Asia

Modi promises inclusive India after stunning election win

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to unite the country on May 23 after a huge election win, with his party on course to increase its majority on a mandate of pursuing business-friendly policies and… NEW DELHI/KOLKATA- Reuters Hurriyet Official data from India‘s Election Commission showed Modi‘s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead in 298 of the 542 seats available, up from the 282 it won in 2014 and more than the… That would give it the first back-to-back majority for a single ... Read More »

Thai dissidents living in exile fear for their lives after a string of disappearances and murders

A string of mysterious murders and deportations across South-East Asia has Thai dissidents fearing for their lives and members of a controversial folk band say they may be targeted next. Liam Cochrane ABC The band Faiyen, which means “cold fire” in Thai, fled the country after the 2014 coup and has written songs criticising the military government and the monarchy. Late last week, the band posted a chilling message on Facebook. “We … fear for our lives. Many trusted people ... Read More »

Could One of America’s Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Michael Peck The National Interest What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has ... Read More »

A Path to War With Iran

How Washington’s Escalation Could Lead to Unintended Catastrophe Philip H. Gordon Foreign Affairs When President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal last May, many critics argued that he risked setting off a chain of events that could lead to war. The nuclear deal wasn’t perfect, supporters of the deal acknowledged, but if the United States precipitously walked away and the deal collapsed, Iran might resume its nuclear enrichment program, and to stop it, the ... Read More »

Why the US and China will have to make it work

Earlier this month, the US and China seemed on the point of a trade rapprochement. The tariffs Washington and Beijing have slapped on each other in recent months were about to be reversed. Brisbane Times / Telegraph, London Then Donald Trump took to Twitter – a phrase future historians will be using a lot, perhaps – signalling Sino-US trade negotiations had shifted from sweet to sour. “The trade deal with China continues, but too slowly,” Trump tweeted. “They broke the ... Read More »

India’s acrimonious election comes to an end

Voting in one of India‘s most acrimonious elections in decades entered its final day on May 19 as Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrambled to hang on to his overall majority. VARANSI, India – Agence France Presse Hurriyet Polls close at 6:00 pm (1230 GMT) in the seventh and final round of voting, ending the world’s biggest election with 900 million eligible voters from Goa’s beaches to Mumbai’s slums and… Long queues formed outside polling stations in eight northern states electing the final ... Read More »

Israeli Ambassador’s ‘Bible Speech’ at U.N. goes rival

A video of Ambassador Danny Danon holding the Bible and asserting the Jewish people’s right to Israel has been translated into multiple languages including Turkish. JPost Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon’s speech several weeks ago has taken on a new life on social media and YouTube as translations into different languages have propelled the “biblical speech” well beyond the walls of the United Nations building. Wearing a kippah and reading from the Bible, Danon defended Israel’s right to ... Read More »

Picturing Sri Lanka’s Undead War

Ten years after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, Crisis Group’s Sri Lanka Project Director Alan Keenan and Photographer Julie David de Lossy travelled 1,500km through ex-combat zones. ICG They found a population finding ways to cope with their traumatic experiences and an extraordinary array of monuments to the war. Ten years have passed since Sri Lanka’s 26-year war came to an end on 18 May 2009. A decisive victory over the Tamil Tigers placed the Sinhalese-majority government firmly ... Read More »

Open letter to UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The following Lobby for Cyprus open letter was sent to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs regarding Turkey’s illegal operations in the EEZ of Cyprus and the recent statement in Parliament by the UK Minister for Europe. Τhe Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Foreign and Commonwealth Office King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH 17 May 2019 Dear Minister I am writing to you regarding the reply given by ... Read More »

Taiwan becomes first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage

Supporters celebrate as legislation is passed giving gay couples right to marry Lily Kuo The Guardian Taiwan has legalised same-sex marriage, the first of any Asian state, with the passage of legislation giving gay couples the right to marry. Lawmakers on Friday comfortably passed part of a bill that would allow gay couples to enter into “exclusive permanent unions” and apply for marriage registration with government agencies. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who campaigned on a platform of marriage equality, tweeted after the ... Read More »

Cyprus escalation could drill hole in Irish sacred cow of neutrality

Europe Letter: Danger of war of words escalating into military conflict remains real Patrick Smyth The Irish Times The publication by the Institute of International and European Affairs of a new analysis of Irish neutrality by Prof Patrick Keatinge is timely. It comes just as fellow EU member Cyprus looks to its partners for solidarity – at this stage just political – over the illegal incursion by Turkish drilling ships into its Aegean territorial waters or Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The move, which has ... Read More »

Letter to Sir Alan Duncan – Cyprus

Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, Foreign and Commonwealth Office King Charles St, Whitehall, Westminster, London SW1A 2AH                                            London 16 May 2019 Dear Minister, TURKISH LATEST INVASION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS (EEZ) I refer to your latest reply to (Labour) Rt. Hon  Bambos Charalambous’ question in the House of Commons on 14 May 2019 regarding the latest aggressive Turkish action in invading this time the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus “Bambos Charalambous Will ... Read More »

NKorea suffering worst drought in decades

North Korea says it is suffering its worst drought in nearly four decades amid reports of severe food shortages. The Canberra Times Australian Associated Press The official Korean Central News Agency said an average of 54.4 millimetres of rain fell throughout the country in the first five months of this year. It said that is the lowest level since 1982, when North Korea received 51.2mm of rain on average during the same period. The report came after United Nations food ... Read More »

Taking the U.S. and Iran Off Collision Course

A series of escalations in both word and deed have raised fears of U.S.-Iranian military confrontation, either direct or by proxy. ICG It is urgent that cooler heads prevail – in European capitals as in Tehran and Washington – to head off the threat of a disastrous war. For the past year, relations between the U.S. and Iran have brought to mind a slow-motion train wreck. Of late, the pace has dangerously accelerated, and tensions could soon lead to a… ... Read More »

How 9/11 and China’s plan for blanket surveillance created a wave that CCTV camera makers Hikvision and Dahua rode to huge success

Hangzhou’s Binjiang district is home to three of China’s biggest surveillance camera makers Hikvision, Dahua and Uniview benefited from rise in demand for surveillance after 9/11 terror attacks China is famous for its one-industry towns. Gurao in southern Guangdong province is known for making bras. Qiaotou in Zhejiang province produces most of the world’s buttons. Sarah Dai South China Morning Post The city of Tianjin to the north is a major manufacturer of bicycles. Then there is Hangzhou’s Binjiang district, ... Read More »

Duterte’s Tokyo visit to help boost PH-Japan ties – Palace

Malacañang confirmed on Tuesday President Duterte’s visit to Tokyo, Japan by the end of the month to further boost relations between the two countries. By Argyll Cyrus Geducos Manila Bulletin Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President will make his third visit to Japan before the month ends. “Sure na pupunta siya doon. Tinext ko si CP, Chief Protocol Robert Borje, wala pa siyang sagot kung kailan exact date (President Duterte will surely go to Japan. I texted Chief of ... Read More »