Modi’s Uttar Pradesh Landslide

Modi’s Uttar Pradesh LandslideNarendra Modi has established himself as India’s only credible national political leader with an astonishing landslide result today in the key state of Uttar Pradesh, where the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies are winning more than 320 of 403 seats, compared with about 190 that was the highest generally expected. The vote was for…

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?The year 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for commercial airplane makers. Boeing and Airbus, makers of the “big jets,” will introduce new models this year, as will the two big makers of “regional” airliners Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. Into this busy mix come two Asian aircraft manufacturers, one in China…

A New Asian Great Game Gets Underway

A New Asian Great Game Gets UnderwayNot one but two new Silk Roads are being born from the ashes of the ancient trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent. In effect, a new Great Game – a term used to describe the 19th-century contest for political and diplomatic primacy between Britain and…

Death in the Philippines

Death in the PhilippinesIt was still dark when, at 5:30 in the morning of February 5, 1999, Prisoner N94P-2347 was taken out of his cell. Four escort guards pushed a handcuffed Leo Echegaray through a scrum of photographers to get him out of the building. Light bulbs flashing, their lenses aimed at the lone tangerine shirt that marked…

Modi Saturates Ganges Constituency in Desperate Vote Bid

Modi Saturates Ganges Constituency in Desperate Vote BidIf hyperactivity is sometimes a sign of both a desperation to win and a fear of defeat, then Narendra Modi’s frenetic saturation of Varanasi with three days of political rallies and speeches earlier this week reflects the prime minister’s worry that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidates in the constituency face the risk of losing in…

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian Visit

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian VisitModerate Muslims and non-Muslims alike may worry that the high-profile visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Malaysia and Indonesia signals another Saudi Salafi assault on traditionally more flexible Southeast Asian interpretations of Islam. But the royal tour, which also includes official visits to Japan and China as well as holidays in non-Muslim Bali, and…

China Starts Controversial Lao Rail Project

China Starts Controversial Lao Rail ProjectOn Christmas Day last year, work officially started on the China-Laos high-speed railway, a major engineering feat snaking from Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan Province, to Vientiane in Laos. Beijing hopes the track will form part of a larger transportation system, dubbed the Pan-Asian Railway, which one day may carry passengers and goods all the…

Malaysia Takes a Turn for the Religious Sinister Side

Malaysia Takes a Turn for the Religious Sinister SideTwo very worrying trends in Malaysia may have come together: the rise of religious intolerance and the use of murder as a political weapon. The well-organized kidnap and disappearance of a Chinese Christian pastor, Raymond Koh Keng Joo on Feb. 13 in the middle of Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, was clearly driven…

Malaysia’s N. Korea Ties Now a Major Embarrassment

Malaysia’s N. Korea Ties Now a Major EmbarrassmentWith the recall of North Korea’s ambassador in the wake of the murder of dictator Kim Jong-un’s elder half-brother, Malaysian authorities may want to rid themselves of a relationship that has blossomed since the two countries opened reciprocal embassies 34 years ago and has become embarrassing to say the least. Kim Jong-nam was allegedly murdered…

Indonesia Warns US Mining Giant in Fresh Dispute

Indonesia Warns US Mining Giant in Fresh DisputeThere is rising concern among business sources in Jakarta that tension between the Indonesian government and the US-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, Indonesia’s oldest foreign investor, which has been in a months-long deadlock over future mining, could affect relations between Washington and Jakarta. In addition to taking off a huge share of Freeport’s profits, business sources…