The DailyBrief

Thursday May 25, 2017

Malaysia-Najib runs clear: Last year, when the United States Department of Justice announced it would launch investigations into a billion dollar development scandal, presumed suspect No 1 Prime Minister Najib Razak’s prospects looked especially bleak. Radzi Razak reports that Najib has now slipped the political noose as investigations have been dropped at home, leaving him to prepare to win yet another general election.

Buddhist bad boy: Veteran Swiss filmmaker Barbet Schroeder’s chilling documentary, about a monk accused of preaching hate and inciting attacks on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, has been hailed by critics at the Cannes film festival. Fiachra Gibbons reports that The Venerable W, a film about Wirathu – who has been called the Buddhist Bin Laden – was hailed at the famous French film festival as a “stirring documentary about ethnic cleansing in action”.

Happy Birthday, Timor-Leste: A “unity” government has made such notable gains after decades of foreign occupation and civil strife that Timor-Leste has been described as a “modern-day miracle”, writes David Hutt. This fledgling nation celebrated its 15th anniversary in May and, while critics complain of corruption and nepotism, most applaud the unmistakable democratic progress that has been made.

Beijing’s overreaching ambition: Xi Jinping’s tenure has been marked by high ambition, seen in his “Chinese dream” vision that says the country will be the world’s leading power by 2049, the centenary of communist rule, and also the gargantuan Silk Road project. But, asks Brahma Chellaney, is China about to fall into an Empire-building trap that historians call “imperial overstretch”.