Carlos Ghosn’s accused accomplices pull US political strings to avoid extradition to Japan

Two men held in a US jail on charges of engineering ex-Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Tokyo are trying to use political influence to win bail and avoid extradition to Japan.Lawyers and lobbyists for former Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter have pressed their case before the US Justice Department and State Department, as well as lawmakers in Congress, according to lobbying disclosure forms and four people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss a…

India’s coronavirus epidemic overtakes Russia as Indonesia, Philippines see continued surge

The Philippines and Indonesia both recorded worrying surges in coronavirus cases on Monday, in stark contrast to their Southeast Asian neighbours where the pandemic appears to be subsiding.Meanwhile, India overtook Russia to become the third worst-affected nation by the coronavirus after reporting 24,248 new cases on Monday, while Australia has closed the borders of its two most populous states in response to a fresh spike in cases.Indonesia reported 70 casualties from the coronavirus on Monday…

Statue politics: how India quietly removed colonists from their pedestals

On the river banks in Barrackpore, a sweltering town some 30km from Kolkata, the statues of 13 dead British men stand high above the ground on brick-red plinths. One is made of marble and 12 are made of metal, but they all have the identical distant gaze – instantly recognisable to every Indian as the contempt with which government service officers treat them.In 1969, 22 years after India’s independence, these statues were taken down from their pedestals at the intersections of the busiest…

Durian and beer turned into healthy probiotic booze by Philippine researcher

An ale that rewards drinkers with a healthy gut may sound like an idea devised during a night of heavy boozing. Combine that beer with durian – the spiky, smelly, sometimes polarising fruit popular throughout Southeast Asia – and it’s a concept bordering on the absurd.This sheer novelty value – and a love of beer – inspired Kriza Calumba, a food and science technology instructor from Davao in the Philippines, to create her unusual but healthy concoction.“We already know how good probiotics are…

China-India border dispute: is Pakistan about to enter the fray?

Experts believe the military stand-off between Chinese and Indian forces in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir has made South Asia the most dangerous hotspot in a new cold war between Beijing and its United States-led rivals in the Indo-Pacific theatre. By deploying troops to press an enhanced claim to the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, the northernmost Indian-administered region of Kashmir, China has significantly upped the probability of pre-existing disputes between India and Pakistan…

US lighting company Alpan joins an exodus of manufacturers leaving China to get around higher tariffs from trade war

Alpan Lighting Products, a US manufacturer of solar lamps, is shifting production from China to Indonesia, joining droves of companies looking to escape higher tariffs triggered by the trade war with the US.PT CDS Asia, a unit of Alpan, will invest US$14 million to build a factory in an industrial zone in Central Java, Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board said in a statement. The export-oriented facility is scheduled to begin production later this year and may employee 3,500 people, it…

Will Malaysia’s Chini by-election boost Perikatan Nasional – or Umno?

Malaysia’s ruling coalition Perikatan Nasional is at pains to present a united front as it contests its first by-election – and while component party Barisan Nasional is widely expected to win, analysts say its margin of victory could shape the country’s political landscape before the next national vote.The Chini by-election was triggered by the death of its former assemblyman and is being contested by two independents and a candidate from Barisan Nasional, a racially segmented alliance led by…

Indonesia wants firms relocating from China. Why are so few coming?

Indonesia has set up a task force to attract businesses leaving China and is in talks with the US government to help American firms make the move – but there have been few takers, with analysts saying there are still obstacles to doing business there.Earlier this week, President Joko Widodo announced that seven companies, including South Korea’s LG and Japan’s Panasonic, had confirmed their relocation to Indonesia. Just one firm from the United States, light product maker Alpan, said it was…

Goo Hara: late K-pop star’s ex-boyfriend jailed for sex video blackmail

The ex-boyfriend of late K-pop star Goo Hara was jailed by an appeal court on Thursday for blackmailing her over sex videos that played a part in her apparent suicide.In 2018, Goo – a member of former girl group Kara – told local media that her ex had threatened “to end her entertainment career” by leaking their sex videos.A CCTV clip of the couple showed the singer kneeling before him seemingly begging him not to.Goo was found dead at her home in November, and is widely believed to have taken…

Myanmar jade mine landslide leaves 100 dead after mining waste heap collapse

A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed at least 113 people, with more feared dead, authorities said on Thursday, after a heap of mining waste collapsed into a lake, triggering a wave of mud and water that buried many workers.The miners were collecting stones in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state when the “muddy wave” crashed onto them, after heavy rain, the fire service department said in a Facebook post.Rescuers recovered 113 bodies, the department said, but more were…