The new anti-corruption drives of President Xi Jinping in China are being credited as the cause for this change. Something that could have a considerable effect on the real estate market both locally and throughout the west coast of North America. Among other places. After all, without the plentiful cash of China's wealthy political elite and their business partners, how long will our vastly overheated real estate situation be able to sustain itself?
This from the Wall Street Journal blog China Realtime (link):
Canada Resident Caught Up in China Corruption Probe - In January, John Jia traveled from Canada to Shanghai to attend a friend’s wedding, which he told his Instagram followers would be the “best wedding ever.”
Eleven months later, the 21-year-old has yet to return home to Canada after being swept up in Beijing’s spreading anticorruption investigation, which has already implicated dozens of officials in China and reached into the operations of its state-run enterprises abroad. As the WSJ’s Alistair MacDonald and David George-Cosh report:
Mr. Jia told friends in a Facebook post in January that he has been unable to leave China after being placed on a “no fly/exit list” due to an investigation into his uncle, a “very powerful and high ranking politician.”
That uncle is one of the Communist Party’s most senior figures: Zhou Yongkang, according to several people familiar with the matter. Mr. Zhou, a former domestic security chief who once ran China National Petroleum Corp., is being investigated for “serious disciplinary violations,” according to China’s state media.
The Wall Street Journal earlier this year found that Mr. Zhou’s family members and friends forged ties with CNPC and amassed holdings in the petroleum, investment and media sectors worth tens of millions of dollars. State media has said the state-run oil company’s subsidiaries are being probed for embezzlement and inspected for evidence of “private coffers.”
According to CNN, such investigations into the personal financial affairs of former Politburo members like Zhou Yongkang is pretty unprecedented stuff. Never before have formerly untouchable officials this high in the Chinese political firmament been prosecuted for corruption (link).
China announces probe into former domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang - After months of intense political rumors, China's ruling Communist Party announced Tuesday an official probe into a retired senior leader for suspected "serious disciplinary violation."
Zhou Yongkang, the former domestic security czar, was placed under investigation in accordance with Party regulations, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a one-line statement without elaborating.
State media have reported official anti-corruption probes into many of Zhou's family members as well as former associates in the domestic security apparatus, state oil industry and southwestern Sichuan province -- three places Zhou once ruled. Three of his former senior aides were arrested early this month. If indicted, Zhou would become the highest-ranking official ever to face corruption charges in the history of the People's Republic.
"It's almost certain the he would be put on trial and appear in public," said Professor Willy Lam with Chinese University of Hong Kong, a longtime commentator on Chinese politics. "The important thing is that Xi Jinping has proven he's powerful enough to break this taboo of never incriminating former Politburo Standing Committee members -- and in the future he can use this anti-corruption card to thrash his political enemies."
Some 182,000 officials were disciplined in 2013, while courts nationwide tried 23,000 corruption cases, according to the Communist Party's disciplinary commission. State media have cited the trial and conviction last year of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai -- a protégé of Zhou -- as a prime example of Xi's determination to clean up the party, though Bo supporters called the case against him politically motivated.
"Now everybody is really scared -- and this would have a big impact on the behavior of senior Party members," said Lam, the political analyst. "But nobody expects corruption to be eradicated. It is built into the system, a system without checks and balances."
And apparently China's new and powerful anti-corruption leadership is just getting started. The party could be over.
Don't Get Too Used To Low Gas Prices
You might be enjoying the lowest gas prices in years, but if the State of California has its way your joy may be short lived. This from Breitbart (link):
Jerry Brown Endorsed Global Warming Tax Hits CA Motorists In 2015 - CA Republicans proposed two bills aimed to stop a cap-and-trade program for transportation fuels which starts up in January that will increase gasoline prices for motorists across the Golden State.
The Sacramento Bee reported that since 2006 cap-and-trade laws, designed to reduce carbon emissions, have forced companies to purchase permits covering what they put into the air. Up until now producers of transportation fuels have been exempted from buying cap-and-trade allowances. The 2006 law calls for the expanded coverage in January 2015.
Patrick DeHaan a petroleum analyst for price tracker GasBuddy.com, predicts that the new cap-and-trade regulations could produce a 10- to 20-cent-per-gallon increase in fuel prices. Claiming that the new program will push gas prices upward and burden individual drivers, businesses, schools and farms, Republican lawmakers selected the first day of the 2015-2016 legislative session to announce their bill.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno contends that “we are all becoming accustomed to the free market working well with respect to the price of oil and natural gas and gasoline, and we are seeing some of the lowest prices for gasoline.” He added that “come January, the state of California is going to ratchet up those costs.”
Just when you thought things were finally getting better.
Did North Korea declare war on Sony?
|The Supreme Leader and friend|
Whodunnit? Why North Korea Is Suspected in the Sony Hack - Sony (SNE) was warned. After learning of the company’s plans to release a James Franco-Seth Rogen comedy about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un, North Korea declared war in June. At the time, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said all North Koreans were determined “to mercilessly destroy anyone who dares hurt or attack the supreme leadership of the country, even a bit.”
Thanks to threats like that, North Korea is a prime suspect in the hacking attack that crippled Sony Pictures last week. The attackers made off with several new Sony movies, including Brad Pitt’s Fury and the remake of Annie, and they apparently made them available online. One movie that the hackers haven’t leaked is The Interview, the Franco and Rogen film that got the North Koreans so outraged with Sony in the first place.
An investigation is underway, with the FBI taking part, and it’s too early to say whether Kim’s regime had any role in the hack. But “the facts and the evidence really point to the East on this one,” Joe Loomis, CyberSponse chief executive officer and founder, told Bloomberg Television. The incident is an example of a “new type of warfare coming along now,” he added, “where you have a foreign country attacking a corporation.”
You just don't mess with a unicorn riding Supreme Leader, Hollywood.