Asia

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a make-or-break year

Adnan R. Khan: For more than a decade and a half, Turkey has aggressively pursued a more prominent role in the world. In 2019, it will pay the price. The goal was unity. Adnan R. Khan Maclean’s At least, that’s what Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, claimed about his campaign to transform Turkey’s fractious parliamentary democracy into a highly centralized presidency. When his “yes” side prevailed in an April 2017 constitutional referendum, the ambitious and polarizing leader promised ... Read More »

Bali bans single-use plastics, aims to cut marine plastics by 70%: Report

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s holiday island Bali has enacted a ban on single-use plastics such as shopping bags, styrofoam and straws in efforts to curb pollution in its waters, according to a… Channel NewsAsia Source: CNA/Reuters/ad(mn) The new policy aims for a 70 per cent reduction in Bali’s marine plastics by 2019, announced Bali governor Wayan Koster a day earlier. “This policy is aimed at producers, distributors, suppliers and business actors, including individuals, to suppress the use of single-use plastics,” said Koster. “They must substitute plastics with other materials.” ... Read More »

Japan withdraws from International Whaling Commission

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Tokyo has long deflected criticism for its commercial whaling activities, arguing that eating whale meat is a part of its culture. DW Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The move sets the stage for Japan to resume commercial whaling activities next year. “Commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We ... Read More »

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

Turkey says the US just agreed to more of its demands as Ankara sees expanded power in Syria

President Donald Trump’s administration may have just handed Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan another win. Natasha Turak CNBC Less than a week after Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said Tuesday the U.S. has agreed to complete its previously established “roadmap” to remove all Kurdish militia fighters from the Northern Syrian town of… Ankara has been waiting for this guarantee for a while, complaining since its agreement in June that Washington was dragging its ... Read More »

Former Pakistan PM Sharif sentenced to seven years jail for graft

Former Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to seven years in prison for corruptionMonday, state media reported, the latest conviction in a series of allegations which saw him ousted from power last year. ISLAMABAD – AFP Hurriyet Sharif, a three-time prime minister, has denied all the charges against him and claims he is being targeted by the country’s powerful security establishment. Monday’s conviction, centred on family businesses in the Middle East, is his second stemming from a corruption investigation spurred by the Panama Papers leak, and ... Read More »

Trump’s New Embrace of Turkish President Erdogan Decried by Top US Jewish Leaders

Two prominent American Jewish leaders expressed strong concern on Monday over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of faith in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of his sudden decision to withdraw the… Ben Cohen The Algemeiner “This most recent embrace of Turkey as a strategic partner in this ‘new’ US policy — relating to ISIS, Syria, the Kurds — should raise serious alarm bells in Israel and in the… Rabbi Abraham Cooper — associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal ... Read More »

Asia’s version of Palestine emerging in Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees are being courted by Middle East and South Asia extremist groups, a dynamic that could turn Bangladesh’s overflowing camps into a… By BERTIL LINTNER CHIANG MAI, DECEMBER 24 Asia Times When Myanmar security forces launched its now notorious “clearance operations” in western Rakhine state in August 2017, it was not the first time the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority had fled en… But a failed attempt to repatriate a first group to Myanmar in November and the construction of solid, concrete buildings ... Read More »

Indians promised benefits of 100 smart cities, but the poor are sidelined again

India’s urban population is growing. More than 50% of the country’s population is forecast to be living in cities by 2030. Sujeet Kumar The Conversation This is a major challenge for government because the country’s cities lack the infrastructure (affordable housing, roads) and basic services (sanitation, water, health care) for existing inhabitants, let alone the… Globally, one in eight people live in slums where they face issues of durable housing, access to safe drinking water and toilets, and insecure tenure. ... Read More »

Australian troops to stay in Middle East despite US pullout: Morrison

Australian troops will remain in the Middle East despite US President Donald Trump announcing the withdrawal of thousands of soldiers from Syria and Afghanistan in a… Eryk Bagshaw Brisbane Times Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s presence “will remain” in the region, where more than 600 troops continue to conduct operations and train local troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We have to be conscious of the potential for a resilient and a resurgent [Islamic State],” he said.  “We’re in regular ... Read More »

‘No more Huawei’: Vodafone CEO expects telcos to dump Chinese suppliers

Vodafone Hutchison Australia chief executive Iñaki Berroeta believes the government’s decision to ban Chinese telecommunications equipment providers from Australia’s high-speed 5G rollout means Huawei will be phased out from all local mobile networks. Jennifer Duke WAtoday Vodafone uses equipment from Swedish supplier Ericsson in the core its 3G and 4G mobile networks where sensitive information processing takes place, and Finland’s Nokia and China’s Huawei for non-core parts. The Australian government banned Huawei on security grounds in August, making it the first country ... Read More »

Incoming US Secretary of Defense Shanahan has ties to US-Turkey arms trade

United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who will take over for ousted Secretary of Defense James Mattis in January, has significant ties to the U.S.-Turkey arms trade— a… Meghan Bodette The Region “I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a… Shanahan joined Boeing in 1986, and worked there for over 30 years. He had no previous ... Read More »

Turkey FM labels Netanyahu ‘a cold-blooded killer’

Israel, Turkey in new war of words on social media after a year of tense relations over multiple issues. Al Jazeera and News Agencies Turkey has hit out at Israel’s “lawless occupation” of Palestinian territory after the Israeli prime minister accused Turkey of “massacres” against Kurds in a new war of words. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu labelled Benjamin Netanyahu “a cold-blooded killer of modern times”, in a Tweet on Sunday, adding that the prime minister was “responsible for massacres ... Read More »

Soccer community demands action to bring Hakeem al-Araibi home

Australia’s soccer community is demanding the federal government step up its fight to bring home a Melbourne-based refugee footballer as fears for his safety grow. Sumeyya Ilanbey The Age Hakeem al-Araibi, who was granted refugee status by Australia after he fled Bahrain, is being held in a Thai detention centre following an incorrectly-issued Interpol red notice flagging his arrival in Thailand. Araibi’s supporters say the Pascoe Vale Football Club defender has a “very real chance” of being extradited to Bahrain, ... Read More »

Yellow Jackets flop in Portugal

Campaign to bring country to a halt tests the exportability of the protest movement. Paul Ames Politico LISBON — France’s prototype gilet jaune was, reportedly, a BMW-loving Portuguese bricklayer called Leandro Nogueira whose Facebook rage against reduced speed limits ignited traffic-disrupting demonstrations around his home in… After escalating into a nationwide revolt against the French government, the Yellow Jackets headed to Nogueira’s homeland Friday with plans for a nationwide day of action under the slogan “Vamos Parar Portugal” (Let’s… Yellow Jackets flop… Read More »

Trump Says Turkey Should Easily Be Able to Mop Up ISIS in Syria

Days after handing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a diplomatic win by announcing he’ll pull U.S. troops out of Syria, President Donald Trump defended the move, saying Turkey “should be able to… By Onur Ant, Nick Wadhams, and Selcan Hacaoglu Bloomberg Trump’s action on Syria, which was announced on Twitter and triggered the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and later Brett McGurk, a leading U.S. diplomat, came a week after the… Instead, during a lengthy phone call on Dec. 14, Trump shocked ... Read More »