BRASILIA/MOSCOW: The United States wants an explanation for why Russia detained a former U.S. Marine on spying charges in Moscow and will demand his immediate return if it determines his detention is inappropriate, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited the detained man, Paul Whelan, at a detention facility in Moscow and spoke by phone with his family, the State Department said. The United States had expressed concern through diplomatic channels over delayed access to Whelan, who was detained on Friday, a department spokesman said in a statement."We've made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he's been accused of and if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return," Pompeo said in Brasilia, where he attended the inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday.Russia's FSB state security service opened a criminal case … [Read more...] about US demands Russia explain American’s detention on spying charges
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Even so, Japan – a fellow island country which formed an alliance with Britain in the early years of the last century – is nervously watching the roller-coaster Brexit ride, and not just for its short-term economic interests. Japan is worried that its strategic and even ideological interests may be at stake if Britain recedes from the world as a result of European Union withdrawal. Britain as diplomatic backstop The United States has dominated post-World War II Japan’s security and economic dimensions as its closest ally. But for Tokyo, London is a key barometer to conducting sensible diplomacy. “We see Britain as a reference to base our voting on UN resolutions on Middle East issues,” a senior Japanese diplomat once said. Out of at least 28 Palestine-related resolutions adopted with votes at the UN General Assembly in 2015-17, Japan and Britain were on the same side, while the United States voted differently on all of them. … [Read more...] about Brexit tests Japan’s globalist credentials
Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is Asia’s most quotable leader. In May, soon after his Pakatan Harapan (or “Pact of Hope”, PH) alliance’s surprise victory in elections that month, he quipped that Singaporeans “…must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence” – a clear reference to the republic’s ruling People’s Action Party’s (or PAP’s) almost six-decade monopoly on power. Mahathir – as history will tell us – is no fan of Singapore. Understandably, the 93-year-old’s pronouncements on the city-state since returning to power have drawn a lot of attention. Intrigued by the possibility of change in Singapore, Team Ceritalah travelled across the causeway to see what local residents thought of Malaysia’s historic 14th General Election and how – if at all – it would impact them. “It was exciting that PH [Pact of Hope] … [Read more...] about News OPINION: Malaysian elections: Spillover into Singapore?
You could call it “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the tale of two real-estate deals.” At home, Abe appears to be doing everything he can to hold onto power by fending off and defusing the opposition’s campaign to bring clarity to a series of disturbing and perhaps corrupt practices surrounding the involvement – or entanglement – of Abe’s wife in a government land sale for a new school which listed her as honorary principal. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox As witnesses are summoned to appear before the Diet and altered documents are identified, public opinion polls suggest Abe is becoming more unpopular by the day due to the alleged ties between his wife and Osaka-based school operator, Moritomo Gakuen. The PM and his cabinet are under siege, especially since the Finance Ministry’s release of altered documents was revealed. Abe’s firm denial of any wrongdoing … [Read more...] about Tokyo’s investment with Kushner real estate group stays below the radar
Chen Tianqiao has placed one of the biggest wagers of his life. And it may finally be starting to pay off.Chen, through his Singapore investment firm Shanda Asset Management Holdings Limited, has accumulated a large stake in the struggling Tennessee company Community Health Systems. Between early 2016 when Chen first bought shares of the operator of acute care hospitals, and January of this year, the share price plummeted more than 80 per cent, from US$20 a share to below US$4.The Chinese billionaire is betting he can catch outsize returns on his investment in the distressed US health care provider when its share price improves. To make sure that happens, his investment firm stated last March it intended “to engage with (Community’s) management team regarding (its) business and operations and the status of the ongoing turnaround strategy.”This month, Community Health’s shares have staged a 37 per cent recovery, hitting US$5.50 this week. If the turnaround … [Read more...] about Billionaire’s Singapore investment firm takes gamble on distressed US firm, reflecting confidence of Chinese investors