• China chemical plant explosion death toll reaches 44, with 90 injured

    China chemical plant explosion death toll reaches 44, with 90 injured

    The chemical plant blast in China’s Jiangsu province on Thursday, which packed the force of a minor earthquake, has killed at least 47 people, left 32 in a critical condition and seriously injured 58, according to the local authority. The Ministry of Emergency Management said 88 people had been rescued from the scene. Injured people were streaming […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 10:44 AM
  • Trump says tariffs on Chinese goods may stay for ‘substantial period’

    Trump says tariffs on Chinese goods may stay for ‘substantial period’

    US President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that the United States may leave tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period” to ensure that Beijing complies with any trade agreement. The stance could complicate US-China trade talks set to resume next week, as Chinese officials have been pressing for a full lifting of US tariffs […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • EU leaders to discuss ways to limit Chinese influence at summit dinner

    EU leaders to discuss ways to limit Chinese influence at summit dinner

    The European Union will discuss a more defensive strategy on China on Thursday, potentially signalling an end to the unfettered access that Chinese business has enjoyed in Europe but which Beijing has failed to reciprocate. Caught between a new US-Chinese rivalry for economic and military power, EU leaders will try to find a middle path […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • Cramer: US-China trade talks are now more about a ‘trust gap’ than the ‘trade gap’

    Cramer: US-China trade talks are now more about a ‘trust gap’ than the ‘trade gap’

    Trade negotiations between the United States and China have boiled down to whether President Donald Trump can trust the Chinese or not, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday. “It’s not about the trade gap, people. It’s about the trust gap,” the “Mad Money” host said. “Until investors realise that’s what’s driving these negotiations, we’ll forever be […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | CNBC | 6:00 AM
  • Report: Burma, China failing to stop ‘bride’ trafficking

    Report: Burma, China failing to stop ‘bride’ trafficking

    Authorities in China and Myanmar are failing to stop the brutal trafficking of young women, often teenagers, from the conflict-ridden Kachin region for sexual slavery, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. The report released Thursday says women are often tricked into travelling to China in search of work or kidnapped and held against […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | AP | 6:00 AM
  • Indonesian president’s coalition to win parliament majority  survey

    Indonesian president’s coalition to win parliament majority survey

    A coalition of political parties backing Indonesian President Joko Widodo is on course to win more than half of the votes in next month’s elections, giving them control of parliament, according to a new survey released on Thursday. Indonesia is holding simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections on April 17. Ten political parties backing Widodo are […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • Japan urged to stop transgender sterilisation requirement

    Japan urged to stop transgender sterilisation requirement

    Human Rights Watch urged Japan on Wednesday to drop its requirement that transgender people be sterilised before their gender is changed on official documents. A 2004 law states that people wishing to register a gender change must have their original reproductive organs removed and have a body that “appears to have parts that resemble the […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | NBC News | 6:00 AM
  • US and China plan high-level trade talks amid fears tariff war could wipe $1 trillion off economy

    US and China plan high-level trade talks amid fears tariff war could wipe $1 trillion off economy

    Hopes for a US-China trade-war deal have been boosted by confirmation that high-level talks will continue despite recent difficulties. The dispute has been shaky in recent months after President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to reengage North Korea on denuclearisation talks and after China appeared to push back against key US trade demands. US Trade Representative […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Business Insider | 6:00 AM
  • With an eye to China and Russia, the US Navy plans a lethal upgrade to its destroyers

    With an eye to China and Russia, the US Navy plans a lethal upgrade to its destroyers

    Facing ever-faster missiles and increasingly complicated air threats from China and Russia, the Navy is moving toward a major upgrade to its stalwart Arleigh Burke destroyer fleet. The service is planning to buy a scaled version of Raytheon’s Spy-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar to replace the Spy-1D arrays on the Flight IIA destroyers, Defense […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Defense News | 6:00 AM
  • Pyongyang sanctions workarounds failing to soften impact

    Pyongyang sanctions workarounds failing to soften impact

    North Korea’s illicit and highly sophisticated efforts to circumvent UN sanctions may have sought to cushion their impact, but they offer no long-term solution to the fallout of tightened economic isolation, analysts say. Sanctions relief was top of leader Kim Jong Un’s agenda for his Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump last month, but […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • Senators ask US to sanction Burma army chief

    Senators ask US to sanction Burma army chief

    Senators called Wednesday for the United States to slap sanctions on Myanmar’s army chief, saying more needed to be done to bring accountability over the campaign against the Rohingya. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the four senators said Myanmar has shown “no credible signs of progress” […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • AP Interview: Thai PM hopeful wants constitutional changes

    AP Interview: Thai PM hopeful wants constitutional changes

    The leader of Thailand’s oldest political party says if he becomes prime minister after Sunday’s election, he’ll make careful but forceful efforts to undo undemocratic constitutional clauses imposed by the military government that took power in 2014. Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of the Democrat Party and a former prime minister, told The Associated Press in an […]

    22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | AP | 6:00 AM

Society

Poachers kill elephant in Cambodia wildlife sanctuary

An elephant has been found dead with its tusks and tail sliced off in a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia, where wild elephant numbers have dwindled to just a few hundred due to poaching and deforestation. The Southeast Asian nation has emerged in recent years as a key transit hub for the multi billion dollar illicit […]

African swine fever spreads to fourth Vietnamese provincestate media

African swine fever spreads to fourth Vietnamese provincestate media

African swine fever is spreading in Vietnam hitting two more provinces, after it was first detected in three separate farms in two other provinces earlier this month. The new farms hit by the highly contagious disease are in Hai Phong and Thanh Hoa provinces, 100 km to the east and 160 km to the south […]

Vietnam confirms first African swine fever cases on three farms

Vietnam confirms first African swine fever cases on three farms

African swine fever has been detected on three farms in Vietnam, authorities said on Tuesday, the first confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease in the Southeast Asia country. All pigs on the farms located in Hung Yen and Thai Binh provinces, southeast of the capital Hanoi, were culled, the Animal Health Department said in […]

Health

Vietnam confirms first African swine fever cases on three farms

Vietnam confirms first African swine fever cases on three farms

African swine fever has been detected on three farms in Vietnam, authorities said on Tuesday, the first confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease in the Southeast Asia country. All pigs on the farms located in Hung Yen and Thai Binh provinces, southeast of the capital Hanoi, were culled, the Animal Health Department said in […]

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 […]

FinanceAsia

Asian shares gain as Fed says it will hold off on rate hikes

Shares advanced across Asia on Thursday after the Federal Reserve said it has ruled out interest rate increases for this year. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.9 percent to 3,119.72 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent to 29,371.12. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.5 percent to 2,187.71, while Australia’s S&P ASX was flat at […]

23rd edition of FILMART draws nearly 9,000 international buyers

Seminars focus on development and opportunities in the film /TV industry in the Greater Bay Area HONG KONG, Mar 21, 2019 – (ACN Newswire) – The 23rd edition of Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), organised by the HKTDC, drew to a successful close today. The four-day event attracted nearly 9,000 buyers. International […]

Google and Facebook to make $176bn from advertising this year, pushing their share of internet marketing to over 60%

&amp#8226 For the first time, the strength of the duopoly is reducing the pool of ad money available to other online media owners &amp#8226 WARC Global Advertising Trends – The Duopoly LONDON, Mar 21, 2019 – (ACN Newswire) – WARC, the international marketing intelligence service, has found that of the $590.4bn spent on advertising worldwide […]

Regional

Report: Burma, China failing to stop ‘bride’ trafficking

Report: Burma, China failing to stop ‘bride’ trafficking

Authorities in China and Myanmar are failing to stop the brutal trafficking of young women, often teenagers, from the conflict-ridden Kachin region for sexual slavery, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. The report released Thursday says women are often tricked into travelling to China in search of work or kidnapped and held against […]

Senators ask US to sanction Burma army chief

Senators ask US to sanction Burma army chief

Senators called Wednesday for the United States to slap sanctions on Myanmar’s army chief, saying more needed to be done to bring accountability over the campaign against the Rohingya. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the four senators said Myanmar has shown “no credible signs of progress” […]

Asian business sentiment lingers near three-year low as trade war dragsThomson Reuters/INSEAD

Confidence among Asian companies held near three-year lows in the first quarter as a US-China trade dispute dragged on, pulling down a global economy that is already on a downward path, a Thomson Reuters/INSEAD survey found. The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asian Business Sentiment Index tracking firms’ six-month outlook was flat in the March quarter from the […]

China

China chemical plant explosion death toll reaches 44, with 90 injured

China chemical plant explosion death toll reaches 44, with 90 injured

The chemical plant blast in China’s Jiangsu province on Thursday, which packed the force of a minor earthquake, has killed at least 47 people, left 32 in a critical condition and seriously injured 58, according to the local authority. The Ministry of Emergency Management said 88 people had been rescued from the scene. Injured people were streaming […]

Cramer: US-China trade talks are now more about a ‘trust gap’ than the ‘trade gap’

Cramer: US-China trade talks are now more about a ‘trust gap’ than the ‘trade gap’

Trade negotiations between the United States and China have boiled down to whether President Donald Trump can trust the Chinese or not, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday. “It’s not about the trade gap, people. It’s about the trust gap,” the “Mad Money” host said. “Until investors realise that’s what’s driving these negotiations, we’ll forever be […]

China wants soft power. But censorship is stifling its film industry

Beijing-based film director Huang Han has had one of the worst weeks of his life, courtesy of the Chinese government’s strict censors. He says his independent, low-budget romance flick, set for an online domestic release in 2019, has been hit by an insoluble problem: how to show the male protagonist smoking without giving the cigarette […]

Malaysia

Commentary: Anonymous letters and whistle-blowers persist in modern day Malaysia

Anonymous letters continue to shine a spotlight on certain leaders and call attention to wrongdoing, which can be a positive development as Malaysian civil society matures, says Khor Yu Leng. In Malaysia, a surat layang or poison pen letter has traditionally been used to draw the attention of a certain person or group to an […]

Govt backbencher moots criminal penalties against anti-vaxxers

The government should consider Singapore’s approach to dealing with parents who refuse to immunise their children, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii suggested today. The medical doctor, who is for mandatory vaccinations, threw his support behind imposing criminal penalties against those who reject vaccinations. “Though I don’t deny that there may be other reasons, but […]

Bring Malaysian terrorists home, but be careful, say analysts

Malaysians who joined the Islamic State (IS) in Syria should be allowed to return home, some analysts said despite a recent terror attack in New Zealand. Analysts Malay Mail spoke to however had differing views on how these Malaysian terrorists should be received and treated, with one of them even warning: “What happened in Christchurch […]

Indonesia

Indonesia says no rate hikes by US Fed good for global economy

Indonesia’s finance minister said the Federal Reserve’s forecast for no rate hikes in 2019 “will be good for global economy” as markets will be calmer than in 2018, when the US central bank raised rates four times. “It shows that they’re concerned with economic slowdown in the US and in the world,” Sri Mulyani Indrawati […]

Indonesia’s upcoming elections, explained

Indonesians will go to the polls in April to elect their next president, national legislature, and many provincial and local governments. This will be Indonesia’s fourth direct presidential election and its fifth parliamentary election since the country democratised in 1999, propitious signs of a consolidated and maturing democracy. But although the 2019 election will mark […]

Indonesia’s Election: Drift in the Most Important State in Southeast Asia

Indonesia, the biggest economy in Southeast Asia and long the dominant strategic actor, is a country whose bilateral relationship with the United States has historically underperformed its potential. As I noted in a Council Special Report, US-Indonesia economic and security ties lag Washington’s links with other leading countries in the region, though Indonesia is becoming […]

Singapore

Singapore retains 34th spot in World Happiness Index; still the happiest country in Southeast Asia

Our general cheeriness has neither improved nor worsened from last year, according to this year’s World Happiness Report, where Singapore retains its rank as the 34th happiest country globally. Though the city-state didn’t make it as the happiest country in Asia a title joyfully held by Taiwan Singapore is still considered the most content Southeast […]

Straws made of rice have debuted in Singapore could they save the earth?

n the battle against single-use plastics, plastic straws have become public enemy number one. But reusable metal straws, which are now fashionable in restaurants, aren’t the most ideal solution either quantities of detergent and water are required to clean them, and they also raise hygiene concerns among diners. Enter “rice straws”, which made their Singapore […]

Irish boyband Westlife announces Singapore concert date

Westlife will be performing in Singapore on August 10, the boyband announced on Thursday (March 21). The concert will be held at the National Stadium as part of their The Twenty Tour, celebrating two decades of hits by the Irish pop group. Formed in 1998, Westlife were hugely popular in the late 1990s and early […]

Thailand

Thailand’s long-awaited vote may solve just one problem

Thailand’s long-awaited vote may solve just one problem: the poll itself. Sunday’s ballot ends five years of direct military rule. For investors, the best outcome is an uncontested one, even if the junta leader stays on as prime minister. A democracy of sorts could well encourage some inward capital flows, and planned infrastructure spending will […]

‘Everything is already decided’: Thailand’s army is set to cement power with an election

Wearing identical white nylon track jackets, seemingly impervious to the swampy afternoon heat, the half-dozen candidates breezed through a sprawling covered market on the outskirts of Bangkok and waved to a smattering of shoppers. Days before Thailand’s first national elections in eight years, party workers raced ahead to distribute long-stemmed roses to shopkeepers. The merchants […]

How Thailand Became the World’s Last Military Dictatorship

Thailandwhere military coups have a business-as-usual feelholds elections this weekend. If military dictatorship is defined in the strictest sense as the rule of a junta or military officer who comes to power through a coup and then doesn’t hold elections to offer a veneer of legitimacy, then Thailand is the world’s last military dictatorship. It […]

Philippines

Philippines turns to Singapore to ease water crisis in Metro Manila

President Rodrigo Duterte is turning to Singapore for help to ease metropolitan Manila’s worsening water crisis. “We need a lot of advice from Singapore, and I’m sure the advice will go a long way to help us solve our problem, especially water,” Duterte told Singapore’s new Ambassador to Manila, Gerard Ho, on Tuesday (March 19). […]

Philippines is the 69th happiest country on earth report

The Philippines is the 69th happiest country in the world, according to a United Nations report released on the International Day of Happiness. The country, with an average score of 5.631 in 2019, slightly moved from its place last yearat 71st out of the 156 countries ranked. The Philippines ranked higher than its Southeast Asian […]

Philippine nickel producer DMCI sees tough year with mine shut, inventory declining

Philippine nickel producer DMCI Mining Corp, a unit of conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc, on Thursday said it expected 2019 to be a tough year, with one of its two mines still suspended and its inventory almost depleted. DMCI’s mines, operated by subsidiaries Berong Nickel Corp and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp, were among those ordered shut […]

Japan

Closing time? Japan convenience stores pressed to end 24-7 model amid labour crunch

Japan’s 24-hour convenience stores are struggling to stay open around the clock as an industry that has continually expanded now finds itself at the sharp end of a labour shortage. Franchise owners, some of whom were forced to work amid massive snowstorms or in the wake of a family death, have launched a campaign to […]

Japan urged to stop transgender sterilisation requirement

Japan urged to stop transgender sterilisation requirement

Human Rights Watch urged Japan on Wednesday to drop its requirement that transgender people be sterilised before their gender is changed on official documents. A 2004 law states that people wishing to register a gender change must have their original reproductive organs removed and have a body that “appears to have parts that resemble the […]

RPT-Japan Times president apologises for ‘turmoil,’ warns of legal action against leakers

The Japan Times, an English-language newspaper that amended its description of “comfort women” and wartime forced labourers last year, apologised to its staff last month, but threatened legal action against anyone found leaking confidential information. In a five-sentence note published last November, the paper said it would refer to Korean labourers simply as “wartime labourers” […]

Korea

Korean watchdog cuts fine on Qualcomm after decade-old legal battle

South Korea’s antitrust regulator has lowered a decade-old penalty imposed on US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc by 18 percent to $200 million, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said on Thursday. The reduction comes after the Supreme Court overturned in January one of several lower court rulings against the US firm for abusing its dominant market […]

GXC logs onto Bithumb, Korea’s largest digital-currency exchange

On 2019 March 21 (GMT+9), Bithumb, South Korea’s largest digital-currency exchange, announced the launch of GXC Exchange, following up on GXC’s continuing popularity on exchanges such as Huobi and Binance. GXChain’s entry into Bithumb marks its connection with the South Korean market and formal opening of Korean Currency KOW. With 75.7 percent of the Bitcoin […]

Korea to cut stock transaction tax this year

South Korea’s finance ministry and top market regulator said on Thursday they will cut the tax rate for stock trading this year in an effort to support domestic equity markets and startup firms. Authorities will cut the trading tax for stocks listed in major KOSPI and junior KOSDAQ markets by 0.05 of a percentage point […]

Hong Kong

HK chiropractor jailed for 15 months for indecently assaulting young woman during three days of treatment freed on appeal

A chiropractor jailed for molesting a young patient in Hong Kong cleared his name on Wednesday, after convincing an appeal court the treatment he carried out was necessary. Geoffrey Chan Kai-man, 66, was jailed for 15 months last August on three counts of indecent assault after a 21-year-old woman accused him of touching sensitive body […]

HK property mogul Thomas Kwok released after more than three years in prison for bribery

Property mogul Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong walked out of Hong Kong’s maximum-security Stanley Prison on Thursday morning, having served most of a five-year jail term for bribing the city’s former No 2 government official. The 67-year-old’s son, Adam Kwok Kai-fai, was there to meet him as he walked free. He had with him a pineapple bun […]

HK residents are least optimistic in 25 years, poll shows

Hong Kong residents have the least confidence about the future in 25 years, amid rising levels of distrust between the local and central government, according to a survey. The results, published by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme on Tuesday, come amid rising concerns over what’s been seen as threats to local autonomy […]

Taiwan

Solomon Islands look beyond Taiwan alliance as election looms

As politicians hit the hustings across the Solomon Islands two weeks out from a general election in the South Pacific archipelago, the loyalty of one of Taiwan’s few remaining allies is in the balance. Some Solomons’ candidates are promising to review lucrative, but loosening, ties with Taipei that if broken, could trigger a reshaping of […]

Taiwan president to visit Hawaii amid China pressure

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will visit Hawaii next week on a tour of diplomatic allies in the Pacific, official media said on Thursday, a move likely to anger China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own amid tension across the strait. China regards Taiwan as its sacred territory and regularly calls it the most […]

Man throws wife from 4th floor of Taiwan airport after argument

It’s common for couples to have the occasional squabble, but a quarrel between a 32-year-old man and his 33-year-old wife landed both of them in hospital. Early on Monday morning (March 18), a Chinese-American man, Wan, had a heated argument with his spouse, Ms Chang, at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. When they reached a stairway […]

Vietnam

Business Briefs 22 March 2019

* HCMC Infrastructure Investment Corporation (CII) has successfully issued VND1.15 trillion worth of Vietnam dong denominated inconvertible bonds with a coupon of 7.2% per annum. The 10-year bonds are guaranteed by GuarantCo. This interest rate is lower than that on CII’s previous bond issuances of around 8% to 10.5% per annum. * Century Synthetic Fiber […]

Thai Nguyen city allocates 100 million USD for urban development

The northern province of Thai Nguyen is striving to develop Thai Nguyen city as a catalyst for its development, at the cost of 100 million USD, including 1.8 trillion VND (77.5 million USD) in loans from the World Bank. Vu Thi Bich Thuy, vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the objectives of the […]

VN Index floats above 1,000 points for seventh session despite losses

The VN Index managed to keep its head above the 1,000-point level on Wednesday despite selling pressure that pushed it below the benchmark during trading. The benchmark VN Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange lost 0.43 per cent to close at 1,002.30 points, successfully maintained the 1,000-point level for the seventh consecutive session. […]