thenewslens_intl

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MAP: Southeast Asia's Highways Stretch for Days

On May 28, newly-elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that he would cancel a high-speed rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project that would have cut the train journey between the two cities to 90 minutes, down from the …

NORTH KOREA: Meet Kim's Controversial Right-hand Man

<i>By Charlie Campbell and Stephen Kim</i><p>He was on both Kim Jong-un’s trips to China. He sat beside the North Korean leader during his meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the DMZ. And he held meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang to discuss the stalled U.S.-North …

Indian PM Modi Acts East with Indonesian Strategic Pact

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sealed a critical new strategic partnership aimed at providing a counterbalance to China during his recently concluded visit to Indonesia.<p>Modi stopped by in Jakarta May 29 on the first leg of a three-nation tour that also includes Malaysia and Singapore and aims …

Amid Domestic Strife, Maldives' Military Takes to International Stage - The News Lens International Edition

<i>By Dr. Vasabjit Banerjee and Dr. Prashant Hosur</i><p>The recent political crisis in the Indian Ocean island nation of the Maldives has attracted the international community’s attention due to its diplomatic and military-strategic implications for India China, and the Indian Ocean as a whole.<p>While the …

ANALYSIS: A Financial Crisis Looms over China

<i>By Stephen Joske</i><p>Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Philip Lowe’s May 23, 2018 speech highlighting the risks to the Chinese financial system from shadow banks – non-bank financial institutions often operating in more lightly regulated wholesale markets – has once again drawn attention to the …

Southeast Asia's Road Building Spree Splinters Ecosystems

<i>By Mike Gaworecki</i><p>Southeast Asia is a global biodiversity hotspot, and Indonesia and Malaysia are no exception, harboring some of the highest levels of species diversity in the world. Yet those two countries also supply more than 80 percent of the world’s palm oil, and it’s widely acknowledged that …

Chinese Human Rights Defender Huang Yan Claims Asylum in Taiwan

<i>Updating at 16:43 with news that Huang Yan has been granted leave to remain in Taiwan for three months, and at 18:15 with additional comments.</i><p>Huang Yan, 48, a Chinese human rights activist who was granted refugee status by the United Nations in 2016, has claimed political asylum in Taiwan and been …

INDONESIA: Fighting Radicalism in Islamic Schools

<i>By Agus Mutohar</i><p>A series of terrorist acts has rocked Indonesia in May of 2018. Starting from a clash in a detention center at the Police Mobile Brigade headquarters in Depok, West Java, attackers then bombed three churches in Surabaya, East Java, last Sunday, followed by another terrorist bombing …

ANALYSIS: The Broken Promise of Tsai Ying-wen

<i>By Kharis Templeman</i><p>Before the 2016 election brought them to power, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pledged to pursue political reforms that would address fundamental, long-standing weaknesses in Taiwan’s democratic system.<p>Three of these became particularly apparent …

OPINION: America Is Playing Defense vs China on Tech Innovation

<i>By Andrew Kennedy</i><p>The high-tech rivalry between the United States and China is getting ugly. So far in 2018, the Trump administration has blocked high-tech acquisitions by Chinese firms, complained about Chinese technology licensing practices at the World Trade Organization and threatened tariffs on …

How Taiwan’s Seafood Sector Can Steer Toward Ethical Labor Standards

Taiwan’s lucrative deep-water fishing industry has found itself under immense pressure – as detailed in a Greenpeace investigation and a report by <i>The News Lens</i> last week – for its permissive attitude towards the abusive treatment of its largely migrant workforce.<p>Yesterday, a newly formed NGO …

HONG KONG: China Frets over Protest Marches and District Council Polls

Newly elected legislator Au Nok-hin (區諾軒) is looking at no end of trouble. He’s not alone. But he already has three major political strikes against him and he was only just elected in the special Legislative Council (LegCo) by-election on March 11.<p>If Au isn’t booted out of office before the current …

REVIEW: 'Divergent Paths' Explains Changing Fates of Myanmar and North Korea

<i>By Ben Dunant</i><p>Before 2011, when political reforms started by Myanmar’s generals prompted a switch in Western policy, the country occupied the same berth in global politics as North Korea. Both were outliers, not only in the depth of their tyranny and isolation, but in the immiseration of their …

Can Australia Help Indonesia Kick Cigarettes?

<i>By Madeleine Randell</i><p>Australia is an undisputed world leader in tobacco control. From massive wins with plain packaging to widely enforced bans on smoking in public places, it is easy to see why. Australia is successfully creating a generational shift in tobacco use, with its youngest generation …

Taiwan Seafood Trader FCF Faces Financial Pressure on Links to Rights Abuses

A shocking Greenpeace report released last week details forced labor and physical abuse at sea, including the death of Indonesian fisherman Supriyanto. It also makes disturbing connections between human trafficking operations and Taiwan’s largest seafood trader.<p>The report, “Misery at Sea,” casts …

US Takes First Steps on New Pro-Taiwan Legislation

U.S. Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts on Friday introduced the "Taiwan International Participation Act of 2018," a bill that the senators say would "instruct U.S. representatives in international organizations to use the voice and vote of the U.S. to support …

Data, Propaganda and Cambridge Analytica in Taiwan

Look down any Taipei Metro car during rush hour, and it is immediately obvious that Facebook is a fact of daily life in Taiwan; 77 percent of the country claims to use the service, according to data-analysis firm Statista, among the highest penetration rates in the world.<p>But with great penetration …

Taiwan 'Outraged' as Burkina Faso Signs Communique with China

Taiwan's Ministry of Affairs (MoFA) issued a statement early Sunday expressing its disappointment at the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Burkina Faso, just two days after the African nation severed links with Taipei.<p>"The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) …

Week in Focus: North Korea Destroys Nuclear Sites, Taiwan Loses Another Ally

North Korea:<p>North Korea claimed Thursday (May 24) it destroyed its key nuclear weapons testing site, setting off explosions to collapse underground tunnels hours before President Trump called off a planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. — The Washington Post<p>North Korea, while …

Taiwan's GDP Is Three Times Larger than Its Diplomatic Allies' Combined

With Burkina Faso now departed as a diplomatic ally, Taiwan is one step closer to becoming a pariah state. But those who cling on and recognize Taiwan as the One True China form a motley crew, and Taiwan in many ways dwarfs its 18 remaining official allies.<p>Taiwan's GDP at purchasing power parity is …

OPINION: Malaysia's House of Cards and 2-Party Democracy

It has been more than two weeks now. It is happening, and it is happening fast. The Malaysian house of cards is being dismantled and disrupted from within. Raided at the dawn of Ramadan, and taken back by ordinary citizens like you and me.<p>It is unbelievable, it feels surreal. The government …

Japan's Hot Springs Open Up to LGBT Community

<i>By Nevin Thompson</i><p>Japan's “hot spring capital” is trying to find ways to make one of the country's most popular pastimes more inclusive for people who identify as LGBT, when most public baths are segregated according to a binary of either “male” or “female”.<p>The Rainbow Furoject (‘furoject’ is a …

Confronting Coldstore: Why Singapore Must Face Its Past

<i>By Kirsten Han</i><p>The unassuming storefront sits in an old-school complex next to Singapore’s National Library, and is easily overlooked in the building full of bookstores and stationery shops.<p>Inside, Xinhua Cultural Enterprises is part bookstore, part archive, and moving between its narrow aisles is a …

TAIWAN: After 2 Years of Tsai, Voters Shun Partisan Politics

<i>By Austin Horng-En Wang and Yeh-Lih Wang</i><p>In the past two years, one of the most important phenomenon in Taiwan politics is the emergence of non-partisans. For the first time since democratization, more than half of Taiwanese voters do not support any party in Taiwan.<p>This dramatic change may …

Malaysia's Real Political Struggle Is Just Beginning

<i>By James Chin</i><p>The euphoria over the change of government in Malaysia is unlikely to die down soon. In fact, the honeymoon period for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his new government will probably last until the end of the year. Malaysians are keen to give the new administration some time to …

Chinese Piracy: A Crime of Desperation

When people think of piracy and China, they are most likely to think of intellectual pirates, but maritime piracy still is a modern problem which threatens international shipping.<p>But while China has been engaged in international efforts to combat piracy, it has largely neglected domestic maritime …

Taiwan’s Diplomatic Space Shrinks Further as Burkina Faso Breaks Ties

Only three days after joining with 14 other nations to propose to the United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) that Taiwan be allowed as an observer in the international health body and its largest international meeting, the World Health Assembly, Burkina Faso on Thursday announced the …

Taiwan and the GDPR: Are We Ready?

<i>By Timothy Ferry</i><p>The European Union (EU)’s new data protection regime, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will come into force on May 25, with huge implications for how global businesses, including those in Taiwan, handle personal data.<p>The GDPR, which succeeds the Data Protection …

'Metal Politics Taiwan': Dual Lenses, Dueling Perspectives

"Metal Politics Taiwan," a film by director Marco Wilms of "Art War" (2014) fame, follows Taiwan’s most storied politician – metal vocalist turned legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) – during his campaign and first year in office as a New Power Party (NPP) legislator in Taipei.<p>While rough, the film marks a …

Kaohsiung Builds but People May Need a Nudge Before They Come

This October, the planet’s largest concert venue under one roof officially opens in Kaohsiung, built on the site of an old military base.<p>It’s an impressive building. Impressive, too, is what’s planned for the new Kaohsiung Main Train Station, a gorgeous open, green and friendly complex that will …