Why is China building islands in the S-China Sea?

  • China says it's to help the region, including with humanitarian assistance.
  • Neighbouring countries + US say it's an attempt to extend sovereign territory.
  • China attempting to shift balance of regional power away from US.

Macrosnap S-China Sea?

  • US has dominated the area since WW2, but now China building artificial islands (some with airstrips) in attempts to claim & extend maritime sovereignty
  • 5 other nations (plus the US) contest many of China's claims.
  • US conducting sporadic naval pass-throughs to challenge China's assumptions.

Japan Economy Snapshot 2015?

  • Recession ending but growth still slow: PM Shinzo Abe’s plans (Abenomics) for reviving the economy have had mixed results.
  • Negatives: Government debt remains large and a problem, so fiscal reform urgently required, but apparently not happening fast enough.
  • Positives: Consumer sentiment healthy, exports solid despite global wobblies off China slowdown.

Why is Erdoğan’s election win in Turkey worrying?

  • Formerly Erdoğan was a uniting figure for Turkey, but now he rules by divisiveness.
  • The identity of his ruling party now = Sunni, Islamist, Turkish.
  • Shia, secularists & Kurds made to feel left out.

Macrosnap Myanmar general election this weekend?

  • In power: Military-backed ruling party.
  • Opposition: Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD)
  • Impossible to predict outcome as limited polling data.

Macrosnap Turkey Election?


What are Turkey’s chronic internal rifts?

  • Secularists vs. Islamists.
  • Turks vs. Kurds.
  • Westernised urban elite vs. religious/conservative rural masses.

Macrosnap China single child rule?

  • Introduced 1979 off fears of runaway population growth.
  • Believed to have prevented 400m births but now problem of ageing population and shortages of workers.
  • Now 2 children allowed per couple - official approval will be required for the 2nd.

How come EU is so soft on Turkey’s strongman Erdogan?

  • 2.3m Syrian refugees in Turkey.
  • EU scared of them slipping into Europe.
  • Therefore tolerating Turkey's slide to one-man rule.

Anti-Assad rebels withstanding Russian-backed Assad offensive?

  • So far yes.
  • Partly attributed to recent large influx of missiles from Sunni Gulf states.
  • Gulf States + Saudi Arabia are backing the rebels, with US approval.
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