Regular readers know that I rarely write about religion. This is of course by design. For a column to survive the proverbial test of time, it's got to offer variety to readers. I've never taught a course entitled "Column writing 101," but if I ever do, I'd likely make a lot of noise about variety as one of the keys to success.
The murders in southern California by two Islamic fanatics predictably have stoked intense public concern about terrorist dangers, and debate over combating such threats. President Barack Obama's address to the nation on Dec. 6 was highly revealing, though in ways not intended by the White House.
Mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited southern Africa both to build upon booming business relations and improve cozy political ties between mainland China and key regional states. Beijing is already the African continent's top trade partner with US$222 billion in commerce; moreover China is weaving a vast web of infrastructural, road and rail projects that will help speed a flow of natural resources to China's industries. China's trade with Africa exceeds declining American commerce with Africa by a factor of three to one.
The two-day China-Africa summit meeting in Johannesburg last week marks another step in the decades-long process of tightening relations between the world's soon-to-be-biggest economic power and the second fastest-rising region in the world after Asia.
During presidential elections in Taiwan since 2004, it has become customary for the main candidates to engage in a debate. Lien Chan, chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), debated with President Chen Shui-bian running for re-election in 2004. In 2008, Ma Ying-jeou, the KMT candidate, matched Frank Hsieh of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The third debate in 2012 took place between President Ma and Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the opposition party.
- Joe Hung, 3 Comments
The IMF announced on Nov. 30, that its Executive Board had approved the inclusion of the Chinese yuan into the basket of currencies making up the SDR, joining the U.S. dollar, the British pound sterling, the euro and the Japanese yen, to be effective from Oct. 1, 2016.
Friday night a week ago, minutes before 11 o'clock, I got word from The China Post that the column I had submitted 24 hours earlier had run amuck. I had fallen for what appeared to be a legitimate news report, and wrapped my commentary around it. My editor said media sources now saw that the original report was "a joke," an elaborate prank.
Pearl Harbor continues to reverberate. The attack on the United States Navy base by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941 shocked an insular nation into direct combat in World War II. Soon thereafter, in early 1942, the Gallup Poll registered that overwhelmingly isolationist public opinion had been transformed into equally decisive support for engagement "in world affairs."
More than 30 years ago, back in the summer of 1985, the world came together to help famine stricken Ethiopia. The Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia, raised both public awareness and impressive final assistance for the starving masses in the East African country. The anthem "We Are the World" resounded and people and governments helped with humanitarian aid.
After decades of priding itself on not having a single Chinese soldier on foreign soil (except for those serving in U.N. peacekeeping forces) and having no overseas military bases, China is somewhat awkwardly acknowledging that it is making a 180-degree turn by acquiring military facilities in far-off Djibouti, in northern Africa, near the Gulf of Aden.