• Thai junta shoots down proposal to slash defence spending

    Thai junta shoots down proposal to slash defence spending

    Thailand’s junta defended its $7 billion defence budget and annual draft on Monday after political opponents proposed slashing military spending by 10 percent and ending conscription after elections. The country spends among the most on defence in Southeast Asia and recent big purchasesincluding submarines and tanks from Chinahave drawn criticism in a state riddled with […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 7:15 AM
  • Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak

    Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak

    The Philippine health secretary said Monday that 136 people, mostly children, have died of measles and 8,400 others have fallen ill in an outbreak blamed partly on vaccination fears. A massive immunisation drive that started last week in hard-hit Manila and four provincial regions may contain the outbreak by April, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | AP | 7:14 AM
  • It’s looking like a US-China trade deal is near  and Beijing will get everything it wanted

    It’s looking like a US-China trade deal is near and Beijing will get everything it wanted

    The US-China trade dispute appears to be ending: Signals are pointing to a done deal. Based on those signs, China will continue to run large trade surpluses with the US, and it will never accept Washington-imposed reforms of its trade and industry. US President Donald Trump was apparently (ill) advised that China’s readiness to reduce […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | CNBC | 6:00 AM
  • China’s Communist Party requires millions of people to tune into ‘Xi Jinping thought’ every day

    China’s Communist Party requires millions of people to tune into ‘Xi Jinping thought’ every day

    The hottest app on the block in China is no longer the all-in-one social media platform WeChat nor the hugely popular video sharing app TikTok, but a new propaganda platform that teaches “Xi Jinping thought”. Xuexi Qiangguo which literally translates to “study powerful country” in Chinese and was launched on January 1 this year is […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | ABC | 6:00 AM
  • Russia and China Are Driving a Wedge Between Estranged US and Europe

    Russia and China Are Driving a Wedge Between Estranged US and Europe

    During his speech to the Munich Security Conference in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a prediction that many in the West dismissed. He said the Western system of alliances with its “one master, one sovereign” sitting in Washington, D.C. would eventually “destroy itself from within.” That speech has aged remarkably well. Twelve years on, […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • Was the US on the brink of war with N Korea before Trump? A review of the evidence

    Was the US on the brink of war with N Korea before Trump? A review of the evidence

    Was the United States on the verge of war against North Korea during the presidency of Barack Obama? Donald Trump has said he thinks so. “If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | Politifact | 7:10 AM
  • Exclusive: US discussing exchanging liaison officers with N Korea

    Exclusive: US discussing exchanging liaison officers with N Korea

    The US and North Korea are seriously considering exchanging liaison officers, an incremental step towards building formal diplomatic relations, two sources with knowledge of the discussions told CNN. News of the discussions comes days ahead of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s second summit, which is set to take place in […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | CNN | 6:00 AM
  • US blocks N Korea efforts to improve civil aviation: report

    US blocks N Korea efforts to improve civil aviation: report

    The US has reportedly blocked an effort by North Korea to allow commercial air travel within its airspace at a United Nations agency. Several sources close to the effort told Reuters that the Trump administration pressured the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to drop plans with North Korea to open a new air route that […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | The Hill | 6:00 AM
  • State media warns officials against defeatism amid ‘crucial moment’ for N. Korea

    State media warns officials against defeatism amid ‘crucial moment’ for N. Korea

    North Korea stands at a “historical turning point,” the country’s highest-circulation newspaper said on Monday, warning party officials against “falling into a swamp of defeatism” in fulfilling the goals of the ruling party’s five-year strategy for national economic development. In an editorial that comes just nine days before an expected US-DPRK summit in Hanoi, the […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | NK News | 6:00 AM
  • Huawei founder says Huawei CFO arrest was politically motivated: BBC

    Huawei founder says Huawei CFO arrest was politically motivated: BBC

    Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said on Monday that the arrest of his daughter, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, was politically motivated. “Firstly, I object to what the US has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable,” Ren told the BBC in an interview. Canada arrested Meng on December 1 at the […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • White House confirms new trade talks with China

    White House confirms new trade talks with China

    The White House confirmed on Monday a new round of planned trade talks with China. “Today, President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States will welcome an official delegation from China for a series of meetings starting on February 19, 2019, to discuss the trade relationship between the two countries,” White House press secretary […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | The Hill | 6:00 AM
  • N. Korean envoy en route to Hanoi ahead of Trump-Kim summit: Yonhap

    N. Korean envoy en route to Hanoi ahead of Trump-Kim summit: Yonhap

    The North Korean special representative for the US arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, apparently en route to Vietnam to meet his Washington counterpart ahead of a second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said. Kim Hyok Chol arrived in the Chinese capital at around 10 am (0200 GMT) […]

    20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM

Society

The battle for Hmong heritage in Vietnam

Vuong Duy Bao surveys his ancestral palace, a vestige of Vietnam’s marginalised Hmong ethnic minority that he says was taken from his family by local officials. The wooden structure is laden with historic markers: opium flowers carved into pillars in a nod to the region’s once-booming trade, and an iron fence made with metal imported […]

Goodbye, again: Vietnam’s reburials send souls on final journey

In the dead of night in a Hanoi cemetery, Nguyen Van Thang’s casket is unearthed; his bones carefully cleaned, wrapped in silk and then reburied, so he can finally segue into the next life. The ceremony is one of Vietnam’s most sacred death rituals, an ancient custom usually carried out before the Tet lunar new […]

Vietnam jails man for 14 years for attempting to overthrow state

A court in Vietnam has jailed a man for 14 years for attempting to overthrow the state, in cahoots with a group based in the United States, the Ministry of Public Security said on Wednesday. Phan Van Binh, 47, was accused by the court of working for a California-based group called the Provisional National government […]

Health

Thirteen countries from Asia and the Pacific plan scale-up of PrEP and HIV self-testing

Representatives from 13 countries across Asia and the Pacific gathered in Bangkok, Thailand, from 29 to 31 October to develop road maps to implement and expand pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV self-testing in the region. In discussions on building capacity for the rollout of PrEP and HIV testing innovations in Asia and the Pacific, policy-makers, […]

After eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, Malaysia sets sights on Hepatitis B

The health ministry said today it will focus on eliminating mother-to-child transmission of Hepatitis B, after Malaysia became the first country in the Western Pacific to eradicate such transmissions in HIV and syphilis. Health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said a few states will begin pilot programmes of targeted screening for Hepatitis B among pregnant mothers, after […]

China confirms first human case of H7N4 bird flu

China confirms first human case of H7N4 bird flu

China has confirmed the first human case of H7N4 bird flu, prompting Hong Kong to issue a health warning for those travelling to the mainland during the busy Lunar New Year holiday. The strain was identified in a 68-year-old woman from the eastern province of Jiangsu who was admitted to hospital after falling ill on […]

FinanceAsia

Western Areas Releases FY2019 Half Year Financial Results

Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA, “Western Areas” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the Company’s financial results for the half year ended 31 December 2018 (“1HFY19”). Western Areas continued to deliver reliable and consistent production from the Forrestania operations, while also making excellent progress toward advancing the Odysseus Project (“Odysseus”) following release of the […]

Mitsubishi Corporation: Gas4Sea Partners and Equinor Signed an LNG Bunkering Agreement

TOKYO, Feb 19, 2019 – (JCN Newswire) – Marine LNG Zeebrugge, a joint venture of the Gas4Sea partners – ENGIE, Mitsubishi Corporation and NYK – has signed an agreement with the Norwegian multinational energy group Equinor for supplying their four crude shuttle tankers with LNG as marine fuel in particular in the port of Rotterdam. […]

JCB Extends Its Reach across Europe with JCC Payment Systems

Cyprus, Feb 19, 2019 – (ACN Newswire) – JCB International, Co., Ltd. (JCBI), the international operations subsidiary of JCB Co., and JCC, the largest face to face acquirer in Cyprus, today announced the signing of a joint licencing agreement enabling JCB cards to be used at all JCC POS systems, ATMs and online touch points […]

Regional

Former MP denies involvement in Cambodia jobs syndicate

Former Julau MP Datuk Sng Chee Hua lodged a police report today, denying that he was involved in a syndicate that sent locals to work in Cambodia only to have them arrested and jailed. He lodged the report at the Ulu Lanang Police Station in Sibu this morning. He said the allegations that he was […]

Vietnam police seize nearly 300 kilograms of meth

A massive haul of nearly 300 kilograms of methamphetamine pills was seized in central Vietnam on Sunday, police said, the latest major drug bust in a country where the use of synthetic narcotics is on the rise. While Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world, it remains a popular transport hub […]

Former MP denies involvement in Cambodia jobs syndicate

Former Julau MP Datuk Sng Chee Hua lodged a police report today, denying that he was involved in a syndicate that sent locals to work in Cambodia only to have them arrested and jailed. He lodged the report at the Ulu Lanang Police Station in Sibu this morning. He said the allegations that he was […]

China

China Seizes $1.5 Billion in a Sweeping Crackdown on Online Lenders

Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday. Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But […]

China rejects Australian parliament cyber attack claims as ‘baseless’ and ‘irresponsible’

Foreign ministry spokesman says speculation and sanctions will only ‘poison the atmosphere for cooperation’ China has hit back at suggestions it was behind a sophisticated cyber attack on Australia’s political parties, warning “irresponsible” and “baseless” speculation will heighten tensions. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, revealed on Monday cyber experts believe a state actor was responsible […]

Carmakers brace for a terrible year as China’s slowdown deepens

After a tough 2018, global automakers look set for another bruising year. Data published Monday show that the slowdown in China, the world’s biggest car market, is getting worse. And the United States is considering imposing tariffs on imported cars, a move that would hit global brands hard. Passenger car sales in China slumped by […]

Malaysia

Mahathir : Tolerance is key to development, peace in Malaysia

Tolerance as practised by all Malaysians is the key to development and peace in the country, prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. Despite being a multi-racial and multi-religious country, he said the people in Malaysia were not hostile towards each other, but instead had been cooperative in celebrating their cultural and religious festivals together. […]

PAS says supporting Dr M as PM ‘alone’ in defending Malay-Muslim interests

PAS said it is supporting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to remain as prime minister until the next general election since the latter is seemingly “alone” in Pakatan Harapan (PH) in defending Malay-Muslim interests. In a statement yesterday, party information chief Nasrudin Hassan, alleged that there is a movement to unseat Dr Mahathir as prime minister, […]

Expect more Malaysians working as labourers overseas, say experts

Experts warn that more Malaysians may have to work overseas as migrant workers and maids if the economy does not improve, following the detention and release of 47 Malaysians duped into working in Cambodia. Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said this included Malaysians working overseas as legal and […]

Indonesia

Tough policing is restoring Indonesia’s fisheries

Scuttling illegal vessels is reducing illegal activity but better cooperation with China, which owns the world’s largest fleet of distant water fishing vessels, is needed. Five years ago the world’s most populous archipelago nation started taking action against the decimation of its fish stocks. Indonesia’s waters were being plundered by vessels from nearby countries, particularly […]

ConocoPhillips eyes Indonesia future with new Repsol discovery

Spain’s Repsol made a new gas discovery in Indonesia just a few miles from ConocoPhillips’ operations, likely sparking new interest in the Houston oil and gas firm’s future in the region, according to a new report. ConocoPhillips is aiming to extend its production sharing contract in Indonesia’s Corridor Block, and the new Repsol discovery could […]

Norway starts payments to Indonesia for cutting forest emissions

Almost a decade after Norway signed a $1 billion deal with Indonesia to help protect its tropical forests, the first payment for reduced emissions will be made after deforestation rates fell, environmentalists and government officials said. Indonesia imposed a moratorium on forest-clearing under the 2010 climate deal, with payments linked to the Southeast Asian nation’s […]

Singapore

Singapore Budget 2019: Recognising unpaid caregiving work sends right signal

There was much chatter on the issue of inequality last year, as fears of a widening income divide and declining social mobility dominated national conversations. Singapore’s social policy today is targeted at reducing inequality and fostering conditions that allow for greater inclusion and well-being. This year’s Budget shows that the government has chosen to act […]

Budget 2019: Smaller allowances for duty-free alcohol and GST relief for goods bought overseas

The value of goods that can be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for travellers entering Singapore will be tightened from Tuesday, Finance minister Heng Swee Keat said on Monday (18 February). The decrease in allowance applicable for GST relief comes amid rising international travel, said Heng, who was delivering his Singapore Budget […]

Yahoo Poll: Are we seeing a changed Ministry of Defence?

When Singapore’s minister of Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, spoke in Parliament last week about the recent spate of NS training-related deaths, he was ” a different man”. He was, according to P N Balji, no longer the stern-looking, “don’t-mess-with-me” politician who joined the ruling PAP in 2001. Instead, Ng showed a more mellow side, […]

Thailand

Thai junta shoots down proposal to slash defence spending

Thai junta shoots down proposal to slash defence spending

Thailand’s junta defended its $7 billion defence budget and annual draft on Monday after political opponents proposed slashing military spending by 10 percent and ending conscription after elections. The country spends among the most on defence in Southeast Asia and recent big purchasesincluding submarines and tanks from Chinahave drawn criticism in a state riddled with […]

Thailand grows at best pace in 6 years, beating expectations

Higher domestic demand and record tourism arrivals boost Q4 GDP, but election could impact 2019 pace THAILAND’S economy grew at its best pace in six years in 2018, with fourth-quarter beating expectations on higher domestic demand and record tourism arrivals. The state planning agency on Monday cut its forecast for 2019 exports, the main growth […]

Thailand economy bolstered by domestic demand

Thailand’s economy grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter than the previous three months, as local demand helped to offset a slide in exports. Gross domestic product rose 3.7 percent from a year ago, up from a revised 3.2 percent in the third quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said. […]

Philippines

Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak

Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak

The Philippine health secretary said Monday that 136 people, mostly children, have died of measles and 8,400 others have fallen ill in an outbreak blamed partly on vaccination fears. A massive immunisation drive that started last week in hard-hit Manila and four provincial regions may contain the outbreak by April, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III […]

European bank eyes presence in Philippines

Another foreign bank, this time from Europe, has expressed interest in establishing a presence in the Philippines, a top official from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said. BSP deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said a representative of a bank in Europe indicated such interest during the 2019 Annual Reception for the Banking Community last January […]

Duterte’s wild proposal: Changing the name of the Philippines

The Philippines was named after a pasty guy from Spain who never actually set foot in the Philippines. King Philip II, ruler of the Spanish Empire for much of the 1500s, also regarded the archipelago’s inhabitants as inferior. He’d prefer to die 100 times, he said, than become the “ruler of heretics.” So he sent […]

Japan

Japan frets over ‘nightmare’ outcome from Trump-Kim summit

When US President Donald Trump sits down to talk peace with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later this month, one of America’s closest alliesJapanwill be looking on with apprehension. Like the first time Trump met Kim last June, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has found himself on the outside peering in before their second […]

Japan keen to do post-Brexit trade deal quicklyUK trade minister Fox

British trade minister Liam Fox said on Monday that Japan was keen to agree a post-Brexit trade deal and believed it could be done “quite quickly”. The Financial Times earlier reported Japan had reacted with dismay to a letter from Fox and foreign minister Jeremy Hunt encouraging it to agree a quick trade deal with […]

Honda to close UK plant in 2022, risking 3,500 jobs: reports

Japanese car giant Honda is expected to announce the shutdown of its plant in south west England in 2022, putting 3,500 jobs at risk, media reports said Monday. The carmaker is to announce the closure of its Swindon plant on Tuesday, according to Sky News, but still keep its European headquarters in nearby Bracknell. Nissan […]

Korea

Was the US on the brink of war with N Korea before Trump? A review of the evidence

Was the US on the brink of war with N Korea before Trump? A review of the evidence

Was the United States on the verge of war against North Korea during the presidency of Barack Obama? Donald Trump has said he thinks so. “If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of […]

Memorial speaks to N Korea’s ties to summit host Vietnam

In a rice field in northern Vietnam, 14 headstones are an enduring symbol of the wartime friendship of Vietnam and North Korea. They mark the original burial ground of North Korean pilots who died while secretly fighting alongside Vietnamese comrades against US Air Force and Navy planes during the Vietnam War. The role of North […]

US blocks N Korea efforts to improve civil aviation: report

US blocks N Korea efforts to improve civil aviation: report

The US has reportedly blocked an effort by North Korea to allow commercial air travel within its airspace at a United Nations agency. Several sources close to the effort told Reuters that the Trump administration pressured the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to drop plans with North Korea to open a new air route that […]

Hong Kong

Ways available for domestic enterprises to list in HK

The year 2018 witnessed a new record in the number of domestic enterprises that listed in Hong Kong in recent years. This column describes the main ways available for domestic enterprises to list in Hong Kong and the principle factors to consider when selecting the different ways that are helpful for domestic enterprises and investment […]

China Plans to Turn HK and Macau Into a Silicon Valley Rival

China unveiled a sweeping plan to link Hong Kong and Macau with cities in southern China to create a so-called Greater Bay Area, aiming to transform the coastal region into a high-tech megalopolis to rival California’s Silicon Valley. The outline plan, published in Chinese by Xinhua News Agency late Monday, said the government will seek […]

HK govt testing hi-tech monitoring systems for ‘smart’ prisons

Prisons across the city are testing wristband trackers, video monitoring tech and drug-detecting robots. According to a recent report, Hong Kong prisons are testing a variety of high-tech services that will allow correctional facilities to better track inmates. The city’s Commissioner of Correctional Services claimed that the new services will be used to monitor for […]

Taiwan

European Parliament members decorated for Taiwan-EU contributions

A group of visiting European Parliament (EP) members praised Taiwan’s democracy Monday as an example for the region as they were awarded medals by Foreign minister Joseph Wu for their years of contributions to promoting Taiwan-European Union (EU) relations. In a ceremony held at the foreign ministry headquarters in Taipei, EP members Bas Belder from […]

Former President Ma to host energy conference in March

A power and energy conference is set to be held next month to discuss how Taiwan can ensure an adequate supply of electricity in the future, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation said at a press conference Monday. The event will be held on March 10, a day before the eighth […]

Canadian envoy seeking to increase his country’s visibility in Taiwan

Canada’s representative to Taiwan Jordan Reeves said during a visit to the Central News Agency on Monday that he is working to raise his country’s profile and give it greater visibility among Taiwanese. On his first visit to CNA since he took office last year, Reeves said in a meeting with CNA president Chang Jui-chang […]

Vietnam

Business Briefs 20 February 2019

* Nguyen Tri Thien, chair of Sao Thai Duong Investment Company (SJF), bought over one million shares out of the total volume of three million shares registered for purchase from January 14 to February 12. Thien is now holding 3.87 million shares at the enterprise, or a 4.89 percent stake. At the same time, Nguyen […]

Decree sets requirements for foreign-invested vocational institutions

The Vietnamese government has issued a series of conditions required to set up a foreign-invested vocational training institution in Vietnam, expected to take effect from March 20. The conditions were itemised in Decree 15/2019/ND-CP, which offers detailed instructions on the implementation of the law on vocational training. Accordingly, the investor’s project would need to be […]

VinaCapital offloads Vietnam’s FPT stake worth over $7 million to foreign investors

Vietnam’s leading asset management firm VinaCapital, through VOF Investment Limited, has offloaded nearly 3.9 million shares of leading IT firm FPT Corporation to Australia’s Macquarie Bank and Florida Retirement System in a deal worth VND170 billion (US$7.34 million), local media reported. According to the Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD), VOF Investment Limited has transferred 3.05 million […]