Asian Insider, Jan 21: Human-to-human Wuhan virus transmission scare, can China keep its US goods purchase pledge?

Asian Insider brings you insights into a fast-changing region from our network of correspondents.

Hi,

In today's bulletin: Fears over the spread Wuhan virus continue to raise alarm, a US economist says it will be difficult for China to make additional purchases of American goods worth US$200 billion within the given timeframe of the deal, Greta Thunberg slams governments for inaction on climate change as Davos awaits US President Donald Trump's keynote address, for the first time ever an Indian state decides to build its capital over 3 locations and Netflix wins over Studio Ghibli, maker of well-known films, and more.

Reading this on the web or know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? Our sign-up page is here.

WUHAN VIRUS: IS CHINA HIDING ANYTHING? HUMAN-TO-HUMAN TRANSMISSION SCARE; 6TH DEATH; WHO CALLS EMERGENCY MEETING

Asia remains on alert on the Wuhan virus case. China Correspondent Elizabeth Law says there's cynicism within the country over efforts to contain the spread of the virus, given China's past record on Sars, when Beijing was slammed for not releasing information in a timely manner, during the 2003 attack. In other updates today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that the new pathogen is being transmitted among humans, and not just from animals to humans as was originally hoped. WHO has called an emergency meeting in Geneva on Wednesday (Jan 22). And China reported a sixth death in the pneumonia outbreak.

Here are more reports on the mysterious virus:

When being upfront is not enough

Wuhan virus not on scale of sars, says Chinese top expert

World Health Organisation to hold emergency meeting as virus spreads in Asia

CHINA'S PURCHASE PLEDGES IN TRADE DEAL UNREALISTIC, SAYS US ECONOMIST

Peterson Institute for International Economics senior fellow Chad Bown is the latest to say that purchase pledges made by China in the trade deal signed last week could be unrealistic. Beijing is to buy American goods and services worth US$200 billion over two years, as part of the agreement. But the trade economist says this is a huge increase over current US-China trade volumes and must be completed in such a short time, that it would be a big challenge. US Correspondent Charissa Yong has more in her story.

Here's the latest on the US-China trade front:

China says buying US farm products will not affect imports from other countries

Trump hails China trade deal as 'much better' than expected

DAVOS AWAITS TRUMP AS GRETA THUNBERG SLAMS CLIMATE CHANGE INACTION

Teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg took to the stage to slam governments for failing to wake up to the reality of climate change. "We are all fighting for the environment and climate. If you see it from a bigger perspective, basically nothing has been done. It will require much more than this," she said. Her address came shortly before US President Donald Trump was to deliver the first keynote address to the forum. He will speak on the same day that his impeachment trial opens at the Senate in Washington.

Follow our coverage of Davos 2020 here:

Here are some of the latest reports:

Capitalism seen doing 'more harm than good' in global survey

Momentous years in World Economic Forum's half-century history

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam in Davos charm offensive as protests persist

Davos pushes 'greener' fuel for private jets leaving World Economic Forum

CDL, CapitaLand, Singtel among world's 100 most sustainable companies

INDIA'S ANDHRA PRADESH STATE TO BUILD NEW CAPITAL OVER 3 CITIES

In an unprecedented move, Andhra Pradesh, in southern India will build its new capital over three cities. What's more, these cities are located hundreds of kilometres away from each other. One will be the executive capital with administrative offices, the second will be the judicial capital and a third the legislative capital with the assembly and secretariat. India Correspondent Rohini Mohan reports.

More reports on this controversy:

What lies ahead for Amaravati after aborted capital-city project

Amaravati plans still more dream than reality

ACCLAIMED JAPANESE ANIMATION HOUSE IN DEAL WITH NETFLIX

Studio Ghibli, makers of films such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro has decided to move its entire library of 21 films to Netflix. Film Correspondent John Lui says some believe the move could be a hedge against Disney's move to go global with its Disney+ streaming service.

IN OTHER NEWS

CHINA'S TOP OFFICIAL IN HK CALLS FOR SECURITY LAW: Luo Huining, China's new top official in Hong Kong, has written an article in the Communist Party's Daily newspaper urging Hong Kong to enact national security legislation raising concerns that Beijing might push for a Bill that prompted mass protests almost two decades ago. In the article, he says "external forces will infiltrate China without inhibition," if the city fails to pass such legislation.

RELIEF FOR THAI OPPOSITION FUTURE FORWARD PARTY: Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled today (Jan 21) that key figures of the opposition Future Forward Party were not guilty of opposing the monarchy, an allegation that could have seen the high-profile party banned in one of several ongoing cases against it. The verdict means the party will not be dissolved in one of several legal cases it faces. The party had said the anti-monarchy charges were politically motivated.

GLOBAL FDI FLAT, BUT SURGED 42% IN SINGAPORE: Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into Singapore surged 42 per cent while the flows to its traditional rival Hong Kong were halved in 2019, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's Investment Trends Monitor. Global FDI was flat against a backdrop of a weak global economy and trade tensions, it said.

That's it for today. Thanks for reading and we'll be back tomorrow.

- Shefali

Want more insights into fast-changing Asia from our network of correspondents? Get this article in your inbox by signing up here.