The battle over religious interpretation is not new in either Malaysia or Indonesia, writes David Hutt, and has been a constant concern since each country gained independence from colonial rule, but radical notions of Islam are gaining mainstream resonance. The internationalization of Islam, and specifically transnational terror group-inspired violence in the name of jihad, has added a volatile element to the mix.
China’s industrial sector returns to earnings growth in 2016 as the economy escapes from five years of falling prices, writes Steve Wang. Profits expanded 8.5% after a contraction of 2.3% a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Earnings hit 6.88 trillion yuan (US$1 trillion), from 6.36 trillion yuan in 2015. Sales for the year rose 4.9% to US$17 trillion, with margins widening by 19 basis points to 5.97%. It was the automakers that put their pedals to the metal, as government incentives and the wealth effect from surging property prices fueled a 14.1% jump in vehicle sales to 8.02 trillion yuan.
Since debuting on television in the United States in 1989, more than 600 episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast. Parodying American culture and society, it is the longest-running American sitcom, writes Asia Times. And now the yellow American family will be extending their reach, as official branded stores selling merchandize based on the US animated sitcom will double in China this year, says Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products. The number of stores could increase from 25 in 2016 to 40 or even 50.
With the Year of the Rooster nearly upon us, Asia Times presents a slideshow of paper sculptures honouring our feathered friend. Pauline Yau specializes in creating art installations in commercial spaces and she was commissioned ahead of this year’s Lunar New Year festival to make the menagerie of paper roosters and other exotic birds that now grace Pacific Place shopping mall in Admiralty. “I’ve given each rooster its own character and expression,” she says.