ASIA - The Irrawaddy Magazine
With Legal Reforms, China Wants Less Interfering in Cases, Fewer Death Penalty Crimes

China curtails the power of the ruling Communist Party’s Political and Legal Committee, a secretive body overseeing the security services, to interfere in legal cases.

The Children of Fukushima Battle an Invisible Enemy

Parental concerns mean that many children near the site of Japan’s 2011 nuclear meltdown rarely play outside, causing physical problems and stress.

Vietnam Says Cannot Find Object From Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Vietnamese searchers struggle to find an object spotted Sunday afternoon that was thought to be one of the doors of a missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

Malaysia’s Anwar Convicted of Sodomy, Political Future in Doubt

A Malaysian court convicts opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy and sentenced him to five years in prison on Friday, shattering his political plans.

Prominent Indian in Thailand Faces Expulsion Over Protests

Satish Sehgal, who has lived in Thailand since the 1940s but has never taken citizenship, is appealing to the King to stop his deportation.

China Takes Aim at Pollution After Years of Growth

Factory closures in China are part of the government’s recently declared ‘war on pollution,’ but the shifting policy priorities have taken a human toll.

Singapore’s Megachurches Move to Export Lucrative Religion

With a “prosperity gospel” that blends the spiritual and the material, Pentecostal megachurches in the wealthy Asian city-state have perfected a popular and lucrative model.

Trafficking Abuse of Burma’s Rohingya Spreads to Malaysia

Human traffickers keep hundreds of Rohingya Muslims captive in houses in northern Malaysia, beating them, depriving them of food, and demanding ransoms from their families.

India Announces General Elections to Start April 7

This year’s vote is seen as the most important election in more than 30 years, as voters lose faith in the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.

China’s Civilian Fleet a Potent Force in Asia’s Disputed Seas

From harassing Filipino fishing boats to playing cat-and-mouse with the Japanese coastguard, China’s fleet of civilian patrol vessels have become enforcers in disputed Asian waters.

Three Times a Loser, Indonesia’s Megawati Is Pivotal in Elections

As Indonesia gears up for twin elections this year, the pivotal figure is a woman who was trounced all three times she contested for president.

Rights Group: Thai Fishing Sector Abuses Burmese Migrants

An environmental and human rights group charges that Thailand is not adequately addressing severe abuse against Burmese migrant workers in the Thai fishing industry.

China’s Xi Ramps Up Military Spending in Face of Worried Region

Amid territorial disputes with neighbors, the country’s defense budget will rise to more than $130 billion. The 12.2 percent increase is the largest for three years.

US Calls for ‘Urgent’ Restraint to Ease Japan, South Korea Tensions

The United States says its two main allies in Asia cannot afford to let their troubled history interfere with ensuring regional security.

China Train Station Attack Risks Driving Ethnic Wedge Deeper

After knife-wielding assailants killed 29 people in Kunming, China vows to crack down on militants it says want an independent state in the country’s northwest.

From India’s Northern Backwaters, a New Business Elite Rises

India’s northern Hindi-speaking belt, home to half a billion people, is taking off after decades of trailing industrialized seaboard states in the west and south.

China’s Xi Amasses Power to Tackle Grim Challenges

Xi Jinping looks more powerful than any Chinese leader in recent decades as his government prepares to deliver its first one-year report card Wednesday.

Separatists Blamed for China Knife Attack; 33 Dead

Authorities blame a slashing rampage that killed 29 people and wounded 143 at a train station in Kunming on separatists from China’s far west.

Bangkok Demonstrations Scale Down, Move to Park

Anti-government protesters in Thailand’s capital began settling in at a park in the center of Bangkok, withdrawing from other sites after their numbers dwindled.

Thousands March in Hong Kong to Condemn Attack on Ex-Newspaper Editor

As many as 13,000 protesters take to the streets over fears that Beijing’s increasing influence in Hong Kong is threatening freedom of the press.