China turns hostile, July 11:
It isn’t surprising that China’s first successful overseas hostile takeover is tied to commodities, or that it involves Sinosteel, China’s aggressive, second-largest iron ore importer.
Chinese interest in Australian iron ore made news in February with Aluminum Corp of China’s (Chinalco) audacious swoop for a minority stake in Rio Tinto. But Sinosteel’s hostile takeover of Midwest Corp has taken things to a new level – and it probably won’t be the last such deal.
The question is: Will Australia become uncomfortable with the level of Chinese investment?
Steelmaker Shougang got in regulatory trouble when a subsidiary tried to buy a stake in Mount Gibson Iron. Some feared Shougang would hold too much sway over Mount Gibson because it already owned part of a Mount Gibson shareholder. Shougang’s bid for part of Australian iron-ore miner Property Resources was also rejected.
Canberra stresses that Australia welcomes Chinese investment but it remains to be seen whether public opinion – and, as a result, political sentiment – can hold firm to these principles.
Sunscreen, yes; crossbows, no, July 15:
The Beijing Olympic organizing committee announced a list of items banned at the games:
“Flags larger than two meters by one meter … the flags of non-participating countries … drunkenness, nudity, gambling, sit-ins … guns, crossbows …”
Few surprises there. The ban on non-participating countries’ flags is presumably aimed at places like Taiwan (at the games as “Chinese Taipei”) and the Vatican.
But crossbows? Wait! There’s more:
“[Also banned are] musical instruments, whistles [and] long umbrellas … Small quantities of lip gloss and sunscreen will be allowed, as will fountain pens.”
As fashion-conscious media Luddites, we’re glad we can apply lip gloss while composing Olympic blog posts with fountain pens. Still, the long-umbrella ban puts a crimp in our style.