Asian stock markets were in the red Wednesday as tech stocks extended losses following sell-offs of their U.S. peers overnight. Investors are selling technology-related shares on concern governments might tighten their scrutiny over Facebook after it was revealed that users’ data was shared with a consulting firm affiliated with President Donald Trump. - AP News

Ride-hailing giant Uber is selling its business in Southeast Asia to regional rival Grab while gaining a robust stake in the fast-growing ride-sharing, food delivery and financial services business. - AP News


North Korea’s enigmatic young leader, Kim Jong-un, made an unannounced visit to Beijing, meeting with President Xi Jinping weeks before planned summit meetings with American and South Korean leaders, Chinese and North Korean state news media reported on Wednesday. - The New York Times


Beijing declared its third major smog alert of 2018, and the second this month, just a day after being named the top performer among 28 Chinese cities that took special measures to rein in pollution. - Channel News Asia

Airbnb Inc. is making it easier for Chinese authorities to keep track of travelers in the country. - Bloomberg

Airbnb Office

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China's Defence Ministry said on Thursday the military was carrying out routine training in the South China Sea, but would not comment on the presence of China's sole operational aircraft carrier there. - The New York Times

Touted as an engineering wonder, the world's longest sea bridge, which connects Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, includes a snaking road crossing and an underwater tunnel, and reportedly uses enough steel to build 60 Eiffel Towers. - AFP

China is detaining or interrogating family members of Muslim Uighurs who have left for the U.S., as those who managed to flee a web of surveillance and detention in northwestern China discover they cannot escape Beijing’s reach. - The Wall Street Journal

China’s campaign against virtual private networks used to bypass its internet restrictions adds to the extra expenses—and headaches—for foreign companies doing business in the country. - The Wall Street Journal


Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), the wife of NGO worker Lee Ming-che (李明哲), was granted a one-time Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents (台灣人民來往大陸通行證) last week and departed for China on Monday. - Taiwan News

Hong Kong:

Female cabin crew at Cathay Pacific have won a battle to scrap a rule forcing them to wear skirts. - BBC


The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, faces increasing isolation in his home in exile as India tones down an assertive stance toward its powerful neighbor and rival, China, in the hope of calming ties strained by a border stand-off. - Reuters


Dalai Lama Facebook

South Korea:

Seoul and Washington are hailing an agreement to revise their free-trade deal as a “win-win” after South Korea agreed to further open its auto market and the Trump administration said it would not impose steel tariffs on the country, the third-largest exporter of steel to the United States. - The Washington Post

The government in South Korea's capital is introducing a new initiative to force its employees to leave work on time – by powering down all their computers at 20:00 on Fridays. - BBC


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his ratings in a slump amid a scandal over suspected cronyism and a cover-up, has apologized again for causing anxiety and loss of confidence in his government. - ABC News


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Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife bowed their heads and offered prayers on Tuesday for victims of World War Two in Okinawa, on what could be their last visit to pay respects on an island where 30 percent of the population died in the war. - Channel News Asia

Namie in Japan's Fukushima region remains a virtual ghost town seven years after a devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster, but officials hope a new factory recycling electric car batteries could help revitalize the area. - AFP


This Cambodian city is turning into a Chinese enclave. China’s regional ambitions are exceedingly evident in Sihanoukville, and not everyone is happy. - The Washington Post


The parent company of controversial political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica was not only closely involved in Indian elections since 2003, it also worked on a project to assess the incidence of honor killings in the country. - Hindustan Times

India’s biometric ID program was supposed to end welfare corruption. But the neediest may be hit hardest. - The Washington Post

Allegations that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official mobile application was sending personal user data to a third party without their consent caused a furor on social media in India and drew criticism from the leader of the main opposition party on Sunday. - Reuters


Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像


Thailand will impose rules on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings from April to bolster investor protection, the military-run nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission said. - Bloomberg

Thailand’s military government is crushing the spirit of Bangkok’s nightlife amid an intensifying crackdown that is forcing many bars and clubs to close early or indefinitely. With an election tentatively set for February 2019, the campaign appears to be a last-ditch attempt by the embattled government to impose social order and salvage its legacy. - The Washington Post


Malaysian lawmakers voted to redraw the electoral map in what critics decried as a move to rig an upcoming election, sparking angry protests outside parliament and fury from the opposition within. - Aljazeera

A Malaysian woman who avoided a jail term for abusing her Indonesian domestic helper was sentenced to eight years' jail on Thursday by Malaysia's High Court, after prosecutors appealed to deal her a harsher sentence. - Channel News Asia

Malaysia's government may take legal action against ride-share company Grab should they increase fares following their acquisition of Uber's Southeast Asia business, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri. - Channel News Asia


The Singapore government has revoked the work permits of North Koreans in Singapore, according to a report it submitted to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). - The Straits Times


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has opened a new front in his war on drugs, targeting fake over-the-counter medicines to try to stem the spread of counterfeit paracetamol, his lawyer said on Wednesday. - Reuters


Cambodian opposition members lit candles and held prayers in Phnom Penh on Friday to mark the 21st anniversary of a deadly grenade attack: A rare public gathering since a government crackdown started last year. - Channel News Asia


A longtime loyalist to Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was chosen on Wednesday to be the country’s new president, a largely ceremonial role in which he is expected to be the official conduit for her authority. - The New York Times


Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

Prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has joined the legal team representing two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar, who are accused of possessing secret government papers, her office said on Thursday. - Channel News Asia

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