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…

Purging the Past

Purging the PastFalse news is in the news. Preachers of alternative truth are everywhere. But just as insidious as news creationism is the trend to purge the memory of unpleasant facts, and to judge the past entirely in terms of the values of the present.  Singapore is a place not normally seen as squeamish about its colonial…

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…

Caught Between Two Koreas, Malaysia Dithers on Kim Killing

Caught Between Two Koreas, Malaysia Dithers on Kim KillingSouth and North Korean diplomats are battling to persuade Malaysian authorities of diametrically different versions of the February 13 Kuala Lumpur International Airport assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam, who had exiled himself out of a well-founded belief he could be murdered. One result may have been to stall the investigation,…

Long-Delayed Taiwan MTR Line Finally Opens

Long-Delayed Taiwan MTR Line Finally OpensAfter 20 years of political trench warfare and a flawed tender process, travelers arriving at Taiwan’s main gateway, the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, will finally get a gleaming new train to take them into Taipei.  The long-delayed Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line linking Taoyuan and Taipei is finally completed and opened to the public on…

Trump Aides Cool Their Jets on Asia

Trump Aides Cool Their Jets on AsiaJapan and South Korea breathed easier following the recent visits from the new US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, his first to East Asia in his new job.  They were pleased by what he had to say, namely that the Senkaku islands, disputed by China, fall under the protection of the 1960 Security Treaty that…

The Needle’s Eye and US Immigration: Equally Difficult

The Needle’s Eye and US Immigration: Equally DifficultFor anybody who has ever tried to get a loved one into the United States, there is one central truth: it is harder to immigrate to the US to live and work than perhaps any major country on the planet. It is easier to get into China. Nonetheless, during the Republican primaries for last year’s…

TPP’s Demise Doesn’t Mean China’s Outright Victory

TPP’s Demise Doesn’t Mean China’s Outright VictoryWith the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) now officially in limbo after President Donald Trump backed out, Asian markets are open for China to dominate. That is the analysis that has dominated the world media in depicting the post-TPP scenario. But for one thing, it fails to quantify the so-called domination and the myriad challenges…

Latest Singapore Economic Roadmap Marks Time

Latest Singapore Economic Roadmap Marks TimeAnyone familiar with past economic Singapore plans for facing the future would recall how radical they could be. Then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee in the early 1960s led with bold industrialisation plans centered on the Jurong area and on the late 1960s decision to allow foreign banks to set up the Asia Currency Unit…

Big Tests for Modi’s BJP in State Assembly Polls

Big Tests for Modi’s BJP in State Assembly PollsState assembly elections now in progress in five states will indicate how successful India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been in meeting the aspirations of electors who voted him into power with a landslide victory three years ago to change the way India had been run by ineffective national governments. Uttar Pradesh is the biggest…
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