Policy & Politics

Indonesia's new President Joko Widodo waves after being sworn in during his presidential inauguration at the House of Representative building in Jakarta Oct. 20. © Reuters

Joko Widodo takes the reins in Indonesia

JAKARTA -- Joko Widodo, the former governor for Jakarta, on Monday formally took the oath of office and became the seventh president of Indonesia. During his five-year tenure, he hopes to implement fiscal reform, reduce corruption and tackle pove...

  • Religious strife is fertile ground for Myanmar extremists

    YANGON -- In Sittwe, the capital of the western Myanmar state of Rakhine, a taxi driver was fuming over a rumor of a plot to set off bombs at a local festival. The driver, Tin Tun Aung*, claimed, "I heard there was a plan [by Muslims] to bomb the...

  • Communist Party's recommended books show China's leadership concerns

    BEIJING -- Some of us may remember from their school days how hard it was to muster the energy to do assigned book reports over the summer break. These days, senior members of the Chinese Communist Party can sympathize. Since the Communist Party ...

  • Japan, Chinese vice premiers make contact amid soured ties

    BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday had a chat with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli as the two countries are trying to mend relations badly strained by territorial and wartime historical issues, sources familiar w...

  • Hong Kong government unyielding on election reforms

    HONG KONG -- The first dialogue between the Hong Kong government and student leaders held here on Tuesday was largely a futile endeavor, with officials shooting down key demands by the pro-democracy camp. Five representatives from each side atten...

  • Myanmar parliament mulls electoral changes favoring ruling bloc

    YANGON -- Parliament began deliberations Tuesday on introducing proportional representation in national elections, a move seen benefiting the ruling coalition going into next fall's contest. Myanmar now uses single-member constituencies. A specia...

  • Japan to crack down on wealthy tax dodgers fleeing abroad

    TOKYO -- Japan is considering taxing the capital gains on stocks and other financial assets held by residents moving overseas, part of an effort to prevent the super rich from escaping tax bills. When Japanese residents sell stocks, capital gains...

  • Prosecutions in Taiwan cooking oil scandal

    TAIPEI -- Prosecutors on Tuesday indicted Wei Ying-chung of Ting Hsin International Group on fraud charges relating to contaminated cooking oil produced by a key subsidiary last year. The move came after Ting Hsin companies became embroiled in th...

  • Hong Kong gov't, occupation movement protestors begin dialogue

    HONG KONG (Kyodo) -- Dialogue between the Hong Kong government and pro-democracy protesters began Tuesday evening, providing an opportunity to end the 24-day long student-led occupation campaign in which major thoroughfares in different districts hav...

  • Singapore fights to contain obesity epidemic

    SINGAPORE -- The government here is tackling the growing obesity rate head on, introducing various measures to reverse the trend before it gets out of hand. The situation in this prosperous Southeast Asian nation can serve as a warning for other up-a...

  • Japan weighs system for rewarding energy savers

    TOKYO -- The Japanese government is considering creating an exchange for trading the electricity saved by businesses and households through conservation measures. The exchange, provisionally dubbed a "negawatt" market, may be established as early...

  • Questions linger as embattled ministers resign

    TOKYO -- The two women who stepped down from cabinet posts Monday did little to clear up unresolved discrepancies, with party insiders indicating that their political careers may be in jeopardy. Yuko Obuchi, who had headed the Ministry of Economy...

  • China to bolster anti-corruption campaign at key meeting

    BEIJING -- The Communist Party of China kicked off a four-day Central Committee meeting Monday to discuss key policies as it desperately seeks to show citizens and the international community that it can subdue corruption and lend transparency to the...

  • Japan's new economy minister could sway corporate tax debate

    TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's new pick to head the economy ministry could sway the debate on upcoming tax reforms toward a greater emphasis on revenue neutrality. Yoichi Miyazawa, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's tax commi...

  • Damage control drove double resignations

    TOKYO -- Monday's cabinet resignations may have looked spontaneous. But according to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's script, the two embattled ministers had little choice but to bow out at the same time. Abe knows from experience how damaging cabinet...

  • Cabinet resignations cast dark cloud over Abe, Abenomics

    TOKYO -- The resignation of two scandal-scarred ministers could rapidly erode public support for a cabinet that faces a host of tough decisions, including a consumption tax hike, the restart of nuclear reactors and diplomatic bargaining with distrust...

  • Abe names new economy, justice ministers

    TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hurried to repair his cabinet after two ministers quit Monday, hoping to minimize any political damage from the loss of symbols of his female empowerment rhetoric. "There's a mountain of challenges before us," Ab...

  • Indonesia's new president stresses self-reliance, maritime ambitions

    JAKARTA -- Indonesia's newly sworn-in president on Monday vowed to achieve political, economic and cultural self-reliance and rallied compatriots to "redeem our glory as a maritime country." "We will maintain a free and active" foreign policy as ...

  • China tries softer approach to win over world

    BEIJING -- Taking a page right out of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War", China is looking to win the battle for global dominance without ever fighting. The strategy is to win over the international community with culture and values. But Beijing's playbook m...

  • Rays of hope for Philippines' Mindanao peace process

    MINDANAO, Philippines/JAKARTA -- Musmaila Makalunas is still haunted by memories of bombs raining down. Until just a few years ago, the southern Philippine island of Mindanao was plagued by conflict between government forces and the Moro Islamic ...