In India, protests over new citizenship bill as Muslims fear further persecution

The road outside Cotton University in Guwahati, the capital of India’s north-eastern Assam state, was filled with thick smoke from burning tyres on Monday and Tuesday as hundreds of students protested against India’s new citizenship amendment bill.The bill aims to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus and other religious minorities from Muslim-majority neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India illegally, but not to Muslims.It was passed by a majority…

Vietnam’s richest man is spending US$2 billion to sell electric cars to Americans

The billionaire behind six-month-old Vietnamese auto start-up VinFast plans a feat even Toyota and Hyundai couldn’t pull off during their early days: sell a car in the US.Pham Nhat Vuong, the Southeast Asian country’s richest man and now in charge of the new automaker, is so intent on exporting electric vehicles to the lucrative American market in 2021 that he’s ploughing as much as US$2 billion of his own fortune to reach that goal. His cash would account for half the capital investment of…

Narendra Modi’s new anti-Muslim citizenship law sparks fear, panic and protests in India

India’s parliament is set to approve legislation preventing Muslim migrants from neighbouring countries from receiving citizenship – the next step in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hardline Hindu nationalist programme and one that is seen to go against the nation’s secular constitution.The controversial citizenship bill has sparked protests and fear around India, with lawyers working overtime to help millions at risk of being left stateless in the world’s largest democracy.The Citizenship…

Singapore gets fighter jet unit on Guam as US, facing China threat, lauds closer ties with allies

Singapore’s new defence pact with the United States – allowing it to set up a fighter jet training detachment in Guam – is a nod to deepening military ties between the countries, experts said, adding that it was the city state’s way of assuring Washington of its loyalty despite boosting cooperation with Beijing.Singapore has “always been a close friend” of the US, said Faizal Abdul Rahman, a research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, citing its contribution to…

Malaysian baby diagnosed with polio, in country’s first reported case in nearly 30 years

An infant in Malaysia has been diagnosed with polio, in the first case reported in the country in nearly three decades, a top health official said on Sunday.The three-month old baby boy from Tuaran, in Malaysia’s Sabah state on Borneo island, tested positive for polio on Friday after being admitted to hospital with a fever and muscle weakness, Director General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.“The patient is being treated in an isolation ward and is in stable condition, but…

PKR’s Anwar-Azmin power struggle deepens, threatening future of Malaysia’s ruling party

A widening rift within the largest member in Malaysia’s ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, which became exposed after rival leaders lashed out at each other during a key weekend meeting, has stoked concerns it would unsettle the administration and hurt its chances at the next general election.The People’s Justice Party (PKR) is led by Anwar Ibrahim, 72, to whom Prime Minister Mahathir had vowed to hand over power after laying the groundwork for a new administration that began last May when the…

Polls close in Bougainville after vote on independence from Papua New Guinea

Polls on the Pacific island chain of Bougainville closed on Saturday to end two weeks of voting in a historic referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.Officials anticipated the “vast majority” of 207,000 registered voters cast their ballots across the region and beyond, with polling stations established for Bougainvillean diaspora in Australia, the Solomon Islands and other parts of PNG.“We won’t have turnout figures until the end of the scrutiny process but during polling we witnessed…

They stole my mother’s organs: a Vietnamese human trafficking victim on going to the UK

Nguyen, who was born in a rural, mountainous area in the North of Vietnam, could barely string together complex sentences when his life took a sudden turn.He was only about four years old when his father fell sick and the family had to borrow money to cover the hospital expenses – but they could not avoid his death.“I remember my mum and I working for some people to pay off the debt. One day, we were taken on a motorbike to a very faraway place,” he recalls. “It was in a very remote mountainous…

Typhoon Kammuri flooding forces tens of thousands from their homes in Philippines

The north of the Philippines has been hit by some of its worst flooding in decades, with torrents of muddy run-off forcing 66,000 from their homes and prompting rescues of trapped locals, authorities said on Friday.Luzon island, the nation’s largest, has been hit by a string of storms that have battered its northern tip while monsoon rains were intensified by the passage of Typhoon Kammuri this week.Large swathes of lush green land were inundated after rivers burst their banks, leaving only…

Sex scandal, fist fight set scene for Malaysia’s ruling PKR party AGM

Bloodied noses and fisticuffs were the order of the day as a brawl broke out today between rival factions of Malaysia’s biggest parliamentary party.Stones were thrown and punches exchanged by youth members attending an annual meeting of the People’s Justice Party (PKR). Observers said the scuffle underlined the fragile state of the party, which has the most parliamentary seats and is part of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.The brawl comes just days after one faction threatened to hold a…