Indian safety apps map harassment hotspots for women to avoid and authorities to counter

New web and phone apps in India are helping women stay safe in public spaces by making it easier for them to report harassment and get help, developers say.
Women are increasingly turning to technology to stay safe in public spaces which in turn helps the police to map “harassment prone” spots – from dimly lit roads to bus routes and street corners.
Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey…

Bangladesh scraps plans to repatriate Rohingya after hundreds hold protest refusing to return

A voluntary repatriation of Rohingya Muslim refugees to their native Myanmar was scrapped by Bangladesh on Thursday, after officials were unable to find anyone who wanted to return. The refugees “are not willing to go back now,” said Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam, adding that officials “can’t force them to go” but will continue to try to “motivate them so it happens.” The announcement came after about 1,000 Rohingya demonstrated at a camp in…

Is Donald Trump’s no-show at Asia summits a sign of waning US influence in region?

US President Donald Trump’s absence from two high profile Asian summits has raised questions as to America’s right to be a leader in the region, but analysts remain uncertain on whether China is ready to supplant it.
“If Asia matters to America, why is your leader President Trump not here?” Singaporean diplomat Tommy Koh asked his American counterparts of the US leader’s decision to skip the East Asian Summit hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (…

Vietnam’s top telecom bosses face arrest over loss-making TV deal amid corruption crackdown

Vietnam issued arrest warrants and placed two top telecom bosses under investigation on Wednesday for suspected involvement in a loss-making private TV deal, authorities said, as a crackdown on corruption gathers pace.
A conservative leadership that came to power in the one-party state in 2016 has carried out the sweeping campaign, going after high-rolling executives once thought to be untouchable in Vietnam, one of Asia’s most corrupt countries.
Is Vietnam’s new leader taking cues…

Japanese lawmakers approve 10-day holiday to celebrate Crown Prince Naruhito’s ascension to the imperial throne

Japan’s Cabinet approved a bill on Tuesday to assign one-off holidays related to the imperial succession next year, creating a 10-day “golden week” holiday period from late April.
Once the bill clears the Diet, May 1 – the day when Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the imperial throne – will become a holiday.
With April 29 and May 3-6 already assigned as national and public holidays in 2019, April 30 and May 2 would also become public holidays as a result, as Japanese law…

Death of 13-year-old boy from brain haemorrhage inflames debate over Thailand’s young Muay Thai fighters

The death of a 13-year-old boy, knocked out during a Thai boxing match, has inflamed debate about whether children should be allowed to take part in a dangerous sport that many of them see as their only chance of escaping poverty.
Anucha Kochana was pronounced dead from a brain haemorrhage on Monday after he was knocked out in a match on the outskirts of Bangkok on Sunday evening.
Thai boxing, or Muay Thai as it is known, is a passion in Thailand with millions of boys dreaming of glory in the…

Pakistan government moves to quell fresh outrage as fake images showing Asia Bibi outside the country circulate online

The Pakistani government, already struggling with a crisis surrounding a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy charges after eight years on death row, now has to deal with “fake” images on social media purporting to show her outside the country.
The deceptive images have prompted death threats to a lawmaker shown in one photograph, and are likely intended to whip up radical religious fervour over Asia Bibi’s case. It is unclear who is behind the circulation of the images….