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Beware the "grey rhinos" — that was the message from China's Communist Party newspaper the People's Daily, just hours before figures showed the world's second-largest economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter. The rhino reference refers to highly probable, high-impact threats that people should see coming, but often don't. In China’s case it’s the relentless buildup of risks caused by debt-fueled investment that’s contributing to growth. While economic expansion of 6.9% looks good on paper, the government is setting a wary tone. 

Thailand wants more tourists who act like Australians. With 35 million tourists set to arrive this year, the influx of holidaymakers into Thailand is becoming harder to manage, leading to a shift in strategy. It's no longer about how many visitors they can pack onto the beaches, Thai tourism authorities now want people to stay longer and spend more — and that's something the Australians seem to do best.

Could physical cash go away entirely? While economists see great payoffs in a cashless society - lower transaction costs, new tools to manage economic growth and an end to tax evasion and money laundering - critics see an end to privacy, frightening new powers for tyrants and costs that would fall disproportionately on the poor. Here's everything you need to know about going cashless.

China punishes billionaire Wang Jianlin's Wanda group. In an unprecedented setback for China's second-richest man, the government found six investments that breached China's restrictions on overseas investments. It now plans to cut off funding and deny the conglomerate with necessary regulatory approvals, according to people familiar with the matter.

South Korea's boosting its minimum wage by 16%. President Moon Jae-in hopes the increase will help nudge the economy away from its export dependence towards a structure that relies more on household spending. About 12% of South Koreans were earning minimum wage or lower in 2015, according to estimates.

A shakeup looms for Trump's legal team as Russia probes grind on.  The U.S. president is likely to shift his long-time attorney, Marc Kasowitz, into a less prominent role outside the legal team as investigations into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia heat up, according to a person familiar with the situation. Separately, Trump's continuing to evaluate what to do with his beleaguered communications team.

Why China hasn't jumped on the smart-speaker bandwagon. In the U.S. about 35 million homes now have smart-speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. They can answer your questions, play music and control a host of household devices. But they're not so popular in China, where just 2 million units have shipped. The reasons? They don't understand Chinese very well, workers don't spend as much time at home, and the Chinese really, really love their smartphones.

Game of Thrones is back. But will it ever die? The penultimate season of HBO's biggest hit has kicked off, once again thrilling devotees with the return of favorite characters, gruesome violence and political intrigue. The final season is due to air in summer 2018, and then that will be the end of Thrones. Forever. Or will it?

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen.
Photographer: Keith Bernstein/HBO

 

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