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Apartment supply-demand gap still problematic for expats – The fact they are have a shortage is a good sign, as it hints to a boom of ex-pats moving to the nation to work for long periods.

Vietnam, Japan strengthen technology ties – I was somewhat surprised to here that Vietnam is already at the point of considering joint technology research parks. Let alone teaming up with companies like Toshiba, Mitsui and Sharp. The spillover effect of such initiatives is always a positive thing, but especially for nations like Vietnam. Due to economy of scale, first mover advantage, and infrastructure issues they will have a difficult time competing directly with China in low end manufacturing. They need niche markets, and if they have the educational base to do R&D in specific industries that is a great move.

East Africa: Starbucks Plans Sh64m Coffee Centres in Region

West Africa: Meeting Education Targets – Access Versus Quality – I understand the issues that the author cites, but I think in this type of situation, it helps to have 80% of people to read at a basic level than 20% to read very well and 60% to be illiterate. They can always focus on improving teacher quality, classrooms, books, etc. The most important thing is to get the children in the class and to have them learn something more than what they would have known if they were out working a field.

Academic says pan-blues will trounce DPP in poll –  I have never doubted this to be the case, but this has happened before and a DPP candidate has still won the presidency, so I’m keeping my eyes on that, to my knowledge, Ma is leading in the polls by about 10 points, this was a few months ago.  I’m looking for recent more polling data.

South Africa: Mbeki Booed By Hostile Polokwane Delegates – WOW!  Actually, I see this as healthy, in a young democracy there should be lively debate and disagreement. Aslong as it conforms to the rule of law I have no issues with it.

Hill: North Korea refused nuclear declarationI told you so…Kim Jong Il is never going to give up his only ace card.  There is no benefit for him to do so as long as he can bribe and threaten his way to economic concessions.

China, Japan need more dialogue – A very interesting behind closed doors debate between Japanese and Chinese journalist.   That is if you can call the Chinese people “journalist” when there is no freedom of the press in China.  It broke down around the usual nationalist chest beating as the Chinese attack the Japanese and the Japanese seem oblivious to why.  There were some more instructive issues that came up though, such as the quote below, which clearly shows the success of the Communist government to promote neo-Confucianism as propaganda for people to remain loyal to the party.  It also shows how far the Japanese have moved away from these Confucian ideas in the past 60 years. Interesting indeed.

One Japanese member said: “The media’s basic role is to report the facts and serve the public’s right to know the facts. The Chinese media are controlled too tightly by political judgments, and fail to convey what readers and viewers should know. The media should be liberalized.”

In response, a Chinese member said: “What is the definition of liberalization? There is no absolute liberty. Don’t the Japanese media have taboos about the Imperial family? What we consider first is the stability of society. Confusion caused by the media can affect people’s lives adversely.”