ventures with the top Thai cement companies: 'A race to document rare plants before these cliffs are ground to dust'.
A more hopeful message comes from Derek Byerlee, author of a new book on tropical oils, interviewed here: 'What happens when the soy and palm oil boom ends?' He envisages ongoing demand growth, but at a slower pace, allowing cautious optimism that the environmental impact may be reduced by better management and prioritisation of land use. Poor governance in areas like Kalimantan and West Papua make this challenging, but 'the zero deforestation commitment by big traders of palm oil is a major breakthrough' and 'new technologies for supply chain management and real-time monitoring of deforestation improve the chances for success'.
Thought-provoking charts on the demographic transition under way in China and worldwide are provided by Chris Hamilton on the Econimica website, in this and earlier postings.
The depressing news of the conviction of Lena Hendry for organizing a private showing of a human rights documentary, under an act which apparently prohibits possession of a film without government approval, was accompanied by comment on Malaysia's slide down the rankings of the World Press Freedom Index. The free flow of information is vital to an investment management firm, and to efficient capital allocation for a country, so we looked at the rankings. Disconcertingly, in the 2016 ranking, most of the countries in which we hunt for investments are ranked between 130 and 176 out of 180. (The only exceptions are Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong for now.) Alarmingly, over the 10 years since 2006, declines in this group have outnumbered improvements by 9 to 3. Improvements were in Myanmar, the Philippines (we'll see if that lasts), and Pakistan. The fastest slump has been in Malaysia, from 92 to 146. Forward-thinking governments might wish to encourage a well-informed workforce.
6 Feb 17:
The Apollo Asia Fund NAV rose 3.0% in January to US$1,868.62; charts.
Inside Indonesia has a special edition discussing an urgent need for environmental education. This would be relevant to many countries; sharing best practice on educational approaches and resources would make sense.
16 Jan 17:
A Mongabay article on the controversial Don Sahong dam project asks how much the Lao government is risking for hydropower. It has excellent links, such as this stunning map of the many regional hydropower projects.
4 Jan 17:
The Apollo Asia Fund NAV fell 0.4% in December to US$1,814.41; charts.
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