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Follow the Debate - China Economic News March 2012


Economic China

  'The expansion of these gigantic cities has been fast, disruptive and unprecedented in world history. It has also been accompanied by rapid price increases. But they have occurred primarily in the first-tier cities. Markets cannot easily price what they have never witnessed before.' 


One message is clear: The Chinese government wants to foster a national transformation from "world's factory" to "world's market." 


China has been reforming itself, a process known as "crossing the river by feeling the stones." The unprecedented experience, plus the country's scale, leaves the outside world uncertain of its future.







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The Wall Street Journal  30/3/2012

U.S. Companies Mum On China High Tech Export Opportunity


Here’s a billion-dollar opportunity American companies are shy about discussing publicly: supplying China with high-technology that could be used by its military.

U.S. export controls limit what technologies can be sold in China. Washington’s policy reflects its long-time arms embargo on China. The goods in question have commercial applications but also a “dual use” that could be military-related, according to the U.S. Commerce Department arm that coordinates the control regime.

Now, U.S. policymakers are signaling a rethink of the complex regulations that govern the trade, starting with the ambassador to China, Gary Locke.


Lagging Indicators: China’s Banks and the Slowdown

Chinese banks’ net income surged to record highs last year, defying the slowing growth on the world’s second-largest economy. Is it indicating that banks are resilient to the economic downturn?

Not necessarily.

The banks have a tendency to be lagging indicators. Only after a certain amount of time has passed will China’s macro situation show up on the bottom line.

Take, for example, bad loans.


CCTV 30th March 2012

20th ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh


The New York Times   29/3/2012

For BRICS, Plan of Action Proves Elusive

The group known as BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — has had difficulty finding common ground on how to exert collective geopolitical influence since forming three years ago.


The Wall Street Journal   29/3/2012


China Tests Financial Reforms

Officials in the Chinese city of Wenzhou have launched a new attempt to allow residents of the city to invest directly offshore, a move that would mark a small but significant step toward opening the country's capital account.


China's African Odyssey

China's special envoy to Africa, Zhong Jianhua, sees huge business potential despite challenges on the continent.



Sitting at the BRICS summit in New Delhi, it’s not amiss to spare a thought for the booming global economies who are not part of the club and are a little annoyed by it. Almost a decade ago, Goldman Sachs banker Jim O’Neill coined an acronym to group the fast-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The term stuck and the BRIC nations held their first summit in Russia three years ago. Last year, South Africa joined the group in China for its annual confab, adding a final ‘S’ to the acronym. But how about this for a neologism: BRIICSMTSK? This is what the grouping could become if it continues to follow the prescriptions of Mr. O’Neill.


China’s Expanding Private Equity Footprint

China’s private equity landscape has changed a lot over the last couple of years. But increasingly it seems as though China is changing the global private equity landscape.

Whereas PE funds once looked for exposure to China by finding local firms that were benefitting from country’s breakneck pace of growth, increasingly funds are looking for companies that have opportunities to expand overseas, foreign firms that need a China strategy and Chinese firms that want to come back to China after being rejected by foreign markets.

But it also appears that the impact is extending beyond where funds put their money.


CCTV - 29/2/2012

BRICS Summit in New Delhi  


People's Daily   29/3/2012

BRICS mulls joint bank

Benefits, not values, define BRICS unity

  1. Chinese president says BRICS cooperation at new starting point
  2. Chinese president speaks on development, BRICS cooperation
  3. Italian PM says his visit to China to boost ties, expand cooperation
  4. Chinese president attends BRICS summit


The Wall Street Journal   28/3/2012

Wenzhou Tries New Investment Plan

Officials in the Chinese city of Wenzhou have launched a new attempt to allow residents of the city to invest directly offshore, a move that would mark a small but significant step toward opening the country's capital account.


China to Contribute to Europe Rescue

China is keen to contribute to a fund to bail out the euro zone, its trade minister said, underscoring the Asian powerhouse's growing interest in playing a bigger role in the global economy as its financial strength grows


Caixin Online   28/3/2012

Ministry Predicts E-commerce Will Quadruple

Latest five-year plan sees online business continuing to grow rapidly through the end of 2015

Foreign Banks to be Allocated Larger Loan Quotas

Analysts say the move marked an easing of controls over capital account policies


XinHua News   28/3/2012

Chinese President receives written interview with BRICS media

China approves pilot zone in Wenzhou to regulate private financing


China Daily   28/3/2012

Hu arrives in New Delhi for BRICS summit

Rich get richer, and choosier

The number of Chinese rich is reaching a new peak, and their mode of consumption is evolving.


People's Daily   28/3/2012

China's interest rate reform faces last difficulties

China-ASEAN Legal Cooperation Center opens in Haikou


The Wall Street Journal   27/3/2012

Economist: World Bank Suggestions for China Reform “Garbage”


The World Bank’s 2030 report on the reform priorities for the Chinese economy is “mainly garbage” according to an economist at Beijing’s Renmin University.

“The reforms they propose make sense, but they have no idea where to start” Tao Ran, a professor with the Renmin University School of Economics at said in an interview with China Real Time on Thursday.

The World Bank report, issued last month and coauthored with a top Chinese state think tank, calls for a series of reforms, including a push to make state-owned enterprises more commercially oriented.


Beijing Takes On Its Banks

Bloomberg News

The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon may not have made its way to China – groups of angry people face considerable hurdles occupying anything in Beijing and Shanghai – but that’s not to say Chinese citizens are not hopping mad at their banks. Still, while governments elsewhere have seemingly been at a loss for how to address the occupiers’ complaints, Beijing might be on the cusp of unleashing its corps of crack bureaucrats in the cause of cooling the rage of frustrated depositors.

Their objective: reining in the barrage of fees banks charge customers.

India Minister: BRICS Exim Banks Finalizing Credit Pact

The export-import banks of the BRICS group of five emerging economies are in advanced stages of concluding pacts on extending credit in local currencies, India's minister for commerce and industry said.


China Lifts Debt Quotas for Foreign Banks

China has made it easier for foreign banks to bring money into the country in an apparent effort to usher in more foreign investment as a slowing economy prompts capital outflows


XinHua News   27/3/2012

Major Chinese industrial companies' profits drop 5.2 pct

Profits for Chinese chemical producers, automakers and other major industrial companies fell 5.2 percent in the first two months of 2012 from the same period a year earlier, China's statistical authority said Tuesday.



China Daily   25/3/2012



People's Daily   25/3/2012


XinHua News   24/3/2012


Difficult months on horizon for nation's exports

Bank of China plays vital role in China-Canada trade relations: minister

China's Vipshop falls in U.S. debut

China's Huawei Technologies equips Ghana's Presidency

China to boost economic reform in key industries


People's Daily   24/3/2012


China Daily   23/3/2012

GDP could slow further

China's economic growth may further slow in the first quarter to 8.5%, from 8.9% in Q4 of 2011.

Cover story: Local savvy

Business education gets a big boost in China as more Western students head east.


Business focus: Building value

Magnet for foreign investment


The Wall Street Journal   23/3/2012

EU Weighs China Trade Probes

The Chinese government threatened retaliation against European firms that bring trade complaints against China, prompting the EU to consider starting its own investigations if companies are unwilling to come forward.


Caixin Online   22/3/2012

Roach Says China Hard Landing Unlikely

Stephen Roach calls for more consumption in China's economic restructuring and less worry about bursting of a property bubble


The New York Times   22/3/2012

China Quietly Relaxes Controls on Foreign Capital

Chinese officials are making it easier for foreign investors to put money into China’s stock market, indicating that they are eager to counter capital flight.


China Manufacturing Sector Contracts for Fifth Month

The contraction in March raised expectations that the Chinese authorities would step up measures to lift growth in the world's second-largest economy.


The Wall Street Journal   22/3/2012

Tips From the Gurus on How to Spend $3 Trillion

Chinese government researchers have been behind a chorus of calls to move more of the nation’s wealth out of relatively low-yielding U.S. Treasury bills and a weak U.S. dollar and put the money to work at home or in higher return investments abroad. But this weekend’s gathering of the high and mighty-well-connected gave Chinese officials a chance to hear American economic gurus singing the same tune.


Confused About China? So Is Credit Suisse

How divided are the experts on the near-term prospects for China’s economy? If an attempt by Credit Suisse analyts to predict China’s appetite for commodities is any indication, the answer is very.


China Catches Up With Market in Fuel Price Hike

China’s latest fuel price hikes are giving its oil majors a little breathing room.

The National Development and Reform Commission said Monday it would raise domestic retail fuel prices starting Tuesday by 600 yuan ($95) a metric ton following the surge in global energy prices this year. The move, expected for some time, is a sign that Chinese policymakers are less worried about inflation, and also cuts the oil companies some slack on the refining losses they’ve been making given their selling price lags market reality.


XinHua News   10/3/2012

China reaffirms it will stick to socialist path

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislator Wu Bangguo reaffirmed on Friday that China would unwaveringly keep on the socialist path of political development with Chinese characteristics.

"We need to thoroughly understand the intrinsic nature of China's system of people's congresses; confidently uphold our unique characteristics; be fully aware of the essential differences between this system and Western capitalist countries' systems of political power," Wu said.

"We need to remain sober-minded and take a firm and clear stand on major issues of principle," he added while delivering a work report of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) at the parliamentary annual session.

He said it's primarily because of the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, China has been able to maintain long-term political stability and social harmony, safeguard national unity and ethnic solidarity, and sustain development at a speed rarely seen in the world.

"We must cherish it even more and adhere to it for a long time to come," he said.

The people's congress system is the fundamental political system in China, which has more than 2.7 million lawmakers at various levels, who are elected by respective constituencies, directly or indirectly.


China Daily   10/3/2012

Reserves may aid buyouts

China is in position to direct more foreign capital toward acquisitions

China is gearing up to channel more foreign reserves toward overseas acquisitions, a top banker has said.

Li Ruogu, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of China, said the next two years would be a key period for Chinese enterprises to buy overseas assets from European and North American companies.

"We expect the State Administration of Foreign Exchange will set a higher foreign currency quota for us to support enterprises' overseas purchases," he told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

The Export-Import Bank of China is one of two major non-commercial banks, along with the China Development Bank, supporting Chinese enterprises going overseas.


Chinese consumer confidence rebounds

Chinese consumer confidence picked up in the fourth quarter of 2011, as inflationary pressures gradually eased and the outlook for incomes improved, according to a report from The Nielsen Company on Friday.

According to the Nielsen China Consumer Confidence Report, consumer confidence returned to the level of the first quarter of 2011, after consecutive falls in both the second and third quarters.

"A brighter outlook for employment and incomes for this year and increasing willingness to spend, combined with easing inflation, were the main drivers of China's consumer confidence rebound," said Karthik Rao, managing director of Nielsen Greater China.


People's Daily   10/3/2012

China's inflation falls to a 20-month low

China's inflation eased to a 20-month low last month, creating more room for the world's second-largest economy to roll out more growth-supportive policies when all other key economic indicators exhibited a slowdown.

The Consumer Price Index, the main gauge of inflation, rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier in February, compared to January's 4.5 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The pace was the slowest since June 2010, and ended negative de facto interest rates in the past two years.

Lower food prices contributed the most to the growth moderation.


China seeks win-win development with Asia

BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Residents in Hekou in southwest China can still recall its former days as a quiet, anonymous town that attracted few visitors from neighboring Vietnam for business or sightseeing.

But major changes have hit the town in Yunnan province. With two roads and one rail line linking it with Vietnam, Hekou has become a bustling hub for Vietnamese visitors buying bargain goods, looking for jobs and doing business with local residents.

These changes took place in just a few years, as China vigorously promoted the opening up of its border regions, unlocking commercial bonanzas for border towns like Hekou.


Caixin Online   10/3/2012

Inflation Cools, But Analysts Say Policies Not Expected to Change

Monetary policies are not expected to see significant adjustments, said analysts, citing long term inflationary concerns including oil prices and the effects of policies to rebalance the economy


The New York Times   10/3/2012

In China, Inflation Eases as Growth Slows

New data offer more signs of a cooling economy and give policymakers room to support growth.


The Wall Street Journal   10/3/2012

China Posts Massive Trade Deficit

BEIJING—China swung to a massive trade deficit in February, due partly to seasonal distortions but also to faltering demand for the country's exports.

The weak export performance comes on top of a raft of disappointing economic data on Friday that economists said will add to the likelihood of additional easing by the central bank and other policy makers.

China’s Woes May Be Good for Euro

China may yet come to the euro’s aid.

So far there has been little sign of Beijing living up to its repeated promise of support for the single currency.


Does China’s Forex Policy Beggar Its Neighbors?

The U.S. is the source of most of the political heat generated by China’s foreign exchange policy. But how does that policy affect the developing world?


Economists React: Chinese Inflation Falls Sharply in February

Chinese inflation dipped sharply in February with the country’s consumer price index slipping to 3.2% from 4.5% the month before thanks largely to a fall in food prices following the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday. Meanwhile, the producer price index, a measure of upstream inflation pressures, was flat in February compared with a year earlier. Analysts react:


An Important Shift in China’s Inflation Numbers

It’s a red letter day for China’s savers: For the first time since the beginning of 2010, real interest rates have edged into positive territory.


The New York Times   7/3/2012

In China, Sobering Signs of Slower Growth

The Chinese economy, after nearly three decades of rapid, almost uninterrupted growth, seems to be settling down.


The Wall Street Journal   7/3/2012

China’s Footprint in U.S. Oil: A State-by-State List

China is gathering oil and gas assets across the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports today. State-run giants Cnooc and Sinopec are scooping up minority stakes and signing joint-ventures, to the tune of $17 billion in U.S. and Canadian deals since 2010, to feed the energy thirsty nation.

Here’s a list of the assets, by state, that China’s energy giants have bought:


China Daily   6/3/2012

Wen given award for US job creation

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked China's trade practices recently, he probably didn't expect that the Chinese premier he met in 2003 - when Romney praised trade between the two countries - would later be granted the "Best Friend of American Worker" award.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was given the award on Friday in Boston by the International Longshoremen's Association in appreciation of China's strong support of job growth for US workers.

Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, accompanied Wen on a visit to the Port of Boston at the end of 2003, and said that trade with China brought practical interests to the state he served.


Caixin Online   6/3/2012

Consumers – and the entire country – will sufferas long as politics is placed above the market


The Wall Street Journal   6/3/2012

China Speeds Economic 'Transformation'

Premier Outlines Steps Away From Torrid Growth Path; Bad News for Commodity Exporters, an Opportunity for Others

BEIJING—By lowering China's growth target to 7.5% this year, Premier Wen Jiabao has signaled that an era of supercharged expansion may be coming to an end, a shift with profound implications for countries like Australia and Brazil that have prospered from red-hot Chinese demand for commodities.

China’s New Economic Strategy a Tough Sell for Some

In his work report at the opening session of parliament, Premier Wen Jiabao called for a faster push to boost domestic consumption.

China is looking beyond its tried and true model of export-led growth. With the global financial crisis pinching China’s export markets, and many economists saying much the same thing, now seems to be the perfect time to shift gears.

Chinese leaders want the country’s workers to try out something they seldom do: take a vacation.

China will “implement the system of paid vacation” within the next year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced in his opening speech at the Chinese legislature’s annual planning sessions on Monday.


People's Daily   3/3/2012

China reduces holdings of U.S. government bonds

China has made the first annual reduction in its holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds in a decade. Experts are viewing the move as a sign that the country is accelerating the move away from dollar assets in search of more diversified investment channels.

According to the latest monthly figures from the U.S. Treasury Department, China's holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds dropped for a fifth consecutive month in Dec to 1.15 trillion U.S. dollars.


Caixin Online   3/3/2012

The Limits of State Capitalism

Amid much discussion of China's economy, this much is clear: It has gone as far as it can in its current form


The Wall Street Journal   3/3/2012

What Economist Arvind Subramanian Thinks of ‘China 2030′

Arvind Subramanian, an Indian economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, made a big splash in China circles last year with the publication of “Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance.” The book argues that China is bound to become the world’s top economic power in a fairly short time. If that comes to pass, it would mark the first time since at least the Industrial Revolution that a relatively poor country became No.1 economically.


Benefits for China in New East African Resource Rush

A new great game is afoot as recently uncovered stores of mineral resources in East Africa create competition between Brazilian, Japanese, Indian, Irish, Anglo-Australian and Chinese investors.

Already a strategic region for China due to its 54 United Nations votes and location astride key trade routes, East Africa is about to become even more important to the world’s second-largest economy. The rapid economic growth that natural resource development stands to produce will likely fuel heightened commercial and diplomatic competition in coming years as more Chinese companies and businessmen enter the region and jockey for position. The prize: oil, gas and coal money that by 2020 could equal roughly 50% of the current GDP in Mozambique and more than 10% of GDP in other producer countries.


China’s State Capitalism: the Real World Implications

Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S. last month and the recent release of a World Bank report on the future of China’s economy have helped to once again revive debate around the state-led “China model” as an alternative blueprint for economic development. As these debates unfold, it has become clear that China’s version of “state capitalism” (as opposed to “market capitalism”), still is not adequately understood abroad.







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Set in Zanzibar in 1910, it is the story of two people from different worlds falling in love. Susan immerses herself in Zanzibar. Asim falls in love with this woman from the nation that killed his wife. Susan is a spy. Asim is the chief advisor to the Sultan of Zanzibar. Germany and France are holding secret negotiations to form a Pan European alliance, which would isolate Britain and destroy her power. Susan and Asim are caught up in all this and their love is finally dashed on the cold, hard reality of international high politics.



Available on Amazon's Kindle $4.99 - Over 400 Pages





 Chapter One


'A maharaja’s ruby cast on a Persian carpet by the blackest of hands'



Their souls danced, honouring his promise.

The ancient dhow stirred in the soft morning breeze, moving through the water like a sated lion, snuffling about the other boats on the harbour; some scurrying, some at anchor, some darting before a brief gust of wind. The lateen sails a bustling panorama of blood-red and sun-bleached white.

Aft, the woman's eyes searched the skyline, drinking in the architecture of Stone Town, the heart of Zanzibar; its jagged, cluttered silhouette so familiar, so much a part of her soul.

Abruptly, her eyes ceased their restless searching, jagged by an invisible hook, transfixed by the grand buildings on the northern shore, Beit-al-Ajaib, the House of Wonders, Palace to the great Sultan of Zanzibar. The distinctive architecture captured in the tropical light: coconut white outlined by contrasting shadow plays of pepper black.

A smile, ever so slight, started to play on the edge of her mouth then disappeared. A memory that should have been fond instantly turned to sharp unbearable pain. Her eyes hardened and moved on.

Without warning the captain threw the rudder over. Stumbling, the woman barked her shin on a wooden box, a rough-hewn coffin. She recoiled, knocking over an untidy stack of cane baskets. Imprisoned in the baskets, rusty cockerels, their scruffy heads straining through the latticework, snapped at her, cried out to her; their raucous din overwhelming her, drowning her.

Dimly, through the fog of noise, the strident swearing of the sailors in Kiswahili seeped into her conscious. Understanding, she smiled mirthlessly.

The coffin had been carelessly stowed, a chore, rather than a labour of respect or love.





London 1910


“Hello, who are you? I am Oliver, is Edward at home?”

The words were spoken by a tall, impeccably dressed young man as he rushed into Edward’s flat shaking off surplus water and calling for whisky while shoving his umbrella into a stand. It was a blustery, grey, bitterly cold February afternoon in the heart of London. He brushed a curl of soft auburn hair from his forehead and smiled charmingly.

Susan laughed, her hazel eyes dancing with the exhilaration of the new. “Yes, he is having a bath. I think he is trying to get warm. I’m Susan, Susan Carey, his sister.”

“Ahhh yes, from Australia. How do you do?” said Sir Oliver, smiling broadly and offering his hand. He had noticed the laughter in her eyes, and the depth, particularly the depth, intensified by jade flecks that made them striking and alluring. “So, you have arrived, good trip I trust.”

“I am very well thank you, and yes, it was a good trip,” replied Susan.

He laughed and glanced at the sitting room, “whisky?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, please come in…….. that was silly of me, after all, it is your flat.”

Oliver smiled and gestured for Susan to lead the way. He followed her into the room, and after helping himself to a generous portion of whisky, walked over to the fire.

Shortly after, Edward, wrapped in a huge ruby-coloured dressing gown and wiping soap from his ear strode into the room. He was of similar age to Oliver, late twenties, well built, if slightly podgy, with dark auburn hair and a full moustache. Susan looked up and smiled to herself, she could see now where he had picked up some of his new mannerisms.

“Thought I could hear voices. I see you two have met, no need for introductions then.”

As he was speaking, Edward walked to the side table and grabbed a whisky decanter by the neck. He glanced at Oliver who nodded. A long finger snaked into one of the tumblers followed by the distinctive clink of crystal. He swept the decanter off the table and carried it to where Oliver was sitting. After pouring the whisky, he sank into a lounge chair and sipped from his glass, enjoying the warm glow as it spread through his body.

Suddenly he sat up exclaiming, “Sorry sis, would you like something to drink?”

“Kind of you to remember, but no thank you, and yes, Oliver has already inquired.”

Edward nodded and sank back into his lounge chair.

They chatted, tentatively at first, getting to know one another. Edward had not seen Susan for two years and was unsure how his sister would take his new relationship. Oliver was intrigued by Susan. An attractive, self-assured young lady of high intelligence with a degree was a rare find. And, as fate would have it, she was also a trained and experienced teacher. He suggested a picnic at Oxford, which was met with ready acquiescence. Arrangements were made for the following Sunday.

“I’ll see if the Rolls is available,” mused Oliver. “Must ring father, haven’t spoken to him in ages.”

Oliver, Sir Oliver Marchmaine, was an unaffected young man of intense intelligence who saw life as a great adventure to be lived to the full. He was also unyieldingly loyal to his country, England, which is why he had joined Military Intelligence on leaving Oxford.

It was 1910 and Europe was stirring. It was a time full of interest, intrigue and danger. The European chessboard was becoming increasingly complex, the moves more subtle. A time when an unexpected move or feint could have profound consequences.



Regaining her balance, the woman’s eyes were drawn, hesitantly at first, resisting back to Beit-al-Ajaib. She wondered if it was still the same. Still the same centre of power and intrigue that had been so much a part of her life all those years before; that had defined her life.

She remembered those first few moments, remembered standing in the foyer of the palace, .………… remembered the breathtakingly beautiful Persian tapestry ........

The sea breeze stirred her clothes. She smiled a little sadly, and in her mind the tapestry gently swayed. Two small apparitions ran giggling up the stairs: two small exquisitely rich burkas disappearing along the first floor landing. Childish squeals of mischief and joy left in the air.......

“Move to seaward, you accused of Allah! Move!”

Her thoughts were clawed back to the dhow, the captain crashing the tiller over to avoid another boat on the crowded harbour. The woman instinctively ducked her head to avoid the heavy boom as it swung over her, the rusty cockerels squawked their raucous indignation, their heads straining through the latticework, relentless.

The collision avoided, the dhow continued on its way. The cacophony dying down to the occasional command by the captain or the cry of a seagull.

The woman's thoughts returned to Beit-al-Ajaib

  …………. laughing and giggling, girls of seven or eight. A door on the first floor slammed and all sounds of them disappeared. Silence. The woman smiled. She could see herself, a young woman, dressed plainly, unselfconsciously, her sexuality tantalisingly just out of reach, hidden beneath the thin veil of her clothing. She remembered standing alone in the foyer, looking around, perplexed. Asim came through a door to the left of the tapestry.


The woman started and looked around. Then, realising, was cold again. Alone again. Alone, rocking to and fro to the rythm of the sea. Alone, beside a rough-hewn coffin.






Now Available on Amazon's Kindle $4.99 - Over 400 Pages