Asia in 2016: Hong Kong

Asia in 2016: Hong KongJust as the aftershocks of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement demonstrations of 2014 had calmed down, the Year of the Monkey began in Hong Kong with a violent surprise. In February, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department cracked down on popular but unlicensed street food vendors in Kowloon’s gritty Mong Kok neighborhood, prompting an angry response…

Asia in 2016: China

Asia in 2016: ChinaThe Chinese government had much to be irritated about in 2016, both at home from its gyrating stock markets, and abroad from an unfavorable international ruling on its South China Sea expansion and attacks on its economic policy from Donald Trump, now President-elect of the United States. The Chinese government rejected an international tribunal’s ruling…

Asia in 2016: Philippines

Asia in 2016: PhilippinesThe Philippines has endured a turbulent year under Rodrigo Duterte, who assumed the country’s presidency from June 30. His agenda, which has included extra-judicial killings as part of a war on drugs and sidelining the United States as an ally, has put the Philippines back in the headlines. The controversial campaign against drugs, in which…

Asia in 2016: Thailand

Asia in 2016: ThailandThailand, under military rule since 2014, made little progress towards democracy during 2016. In August, a clear majority of voters – more than 60 percent supported a military-backed draft constitution in a national referendum. Turnout was estimated at no more than 55 percent, although authorities did not issue an official figure. An army-appointed committee wrote…

Asia in 2016: Indonesia

Asia in 2016: IndonesiaIndonesia recorded a fiscally promising 2016, with solid gross domestic growth and a supportive monetary environment bolstering economic momentum. Elected to office barely two years ago, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been focused on improving the economy through public spending and a welcome cabinet re-shuffle in July which saw the widely respected Sri Mulyani Indrawati,…

Asia in 2016: India

Asia in 2016: IndiaLandmark economic reforms introduced in India last year contrasted sharply with rising extremism, suggesting that the rapidly growing country is still battling old demons of religious divisiveness, rigidity and orthodoxy even as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi adopts a more streamlined financial outlook. Growing intolerance of dissent was highlighted in February 2016 during…

Veteran Malaysian Diplomat Sounds Alarm over Tyranny

Veteran Malaysian Diplomat Sounds Alarm over TyrannyOvercome our fear or go quietly into the dark night that awaits us Fear is filling our land. People are becoming increasingly afraid of their government, a government which has been amassing more and more power to harass, intimidate, threaten, punish or imprison those who oppose or disagree with it. The goal is to cow…

Trump Oil: Good for What Ails You!

Trump Oil: Good for What Ails You!America just got took by the guy in the stovepipe hat, standing behind the wagon, with the monkey playing the accordion while he peddles salvation and snake oil. For those in Asia who are utterly agog watching this carnival of the animals, what you’re seeing is not an illusion. It is a peculiarly American phenomenon…

Fossil Fuel Industry Knew the Climate Damage it was Causing

Fossil Fuel Industry Knew the Climate Damage it was CausingFor almost 40 years, the fossil fuel industry has been keeping a huge secret from the general public. They have known that their products including oil, coal, and natural gas are the primary causes of global warming and the resulting climate change worldwide.  That was revealed with the release of a report last year by…

Analyst’s Murder Highlights Cambodian Misrule

Analyst’s Murder Highlights Cambodian MisruleMinutes after prominent Cambodian independent political analyst Kem Ley was gunned down in broad daylight, police arrested a “suspect” who had “confessed” to the assassination. Within hours, a video of the suspect’s interrogation—the man bleeding from the head and scared witless—was released to the TV Station BTV, which is 100 percent owned by the daughter…
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