• Sun-07-2024
Scandalous Shawarma Plot: Enormous Currency Smuggling Operation to Kuwait (July 13, 2024, Arab Times Kuwait)

Authorities at Cairo International Airport intercepted a peculiar smuggling attempt involving over a million pounds concealed within shawarma meals, destined for Kuwait. The incident, which gained attention on social media platforms, unfolded as airport security detained an Egyptian passenger during routine checks before a flight to Kuwait.

  • Sun-07-2024
Personal income tax in Oman: Will other Gulf countries follow suit? (July 7, 2024, The National News)

The proposed tax targets high-income earners, with citizens taxed on net global income above $1 million and foreign nationals on Oman-sourced income above $100,000.

  • Sun-07-2024
Brunei and Laos formally join regional payment connectivity initiative (April 5, 2024, Technode Global)

Pioneered by the central banks of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in late 2022, later joined by Vietnam in August 2023 and now Brunei Darussalam and Lao PDR, the RPC initiative is expected to be extended to other ASEAN countries and beyond. RPC is an initiative that aims to promote, faster, cheaper, more transparent, and more inclusive cross-border payments.

  • Sun-07-2024
Kuwait's new visa rules: Domestic workers can transfer to private sector (July 10, 2024, Business Standard)

This change aims to streamline labour mobility while adhering to the nation's legal framework. Starting July 14, domestic workers can transfer their visas under specific conditions. The move is likely to benefit Indian workers in the Gulf country.

  • Sun-07-2024
Myanmar’s middle class shrinks by 50% as 42 million face poverty: UN report (June 27, 2024, Asia News Network)

…due to the complex political situation in Myanmar, the UNDP has adapted its approach to include cash assistance, support for local farmers in the agricultural sector, and efforts to address immediate needs through reconstruction projects.

  • Sun-07-2024
Thailand to close duty-free shops at international airports (July 7, 2024, The Investor Vafie Magazine)

Duty-free shops in arrivals areas of international airports in Thailand will be closed to encourage more spending by visitors in domestic stores, the Thai cabinet has said.

  • Sun-07-2024
A trip to Shanghai’s AI mega-conference showed me that China’s developers are still playing catch-up to Silicon Valley (July 14, 2024, Fortune) (Subscription required)

The critical problem is that China’s LLMs are limited to using data within the Great Firewall. As investment bank Goldman Sachs noted late last year, “LLM performance improves with scale—more parameters, more and better training data, more training runs and more computation.” There is simply less information in the isolated Chinese-language internet compared to an open internet with sources in many different languages.

  • Sun-07-2024
Semiconductor analyst theorizes that China might want to destroy TSMC instead of capturing it — Chinese invasion of Taiwan would destroy supply chains, cripple South Korean chipmakers (July 6, 2024, Yahoo News)

"What if China is not deterred by potentially mined TSMC factories and ASML kill switches? What if the reunification plan is based on eradicating the TSMC factories and the Semiconductor supply chain in Taiwan and beyond?"

  • Sun-07-2024
China Offers 5-Year Mainland Travel Permit to Non-Chinese Hong Kong and Macao Permanent Residents (July 3, 2024, China Briefing)

China’s National Immigration Administration announced the introduction of a five-year multi-entry travel permit for foreign permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macao, aiming to streamline travel to the Chinese mainland, fostering economic integration and enhancing global connectivity within the Greater Bay Area. Such travel permits can be applied starting from July 10, 2024.

  • Sun-07-2024
China rocked by cooking oil contamination scandal (July 11, 2024, BBC)

The Chinese government says it will investigate allegations that fuel tankers have been used to transport cooking oil after carrying toxic chemicals without being cleaned properly between loads. The controversy has spread online as social media users express concerns about potential food contamination.