The DailyBrief

Wednesday February 1, 2017

Many countries in Asia celebrated the Lunar New Year over the past four days, with some returning to work while others are still on their break. Some places, however, have witnessed violence, especially in Myanmar, where Muslim lawyer Ko Ni was assassinated by a lone gunman on Sunday outside of Yangon’s international airport upon returning home from an overseas trip. Bertil Lintner writes that thousands of people came to pay their last respects to one of the country’s most prominent lawyers and pro-democracy advocates.

In the Indian state of Karnataka, UberPOOL and local rival Ola Share have just been banned, writes Anusha Venkat. For users, it’s an inconvenience, but Karnataka is not alone: more and more states are revisiting and revising their regulations on taxi-hailing aggregators. The Karnataka government ruled that these firms can only offer point-to-point services and not stops and pick-ups within trips. It gave three days for Uber and Ola to halt their ride-sharing services in the state.

It seems POTUS (President of the United States) is front and center in the news from trade and diplomatic issues to disruption of the greenback in currency markets. Anthony Rowley writes in his analysis that Donald Trump shares his predecessor Barack Obama’s myopia on doing business with China. The US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership suggests that Trump is preparing – wittingly or otherwise – to cede to China leadership of trade matters within Asia, while Obama’s effective boycott of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank showed an apparent failure to appreciate the approach of what could prove to be the “Eurasian century.”

On the diplomatic front, US Defence Secretary James Mattis is set to visit South Korea on Thursday following a Monday phone call with his counterpart, Han Min-koo. The visit to the region comes amid reports that North Korea may be readying to test a new ballistic missile in what could be an early challenge for the new US President’s administration. The South Korean Defence Ministry said the two sides had agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in South Korea as planned to defend against North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic capabilities.

The migration of people from rural areas to cities has long existed, where those on the move hope to improve their lives. Matthias Helble writes that urbanization is only going to increase as more than half of the global population lives in urban areas today and the United Nations expects two-thirds of the people in the world will live in cities. Many consider this as a negative, but the biggest intergovernmental conference on housing and urbanization, Habitat III, last year adopted the New Urban Agenda or NUA, which sees it as a key development driver.