Sunday, 29 Nov 2020

Asian Insider, Nov 13: Game over for HK lawmakers?; Suu Kyi’s party pledges unity govt

Hi all, 

In today’s bulletin: Is it game over for HK’s pro-democracy legislators?; Turkish-German couple behind Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine; Suu Kyi’s party pledges unity government after election ‘landslide’; Pandemic life-changing for S’pore, HK youth; Xi decided to halt Ant’s IPO; S’pore moves up a notch to 9th in world talent ranking, and more.

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IS IT GAME OVER FOR HK’S PRO-DEMOCRACY LEGISLATORS?

The ousting of four pro-democracy lawmakers from Hong Kong’s legislature was “the right medicine” for the city, China has said, after 15 politicians quit in anger over the removal of their colleagues.

Political watchers say the future of the pan-democrats’ fight to keep the freedom Hong Kong enjoyed under an increasingly assertive Beijing looks bleak, and the opposition camp may have made a costly mistake with the move to resign en masse.

Associate Professor Alfred Wu of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy tells Hong Kong Correspondent Claire Huang he believes the opposition, however, has no better solution.

For more: 

Timeline of events: The national security law’s impact on Hong Kong

Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien warns China on Hong Kong

SUU KYI’S PARTY PLEDGES UNITY GOVERNMENT AFTER ELECTION ‘LANDSLIDE’

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party said it would seek to form a government of national unity, after official election results showed the National League for Democracy (NLD) had secured the 322 seats in the bicameral legislature needed to form a government.

The ballot was seen as a referendum on her government, which is hugely popular at home. But its reputation abroad has collapsed due to accusations of genocide against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, which it denies.

Read more: 

Myanmar opposition cries foul over election results

Despite controversy, all signs point to clear win for Suu Kyi’s party

TURKISH-GERMAN COUPLE BEHIND PFIZER, BIONTECH VACCINE

Two children of Turkish migrants, both medical students, met in the 1990s in Germany and fell in love while balancing their work finding a cure for cancer.

The couple, Dr Ugur Sahin and Dr Ozlem Tureci, founded biotech company BioNTech to research on modified genetic code, or Messenger RNA (mRNA), which they believed could be used to trick the body into fighting cancer. 

But it proved pivotal in designing a Covid-19 vaccine that led to Pfizer’s success with its candidate for a Covid-19 vaccine that reportedly had an efficacy rate of over 90 per cent in late-stage clinical trials.

For more Covid-19 stories:

Don warns of new variants if virus spreads to new hosts

Fresh infections in Japan hit new daily high

China under pressure to reveal Covid-19 vaccine data after Pfizer success

Get the latest Covid-19 updates at our dedicated website.

ST ASIAN INSIDER VIDEO: PANDEMIC LIFE-CHANGING FOR S’PORE, HK YOUTH

The Covid-19 coronavirus creates a hidden, long lasting sting in the tail – depression. 

ST’s Asian Insider video & podcast host and US Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh speaks to ST political reporter Yuen Sin and Hong Kong Correspondent Claire Huang, who say the pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health of young people in Singapore and Hong Kong as well where political tensions and protests also weigh on the minds of the youths.

CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING DECIDED TO HALT ANT’S IPO: REPORT

China’s President Xi Jinping personally decided to pull the plug on Ant Group’s US$37 billion (S$50 billion) initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing Chinese officials with knowledge of the matter.

The decision to stop what would have been the world’s largest ever IPO, came days after the fintech giant’s billionaire founder Jack Ma launched a public attack on the country’s financial watchdogs and banks.

Read also:

Jack Ma’s personal wealth drops US$3 billion after Ant Group IPO freeze

Why is China regulating Big Tech now?

S’PORE MOVES UP A NOTCH TO 9TH IN WORLD TALENT RANKING

Singapore has moved one place up to rank ninth in this year’s list of the most competitive places for talent in the world, according to a report released by Swiss business school Institute for Management Development (IMD).

Singapore is the only Asian country to make it to the top 10 in the latest ranking, which saw Switzerland at No. 1, followed by Denmark and Luxembourg.

For other related news:

New work pass to attract top-tier tech professionals

Singapore keeps spot as world’s second most digitally competitive country; US is No. 1

Singapore retains top spot as world’s most competitive economy

IN OTHER NEWS

OBAMA LIKENS INDIA OPPOSITION FIGURE RAHUL GANDHI TO INEPT STUDENT: Former US president Barack Obama in his memoir has likened Indian opposition figure Rahul Gandhi to a hapless student, in biting commentary on the dynastic scion who twice led his party to crushing defeats. In the book, A Promised Land, which comes out on Nov 17, Mr Obama writes that Mr Gandhi has “a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject”, according to a review in The New York Times.

INDIA HOPES DEEPAVALI WILL LIGHT UP ECONOMY: Deepavali is not just India’s most widely celebrated festival, but also the country’s largest shopping event which the Indian industry and government hope would revive an economy still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic. But public health authorities also worry that mass gatherings will become super-spreader events. 

M’SIA’S LARGEST BUDGET AIMS TO HELP COVID-HIT WORKERS, BUT IT MAY NOT BE ENOUGH: Malaysia’s largest budget, unveiled last week, came with big promises to ease public pain amid the Covid-19 nightmare, but criticisms on its shortcomings have been fast and furious, Malaysia Correspondents Hazlin Hassan and Nadirah H. Rodzi report. While politicians criticised a large proposed outlay to revive a government propaganda unit and push for blanket bank-loan moratoriums, the public sees nuggets of aid coming their way but also the lack of a comprehensive safety net for the most vulnerable.

 

That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed today’s stories, and do check back next week for more insightful reads. 

Choo Kiong

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