03/28/2015EGYPT – MIDDLE EAST Arab military force to fight Shias and (perhaps) the Islamic state Arab League members agree to a military coalition to address conflicts in the Arab world. The "historic" deal shelves past Western-led coalitions. The anti-Islamist fight and even the Israeli-Palestinian problem are overshadowed by the main goal: containing Iranian influence. However, the confessional divide is giving the Islamic State group greater leeway and is undermining the social and political demands of the Arab Spring. Cairo (AsiaNews) – Egypt is hosting a weekend Arab League summit to discuss plans to form a joint military force against terrorism with, in the backdrop, Saudi-led coalition strikes...
03/28/2015VIETNAM Vinh: government uses violence to drive out Catholics from their parish The authorities targeted the small, remote parish of Dông Yên. Most Catholics have left, but about 150 families have decided to stay. Police carried out a raid, injuring several parishioners, a few days ago. The bishop of Vinh expressed his solidarity with the victims.
03/27/2015SOUTH KOREA – ASIA As South Korea joins Asian "Super Bank", Washington wavers Proposed by Beijing, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is designed to limit US influence in Asia and reduce Asia’s dependence on the International Monetary Fund. As South Korea accepts China’s predominance, the United States has to rethink what to do. Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain have already decided to join.
03/27/2015YEMEN-MIDDLE EAST Saudis continue raids against Shiite rebels. A religious war, but also a question of power by Paul Dakiki The military operation "Firmness Storm " has already caused 39 civilian deaths. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) along with Sudan, Turkey and Pakistan against Iranian influence in the Middle East. Objectives include: to ensure Bab-el-Mandel Strait; undermine the agreement on the Iranian nuclear question. Inter-Arabian military force launched to fight Islamic State terrorists.
03/27/2015INDONESIA Indonesia tops human-elephant run-ins As farming encroaches on wild areas, elephants are more likely to encounter humans. The authorities are concerned about the economic impact of elephants trespassing onto farmland, and humans’ violent reaction to it.
03/27/2015UZBEKISTAN Expulsion of Russian expert monitoring child labour practices in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry Uzbek authorities arrested and then expelled the consultant whose presence was part of a deal with the World Bank. The latter’s loans were predicated on the Central Asian nation eliminating child labour from its cotton industry. The expert was in contact with the country’s only human rights NGO. For many years, Uzbekistan has tried to circumvent international rules to counter the boycott by American and European companies.
03/27/2015CHINA Who has confidence in the future of the Chinese Communist Party? No one by Bao Tong One of the country’s foremost political dissident looks at Chinese society and politics at a time when the endgame for the ruling regime seems to be fast approaching. No one believes that China’s pyramid model can last. As the rich escape and government oppression continues, faith in the one party system is collapsing. Courtesy of Radio Free Asia.
03/26/2015INDIA India’ Narendra Modi to speed up adoption of "anti-farmer" law The Hindu nationalist-led government wants to change existing legislation to make it easier to expropriate land for large companies. To do so, the prime minister plans to employ a legislative measure only used three times since independence. For the opposition, this will promote divisions and social disharmony.
03/26/2015PHILIPPINES - CHINA Manila accuses Beijing of wanting to control the entire South China Sea Philippine Foreign Minister speaks of " China’s expansionist agenda" dominated by "massive" reclamation projects. Beijing’s "growing" activities aimed to affect the work of the UN international tribunal, convoked by Manila to resolve the dispute. China continues to claim sovereignty of the area.
03/25/2015NEPAL Political uncertainty hampers Nepal’s economic growth by Christopher Sharma In its 2015 report, the Asian Development Bank ranks Nepal 132nd out of 147 countries in terms of competitiveness. Capital investments are limited and the government does not invest in growth. Political interference and frequent staff turnover are blamed.
03/25/2015CHINA Beijing's last coal plant will close in 2016 The Chinese capital has a pollution level twice the national average. Four mega coal based power plants have operated for decades. Coal still provides about 70% of the country’s energy needs, but the damage to the environment is incalculable.
03/25/2015IRAN – ASIA As the prospects for a nuclear deal improve, Asians line up for Iranian oil Some of Asia’s biggest refiners are betting on a positive outcome to negotiations. Once international sanctions are lifted, Tehran could boost crude oil production by one million barrels per day to pre-sanctions levels and more. China, South Korea, India and Japan are vying for a slice of the pie.