Asia

China’s ‘extraordinary’ ambitions: the futuristic city being built on reclaimed land

For more than a century people have been gathering to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean at the historic Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Matt Wade WAtoday But the view from the colonial-era promenade is changing, fast. A vast land reclamation project is reshaping the famous seaside vista. A walk along the famous beachfront now takes in a flotilla of dredgers and the sound of giant machinery, all working round the clock to create more than two square kilometres of ... Read More »

Israel settlers dump sewage on Palestinian school in Qalqiliya

Israeli settlers dumped their sewage on a Palestinian school in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqilia yesterday. MEMo The Azzun Beit Amin School playground was flooded with sewage for the second time in two months as a result of the settlers’ actions. Principal Alaa Marabeh said it would take more than ten days for the sewage water to dry and this has caused a foul smell to spread across the school building and risks damaging the students’ health. ... Read More »

Pakistan Islamists block roads to protest acquittal of Christian

Karachi:  Pakistan’s ultra-Islamist party blocked roads in major cities for a third day on Friday in protest against the acquittal of a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations. The Age Reuters Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) said talks with the government have failed, and called upon its followers to get ready for a show down. “Talks have completely failed, Federal and provincial representatives and an Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Faiz took part in talks,” Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of TLP ... Read More »

Understanding and Defeating China’s Maritime Insurgency in the South China Sea

China is treating ocean space in the South China Sea as if it were land territory. How should the United States? Hunter Stires The National Interest The rule of an international system that upholds the legal and philosophical principle of the “freedom of the seas” ranks among America’s most important if uncelebrated national interests. The preservation of a free and open maritime order is imperative for a country whose ability to connect with over 80 percent of the world’s population ... Read More »

Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry

The U.S. is pursuing a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that includes the re-imposition of key energy and banking sanctions. Naysan Rafati ICG With Tehran refusing to capitulate over its nuclear program or regional policies, the U.S.-Iran rivalry could escalate across the region. The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors on 5 November is a key element of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive ... Read More »

Asia Bibi: Pakistan court overturns blasphemy death sentence

Christian woman to be freed after being sentenced in 2010, accused of insulting the prophet Muhammad Memphis Barker The Guardian Pakistan’s supreme court has struck down the death sentence for blasphemy handed down to Christian woman Asia Bibi, in a long-delayed, landmark decision that has seen the judiciary praised for its bravery in the face of threats of violence and protest from the country’s Islamist groups. The court, in a three-member bench led by chief justice Saqib Nisar, released the ... Read More »

Sri Lanka: Stepping Back from a Constitutional Crisis

The return to power of controversial former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s prime minister is unconstitutional and destabilising. ICG International actors should make future security and economic cooperation contingent on parliament reconvening immediately to select a prime minister through legal channels. What’s new? On 26 October, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly dismissed the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and appointed controversial former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the premier’s post, in a move that contravenes the constitution and threatens to destabilise ... Read More »

Beware: China may be reading your email

A new report alleges China uses key internet vulnerabilities to hijack traffic amid claims its technological success is ‘dependent on massive expropriation of foreign R&D’ Chris Taylor Asia Times A recent academic report claims that China has been routinely and systematically hijacking internet traffic from the United States, Canada, Europe and other countries through security flaws in the deep structure of the internet. To put it simply, somebody in Beijing may be receiving and reading your emails before you do, as ... Read More »

Europe’s AI ethics chief: No rules yet, please

Define ethical principles and let the courts correct problems as they come up, says Pekka Ala-Pietilä. Janosch Delcker Politico HELSINKI — In a global race to dominate artificial intelligence technology, Europe needs to keep its urge to regulate under control — at least for now. That’s the main message from Pekka Ala-Pietilä, a former president of Nokia and tech entrepreneur who is overseeing EU efforts to draw up principles that will underpin any future regulation of the technology. At the ... Read More »

Jerusalem embassy move ‘could land Australia in the International Court of Justice’

A top international law expert has warned Australia could face legal action in The Hague if it went ahead with moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubles down on the… David Wroe The Age The Palestinian Authority has already filed a suit with the International Court of Justice against the United States after President Donald Trump shifted his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, whose territorial status remains unresolved in the… Don Rothwell, a professor of international law ... Read More »

Thousands of Syrians stuck in the Rukban camp risk starvation

Tens of thousands of Syrians stranded in a desert camp near the Jordanian border are at risk of starvation amid dwindling supplies and the approach of winter, while regional powers trade blame over who… BEIRUT – The Associated Press Hurriyet Desperately needed aid deliveries to the besieged Rukban camp have repeatedly failed or been postponed, including a U.N. convoy which was supposed to go in on Oct. 25 but has now been… The camp is home to around 45,000 people, many of them women and children, who ... Read More »

Sri Lankan president suspends parliament after firing prime minister

A constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka deepened on Saturday as President Maithripala Sirisena temporarily suspended parliament a day after sacking the prime minister and replacing him with a… Reuters The Age Sirisena fired Ranil Wickremesinghe and swore in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as his replacement late on Friday in a move cheered by Rajapaksa’s supporters but described as a… The president’s order to suspend parliament until November 16 was widely seen as an attempt to stop Wickremesinghe from trying to ... Read More »

Why India Might Be Wasting Its Time on Aircraft Carriers

Carriers are also expensive symbols of national prestige, and it is unlikely the Indian Navy will want to risk losing one, two or all three. Robert Beckhusen The National Interest Essentially, this makes Indian carriers’ self-defeating, with the flattops existing primarily to defend themselves from attack rather than taking the fight to their enemy. The Indian Navy has put out a proposal for its third aircraft carrier, tentatively titled the Vishal due to enter service in the latter 2020s. The 65,000-ton Vishal ... Read More »

Despite PR duress, Saudi $6bn to Pakistan comes with strings

Saudi Arabia’s crisis over Khashoggi murder is Imran Khan’s gain, but Pakistan may still be expected to up military cooperation with the kingdom. Suddaf Chaudry Asia Times Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan returned home this week from Saudi Arabia with a pledge of $6 billion in loans. Khan was likely able to secure the deal with fewer strings than a previous rejected offer, due to enormous international scrutiny on the kingdom in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi murder. But ... Read More »

Bahrain says ‘Arab NATO’ to be formed by next year

The alliance aims to include six Gulf countries and Egypt, though Saudi-led blockade on Qatar remains an obstacle. Al Jazeera Bahrain‘s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa has said a planned Gulf security alliance, expected to include Egypt, will be formed by next year. At a security summit in capital Manama on Saturday, Khalifa said the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), an initiative pushed by US President Donald Trump to confront Iran, will help the Gulf remain “a… “It (MESA) is an alliance ... Read More »

Assyrian Journalist Betrayed By the Indifference of the West Over Syria

Hasakah, Syria — Souleman Yusph, a Christian journalist and researcher specialising in minority issues, hails from Qamishli, a town in the Kurdish-controlled north-eastern region of Syria. AINA He spoke to AsiaNews about his disappointment vis-à-vis the indifference of the West, especially the United States, who could exert pressure to defend Christians in Syria but instead shows that it does not care about them and their future. He also expressed fear of ending up again in the crosshairs of Kurdish authorities ... Read More »