Today's headlines: Monsoons hike vegetable costs in Malaysia; Two environmental activists released in the Philippines; India is proposing a bill to reserve some seats in Parliament for women;  Saudi Arabia, the talks with the Houthi representatives for peace in Yemen were positive; In Russia, the Chinese yuan is increasingly used; Moldova is implementing a "war mobility" project.

by Hal Swindall

The government’s 10-year plan to boost English proficiency has come in for major criticism, especially in relation to science and mathematics. Dual language teaching programmes have also been targeted. A module promoted by Prime Minister Ibrahim mixes religion with education.

| 06/09/2023
by Steve Suwannarat

The Malaysian government says it has no plans to scarp controversial security legislation adopted to fight terrorism but used to repress all forms of dissent. Disappointed, ASEAN parliamentarians for human rights call for a “stop [to] the use of draconian measures that curtail fundamental freedoms.”

| 01/09/2023

No change of majority in the six states where votes were cast, but Muhyiddin Yassin's Perikatan Nasional gains support. The government coalition formed after the uncertain outcome of last year's national vote is weighed down by the poor result of UMNO, now reduced to a marginal party. The premier: 'The government will move forward'.

| 14/08/2023
by Hal Swindall

Sunday 30 July is World Anti-Trafficking Day. In South-East Asia, the US State Department recently reported some improvements in Malaysia, where the phenomenon is also sadly widespread among rubber and palm oil workers. But according to local NGOs, the government's efforts still do not meet the minimum standards for eliminating the scourge.

| 28/07/2023

Today's headlines: Hun Sen blocks Radio Free Asia and other news sites on election eve; Tens of thousands of people evacuated in South China and Vietnam as Typhoon Talim passes through; in New Delhi  Yamuna River flooding displaced return to their homes;  Ukrainian counteroffensive attacks target Crimea, Moscow is threatens a Wagner mercenary attack on the Suwalki corridor.

| 18/07/2023
by Hal Swindall

The Ministry of Sport and Youth brings back Rakan Muda, a programme for those aged 15 to 30. Set up in 1994, it fell out of favour for a while. Its goal is to promote leadership skills, contact with nature and physical education. Other ministries and private sector are also involved.

| 11/07/2023
Editor's choices
Bishop Yang Yongqiang of Zhouchun and Yao Shun of Jining are on the list of members released today a couple of weeks before the synod opens. They were picked by the local Church in agreement with the authorities and appointed by Pope Francis.
| 21/09/2023
by Dario Salvi
The cardinal relects on the the tumultuous weeks since the withdrawal of the presidential decree under pressure from self-styled leaders (in the pay of Tehran). A  "more subtle" threat hangs over the community, but with the same logic as Isis: drive ...
| 19/09/2023
by Alessandra De Poli
In August, the UN Food and Agriculture Agency reported a 9.8 per cent price hike over July despite an overall drop in food prices. Rice is vulnerable to extreme climate events, like those that devastated Pakistan and China last year, but the recent increase ...
| 12/09/2023
The archbishop of Bologna continues the mission entrusted to him by Pope Francis. If, as some media reports suggest, he will meet Premier Li Qiang, this will be the first high-level meeting between a top Church official and the head of government of ...
| 12/09/2023
During Biden's visit, Vietnam announced a historic strategic partnership with the United States almost 50 years after the Vietnam War. Since 2017, many big tech companies have left China in favour of its communist neighbour in Southeast Asia, investing ...
| 11/09/2023
by Andrea Lembo *
At the funeral of the auxiliary bishop of Tokyo, the PIME missionary, who replaced him at the helm of the Shinsei Kaikan Catholic Cultural Centre, remembered the prelate who loved to refer to God through the typically Japanese image of hot spring water. ...
| 06/09/2023
On the same day that Pope Francis praised Mongolian culture and traditions, the authorities in China’s Inner Mongolia region, where a fifth of the population is Mongolian, described them as “historical nihilism” in the name of sinicisation. ...
| 05/09/2023
by Gianni Criveller *
Fr. Gianni Criveller, PIME missionary and sinologist, comments on the words addressed by the pope yesterday to the Chinese people from Mongolia, with Card. Tong and Cardinal-designate Chow. "There is no contradiction between being good Christians and ...
| 04/09/2023
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”