Filipinos express privacy, venue concerns over president Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Hong Kong

Filipino community leaders in Hong Kong have expressed concerns over the arrangements for President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to the city, saying the suspected venue is difficult to reach, and the collection of attendees’ personal information is a step too far.
On April 12, Duterte will visit the city for the second time in just 10 months, after he attends the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference set for April 8-11 in Boao, Hainan Province in China.
The president’s April 12…

‘Something very dangerous for our country’: Malaysia approves law against ‘fake news’ despite outcry

Malaysia’s government on Monday pushed a law through parliament that makes “fake news” punishable with a maximum six-year jail term despite an outcry from critics worried it will be used to stifle dissent before elections.
The law targets foreign as well as local media, and is seen in part as an effort to silence criticism of the scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB that has rocked the administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The election is expected within…

‘The fight is still on’: 16 killed as violence grips Indian Kashmir

Sixteen people have been killed in Indian Kashmir in some of the fiercest fighting this year in the restive Himalayan region, police said on Sunday, as authorities braced for more violence.
A total of three Indian soldiers and 11 suspected militants died in several clashes south of Srinagar, the main city of the region divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both.
Two civilians were also killed and dozens injured when police opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who poured…

Kuwait court issues death sentence for couple who murdered Philippine maid and kept her body in freezer

A Kuwaiti court on Sunday sentenced in absentia a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife to death by hanging over the murder of a Filipina maid, a judicial source said.
The court issued the sentence in the first hearing in the case of Joanna Demafelis, the 29-year-old maid whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait earlier this year.
The sentencing can still be appealed if the couple returns to Kuwait, the source said on condition of anonymity.
The Demafelis murder triggered a diplomatic crisis…

Journey to the past: why overseas Chinese are finally embracing their roots

While he was growing up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Dennis Yeung was unaware of the differences between himself and the other boys. Sure, he was known as “Ching”, but even here he may have caught a break. One white classmate was known as “Buddha” because he was fat. Another kid was “Fungus” owing to wad of peach fuzz on his face.
Now, 68, the jovial retired mechanical engineer recalls that it wasn’t until he started shaving that the difference…

In China, Kim Jong-un was an astute player on his international debut

By mutual agreement, the reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Beijing and his meetings with President Xi Jinping last week were meant to be kept top secret until he left China.
The Chinese authorities, which equally value secrecy, were happy to oblige. Official media reports about Kim’s visit were not released until he was safely back in his own country on Wednesday morning.
This has given rise to black humour on Chinese social media platforms. One of the better…

Japan sticks with tradition and excludes female imperial family members from Crown Prince Naruhito’s enthronement

Japan is sticking with tradition and not allowing female imperial family members to attend the enthronement ritual of Crown Prince Naruhito when he takes over from his father Emperor Akihito.
Naruhito will formally succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1 next year, a day after Emperor Akihito steps down.
Announcing the plans for the imperial succession rites, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said only male imperial family members will attend the ritual, which sees the new emperor…

Najib’s the election favourite, but is there a Malay tsunami coming?

Professor Redzuan Othman, the vice-chancellor of the University of Selangor, has often insisted numbers do not lie. And that his statistical models are empirically solid. Moreover, based on this week’s move by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government to change constituency boundaries, he now believes the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition will win big again. Redzuan’s predictions have been right on several occasions, and he is a serious and professional pollster. But there is…

This Cambodian city is turning into a Chinese enclave, and not everyone is happy

It was a hot, clear day. The kind of day when, a few months ago, the beach here would have been crowded with tourists deciding whether to drink a US$1 beer or a US$1 fresh coconut juice.
Instead, the beach was almost deserted. Women wandered with trays of fresh lobsters perfectly balanced on their heads or carrying kits for performing pedicures, touting in vain for customers.
Men lounged on chairs at their restaurants offering barbecued squid and local curries. But the only patrons were stray…