Asian Insider, February 4th: Myanmar blocks Facebook, Malaysia cracks down on blocking violations, Asia News & Top Stories
In today’s bulletin: Myanmar is blocking Facebook ‘Ensure stability’, Malaysia is going to be tough If the lockdown is violated, the pro-democracy politicians are Hong Kong Selling their houses, Olympic boss in Tokyo in turmoil about sexist comments, WEF postponed to August, and more.
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Myanmar blocks Facebook; some good options for West to respond to the coup
Myanmar’s junta has blocked Facebook and other messaging services in the name of stability as they consolidate power after a coup and the imprisonment of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Resistance to the junta had grown very strong on Facebook, the country’s most important Internet platform.
International pressure is growing on the junta to accept the results of the November elections, which Ms. Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide manner. among others from the United Nations, However, China said any UN action should not complicate the situation further. Washington is reviewing its options but finding few good ones US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh writes.
Meanwhile, at least three arrests were made after a protest in Mandalay against the coup. Protesters use the three-finger salute from the popular Hunger Games film – also seen at the street protests in Thailand – in a gesture of support for Ms. Suu Kyi and resistance to the junta.
Foreign consulates in Hong Kong refused entry to assist dual nationals in detention
Hong Kong has Denied access to foreign consulates trying to help detained dual nationals in the global financial center, according to the Canadian Department of State. The move signals that Hong Kong is tightening enforcement of its consular agreements as tensions with Western governments escalate following the introduction of a national security law last year.
The city’s pro-democratic politicians have started selling their houses China is strengthening its control over Hong Kong. Mr. Lee Cheuk-yan, Mr. Lam Cheuk-ting, Mr. Au Nok-hin and Ms. Audrey Eu each recently sold an apartment. Mr Lee said he is cashing in as he expects property prices to fall, while Mr Lam said he is preparing the money for his children’s education abroad and his own legal fees.
On the commercial property front of the city is Standard Chartered Eliminate eight floors in the main office in its Standard Chartered Bank Building in Central. The UK lender will also rent three levels in its own office in Kwun Tong.
Tighter Covid-19 Restrictions in Malaysia; Indonesia starts 2-minute tests
Malaysia has four areas in the states of Terengganu and Perak under the expanded movement control order from Thursday (February 4) to February 17 after reporting a spike in Covid-19 cases. Residents in these areas are now prohibited from leaving their homes and visitors are prohibited from entering. Shops were also closed.
Malaysia is taking a stricter approach to ensuring compliance with its coronavirus lockdown, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said. The army is given the authority to make arrests and companies that do not adhere to strict health guidelines are closed. This reports Malaysia correspondent Hazlin Hassan.
In Indonesia, a Covid-19 screening program was started at train stations, with a Alcohol test that aims to identify positive cases. The test called GeNose is said to be at least 95 percent accurate, whereby the test subjects simply have to blow into a bag and the results are available in just two minutes.
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Ant and China banks restrict joint lending to consumers
Ant Group and Chinese banks are take back years of cooperation to consumer credit platforms, which are boosting the spending of around 500 million people across China after regulators signaled their intention to curb online lending in recent months. Some banks have been ordered to reduce their exposure to Ant, while at least one has completely cut ties with the firm, according to those familiar with the matter.
The steps come as Ant discusses a restructuring plan with the authorities, with the firm agreeing to become a financial holding company that has capital requirements similar to those for banks. Meanwhile, Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, which owns about a third of Ant, offers little guidance to investors as to how regulatory crackdowns will affect their growth after they get one increased more than expected by 37 percent in quarterly sales.
The Tokyo Olympics chief may have to resign over sexist comments
The President of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee says he may have to resign over sexist comments that women board members had difficulty in being concise and should therefore have limited time to express their views. Comments from Mr. Yoshiro Mori, 83, a former Japanese Prime Minister and head of the Tokyo Committee organizing the postponed Summer Games this year, sparked a firestorm online and called for his resignation.
In other news
Malaysia’s Muhyiddin makes the first official trip to meet Indonesia’s Jokowi: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is making his first official trip abroad to Indonesia on Thursday at the special invitation of President Joko Widodo. Due to the Covid-19 situation, Mr. Muhyiddin has instructed that his visit will last less than 24 hours.
World Economic Forum in Singapore postponed to August: The World Economic Forum has its annual special session in Singapore from May to 17th the year hard.
Modi Targets Land Disputes Crippling India’s Infrastructure: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to clean up a backlog of land disputes hindering development and free up investment to create millions of jobs to boost an economy poised for its biggest annual decline since 1952. The move could also help his government’s efforts to uproot supply chains from China and start businesses in India.
That’s it for today. Thank you for staying with us and check back tomorrow to find out more.