Inner Mongolia, China (CNN) - The Mongols once dominated China, just part of their vast empire stretching from Moscow to Guangzhou. Eventually, the Chinese chased out their conquerers and claimed Mongol land - an area now known as Inner Mongolia.
Today, only one in five of the autonomous region's near 20-million people are ethnic Mongolian, leading to fears their culture could disappear.
Anda Union, a traditional Mogolian folk singer, told CNN’s Eunice Yoon: "It is very difficult for us to preserve our Mongolian culture in this big cultural environment because there are so many different cultures all competing with each other.”
(CNN) – It’s been a bad year to be a foreign CEO in Japan.
At the start of 2011, there were four non-Japanese CEOs who led listed Japanese companies. Now, with the sudden resignation Wednesday of Craig Naylor – the American appointed as CEO to the Nippon Sheet Glass Group two years ago – there is only one: Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan.
“Craig Naylor’s decision to tender his resignation reflected fundamental disagreements with the Board on company strategy,” said NSG’s Group Chairman Katsuji Fujimoto in a statement.
That comes after Howard Stringer stepped down after seven years as CEO of Sony Corp. earlier this month, and the epic drama of Michael Woodford, the former CEO of Olympus Corp. who turned whistleblower after he discovered a cover-up of $1.7 billion in losses.
The Olympus saga and paucity of foreign CEOs illustrates Japan’s struggle – despite a dropping birth rate and aging population – to bring in foreign talent, whether to run top corporations or staff retirement homes to counter a national shortage of healthcare workers.
Editor’s note: The Millennials are a generation that are constantly plugged in and moving fast to make their mark on the world. CNN’s Quest Means Business is tracking four of them. In this episode, Joe Braidwood and his company, Swift Key, head to Barcelona for the 2012 Global Mobile Awards 2012 while David Lloyd, CNN contributor, writes on the attraction of Colombia from the Summit of the Americas. Follow The Millennials to find out how Lloyd's company, Intern Latin America, was recognized at the summit.
(CNN) – Buying real estate in Colombia is not the sort of thing that your local bank branch manager is likely to recommend. But to me it is a sensible, even prudent, macro-bet on a country which is the next star of Latin America.
Colombia now takes its place alongside an Asian tiger like Indonesia and the future giant of South Africa in the CIVETS group of rapidly growing emerging markets. It is the new darling of “smart money” which views it as the hidden gem of Latin America. Although it continues to suffer from out-of-date negative perceptions, its attractiveness is coming onto both the tourist and investor’s radars.
The negative perceptions that persist present opportunities. In Colombia’s modern and industrious second city, Medellin (where Hewlett Packard has just located its entire Latin American Headquarters), prime property is found for under $750 per square meter, with rental yields in excess of 10% commonplace. There are very few places in the world with statistics like this that share Colombia’s potential. I have just made a macro-bet on Colombia via a real estate purchase.
(CNN) – Cambodia joined the capital markets Wednesday as its own stock market opened for trade in a bid to attract foreign capital to the Southeast Asian nation.
Trade started with one stock – Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. The initial public offering of 13 million shares – 15% of the state-owned company – was 17 times over subscribed, according to underwriter Tong Yang Securities.
Interest in the stock has come from “Thailand, Vietnam – the biggest demand is from China, then Japan, Korea and even the U.S.,” KT Han, managing director of Tong Yang Securities, told CNN.
While the Cambodian economy has steadily grown at an average annual rate above 8% the past 10 years, the nation is still a financial frontier. The government is hoping the stock exchange will help bulwark the national currency, the riel, against an onslaught of U.S. dollars. Nearly 80% of the cash that changes hands in Cambodia are greenbacks, compared to 60% in the late 1990s, according to a 2011 International Monetary Fund report.
New York (CNN) – Don’t look now, but the phone hacking scandal that shuttered the British tabloid “News of the World” and cost James Murdoch his job at BSkyB is about to hit stateside - at least if Mark Lewis has his way.
The UK lawyer who represents alleged victims of phone hacking, including the family of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, is in New York this week meeting with lawyers and exploring legal options against parent company News Corp.
Lewis, who represents three to four people – one believed to be an American citizen and one person from the world of sport – says his clients phones were hacked while they were on U.S soil. The incidents are linked to alleged hacking that took place at the “News of the World,” but when I sat down with Lewis in New York, he was quite clear he believes the problem is much more widespread.
CNN, Hong Kong - The World Bank race has been run and won – and no surprises for guessing the winner.
That was clear months ago when the U.S. backed Europe's nomination of Christine Lagarde for the top job at the International Monetary Fund. It ensured the Europeans would back the U.S. at the World Bank.
But the cozy days of you-scratch-my-back-if-I-scratch-yours are numbered. And not before time.
Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is claiming, if not victory, then success. Success in breaching the IMF-World Bank club for insiders. Never again will a European be chosen for the IMF or an American for the World Bank without a rigorous test based on merit.
Whether Mr Kim is the best or most qualified for the job will remain a debate. But what is clear is that Ngozo Okonjo-Iweala was equally well-equipped to lead the bank.
As the 21th century becomes increasingly a story of the developing world, the Bretton Woods institutions have been put on notice in clear terms: no more deal-making and a lot more transparency. Those days belong to an era when the U.S. and Europe ruled the economic world. Those days are coming to an end.
(CNN) – For the first time in three years, India has cut interest rates in the face of flagging economic growth. In the year that ended on March 31, Asia’s third largest economy grew 6.9% – its slowest in three years.
India announced it would cut interest rates by 50 basis points. A 25-point cut had been widely predicted. This takes the subcontinent’s lending rate down from 8.5% to 8%. The hope is that lower interest rates will lower prices and allow more money into India’s economy – thereby encouraging growth.
Right now, signs of sluggishness are easy to spot.
Hong Kong (CNN) – Over the weekend, China announced it was doubling the trading band of the yuan against the U.S. dollar.
The move was widely lauded as a step toward liberalizing the Chinese exchange rate and moving the yuan toward an internationally traded currency like the U.S. dollar, yen and euro.
“This underlines China's commitment to rebalance its economy toward domestic consumption and allow market forces to play a greater role in determining the level of the exchange rate,” said Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, in a statement.
Dubai (CNN) - Driven by demand from the growing Indian and Chinese middle classes, Dubai is fast emerging as a significant diamond hub.
With worldwide demand for diamonds set to grow by 6% a year to 2020, Dubai is vying for a piece of the world's diamond pie, competing against other global diamond hubs, such as Antwerp and Mumbai.
Dubai's location means it can serve as the gateway into parts of Africa and the Middle East, and the emirate is taking concrete steps to gain a foothold in the market. In 2004 it set up the Dubai Diamond Exchange - a subsidiary of its central commodities authority, the DMCC. Since then it has seen a meteoric growth in trade.
Beijing (CNN) – Chinese first quarter GDP data showed a fall in year-on-year growth to 8.1% for the first quarter of the year, compared to 8.9% in the last quarter.
This relatively sharp slowdown in growth will clearly increase concerns about a hard landing in the near-term.
However, many analysts expect that growth will stabilize and recover modestly over the rest of the year as external conditions improve and China's domestic policy is fine-tuned.
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