India’s vaccine capacity will help ‘all humanity’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells United Nations

India as the world’s biggest vaccine maker will use its resources “for all humanity” in the battle against coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the United Nations on Saturday.In his address to the virtual UN General Assembly, Modi made no direct mention of climate change or of India’s current border tussle with China following a clash in June when 20 Indian troops died, however.“As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world … India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity…

Sabah election: boost for Malaysia PM Muhyiddin as Gabungan Rakyat Sabah secures victory

An alliance spearheaded by parties in Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government has won elections in the state of Sabah, official results showed on Saturday, handing a major boost to the ruling administration as the opposition plots to unseat it through defections.The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), comprising parties in Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional alliance and other Sabah-based collaborators, obtained a simple majority in the 73-seat state assembly with victories in 38 seats,…

Japan’s new prime minister will find a way to stay friends with China and the US

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has set out to follow the Abe administration’s policies. Since taking office, Suga has held phone conversations with US President Donald Trump and the leaders of two US allies, Australia and South Korea. But he needs to focus on the recovery of an economy hit hard by Covid-19. And to revitalise Japan’s economy, he will have to strengthen its pro-China diplomacy.Suga made a name for himself as chief cabinet secretary. At the same time, he was the minister…

Thai protests: #RepublicofThailand hashtag trends on Twitter after constitutional change delayed

The hashtag #RepublicofThailand trended on Twitter in Thailand on Friday after parliament voted to push back the question of changing the constitution as protesters have demanded.During more than two months of anti-government protests, some protest leaders have said they seek constitutional reforms to reduce the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s monarchy but that they were not seeking to abolish it.The republican hashtag, in English rather than Thai, had been used in more than 730,000 Tweets…

Thailand delays decision to amend constitution, as protest held outside parliament

Thailand’s parliament voted on Thursday to delay making a decision on whether it will amend the constitution, as demanded by anti-government protesters who have demonstrated nearly every day for more than two months.The parliament, dominated by supporters of the government, opted instead to set up a committee to study the process of the constitutional amendment first.“The vote to accept a motion for constitutional changes is effectively delayed to November,” said pro-government lawmaker…

Indonesia offers Bali residents free staycations to test coronavirus protocols

Indonesia is offering free tours and staycations to 4,440 residents of its resort island of Bali, in a seven-week tourism dry-run to promote the international holiday hotspot and test its coronavirus health protocols.Authorities halted tourism in Indonesia’s prime attraction in April to prevent the spread of the virus, devastating its economy.Though it reopened for local visitors in July, it is struggling to get back on track and has also seen infection numbers climb.I Putu Astawa, chief of…

Philippines: fake accounts shut down by Facebook promoted Duterte and China

Fake social media accounts that promoted news content in the Philippines had by far the highest number of followers and interactions of those shut down on Tuesday by Facebook – a finding that activists said underscored the extent of the country’s disinformation problem.The network analysis firm Graphika, which specialises in disinformation detection, said in a 50-page report analysing fake accounts flagged by Facebook that two fake pages on the site focusing on the Philippines had attracted the…

Singapore trials travel-pass scheme for senior business executives in bid to boost coronavirus-hit economy

Singapore is piloting a travel-pass scheme that will give senior business executives returning to the city state from overseas trips the option to take a Covid-19 test and self-isolate until the results are out, in lieu of receiving a stay-home notice.Currently, most travellers who get a stay-home notice – except those entering from countries deemed “low-risk”, including Malaysia and Taiwan – have to serve a compulsory 14-day period at designated hotels upon entering the city state, while self…

China and India agree not to send more troops to border, says Chinese defence ministry

China and India have agreed to stop sending more troops to a Himalayan flashpoint along their contested border and to avoid any actions that might complicate the tense situation there, the two countries said on Tuesday.Senior military officials from both countries met on Monday and exchanged ideas on their contested border, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said.A joint press release issued by the Indian government in New Delhi said that both sides had agreed to “avoid…

Singapore’s death penalty in the spotlight after court puts man’s execution on hold

Singapore’s top court on Tuesday extended a reprieve that had been granted to a convicted drug trafficker facing the death penalty, following a last-ditch legal manoeuvre in a case that has sparked sharp scrutiny of the city state’s retention of the capital punishment.Syed Suhail Syed Zin, 44, was initially scheduled to be hanged last Friday following a 2015 conviction for trafficking 38.84 grams of heroin in 2011 – which activists believe would have made him the first person in Singapore to be…