In today’s bulletin: Mahathir shares grand coalition plans and why he resigned, Hong Kong announces massive stimulus package, coronavirus infections spread, New Delhi witnesses worst sectarian clashes, rail reliability in Singapore, Amal Clooney to defend Rohingyas and more.
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MAHATHIR SHARES UNITY GOVERNMENT PLAN & SAYS HE RESIGNED TO PROTEST WORKING WITH UMNO
Four days after political turmoil gripped Malaysia, the country’s interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad addressed the nation to confirm he is seeking to form a unity government of individuals who will set aside party politics and ideology. He also said he could not accept forming a government with members from his former party Umno and that he would only work with those who leave the party. Malaysia Bureau Chief Shannon Teoh and our team in the country is closely tracking developments.
HONG KONG ANNOUNCES OVER $21 BILLION STIMULUS PACKAGE TO REVIVE ECONOMY
The city that faced protests for most of last year even as it coped with the US-China trade war and is now battling incidents of the coronavirus has announced a stimulus package worth more than HK120 billion (S$21.6 billion) to aid industries and residents, even as it acknowledged that its frail economy is likely to remain in a slump in the year ahead.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: RELAPSE FEARS, SOUTH KOREA INFECTIONS INCREASE
Local health authorities in China’s Guangdong province reported that nearly 14 per cent of patients who had recovered from the novel coronavirus and were discharged from hospitals had tested positive for the coronavirus infection during check-ups. This has raised fresh alarm that recovered patients could still carry the virus, adding new complexity to efforts to control the outbreak. Elsewhere, the number of confirmed infections in South Korea now exceeded 1,200 while the United States scrambled to prepare for the potential pandemic.
WORST OUTBREAK OF SECTARIAN VIOLENCE IN INDIAN CAPITAL
Public anger over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizenship law exploded afresh this week as groups took to the streets in the capital city to vent their anger and were attacked by armed mobs. The unrest, that has been going on since Monday, has already claimed 20 lives. It is being described as the worst sectarian violence seen in New Delhi in decades. Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for a curfew to be imposed and the army to be deployed.
SINGAPORE TO SPEND $100 MILLION TO IMPROVE RAIL RELIABILITY
Reaching on time makes a difference. Singapore has set aside a sum of $100 million over five years to build simulation facilities that will improve the country’s rail reliability even further, for its people. These new facilities, that will operate like a “virtual twin”, will allow operators to simulate everything from track faults to cyber security threats and free more time for track maintenance work.
IN OTHER NEWS
AMAL CLOONEY TO FIGHT FOR ROHINGYAS: Maldives, which has joined Gambia in the battle at a top UN court on ensuring justice for Rohingyas, has turned to celebrity human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to represent their case. Ms Clooney successfully aided former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed to secure a UN decision that this jailing in 2015 was illegal. Mr Nasheed is currently a speaker in the national legislature. Ms Clooney has reportedly agreed to take up the cause, according to the Maldivian government.
TRUMP PLANS ASEAN SUMMIT IN VEGAS: U.S. President Donald Trump has invited leaders from South-east Asia for a summit in Las Vegas in the second week of March, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at a media conference in Washington. Diplomats have said it could take place on March 12.
SEOUL’S LOW FERTILITY RATE: South Korea broke its own record for the world’s lowest fertility rate. South Korean women last year were projected to have an average of 0.92 children over their lifetimes, far less than the 2.1 required to maintain a stable population, the statistics office said.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and we’ll be back with you tomorrow.
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