The DailyBrief

Monday March 20, 2017

Caliphate’s last days: Senior intelligence sources in Iraq say Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, has been in neighboring Syria since March 11, writes Sami Moubayed. Al-Baghdadi has been living in Mosul since 2014 but left to escape the Iraqi Army’s current offensive and is now about to move to al-Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS, as his troops prepare for a caliphate-defining fight against a coalition of US troops, Kurdish militias and the Syrian Army.

Korean chemical fears: Although nuclear tensions are escalating on the Korean peninsula, the US military could, if called upon, nullify North Korea’s missile bases and nuclear facilities. However, reports Bertil Lintner, North Korea’s chemical and biological weapons facilities are known to be hidden underground and Pyongyang’s use of the lethal VX nerve agent in a transnational assassination sends out a chilling warning.

Fukushima court ruling: Japan’s atomic power establishment is in shock following the court ruling on Friday that found the state and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant liable for failing to take preventive measures against the crippling tsunami. Shaun Burnie writes that the ruling has wide-ranging implications for Japan’s entire nuclear power industry and the efforts to restart reactors throughout the country.

Asian Film Awards: Asia Times speaks with Roger Garcia, executive director of the Asian Film Awards Academy on the eve of the 11th award ceremony. Poo Yee Kai talks with Garcia to hear his thoughts on the state of Asian cinema, how the region’s filmmakers are evolving and on the Asian Film Awards themselves, that will be handed out at a ceremony in Hong Kong tomorrow night.