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May, 26, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > Special
The year 2015 was not kind to the world's second-largest economy. Growth slumped to a 25-year low.
As Iran's re-entry into the global economy continues to roil the jittery markets and send shock waves across the world's stock exchanges, we can see why the nuclear deal signed last July was so vehemently opposed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Riyadh also fears that the transfer of around US$100 billion in blocked assets to Tehran will embolden it to pursue a more aggressive policy in the region.
As my condolences go out to the family of the late famous actor Tridsadee "Por" Sahawong, who died at the age of just 35 of a mosquito-borne disease, I believe that Thai society should learn many lessons from his case.
According to a recent report "An economy for the 1%" released by Oxfam, "wealth inequality has grown to the stage where 62 of the world's richest people own as much as the poorest half of humanity combined."
Widespread criticism on social media and the sharing of photographs and video clips of reporters swarming around the body of young Thai actor Tridsadee "Por" Sahawong on Tuesday have once again put the role of media and respect for people's privacy and dignity up for discussion.
For President-elect Tsai Ing-wen, who was elected with a strong mandate and backed with a legislative majority, the time for policy specificity has become critical. Before Tsai's election, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je surmised that the economy and China would be the greatest challenges facing her.
The latest tiff between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been a decade in the making. The execution of a Shia cleric, the subsequent storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran; Iran's supreme leader declaring "God's hand of retaliation will grip the neck of Saudi leaders" did not happen in a day. The clinching of the nuclear deal between the United States and Iran did not go down well with the Saudis.
Singapore investor Charles Khong has long been of the view that stock markets at the start of the year are typically associated with the post-holiday blues.
In the past week, Hong Kong witnessed the peculiar sight of having its chief executive and a student activist stand virtually shoulder to shoulder on an issue.
The new year started not with a bang but a whimper. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde's prognosis at 2015 year-end was that global growth in 2016 would be "disappointing and patchy," blaming rising U.S. interest rates, the economic slowdown in China, persistent financial fragility in several countries and lower oil and commodity prices.
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