Hardline Hindu priest becomes UP chief minister

Hardline Hindu priest becomes UP chief ministerThe Bharatiya Janata Party has unveiled what could turn out to be its vision of the future leadership for a Hindu-nationalist India with the March 9 appointment of a hard-line Hindu priest as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He will be backed up by two deputy chief ministers, one from one of the lower…

Singapore Blogger Bends Under Threat of Huge Fine, Jail Term

Singapore Blogger Bends Under Threat of Huge Fine, Jail TermUPDATE: Han Hui Hui, a 24-year-old Singapore dissident, has buckled under to a threat of a S$600,000 fine and jp to 18 years in prison for "scandalizing" the Singapore courts and removed a series of blogs and a Facebook entry from the Internet and apologized to the court for posting them. Singapore still takes no…

China Braces for ISIS impact

China Braces for ISIS impactIn Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for building a “great wall of iron” to shield his country against a possible infiltration by the Islamic State, or ISIS, lies China’s acknowledgement that it is as much vulnerable to this threat as any other country. That is forcing a clear change in Beijing’s traditional security concepts and…

Korean Democracy: Alive and Well

Korean Democracy: Alive and WellSerious concerns have been raised about the erosion of democracy in Korea under two successive conservative governments and, in particular, the current Park Geun-hye administration, which has just been booted from office. The critics have cited party infighting, history textbook controversy, Park’s uncommunicative leadership style, passage of an anti-terror law, a clampdown on street protest,…

Torture, Rape in Myanmar

Torture, Rape in MyanmarWhen soldiers went searching for militants in Myanmar's Rakhine state last October, the result for members of the Rohingya minority was disastrous. Villages were burned, men were killed, women were sexually abused. And when one woman complained of rape, she was accused of lying by the office of the country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi,…

Massive Scandal Swamps Indonesia’s Legislature

Massive Scandal Swamps Indonesia’s LegislatureThe Indonesian political sphere has been rocked by what has been called the biggest scandal ever to engulf the House of Representatives, with officials embezzling Rp2.3 trillion (US$171.9 million) from a program to supply the public with smart identity cards. On March 9 the Jakarta Corruption Court put two high-ranking former Home Affairs Ministry officials,…

Xenophobia Flourishes in Beijing

Xenophobia Flourishes in BeijingThe recent meeting of China’s National People’s Congress has thrown up a whole number of speeches preaching nationalism and anti-foreign sentiments. These are not policy – yet. But they indicate the direction in which China is continuing to move, regardless of its Trump-era claim to be a guardian of globalisation against trade barriers and economic…

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…