Asia - The Irrawaddy
Al-Qaeda’s Shadowy New ‘Emir’ in South Asia Handed Tough Job

Pakistani militant Asim Umar will spearhead the jihadist group’s campaign to spread its activities across the subcontinent, including into Burma.

Japan, US Discussing Offensive Military Capability for Tokyo, Officials Say

Japan and the United States are exploring the possibility of Tokyo acquiring offensive weapons that would allow Japan to project power far beyond its borders.

Indonesia Parliament Mulls Ending Direct Elections for Local Leaders

Lawmakers are expected to vote this week on legislation that ends direct elections for governors and mayors, amid concerns about weakening the democratic system.

Water Shortages Lead to ‘Tanker Mafia’ in India

The shortages affects people from both upscale gated communities and dust-blown slums, as every day, the city’s supply falls more than 160 million gallons short.

New Thai PM Uses Holy Water, Feng Shui to Ward off Occult

As he prepares to move in to Bangkok’s Government House, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is making efforts to sweep away any occult challenge.

Killings by China Anti-Terror Cops Raise Concerns

State media has reported the deaths of 323 people in violence related to the far western Xinjiang region, nearly half of them inflicted by police.

Vietnam Building Deterrent Against China in Disputed Seas With Submarines

Traditionally a master of guerilla warfare, Vietnam’s will soon have three state-of-the-art Russian submarines to employ in the South China Sea.

With Sedition Dragnet, Malaysia Takes Step Back to Mahathir Era

Four people have been charged under the colonial-era Sedition Act in the past two weeks, including a reporter at Malaysiakini and a law professor.

After Syria and Iraq, Islamic State Makes Inroads in South Asia

Pamphlets and flags are appearing in parts of Pakistan and India for the Islamic State, an ultra-radical group known for beheadings and mass executions.

‘Love Jihad’ and Religious Conversion Polarize in Modi’s India

With a Hindu nationalist now the country’s prime minister, a campaign of so-called “reconversions” seeks to bring poorer Indians into the religion.

Indian States on Alert After al Qaeda Announces Local Wing

India puts several provinces on heightened alert after al Qaeda announced the formation of a wing of the militant group in India and its neighborhood.

Thai Cabinet Meets King; Doubt Grows Over Power Handover Schedule

The new military-stacked cabinet meets King Bhumibol Adulyadej, marking the formal start of an administration that will overhaul the political system before calling an election.

Apple Supplier in China Accused of Violations

Two activist groups say a factory making the upcoming iPhone 6 is violating overtime rules, withholding wages and failing to meet safety standards.

Final Trial Confirms Efficacy of Dengue Vaccine

A French drugmaker that developed the first vaccine against dengue fever says its product reduced disease cases by 60 percent in a final clinical trial.

Fukushima Workers Sue Tepco Over Unpaid Wages, Reliance on Contractors

Fukushima workers sue Tepco for unpaid wages in a potentially precedent-setting challenge to the utility and its reliance on contractors to decommission the nuclear plant.

Indonesia’s Energy Minister Made Suspect in Graft Case

A string of corruption cases have been brought against members of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s outgoing government in the past year.

Al Qaeda Announces India Wing, Renews Loyalty to Taliban Chief

An Indian branch of the militant group forms to spread Islamic rule and “raise the flag of jihad” across the subcontinent, including in Burma.

Thai Junta Forces Rights Group to Nix Presentation

Thailand’s ruling military junta forces a human rights group to cancel a presentation on the precarious rights situation in the Southeast Asian country.

Malaysian Law Professor Charged in Crackdown on Dissent

Four sedition charges have been pressed in the past nine days, raising concerns that an environment of self-censorship and fear is being created.

Surrogate Offers Clues Into Man With 16 Babies

Mitsutoki Shigeta, reportedly the son of a Japanese billionaire, has spent more than half a million dollars fathering children in Thailand for reasons still unclear.