Coronavirus: surge of Delta variant in Indonesia threatens Bali tourism reopening

Indonesia announced on Monday it would tighten movement restrictions amid a surge of coronavirus infections, fuelled by the Delta variant, that has brought the health system to the brink of collapse and put a question mark over plans to reopen parts of Riau and Bali to tourists from overseas.The country on Monday recorded 14,536 new cases, its highest daily figure yet, bringing its total number of cases to more than two million. That figure, like its death toll of nearly 55,000, is the highest…

‘Coronavirus vaccine or jail’: Philippines’ Duterte resorts to threats in bid to boost sluggish vaccination drive

President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail people who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Philippines battles one of Asia’s worst outbreaks, with more than 1.3 million cases and more than 23,000 deaths.“You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday following reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital, Manila.Duterte’s remarks contradict those of his health officials who have said that while people…

Uncertainties remain over UK’s IR35 rules

Widespread changes to the UK’s IR35 off-payroll working rules came into force on 6 April 2021, and despite a 12-month delay to implementation, detailed HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidance and subsequent amendments to the legislation, areas of uncertainty remain.

Indonesia targets its crazy rich Asians with 35 per cent income tax in bid to heal coronavirus-hit economy

In a bid to boost government coffers decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, Indonesia is considering a sweeping tax overhaul that would add VAT to foodstuffs, education and health care, hike rates for high-net-worth individuals and put major carbon emitters in the firing line.Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked parliament recently to discuss proposals to amend the 1983 law on general tax provisions and procedures. A leaked draft of the government’s proposals showed it was seeking a new tax…

Myanmar junta leader Min Aung Hlaing leaves for Russia security conference, second trip abroad since military coup

Myanmar’s junta leader has flown out of the country to attend a conference in Moscow, state media reported on Sunday, his second trip abroad since seizing power in February.Senior General Min Aung Hlaing will attend the Moscow Conference on International Security, expected to be held from June 22-24, Myanmar military-controlled television network MRTV reported on Sunday. Since taking power he has travelled abroad only to attend a regional summit hosted by Indonesia in April.The army overthrew a…

Should Hong Kong and Singapore act to appease expats chafing at tight coronavirus restrictions?

When software entrepreneur Tom Coyne moved to Malta from Hong Kong with his family last summer, he imagined he’d be taking a temporary break from pandemic life in the city. But after spending nearly a year in the small European country with his wife and three children, the 47-year-old Irishman is almost certain he will not return.Before Covid-19, Coyne – who asked for his real name not to be used due to privacy concerns – would typically make several international trips for business each week…

Myanmar rejects UN resolution that calls for arms embargo and condemns takeover by military junta

Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday rejected a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an arms embargo against the Southeast Asian nation and condemning the military’s February seizure of power.Myanmar described the resolution, which passed on Friday and is not legally binding, as being “based on one-sided sweeping allegations and false assumptions.” The statement issued in the capital Naypyidaw said the Foreign Ministry had sent letters of objection to the UN Secretary-General Antonio…

Racist episodes sparks soul-searching in Singapore: ‘Why is this still happening?’

When a Singaporean woman of Indian descent was struck by a flying kick from an ethnic Chinese man spouting racial slurs last month, the attack was so alarming that it prompted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to call it a moment of national embarrassment. Racially motivated assaults are rare in Singapore, which is known for its laws aimed at maintaining peace among the majority Chinese and minority Malay and Indian communities, but the multi-ethnic city state of 5.7 million has long had to…

UN calls for halt of weapons to Myanmar after 119 countries vote to support resolution

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday called for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urged the military to respect November election results and release political detainees, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi.The General Assembly adopted a resolution with the support of 119 countries some four months after the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government in a coup. Belarus requested the text be put to a vote and was the only country to oppose it, while 36 abstained,…