The DailyBrief

Thursday March 16, 2017

US, India, Iran: Delhi has signed an agreement with Kabul and Tehran to expand the Iranian port of Chabahar so it can establish a gateway to Afghanistan’s vast mineral resources, create a suitable facility to handle higher-volume Iranian natural gas exports to India and, possibly, “checkmate” the Chinese. However, reports Peter J. Brown, the project now seems at odds with US President Donald Trump posturing over Iran. Or does it?

Singapore’s political dissent: Singaporean authorities have threatened legal action over political activist Han Hui Hui’s social media posts alleging she was mistreated while in jail for staging an unsanctioned public protest. Kirsten Han writes that lawsuits are not new to Singapore, and the People’s Action Party — that has governed for over five decades — has often resorted to the courts to stifle opponents but is struggling to completely silence online-based political dissent.

Cambodia’s looming elections: Influential Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An died on Wednesday and analysts speculate there is now a substantial void in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, one that Prime Minister Hun Sen will struggle to fill. David Hutt reports that with only three months until crucial commune elections, Hun Sen, now without his long-time “right-hand man”, will have to employ all of his political cunning to keep his government unified.

Indian filmmaker’s awards: Director Rima Das, whose debut film was screened at Cannes and the Mumbai Film Festival last year, has already found similar success with her second production, writes Poo Yee Kai and Liu Hsiu Wen . Village Rockstars, about a village girl in Assam who dreams of forming a rock band, has been selected to be shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is a finalist in this week’s Work in Progress film competition held in Hong Kong.