Hong Kong (CNN) - My cousin Anson Chiou, who lives in Boston, has three passions: Movies, the New England Patriots and wristwatches. I saw him in the U.S. a few weeks ago for the Thanksgiving holiday and we got into a long conversation about two of those passions.
While watching Ben Affleck's new movie "Argo," he noticed something odd in a one-second scene. Ben Affleck's character, (pictured in the image above) was putting on a Rolex in his hotel room. FULL POST
Shaki, Azerbaijan (CNN) – Trading is in the life blood of Azerbaijan. As the link to east and west it was a vital rest stop along the old silk route. In the northwest city, Shaki, there are reminders of the country’s rich trading history and single remaining silk factory.
Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) – Traditionally played in Turkish tea houses, Okey is a game of tiles that is widely popular throughout Turkey. Now the game is thriving online as players compete for “digital dollars.”
(CNN) – While some babies in India are snapped on smartphones the second they are born and their pictures shared on Facebook, others never get access to the internet in their lifetime.
Bangalore is known as India's Silicon Valley because the city is a hub of technology entrepreneurs and home to some of the world's top global software companies, but the paradox is that many of its residents have never surfed the Web.
India might have the world's second highest number of Facebook users, but according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Internet penetration across the entire population is still below 10 percent.
In the UK and U.S. it is 80 percent.
Hong Kong (CNN) – While China has become the world's second largest economy, doing business in China is now perceived to be more corrupt, according to Transparency International.
China dropped five spots to 80th place out of 176 countries surveyed in the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. "The world's leading economies should lead by example, making sure that their institutions are fully transparent and their leaders are held accountable. This is crucial since their institutions play a significant role in preventing corruption from flourishing globally," said Cobus de Swardt, managing director of the Berlin-based corruption watchdog.
Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore topped the list as the cleanest countries to do business in the world, according to the survey released Wednesday. Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Myanmar ranked at the bottom.
The United States was ranked 19th in the world, below Japan and the UK and ahead of Chile and Uruguay.
(CNN) – The 2013 forecast for European economic growth has turned into a prediction for decay. The European Central Bank on Thursday flipped next year's gross domestic product forecast from growth of 0.3% to a fall of 0.9% next year.
Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, told CNN's Richard Quest he fears Europe's growth problem will last more than just one year.
"This is a decade of slow growth. We are halfway through it. Hopefully we are halfway through it," says Sorrell. "And there's going to be another three, four, five years of tough stuff until we get out of it around 2017, 2018."
(CNN) – Economic sanctions have effects, says an expert at JohnsHopkinsUniversity, but not all may be intended.
"Sanctions historically are quite counterproductive in the sense that if you impose sanctions on your enemy, it tends to strengthen your enemy," Steve Hanke told CNN's John Defterios.
In Iran - where oil exports provide about 70% of government revenues according to the Congressional Research Service - ongoing sanctions that bar the export of oil are hurting its economy.
In the past year, Iranian crude sales have dropped 60% while the value of the rial has fallen to near-historic lows. Since 2010, the currency has dropped nearly 24% against the U.S. dollar. At the same time, food prices for everything from meat for kebabs to yogurt have surged.
Hong Kong (CNN) – Forget the red-hot property market of mainland China - a new forecast says investors should be looking south.
Jakarta - Indonesia's burgeoning capital of nearly 10 million people - is predicted to be Asia's top real estate market in 2013, ahead of cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney in "Emerging Trends in Real Estate - Asia Pacific 2013," a real estate forecast released this week by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Washington D.C.-based Urban Land Institute.
The recommendation to buy into Jakarta-based property may raise eyebrows, but PriceWatershouseCoopers says Indonesia's economic turnaround over the past few years has impressed international investors.
"Interest rates and inflation are under control, and while GDP is growing at around 6.5% annually, foreign direct investment is increasing at a much higher rate—39% in the first half of this year," the survey said. "Driven by increased demand from foreigners and locals alike, office rents shot up 29% year-on-year in the third quarter, according to (property services firm) DTZ."
Hong Kong (CNN) – Nestled within Hong Kong's dense skyscraper jungle, a $640,000 property sits among some of the world's most expensive commercial and residential spaces.
The price might sound like a steal. This Asian financial capital has the world's priciest property, according to Savills. Since the start of 2010, average Hong Kong home prices have doubled.
But the price tag mentioned here is neither for a home nor an office.
It is for a parking space: A slab of undecorated concrete, stained by black motor oil, about 8-feet-by-16-feet in size. Price per square foot: nearly $5,000.
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