China Readings for March 26th

"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner

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  • China picks two female astronauts for space mission|Science-Tech| – China has selected two female astronauts among seven candidates for its next manned space mission that will be launched between June and August.
    Three Chinese astronauts, also known as taikonauts, will be chosen from the candidates to fly aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft that will manually dock with Tiangong-1, an orbiting module of the country's planned space station, and conduct scientific experiments, said Li Wei, deputy designer for spacecraft systems with the China Aerospace and Technology Corporation.
  • 红卫兵领袖:领导变化会影响到我们命运_新闻_腾讯网 – [导读]蒯大富:有人问我,你坐了17年牢,冤不冤?一种意义上讲,跟着党干革命,最后坐的还是党的牢,很冤;另一个角度想,比起当年那些被我们整的干部,可能他们更冤。
  • Vipshop Raises Less Than Target – Bloomberg – Venture-capital investors DCM, which held a 19.2 percent stake in Vipshop, and Sequoia Capital China, which owned 19.3 percent, each added $10 million of the shares at Vipshop’s IPO, Chief Financial Officer Donghao Yang said in the interview.
  • China Banks Said to Underestimate Local Government Risks – Bloomberg – Chinese banks misclassified about 20 percent of their outstanding loans to local governments, understating the risk that slowing revenue will cut borrowers’ ability to repay, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
    The China Banking Regulatory Commission told lenders last month that they had incorrectly placed about 1.8 trillion yuan ($286 billion) of loans to local government financing vehicles in the safest category of lending, the person said, declining to be named because the matter is private. The banks erred in calculations and underestimated risks when they decided the loans were fully covered by cash flows from the projects, the person said.
  • 郭伯雄:确保部队稳定 一旦有事能迅即行动完成任务_中国_环球网
  • Pagodas, Low Crime and Value Draw Intrepid Travelers –
  • A Bailout by Another Name – – The acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mr. DeMarco is a soft-spoken, career public servant — and under fire. In the thankless job of conservator for the loss-ridden mortgage finance giants, he has a duty to ensure that the companies operate in the best interests of the taxpayers who own them. That means working to keep a lid on the companies’ losses, which now total $183 billion.

    But in recent weeks, Mr. DeMarco has come under increasing pressure to chuck his obligation to taxpayers and make Fannie and Freddie write down principal on mortgages held by troubled borrowers. He says, with reason, that such a program would run counter to his legal obligation to pursue only those activities that pose the least cost to taxpayers…
    the crowd clamors for widespread Fannie and Freddie write-downs, even though they would constitute a direct and sizable gift from taxpayers to the largest banks.

    Here’s how: Many banks hold second liens on the same properties for which Fannie and Freddie either own the first mortgage or have guaranteed. If principal amounts on these first mortgages are reduced while leaving the second liens intact, those seconds become much more likely to be paid off over time. With no principal reduction, the banks would have to write off many of those second liens.

    As such, principal write-downs are another backdoor bailout for the banks that brought you the mortgage crisis.

  • At CIA, a convert to Islam leads the terrorism hunt – The Washington Post – For every cloud of smoke that follows a CIA drone strike in Pakistan, dozens of smaller plumes can be traced to a gaunt figure standing in a courtyard near the center of the agency’s Langley campus in Virginia.

    The man with the nicotine habit is in his late 50s, with stubble on his face and the dark-suited wardrobe of an undertaker. As chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center for the past six years, he has functioned in a funereal capacity for al-Qaeda.