ASIA NEWS BITES: Jokowi Eyes Duterte-Style Drug War; Another Top Cadre Falls in China; Hong Kong Strongman Dies; India’s New Phone for the Masses

ASIA NEWS BITES: Jokowi Eyes Duterte-Style Drug War; Another Top Cadre Falls in China; Hong Kong Strongman Dies; India’s New Phone for the Masses
Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region.

Taiwan:

An online rumor of a ban on incense burning in Taiwan has sparked protest among temples. - The News Lens

U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, has introduced a bill that seeks to help Taiwan participate in World Health Organization (WHO) meetings, according to a statement by his office.- Central News

A reactor at the No. 3 nuclear power plant in Pingtung County was shut down Sunday morning due to a cooling system failure, which could strain Taiwan's power supply this week, Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) said.- Central News Agency

Taiwanese officials are to bring up the procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35B jets and submarine technology in the Monterey Talks, an annual high-level defense dialogue in the US scheduled for the middle of next month. - The Taipei Times

Taiwan and China have again engaged in a tug of war over Taiwanese nationals arrested overseas, with the latest incident involving 25 Taiwanese detained in Thailand on suspicion of telecom fraud.- Central News Agency

China:

Beijing risks a brain drain and undermining international collaborations by cutting off academics reliant on virtual private networks, scholars say. - South China Morning Post

China's migrant population, drawn to cities and pushed out of poorer areas by by mass layoffs and rural land grabs since the 1990s, has risen in recent years to more than 200 million, nearly one-fifth of the population. - Radio Free Asia

China’s government reined in one of its brashest conglomerates with the approval of President Xi Jinping, according to people with knowledge of the action—a mark that the broader government clampdown on large private companies comes right from the top of China’s leadership. - The Wall Street Journal

All the political stars seemed aligned for Sun Zhengcai (孫政才)to be promoted to a top national post at the Communist Party’s congress. Yet within five days of publicly vowing absolute loyalty to Mr. Xi and extolling his “superlative political wisdom,” Mr. Sun was dismissed and put under investigation and has since disappeared, his career terminated by the man he had praised.The sudden fall from grace was taken as a warning that Mr. Xi will play succession politics by his own ruthless rules. - The New York Times

Let the West worry about so-called black swans, rare and unexpected events that can upset financial markets. China is more concerned about “gray rhinos” — large and visible problems in the economy that are ignored until they start moving fast.The rhinos are a herd of Chinese tycoons who have used a combination of political connections and raw ambition to create sprawling global conglomerates. - The New York Times

Tibet:

Rebgong Tibetans hold Ten-Day festival to promote culture, values. - Radio Free Asia

Xinjiang:

‘Web cleansing’: China’s Xinjiang residents forced to install surveillance apps on their mobile phones. - Hong Kong Free Press via Global Voices

Hong Kong:

A Taiwanese LGBTQ book publisher has criticised the Hong Kong Book Fair for its ban on “indecent” titles after it ordered several of the publisher’s books to be removed. - Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong’s ‘King of New Territories’ Lau Wong-fat dies at age 80. Rural strongman lauded for protecting the interests of indigenous villagers during long career as head of the Heung Yee Kuk. - South China Morning Post

Hong Kong is experiencing an unusually wet July this year, with experts warning that the recent torrential rain and flooding have underscored the need to step up measures against extreme weather events outside urban areas. - Hong Kong Free Press

India:

India’s richest man said Friday that his cellular company has developed an inexpensive, web-enabled mobile phone for the masses, a move that could shake up the country’s handset market and force some of the world’s leading phone makers to slash prices to stay competitive. - The Wall Street Journal

Police in India have broken up a criminal network accused of using water tankers to steal millions of litres of crude oil from the country's biggest onshore field in Rajasthan. - BBC

India has finally kick-started its "mother of all underwater defense deals" after an excruciating 10-year delay, with France, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Spain and Japan being in the fray to build six advanced stealth submarines for an estimated Rs 70,000 crore ($10.9 billion) in collaboration with an Indian shipyard. - The Times of India

An award-winning Hindi film initially banned from cinemas for being too “lady-oriented” has made its debut across India in what its director hailed as a major victory for women. - The Guardian

Japan:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his ratings sinking over a suspected cronyism scandal, on Monday said he had never instructed officials to give preferential treatment to a long-time friend, adding that the latter had never sought favors. - Channel NewsAsia

Japan recently dispatched the largest warship it has built since World War II to a naval exercise here to signal its heightened commitment, alongside India and the U.S., to counter China’s expanding ambitions in the Indian Ocean. - The Wall Street Journal

New images show what is likely to be melted nuclear fuel hanging from inside one of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima reactors, a potential milestone in the cleanup of one of the worst atomic disasters in history. - Bloomberg

Roughly 120,000 Akita Prefecture residents were ordered or advised to evacuate on Sunday as the risk of flooding and landslides rose following torrential rain in Tohoku, authorities said. - The Japan Times

South Korea:

Nearly 150 dogs destined to be eaten in South Korea are now safe in the United States, according to animal welfare activists in Wisconsin. - ABC

The first leader of a foundation set up by the South Korean government to support former “comfort women” with Japanese funding announced her resignation last week at a board meeting, sources familiar with the matter said Sunday. - The Japan Times

North Korea:

North Korea’s August beer festival has been canceled, sources say. It is said that this move may be linked to ongoing drought. - North Korea News

U.S. State Department confirms travel ban to North Korea. The ban will come into force 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register next week. - North Korea News

North Korean state media said on Friday that China does not hold the key to resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and accused the U.S. of deflecting responsibility for the tension on the Korean peninsula. - North Korea News

Philippines:

The Philippine Congress voted on Saturday to extend martial law in the southern part of the country, giving the military five more months to crush a rebellion there by Islamic State-inspired militants. - The New York Times

President Rodrigo Duterte made 16 major promises in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2016. A look at the year that has gone by shows that his administration has taken initial steps for a majority of these promises. - Rappler

Thailand:

An army 'Big Shot' whose influence seeped across the south, Lieutenant-General Manas Kongpan sat at the apex of Thailand's grisly trade in humans, raking in an untold fortune to keep prying eyes off the trafficking route. - Channel NewsAsia

Indonesia:

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has ordered law enforcers to shoot drug traffickers to deal with what he called a narcotics emergency facing the country. - The Jakarta Globe

Vietnam:

Vietnam has reportedly terminated a gas-drilling expedition in a disputed area of the South China Sea, following strong threats from China. - BBC

Scientists are compiling a crop structure map for the Mekong Delta to counter growing climate change impact in the region known as the country’s food granary. - Viet Nam News.

Cambodia:

Cambodian police on Saturday arrested three nationals in connection with an alleged weapons smuggling attempt that netted five Thai nationals across the border last week, officials said on Sunday. - The Cambodia Daily

Singapore:

The director of a Singapore company reported to have trade links with North Korea has denied the allegations made against him. - The Straits Times

Apple Pay, Android Pay, DBS PayLah!, Dash and Liquid Pay are just some of the growing number of mobile payment options that have transformed the way purchases can be made in Singapore. Consumers simply need to use their smart mobile devices to pay for their purchases at the cashier without having to take out their wallets.However, analysts say these methods have been slow to take off in Singapore, despite their ease of use. - Channel NewsAsia


Tags: