Thailand, the Land of Smiles, is beaming on tourists, blockchain and cryptocurrencies alike to promote technological innovation

As digital landscapes shift between the new and the old, blockchain and cryptocurrencies have quietly risen in popularity, particularly as countries experiment with emerging technologies. With power increasingly framed by Asia’s soft ambitions as the region embarks on more persuasive methods of influence, the continent’s blockchain market is projected to grow by an estimated 87 per cent , with the next chapter of adoption likely to unfold within the East. Even as Asia continues its advance,…

Domestic workers are the slaves of modern Asia. Are Hongkongers, Singaporeans and Malaysians ever going to change?

OVER 10 MONTHS, she was caned, barred from using the toilet, forced to eat her own vomit and warned that her relatives could be killed if she complained. It was a life Moe Moe Than, 32, a domestic worker from Myanmar, never imagined when she arrived in Singapore in 2012.Last week, her Singaporean employers, a married couple with three children, were sent to prison – one for almost four years, the other for two years. They are also facing prison time for abusing an Indonesian helper who worked…

Hong Kong or Singapore: who to trust on China’s belt and road disputes?

C hina’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative includes some of the world’s most complex infrastructure projects – ports, pipelines and railways stretching from Beijing to Berlin.As the initiative intensifies, so too have the legal disputes between investors, foreign governments and Chinese players, making the rules about how disputes are decided more important than ever.Hong Kong and Singapore, two of the world’s most trusted centres for resolving international legal disputes, are…

Vietnam orders monks to stop profiting from karma rituals

Vietnamese authorities have ordered monks at a popular Buddhist pagoda to stop “soul summoning” and “bad karma eviction” ceremonies after an investigation found the rituals were a scam.Tens of thousands of worshippers have been paying the 18th century Ba Vang pagoda in northern Quang Ninh province between 1 million and several hundred million dong (US$45-US$13,500) to have their bad karma vanquished, according to the state-run Lao Dong newspaper.The Committee for Religious Affairs, a government…

Vietnam protests over China’s sinking of vessel in contested South China Sea

Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the contested South China Sea, the foreign ministry said late on Thursday.The two countries have long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters, called the East Sea by Vietnam.The fishing vessel was moored near Da Loi island in the Paracel archipelago on March 6 when a China Maritime Surveillance Vessel chased it and fired a water cannon at it, the…

Malaysian carmaker Proton announces joint venture to build new assembly plant in Pakistan

Proton, Malaysia’s national carmaker, is set to build an assembly plant near Karachi in Pakistan with local partner Alhaj Automotive, in a move that economists believe will bring positives for both nations.The carmaker, which was struggling before Chinese company Geely bought a 49.9 per cent stake in 2017, recently launched a premium SUV believed to be signalling its recovery. Now, its regional ambitions are coming to fruition sooner than expected, even as Geely’s sales within China stutter…

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch severs business ties with Mokhzani Mahathir over anti-Semitic comments made by his father

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s company has cut business ties with Mokhzani Mahathir over anti-Semitic remarks made by his father, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, local media reported.In an interview with BBC last October, Mahathir described Jews as “hook-nosed” and blamed them for troubles in the Middle East.“If you are going to be truthful, the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of Israel. That is an old truth. But I cannot say that,” on BBC’s Hard Talk.The 93…