Asia - The Irrawaddy
Thai Junta Leader Appointed PM by Hand-Picked Parliament

Thailand’s coup leader is appointed premier by a legislature he hand-picked, giving the army chief a veneer of legitimacy to press ahead with military-backed reforms.

Indian Firms Tool Up for Defense Orders on Modi’s ‘Buy Indian’ Pledge

The new Indian prime minister wants to buy local as he steps up defense spending to narrow the gap with China’s modern armed forces.

Remains of Malaysian MH17 Victims to Be Flown Home

Forty-three Malaysians were among the 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over Ukraine on July 17.

American Slain in Bali, Daughter Had Troubled Past 

A woman whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase on an Indonesian resort island was repeatedly and violently abused by her daughter.

Japan’s Polarizing PM Abe Learns the Long Game

One of Japan’s most polarizing prime ministers in decades may also have a good shot at becoming that rarity in Japanese politics—a long-serving leader.

America’s Cartoon Cat Garfield Gets TV Makeover in Indonesia

The animated television series based on the famous Jim Davis cartoon character is produced at a sprawling studio on an Indonesian resort island.

Chinese Military’s Ability to Wage War Eroded by Graft, Its Generals Warn

Chinese military officers as well as state media are questioning whether China’s armed forces are too corrupt to fight and win a war.

Thai Junta Boosts Spending on Defense, Education in Draft Budget

The country’s military rulers, who seized power in May after months of street demonstrations, expect the economy to expand next year.

Elderly Ex-Sex Slaves Want Solace, Help From Pope 

A group of former “comfort women” will sit in the front row during the last Mass of the pope’s five-day trip to South Korea.

Thousands Join Anti-Occupy Rally in Hong Kong as Democracy Fight Heats Up

Close 1.5 million people reportedly signed a petition opposing a pro-democracy campaign that has threatened to shut down the city’s financial district.

Across Asia’s Borders, Labor Activists Team Up to Press Wage Claims

From Cambodia to Indonesia, workers in Southeast Asia who make clothing, including for Western markets, are asking for more money.

Pope Makes Tough Sell on Materialism in South Korea

Pope Francis tells young people in Daejeon to “reject inhuman economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalized workers.”

Japan PM Sends Offering to War Dead Shrine, Cabinet Ministers Visit

Shinzo Abe choses not to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, in what is seen as an effort to avoid inflaming tense relations with China.

Police Test Mental Health of Daughter of American Tourist Killed in Bali

Indonesian police run psychiatric tests on the teenage daughter of an American woman found dead inside a suitcase on the resort island of Bali.

Pope Sends Good Will Message to China; Arrives in South Korea

Francis will spend five days in South Korea, a country of five million Catholics, on the first trip to Asia by a pontiff since 1999.

Kerry Eyes US-China Partnership Despite Tensions

Improving American cooperation with China is critical to maintaining stability and security in the Asia-Pacific, US Secretary of State John Kerry says.

Asean Paralysis Gives China Free Hand in South China Sea

A failed US effort to unite Asean strengthens China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, and could affect US-Burma relations.

New Focus on Arms Industry Expansion in Southeast Asia

Regional countries are increasing domestic manufacturers of military hardware, reducing their dependence on American and European suppliers.

India’s Modi Accuses Pakistan of Waging Proxy War

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accuses Pakistan of waging “proxy war” by sending militants to attack India in a trip to the disputed Kashmir region.

China Announces Birth of Rare Panda Triplets

Three panda cubs were born on July 29 in the southern city of Guangzhou in a further success for the country’s artificial breeding program.