Asia

Govt extends loan subsidy for first-time homebuyers

NEW DELHI: The government on Monday extended the interest subsidy scheme till March 2020 for first time urban homebuyers who have annual annual income between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 18 lakh. The Times of India TNN This will enable new home buyers to avail up front financial assistance of about Rs 2.5 lakh from the central government, which they can use for down payment while booking, construction or re-purchasing the flat. Announcing this Union housing minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “The growth and performance of credit linked ... Read More »

The other Khashoggi

A gruesome death in Ukraine provides a warning for those following the murder of the Saudi journalist. Mary Mycio Politico An opposition journalist disappears. Anonymous tapes hint at his gruesome murder. An autocrat selling himself as a pro-Western reformer, beset by intrigue at home, is blamed for the death. In moral repugnance, the democratic world shuns him, sparking a foreign policy crisis. If this sounds like the case of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, that’s because it is. But the scenario ... Read More »

Trump gives in to calls to slow down troop pullout from Syria

United States President Donald Trump has given in to pressure to slow down his planned troop pullout from Syria, permitting the US military four months to withdraw. PreesTV The New York Times reported the decision on Monday. Trump had initially given the American forces 30 days for the procedure. The American president had hinted at a more extensive pullout timetable earlier on Monday, tweeting about “slowly sending our troops back home.” Many military and Pentagon officials had sought to entirely change the president’s mind ... Read More »

Coronation of King Rama X set for early May, Thai palace says

Elaborate ceremony to be held from May 4 to 6, Royal Household Bureau announces Asia Times A three-day coronation ceremony will be held in early May for Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Royal Household Bureau announced on Tuesday. The “new” king – who is 66 and known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty – will be crowned in an elaborate ceremony to be held from May 4 to 6, it said in a televised announcement. “It’s a suitable time ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

Australia’s unwanted refugees are living with ‘nightmares’ while building new lives in the US

While a passport seems like a commodity most of us take for granted, Faisal Parvez never had one — or a citizenship. Tasha Wibawa ABC He was born stateless as a persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. “The biggest dream I have in my life is to become a citizen anywhere on the planet,” he told the ABC. Mr Parvez is one of more than 445 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru who have been resettled in the United States ... Read More »

‘The world is diminished by the death of Amos Oz, it has narrowed down’

The writer David Grossman pays tribute to his friend, the Israeli novelist and outspoken peace campaigner Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The world has been “narrowed down” by the death of the Israeli literary giant Amos Oz, according to his close friend and fellow author David Grossman. “There will not be another Amos Oz, there was only one like him. You can say this about every human being, of course, but there was something unique about Amos,” Grossman told the Observer. “Those who appreciated ... Read More »

Turkey would not allow US to inspect Russian S-400 missile systems: Official

A senior Turkish official says Ankara would not provide the United States with the opportunity to study the advanced Russian-built S-400 air defense missile system, regardless of strong opposition from Washington and… PressTV “Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has assured Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerkhov that there are no talks that Turkey will give the United States the chance to inspect S-400 air… English-language Bloomberg news network, citing two sources, recently reported that Turkey had offered the US to survey the S-400 air ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019

As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019. In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international ... Read More »

North Korea defector hack: Personal data of almost 1,000 leaked

Almost 1,000 North Korean defectors have had their personal data leaked after a computer at a South Korean resettlement centre was hacked, the unification ministry said. BBC A personal computer at the state-run centre was found to have been “infected with a malicious code”. The ministry said this is thought to be the first large-scale information leak involving North Korean defectors. The hackers’ identity and the origin of the cyber-attack is not yet confirmed. The North Gyeongsang resettlement centre is ... Read More »

Turkey hails Pakistan move on FETÖ schools

Turkey has welcomed a ruling by Pakistan’s top court to designate FETÖ a “terrorist group,” saying it should set a precedent for other countries. Ankara Hurriyet In a statement on Dec. 28, the Turkish Foreign Ministry appreciated the Pakistani Supreme Court’s ruling of handing over the FETÖ-linked schools to Turkiye Maarif Foundation. “The decision, which we consider as the manifestation of mutual cooperation based on strong bonds between Turkey and Pakistan, should set a precedent for all countries,” the ministry added. Earlier on Dec. 28, ... Read More »

Why Turkey’s Kurdish strategy will remain ineffective

Over the past decade, Turkey has pursued a “break and dent” strategy against the Kurds, by which the Turkish government seeks to dismantle Kurdish groups and push resistant factions into… Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor Turkey has now come to rely on this strategy outside its border, particularly in the northern Syrian region of Afrin. Based on this approach, Ankara aims to “cleanse” all northeastern Syrian territories held by the People’s Protection Units, or the YPG. Yet this “break and dent” strategy is futile, and the Mahkmour ... Read More »

Arizona Attorney General Argues BDS Seeks to ‘Strengthen’ Terror-Supporting Palestinian Groups

A brief filed last week by Arizona’s attorney general maintains that the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel aids terrorists — potentially marking the first time a US government official has formally taken such a… Shiri Moshe Algemeiner In an opening argument submitted to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote that legislation enacted by his state in 2016 that bars public bodies from contracting with companies that… The law, passed with bipartisan super-majorities, was blocked by a federal court in ... Read More »

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 »