Asia

Hong Kong glues down pavers to prevent violence during visit by Beijing’s Zhang Dejiang

In a sign of the times, officials in Hong Kong are gluing down bricks ahead of a visit by a top Chinese official, a move reportedly aimed at stopping protesters from turning pieces of pavement into projectiles. The road work is part of a sweeping security mobilisation that will see counter-terror measures in effect, including road closures, and barricades near the city’s central business district… Source: Hong Kong glues down pavers to prevent violence during visit by Beijing’s Zhang Dejiang Read More »

Iraq: On the Edge of Chaos

The recent storming of Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone by protesters led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr brought to the surface a long-standing dilemma: the system which has governed the country since 2003 is in need of radical reform, but because the ruling political class has in many ways come to embody the system, it is highly resistant to genuine change. Street protests and recalcitrant politicians have created a combustible formula, paralysing state institutions and threatening to bring them down. ... Read More »

China reclaims, weaponizes 3,200 acres in S China Sea: Pentagon

(From AP) China has reclaimed more than 3,200 acres of land in the southeastern South China Sea. But the country’s focus has shifted to developing and weaponizing those man-made islands so it will have greater control over the maritime region without resorting to armed conflict, according to a new Pentagon report. In its most detailed assessment to date of China’s island-building program, the Defense Department said three of the land features in the Spratly Islands… Source: China reclaims, weaponizes 3,200 ... Read More »

Could Different Borders Have Saved the Middle East?

THERE probably aren’t many things that the Islamic State, Jon Stewart and the president of Iraqi Kurdistan agree on, but there is one: the pernicious influence of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret plan for dividing up the Middle East signed by France and Britain, 100 years ago this week. It has become conventional wisdom to argue, as Vice President… Source: Could Different Borders Have Saved the Middle East? – The New York Times Read More »

Kurdish militants reportedly shoot down Turkish security forces helicopter

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ISTANBUL — They were used to stalk Russian helicopters in Afghanistan, and the United States has worked hard to keep them out of chaotic Syria. But now Kurdish guerrillas battling Turkey’s security forces may now have shoulder-fired missiles — an acquisition analysts say will seriously challenge Turkish air power and potentially intensify fighting in the region… Source: Kurdish militants reportedly shoot down Turkish security forces helicopter – The Washington Post Read More »

UN Condemns Persistent Torture in Turkey, Saudi Arabia

GENEVA—A U.N. committee that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture has condemned what it calls the ongoing practice of torture and ill-treatment in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The committee just issued its concluding observations on these and other countries. In its examination of Turkey, the U.N. Committee Against Torture did not find torture to be widespread or systematic. Nevertheless, it noted torture continues to be practiced… Source: UN Condemns Persistent Torture in Turkey, Saudi Arabia Read More »

Vietnam’s mass fish kill isn’t simply an environmental disaster

In the mass fish die-off on the country’s central coastal region, the Vietnamese government is faced with not only Vietnam’s worst ever environmental disaster but also widespread social unrest.. Millions of dead fish have washed up across some 200 km of the coast of Vietnam’s four central provinces since early last month. According to a figure given by an official on May 5, the disaster had killed at least 100 tons of fish. This… Source: Vietnam’s mass fish kill isn’t ... Read More »

Rights groups slam Nepal deal on war crimes amnesty

Human rights groups accuse ruling coalition, including Maoists, of attempting to “wash away the crimes of the conflict”. Rights groups have slammed a deal between Nepal’s ruling parties to withdraw civil war cases from courts and offer amnesty to people accused of abuses during a decade-long Maoist rebellion… Source: Rights groups slam Nepal deal on war crimes amnesty – AJE News Read More »

How Turkey Became A De Facto Dictatorship

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The forced resignation of Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu suggests only one thing—President Erdogan, who is totally absorbed by his lust for power, will tolerate no one in his government to deviate from any of his political positions. Prime Minister Davutoğlu was no exception. Although the Turkish constitution grants the Prime Minister executive powers while leaving the role of the president largely ceremonial, this is not what Erdogan had in mind when he asked then-Foreign Minister Davutoğlu to form a ... Read More »

Asia’s economic ties with Latin America: NAFTA and China

Second of two parts In the first part of this article, I recounted the story of the unlikely creation of NAFTA after Mexico ditched half a century of inward-looking, protectionist policies and proposed a free trade agreement to the United States, which eventually turned into the North American Free Trade Agreement, including Canada, in 1994. Also, we narrated how soon-after NAFTA’s trade started expanding fast, China’s… Source: Asia’s economic ties with Latin America: NAFTA and China – Asia Times Read More »

‘I am haunted’: Indonesia death row prisoners allege they were tortured to confess

Jakarta: Two fingers on Lim Jit Wee’s right hand are ugly stumps; a legacy, he says, of the torture that led to him falsely implicating a man he had never met in a crime punishable by death in Indonesia. In 2007, Lim, a Malaysian, was working as a driver for another Malaysian man when Indonesian police found 12,000 ecstasy tablets in his boss’s car… Source: ‘I am haunted’: Indonesia death row prisoners allege they were tortured to confess Read More »

How East Timor’s democracy is making it an outcast

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Five years since submitting its formal membership application to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the small Pacific country of East Timor is more determined than ever to join. It should be simple. According to ASEAN’s 1967 Bangkok Declaration, the main condition for joining the economic and political alliance is that the applicant country must be geographically located in Southeast Asia. But the 2007 ASEAN Charter introduced new… Source: How East Timor’s democracy is making it an outcast – ... Read More »

Can India Balance Between China and America?

Washington wants stronger ties, but New Delhi must remain a swing state.. Ajaya Kumar Das Some in the Indian strategic community believe that recent moves to enhance defense cooperation with the United States could make India, among others, an element in American strategy to limit Beijing’s rising power to the… Source: Can India Balance Between China and America? | The National Interest Read More »

China scrambles fighter jets as U.S. destroyer steams past disputed island

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BEIJING — A U.S. warship sailed within 12 miles of one China’s largest artificial islands Tuesday, part of a continuing effort by the Pentagon to demonstrate that the United States remains undeterred by the rapid Chinese military buildup in the South China Sea. The presence of the USS William P. Lawrence, an Arleigh Burke-class… Source: China scrambles fighter jets as U.S. destroyer steams past disputed island – The Washington Post Read More »

Kim Jong-un gets a grander title as three journalists are expelled from North Korea

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KIM Jong-un has given himself a new title — party chairman — as three journalists were expelled from North Korea for “insulting the dignity” of the country… Source: Kim Jong-un gets a grander title as three journalists are expelled from North Korea | HeraldSun Read More »

Philippines election: ‘Dictator-in-waiting’ Rodrigo Duterte headed for a huge victory

Philippines’ outgoing president compared his now likely successor to Adolf Hitler before 50 million people cast their ballots… A foul-mouthed anti-establishment outsider has been elected president of the Philippines in an extraordinary political upset that will return the island-nation to authoritarian rule 30 years after a popular uprising ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos… Source: Philippines election: ‘Dictator-in-waiting’ Rodrigo Duterte headed for a huge victory Read More »