Japan Economy Snapshot 2015?

  • Recession ending but growth still slow: PM Shinzo Abe’s plans (Abenomics) for reviving the economy have had mixed results.
  • Minuses: Government debt remains large and a problem, so budget reform urgently required, but apparently not happening fast enough.
  • Pluses: Positive consumer sentiment, exports healthy despite global wobblies as China slows.

Syria Macrosnap?

  • Looks like military and political stalemate.
  • Military: Increased (covert) supply of missiles to selected rebel groups has stalled Russia-backed Assad advances.
  • Political: Putin's negotiating position therefore weakened.

Growing support for stronger US presence in S-China Sea?

  • Yes, as China flexes its muscles, neighbours look towards US.
  • Closer military co-operation with Australia, Philippines, Japan over last 2 years.
  • Malaysia also moving closer to US.

Increased supply of US missiles to Syria rebels?

  • Coming via Turkey - and part sponsored by Saudi Arabia.
  • Recipients vetted by CIA operatives first, i.e. to get resupplied, recipients need to show video footage of successes and need to return spent cartridges.
  • Program seems to be successfully holding off Russian-backed Assad advances.

Macrosnap global interest rates?

  • China cutting interest rates.
  • Europe and UK extending monetary easing (QE) so interest rates lower.
  • US Fed is only large central bank poised to raise interest rates.

Macrosnap Myanmar election?

  • Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party's (NLD) historic win against ruling military-backed elite.
  • Despite landslide electoral win, 25% of parliamentary seats are allocated to the military, so they will have huge influence.
  • So she will need to work with them.

Why did ISIS attack Paris?

  • French special forces have been tracking ISIS militants in the Sahara since 2013.
  • France was the first EU country to join the US air strikes on ISIS in Iraq in 2014.
  • France is the only EU country to have joined the US air strikes on ISIS in Syria in 2015.
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