Week in Focus: Mahathir's Opposition Wins in Malaysia, North Korea Frees US Prisoners

Week in Focus: Mahathir's Opposition Wins in Malaysia, North Korea Frees US Prisoners
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A weekly roundup of the region's most important news.

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China:

Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said Friday (May 11) it will suspend one of its services for a week amid widening public outrage over the death of a passenger. — The Wall Street Journal

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China’s auto sales rose 11.5 percent last month compared with the same period last year, as Beijing’s policies designed to drive purchases of electric vehicles looked to be having an effect. — The Wall Street Journal

A Shanghai court imprisoned a tycoon who used a mountain of debt to buy the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Small Chinese companies are increasingly saying they cannot repay their bills, as money gets more expensive or harder to find. For other private businesses, the cost to borrow has shot up. — The New York Times

A Chinese broadcaster’s censorship of gay-themed content during this week’s Eurovision Song Contest has fuelled an outcry among the country’s LGBT community and prompted the European Broadcasting Union to halt its relationship with the channel. — Reuters

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A former Chinese Communist Party official who was once tipped for a top leadership post was sentenced to life in prison for bribery on Tuesday (May 8), the latest senior cadre to fall in President Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption crusade. — Channel News Asia

A Chinese graduate student has become a social media sensation in China after attempting to sue police for dismissing her rape report, giving the country's fledgling #MeToo movement a new cause. — Channel News Asia

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Photo Credit: AP Images / 達志影像
Taiwan:

Three government officials were among 12 people jailed Friday (May 11) over Taiwan's worst ever gas explosions which killed 32 and injured more than 300 four years ago. — South China Morning Post

Bombers and fighter jets from China's air force conducted encirclement drills around Taiwan on Friday, the latest round of increasingly frequent military maneuvers near the self-ruled island. — Reuters

Hong Kong:

A Hong Kong court on Friday (May 11) found two pro-independence activists guilty of unlawful assembly inside the legislature while they were still lawmakers, dealing a further blow to political dissent in the Chinese-ruled territory.— Channel News Asia

Hundreds of people were evacuated on Friday (May 11) after a World War II bomb was found at a Hong Kong construction site, police said, the third such discovery in the territory this year. — Channel News Asia via AFP

Macau:
David Ng, Chairman of the Sun Kian IP Group Foundation sits at the High-level Multi-Stakeholder Strategy Forum in Macau
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Billionaire Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday after being found guilty last July of bribing two United Nations ambassadors to help him build a multibillion-dollar conference center. — Channel News Asia

Japan:

A Japanese cabinet minister called on Friday (May 11) for a law to strengthen relief and protection for victims of sexual harassment but stopped short of urging legal changes to make such acts a crime. — Channel News Asia

Victims of Japan's forced sterilizations demand justice after decades of silence. — Reuters

North Korea:

Three Korean-Americans held by nuclear-armed North Korea have been released, President Donald Trump said Wednesday (May 9), and were heading home with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Who are they? — Channel News Asia

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Photo Credit: ABC News

President Trump’s timing in withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal could hardly have been more inauspicious. At the moment he announced the decision, his new secretary of state was on a plane to North Korea, headed for discussions about denuclearization that will make the Iran deal look uncomplicated. — The Washington Post

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The damage to the nuclear test site that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promised to shut down is more extensive than earlier assessments showed, according to a new study by a team of international scientists. — The Wall Street Journal

It was the most sensational defection by North Koreans in years: In April 2016, South Korea announced that 12 young waitresses and their male manager, all members of North Korea’s elite, deserted their government-run restaurant in China and fled to the South. — The New York Times

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Photo credit: 達志影像/Reuters
The United States promised Friday that it would work to rebuild North Korea's sanctions-crippled economy if Kim Jong-un's regime agrees to surrender its nuclear arsenal. — Channel News Asia ​​​​​​
Malaysia:

Around 2 a.m. Thursday, as it became evident that Malaysia’s effective one-party state had come to an end after 61 years, Prime Minister Najib Razak was in shock.— The Wall Street Journal

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Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in as Malaysia’s new prime minister Thursday (May,10) and signaled a tougher line toward an influx of Chinese investment after a stunning election win a day earlier. — The Wall Street Journal

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The Malaysian authorities said Najib Razak, the prime minister who was ousted in elections this week, and his wife were barred from leaving the country as a leaked flight plan stirred suspicion that they were planning to flee. — The New York Times

Myanmar :

At least 19 people were killed on Saturday (May 12) by ethnic insurgents in Myanmar in a major attack near the main border with China, and four members of the security forces were among the dead, a government spokesman said. — The New York Times

Philippines:
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The Philippines’ highest court on Friday forced out its chief justice, removing a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his brutal war against drugs, which has left thousands dead. — The New York Times

Indonesia:

Indonesian authorities ordered people living near a volcano to leave their homes on Friday and a major city closed its airport after the 5,500 metre (18,000 ft) peak sent a column of steam and ash into the sky. — Reuters

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Inmates at a detention center for terrorists, including Islamic State supporters, killed five police officers and took one hostage, police said Wednesday, in a bloody security breakdown that marked the single deadliest attack against Indonesian police. — The Wall Street Journal

Vietnam:

Vietnam has jailed a Facebook user for four and a half years over posts that "distorted" the political situation in the Southeast Asian country, a branch of the ruling Communist Party said. — Channel News Asia

India:

Walmart Inc. said Wednesday (May 9) that it has agreed to take control of India’s largest e-commerce company, Flipkart Group, for US$16 billion, betting that growth in the South Asian market will make up for the short-term losses from taking on the unprofitable startup. — The Wall Street Journal

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In India, boy victims of sex crimes don't get talked about. — Channel News Asia

A third teenage girl has been raped and burned alive in a week in India, the latest brutal sexual assault to shock the country. — Channel News Asia

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Editor: David Green

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