Pakistan’s Khan slams IMF, then seeks bailout. Why the change?

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ambition of creating a “New Pakistan” has suffered a series of economic setbacks, forcing his administration to apply to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an emergency bailout of more than US$8 billion, the largest in the country’s history of indebtedness.
When talks begin in the coming weeks, the country will have to make political compromises, as with its past dealings with the IMF, according to analysts.
IMF managing director…

All smiles for Asian Para Games, but Indonesia wins no medals in disability rights

As the dust settles on the Indonesia 2008 Asian Para Games, there is no shortage of inspiring stories.
For the past week, Jakarta has been plastered with images of triumph over adversity as it celebrated the achievements of 2,762 athletes from 43 countries who had come to compete in 18 sports – breaking records and challenging public perceptions in the process.
Billboards celebrated athletes such as swimmer Jendi Pengabean – who lost his entire left leg aged 12 in a motorcycle…

At least eight climbers dead after snowstorm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja

At least eight climbers from a South Korean expedition have died on Nepal’s Mount Gurja after their camp was devastated by a violent snowstorm, officials said on Saturday.
The bodies of eight climbers – four South Koreans and four Nepali guides – were spotted among the wreckage of their camp by a rescue team early on Saturday morning, but unstable and icy conditions were hampering the search effort.
“We assume the incident happened because of a snowstorm because trees…

Pyongyang plans to abolish all nuclear weapons, says South Korea’s Moon

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un intends to abolish all nuclear weapons, materials and facilities to achieve “complete” denuclearisation, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who held his third summit with Kim last month, said on Friday.
Kim and US President Donald Trump pledged to work towards denuclearisation at their landmark June summit in Singapore, but the agreement was short on specifics. Negotiations have made little headway since, with the North refusing to declare its…

First Port Dickson, then Malaysia: democracy icon Anwar Ibrahim’s first steps to political comeback

Tomorrow, Malaysian democracy icon and prime-minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim faces down six other candidates in the Port Dickson by-election to see who will represent the constituency in Parliament, which resumes Monday. This by-election is a stepping stone for Anwar’s move to assume premiership, as it is a requirement that the prime minister be a parliamentarian.
Although the by-election is widely considered to be a walkover for the former deputy prime minister, his return to active…

‘Winter is coming’: Indonesian President Joko Widodo channels Game of Thrones to warn of new crisis from trade war

Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged global central bankers and finance ministers on Friday to guard against growing risks facing the world’s economy, as a heated a Sino-US trade war roils both emerging and developed markets.
At the plenary session of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings being hosted by Indonesia, Widodo peppered his speech with references to the HBO series Game of Thrones, where families and kingdoms battle for power in a fictional continent, to…

China-SE Asia’s cultural ties are as binding as economic ones

Cultural exchange is just as important to ties between China and Southeast Asia as economic links and investments in technology and science, according to former United Nations under-secretary-general Noeleen Heyzer.
The social scientist told a panel discussion at the South China Morning Post ’s China Conference in Kuala Lumpur that sustaining cultural and social ties should be considered a soft investment in regional integration.
“Building the infrastructure, economic corridors and…