Japanese Politics: Exciting for Once

Japanese Politics: Exciting for OnceThe stage is set for an epic general election in Japan, pitting the longest-serving post-war prime minister, Shinzo Abe, against the first woman to have a decent shot at becoming Japan’s first female premier, Tokyo’s popular governor Yuriko Koike. The epic struggle was triggered by Abe’s decision Monday to dissolve Parliament and call a snap…

India: Journalists on Edge

India: Journalists on EdgeIndia, where journalism has always been a hazardous profession, has become a killing-field, with eight murdered in the first nine months of 2017. That followed the murders of six in 2016 and five in 2015. Two were killed in 2014 and 11 in 2013. Across the country, reporters are also regularly beaten, often by the…

Singapore’s Birth Rate Continues to Decline

Singapore’s Birth Rate Continues to DeclineThe Asian Development Bank, via its latest Asian Development Outlook, is urging the Singapore government to spend more to spur domestic demand and rein in its current account surplus. But the latest population data shows just why the government remains cautious. The coming demographic challenge is getting more menacing by the year, with the world’s…

Filipino Police Seek Drug Informants via ‘Drop Boxes’

Filipino Police Seek Drug Informants via ‘Drop Boxes’Want to get rid of your mother-in-law, or a creditor, or just an unpleasant neighbor you don’t like in the Philippines? The Philippine National Police have established public “drop boxes” for informants to anonymously submit the names of alleged drug dealers and users in President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous drug war, which is thought to have…

ADB Predicts Stronger 2018 for Developing Economies

ADB Predicts Stronger 2018 for Developing EconomiesAsia’s developing economics have performed better than forecast earlier, according to the latest assessment by the Asian Development Bank in its mid-term review of the 2017 Asian Development Outlook. Some further slight improvement is forecast for 2018. However, much depends on external circumstances which have largely driven better-than-forecast 2017 performance. Most notable has been a…

With a Hostile Regime in Washington, WTO in eclipse

With a Hostile Regime in Washington, WTO in eclipseSixteen years after World Trade Organization negotiators set out to reform agricultural and other tariff barriers in 2001 in Doha. Qatar, they are still at it, and they appear hardly any closer to success.  WTO negotiators met on Sept. 13 and 15 to attempt to set goals for the trade body’s 11th ministerial conference in…

Jaipur Lit Fest Spreads International Wings

Jaipur Lit Fest Spreads International Wings“What an industry these lit fests spawn,” a friend emailed when I told him last weekend that I was at JLF Boulder, JLF being the shortened name for India’s internationally famous Jaipur Literature Festival that has sprung up in London, Melbourne and New York as well as Boulder, Colorado. I initially resisted the thought that…

Does Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-Chief Regret Washington Visit?

Does Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-Chief Regret Washington Visit?What was the US President Donald Trump trying to convey with his body language as he sat, with arms tightly folded across his chest, facing down Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was seated opposite him at the conference table during Najib’s Sept. 12 visit to the White House? Well before Najib had landed in…

China Takes to Boozing With a Vengeance

China Takes to Boozing With a VengeanceWhile western teenagers and young adults are forswearing alcohol at an increasing pace, the Chinese are taking to drinking with gusto, according to a new report by GlobalData, a London-based digital media company. The rise of a drinking culture is expected to drive the Chinese spirits market with an average compounded rise of 15 percent…

Asian Markets Steady as She Goes

Asian Markets Steady as She GoesWith US and European central banks finally beginning to move away from ultra- loose monetary policy, there are plenty of reasons to question the durability of the gains seen by global stock markets over the past year, and in some cases five and 10 years. Some assume tightening will be particularly damaging for emerging markets,…