The DailyBrief

Friday June 16, 2017

Indian Ocean tensions: A potential Cold War in the Indian Ocean could pit an informal alliance of the US, India, Australia and Japan against a China that, for the first time in modern history, is making inroads into the region. Bertil Lintner writes that more than 60% of the world’s oil shipments pass through the ocean as does 70% of all container traffic and while tensions are not yet as high as in the hotly contested South China Sea, potential for conflict is unmistakably rising.

Singapore-First family feud: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s younger siblings claim Singapore’s premier has failed to execute their late father Lee Kuan Yew’s last wishes. Kirsten Han writes that the row has now gone way beyond a family squabble over the management of their late father’s house and is now about abuse of power.

China bonds plummet: There was comforting data in the People’s Bank of China May monetary statement but there was also a massive plunge in the growth of broad money supply, reports Steve Wang and Liu Hsiu Wen. The shockingly cruel numbers, that saw the fledgling corporate bond market’s biggest outright contraction in history, mean a quarter trillion yuan (US$36.7 billion) of liquidity will have been sucked out of the economy within a month.

America’s lawyers’ war: The US is in the middle of a “cold civil war” but its fighters are not gunmen but lawyers, argues David P. Goldman. A considerable portion of America’s permanent bureaucracy, including elements of its intelligence community, says Goldman, is engaged in an illegal and unconstitutional litigation-led mutiny against the elected commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump.

Tamil bribe shock: Tamils in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and elsewhere have been left aghast by an explosive bribery scandal rocking Tamil Nadu politics, reports E Jaya Kumar. A sting by a newspaper and TV channel indicates that huge bribes have been paid to fix elections and voters are now wondering whether the incumbent government still has any legitimacy.