Weekly news focus: Cubbyhole flats, crisis 2018, India and Pakistan, Big Brother
THESE apartments in the Chinese city of Shenzhen are only six-square meters and nine of them were sold out in one morning. However the Chinese authorities have blocked the sale of what the media has nicknamed “pigeon nests.”
According to the Sixth Tone website, each tiny home is is equipped with a bed that folds into the closet to make the most of the limited space available. And the new homeowners will receive an extra six square meters free of charge in the form of a kitchen-cum-bathroom setup.
The homes sold for an average price of 150,000 yuan, or approximately 781,946 baht, per square meter.
BBC quoted South China Morning Post as saying that users of the microblogging site Weibo are both amused and shocked at cooking and bathroom being in one room. “A toilet outside the kitchen… the smell of poo in cooking – great,” reads one comment.
Many expressed frustration about housing costs – one calls the situation “crazy”, while another remarks: “It’s sad that nearly a million will buy you your own multi-functional prison.”
But, as one person points out, some people are willing to pay it: “While you were still busy laughing, these have been selling out.”
Homebuyers are facing soaring house prices in several major Chinese cities, and in Shenzhen – a hub for technology firms – the situation is particularly bad. In the 12 months to April 2016, prices rose by nearly 63% in the city.
Warning of an economic crash in 2018
WHEN bigwigs of the finance world speak out it is wise to pay attention. The latest warning was issued by former finance minister Thanong Bidaya and chief investment officer of Talis Asset Management Prapas Tonpibulsak with this being that a major economic recession is just round the corner in 2018.
The Nation quoted Thanong as saying that the global economy is entering a crossroads and the cycle of economic recession could return.
He does not think it will occur next year but believes the economy will slow down.
Meanwhile Prapas pointed out that a major recession seems to occur every 12 years. In 1997 there was the “tom yum kung” crisis which started right here and in 2008 another one rocked the whole world from US.
The question is if it happens again where would it start but a crash will certainly sooner or later occur, Prapas said.
Thanong’s advice is to hold on to cash because there will be lots of things to buy, particularly condos near the train lines and stocks at good prices.
Don’t we all remember the auctions that took place in 1997 – many weren’t able to grab that opportunity but there might be another one soon.
Is US siding with India?
FEW would not by now know of India’s surgical strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on Thursday, something which Pakistan denied took place with their take being that Indian troops fired small arms across the line of control, killing two soldiers and injuring nine.
India’s strikes were in retaliation of a militant attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers in Uri, near the frontier, on September 18, 2016.
What is also very interesting is a NBC News article saying that while US is allied with both India and Pakistan, there have been signs it might be putting its support behind India when it comes to the issue of militants in Pakistan.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice spoke to her Indian counterpart to offer “condolences to the victims and their families” of the Uri attack, according to a statement released by the White House on Wednesday.
The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought four wars including an undeclared war since independence from Britain in 1947 with Kashmir being the main cause.
India has the world’s second-largest army while Pakistan the world’s sixth largest. India has 700,000 troops in Kashmir Valley and on the other side of the border are 200,000 Pakistani troops.
Big Brother is everywhere
AS much as we love the rapid jumps of technology everywhere, the lack of privacy really bothers us and we were again disturbed by a BBC technology article that an Israeli company can help the police gain access to data on the mobile phones of criminals.
Yes of course it’s good to catch criminals and put them behind bars but this system could in the hands of repressive regimes be used to spy on innocent people who perhaps are just saying something they strongly believe in and do not intend to physically harm anyone in anyway.
This company, Cellebrite, hit the headlines earlier this year when it was said to have helped the FBI to crack the iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter.
This company told the BBC that it can get through the defenses of just about any modern smartphone.
Yes, indeed Big Brother is watching and his eyes are everywhere.
TOP: Shenzen looks beautiful on a sunny day but home ownership is now unaffordable for many. Photo: Nathan Siemers (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
INSET: Indian troops in the scenic town of Pahalgam which is within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: Ajay Goyal (CC-BY-2.0)
By Nina Suebsukcharoen