Year: 2019

Straits Herald December 31, 2019

Membership of the World Trade Organization has benefitted the US and China more than any other nations, a study published Monday found, as the two powers seek to defuse a months-long trade conflict. The Bertelsmann Foundation research showed WTO membership has boosted the US’s gross domestic product by $87 billion in the 25 years since […]

Straits Herald December 31, 2019

Iran’ Revolutionary Guards have seized a ship suspected of fuel-smuggling and arrested 16 Malaysian crew members, state media reported on Monday. The website of IRIB state television said the Guards confiscated 1.3 million litres of “smuggled fuel” from the unnamed vessel 15 nautical miles from Abu Musa island. “The ship’s 16 crew who are of […]

Straits Herald December 30, 2019

by Catherine Lai A rom-com about a lesbian flight attendant and a romance in a gay spa are among the shows featured on Asia’s first LGBT-focused streaming service, which is pushing boundaries in an often highly conservative region.  GagaOOLala brings more than 1,000 feature films, shorts, web series, and documentaries to people across Asia, where […]

Straits Herald December 25, 2019

by Marlowe Hood The climate summit in Madrid earlier this month did not collapse — but by almost any measure it certainly failed. Five years after the fragile UN process yielded the world’s first universal climate treaty, COP25 was billed as a mopping-up session to finish guidelines for carbon markets, thus completing the Paris Agreement […]

Straits Herald December 24, 2019

by John Biers Boeing on Monday pushed out its embattled chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, as it attempts to pivot from a protracted crisis surrounding the grounding of its top-selling 737 MAX after two deadly crashes. More than nine months after the MAX was grounded and a week after halting production of the aircraft, Boeing named […]

Straits Herald December 23, 2019

2019 is drawing to a close. Here are some of the biggest events that unfolded around the world: Global Climate Emergency 2019 is set to be the second hottest year ever recorded. Record temperatures in Europe, North Pole, and Australia. Young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg inspires climate protests worldwide, culminating in her being named as […]

Straits Herald December 23, 2019

Beijing will lower import tariffs on over 850 products including frozen pork from January next year, the finance ministry said Monday, which may help ease the pressure on the country’s depleted pork supply. China has been hit by a severe pork shortage after African Swine Fever tore through the country’s pig herds. More than a […]

Straits Herald December 22, 2019

Russia carried out tests Monday to ensure the “security” of its internet infrastructure in case of a foreign cyberattack, measures that rights activists worry could also tighten censorship and lead to online isolation. A controversial law that allows the country to cut internet traffic from international servers came into force in November, but the communications […]

Straits Herald December 20, 2019

Malaysian ex-leader Najib Razak swore in a packed mosque Friday he did not order the killing of a Mongolian woman linked to a major defence deal, rejecting an allegation from his ex-bodyguard. Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives in 2006. Her death was linked to a scandal […]

Straits Herald December 20, 2019

Malaysia’s extraordinary 1MDB corruption scandal allegedly saw top officials loot billions from a state fund and go on a worldwide spending spree — buying up super-yachts, paintings by Van Gogh and Monet, and financing a Hollywood blockbuster. The controversy has had a huge impact in Malaysia, contributing to the downfall of a coalition that had […]

Straits Herald December 20, 2019

Goldman Sachs is in talks with American authorities to admit guilt and pay a massive fine in the 1MDB bribery scandal to end a US criminal probe, according to a report on Thursday. The global finance giant is near an agreement with the Justice Department on a fine of close to $2 billion in the […]

Straits Herald December 19, 2019

The president of sanctions-hit Iran called Thursday for Muslim countries to cooperate in fighting US “economic terrorism” at the opening of a summit aimed at tackling the Islamic world’s woes. Hundreds of delegates are attending the gathering in Malaysia — including heads of state and religious leaders — but the meeting has been snubbed by […]

Straits Herald December 19, 2019

Eight-year-old Ryan Kaji earned $26 million in 2019 on his YouTube channel, making him the highest-paid creator on the platform, according to a list published Wednesday by Forbes magazine. Kaji, whose real name is Ryan Guan, was already the video platform’s highest earner in 2018, with $22 million, according to Forbes. His channel “Ryan’s World,” […]

Straits Herald December 19, 2019

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday mounted a veiled attack on a Muslim summit in Malaysia shunned by Saudi Arabia, saying such gatherings would weaken Islam. Leaders of Muslim nations, including Saudi rivals Iran, Turkey and Qatar, will attend the summit this week in Kuala Lumpur, which analysts say is aimed at rivalling […]

Straits Herald December 18, 2019

by Sam Reeves Malaysia will this week host a summit of Muslim leaders billed as a forum to look at the Islamic world’s problems, but it will be closely watched for Middle East power plays and their stance on China’s Uighur minority. Leaders from Iran, Turkey, and Qatar will be among hundreds of delegates attending […]

Straits Herald December 17, 2019

US regulators said Monday they had permanently barred a former Goldman Sachs executive from the securities industry over bribery in Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal. The settlement comes more than a year after Tim Leissner admitted bribery and money laundering conspiracy charges related to the case, which rocked the Malaysian political scene and the giant Wall Street […]

Straits Herald December 16, 2019

Pictures by Hector Retamal It’s dawn in Xiapu county and sunrise over southeastern China is welcomed by dozens of clicking camera shutters. Locals along this rather isolated stretch of coast in Fujian province have drawn their livelihood from the sea since ancient times. But another thriving industry has emerged as steadily rising incomes put cameras […]

Straits Herald December 15, 2019

Indonesia has filed a World Trade Organization lawsuit against the European Union over plans to phase out palm oil-based biofuel for cars, the trade ministry said. The action could escalate a trade dispute between Indonesia — the world’s top palm oil producer – and the EU, which plans to end its use of biofuels by […]

Straits Herald December 13, 2019

by Dmitry ZAKS / Alice RITCHIE / Robin MILLARD / Phil HAZLEWOOD / James PHEBY Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday’s snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU next month after years of political deadlock. The Conservatives were […]

Straits Herald December 12, 2019

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is funding research aimed at changing the way information circulates on social media — with the goal of combating online violence, hate and disinformation. Dorsey on Tuesday announced he would fund an independent team of five architects, engineers, and designers — dubbed Bluesky — to develop an “open and decentralized standard […]

Straits Herald December 11, 2019

by Anuj Chopra Saudi Aramco’s shares soared on their debut on the domestic stock exchange Wednesday, becoming the world’s biggest listed company worth $1.88 trillion after a record-breaking IPO. Aramco had priced the initial public offering at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, raising $25.6 billion and eclipsing Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO of 2014 to become […]

Straits Herald December 10, 2019

Forest fires that raged across Indonesia dented Southeast Asia’s biggest economy to the tune of some $5.2 billion, the World Bank said Wednesday, not including the health impacts from toxic haze that sent air quality plummeting. The fires are an annual problem but this year was the worst since 2015 due to dry weather, with […]