US Justice Department Probe of 1MDB in Danger?

US Justice Department Probe of 1MDB in Danger?There is concern in Kuala Lumpur that the United States Justice Department’s investigation into the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd., which is ensnared in one of the world’s biggest financial scandals, could be stymied in the wake of the March 10 firing by President Donald Trump of the country’s 46 US attorneys. The Trump administration announced…

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…

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…

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…

India Jostles for Regional Primacy

India Jostles for Regional PrimacyAs the new administration in Washington DC accelerates the country’s loss of influence across Asia, India is raising its game in a contest with China for economic and political primacy in the region. That has been manifested by a flurry of visits from neighboring heads of state to New Delhi from Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic,…

No Conclusive End to Filipino Demonstrations

No Conclusive End to Filipino DemonstrationsAround this time of the year, a date that coincides with a massive revolt that ended the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, Filipinos tend to try to take stock of their country. On Sunday Feb. 25, there were demonstrations on either side of the capital Manila – one that wanted to hold steadfast to the gains…

Sea Change Awaits Trump in Thailand

Sea Change Awaits Trump in ThailandThree months after his election, a month after inauguration, Donald Trump has not publicly mentioned Thailand.  Yet in a looming foreign policy crisis over the South China Sea, the seeds of which the president partly inherited and has partly sowed, the kingdom is poised to play an outsized and oppositional role.  China has territorial disputes…

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel Case

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel CaseThere is rising concern in Manila that President Rodrigo Duterte is about to wreck the prosecution of one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Philippines, a country replete with huge scandals. On Feb. 15, the country’s solicitor general, Jose Calida, in effect nullified a guilty verdict by a local court in a…

Two Cases Spell Out Demise of Law in Hong Kong

Two Cases Spell Out Demise of Law in Hong KongThe rule of law in Hong Kong, and the notion of its being an international city, appear in danger of fraying at the seams over two well-publicized legal cases. On Feb. 17, a judge convicted seven policemen, including a Chief Inspector and a Senior Inspector, of the vicious kicking and beating of a protestor during…