1H2017 Review: Korea

1H2017 Review: KoreaSouth Korea’s long-running political upheaval ensured that 2017 kicked off amid controversy. The very first day of the year saw president Park Geun-hye denouncing her impeachment by the National Assembly. However, on March 10, the Constitutional Court upheld the ruling, ending a presidency mired in controversy since Park’s election in 2012. Park was then arrested…

1H2017 Review: Japan

1H2017 Review: JapanFor Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 2017 has been the year that his political credibility came into doubt. A poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper on June 17 and 18 showed that Abe’s approval rating fell 10 points to 36%, and the rate of disapproval reached 44% - his first net negative rating since…

1H2017 Review: Singapore

1H2017 Review: SingaporeSingaporean politics was rocked in June by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings, who accused him of abusing his power. Their main grievance concerned what they considered the prime minister’s efforts to acquire and preserve the family home. His actions, they argued, ran contrary to the dying wishes of their father, Lee Kuan Yew, who…

1H2017 Review: Taiwan

1H2017 Review: TaiwanTaiwan’s gross domestic product is headed for its fastest clip since 2014, according to an economic think tank. GDP will probably exceed 2%, according to a forecast released in April by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER). Darson Chiu, deputy director of macroeconomic forecasting at TIER, said the figure is not necessarily “a very…

Book Review: Trickle-Down Censorship

Book Review: Trickle-Down CensorshipAs we enter a post-truth world – or so we are told -- there’s probably no better time than to curl up with JFK Miller’s Trickle-Down Censorship: An Outsider’s Account of Working Inside China’s Censorship Regime. It serves well as a timely reminder of the dangers in the other direction – state control of truth…

Jaipur Lit Fest gets massive crowds for books and fun

North India’s two annual cultural jamborees have this year again pulled in tens of thousands of expanding crowds from home and abroad as they reach their ten-year anniversaries – the Jaipur Literature Festival last month and the India Art Fair next year. Both provide a mixture of culture, education and entertainment, having begun in a relatively…

Australia and a US–China Trade War

Australia and a US–China Trade WarIt’s time for Australia to get ready for a trade war between the United States and China. Our security alliance partner looks set to pick a fight with our biggest customer. And all this on the back of the US abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a rules-setting trade deal in which Australia was heavily invested.…

Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” for Muslims: Najib Exempt?

Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” for Muslims: Najib Exempt?At 2:30 a.m. one day in mid-November, after the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the United States, the telephone rang in the official residence of Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia. Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor answered the telephone. On the other end was businessman Syed Azman of Weststar Group, a sprawling…

Economic Outlook 2017: Thailand

Economic Outlook 2017: ThailandThailand’s economy is poised for modest growth in 2017 as solid domestic spending is expected to offset weaker export growth. Confidence is expected to return as the country puts a long period of mourning its late King Bhumibol Adulyadej behind it and rallies around Vajiralongkorn, his successor. “The Thai economy shows signs of a nascent…

Gambling on Chinese Investment in Laos

Gambling on Chinese Investment in LaosWith its massive cupolas, one shaped like a green crown and the other painted bright gold, Kings Romans Casino does not blend in with the forests of rural Southeast Asia, but the establishment is the heart of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GT-SEZ), a controversial gambling hub in northern Laos. The area has mostly…
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