Morning Minutes: What will make headlines, April 20, 2016

Dr Mohamed Ali, assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University
Dr Mohamed Ali, assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological UniversityPHOTO: ST FILE

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Wednesday, April 20, and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

Conversation Starters: “Countering the ISIS Threat” to be held at NTU

The National Library Singapore and SIM University will organise its first Conversation Starters series titled “Countering the ISIS Threat” on Wednesday, (April 20). The conversation will address security issues such as terrorist threats and attacks, as well as radicalisation in the region. In particular, experts will discuss the threat of terrorism in Singapore and the region, terrorist recruitment in cyberspace, and the Government and community’s responses to the challenges. Leading the discussion will be Dr Mohamed Ali, assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Mr Neo Loo Seng, senior behavioural science research analyst at the Ministry of Home Affairs, and security expert Susan Sim, vice-president of The Soufan Group. -- LIM YAN LIANG

Malaysia to release inflation figures


The National Bank of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysia will release its annual inflation figures on Wednesday (April 20). Economists predict that the March rates have likely cooled from a seven-year high the previous month, on the back of lower fuel prices which may have offset higher costs of food and consumer goods. In February, the consumer price index increased 4.2 per cent from a year earlier, the biggest annual rise since December 2008. Inflation is expected to be 3.6 per cent in March and the pace is expected to moderate after the first quarter. 

Indonesia to release first quarter foreign direct investment figures


An employee of Bank Indonesia stands next to a giant one thousand rupiah coin on display inside the bank's headquarters in Jakarta. PHOTO: REUTERS

Indonesia will release its first quarter foreign direct investment figures for 2016 on Wednesday (April 20), as Southeast Asia's biggest economy expects its recent efforts at reform to bear fruit. FDI in Indonesia was up 19 per cent year on year in 2015 to US$27.3 billion, according to official data. Stimulus packages were announced in February by the Joko Widodo government with an aim to boost both domestic and foreign investment. 

Japan to release trade figures


The Tokyo stock index on display during an afternoon trade session in Tokyo, Japan on April 13, 2016.

Japan’s finance ministry will release its trade figures for March on Wednesday (April 20), which will indicate whether the economy managed to avert recession in the first quarter after contracting in the last quarter of 2015. 

Analysts expect year on year exports to fall for a sixth straight month, as a strong yen and stagnant overseas demand may be delaying growth. Imports are also expected to decline for the 15th consecutive time from a year earlier, as energy related prices slumped. 

Taiwanese officials to discuss cases of telecoms fraud in China


Masked alleged fraud suspects escorted by policemen at Taoyuan Airport on April 15, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Taiwanese officials will travel to mainland China on Wednesday (April 20) to discuss two cases of telecoms fraud after one of the cases led to 45 Taiwanese suspects being deported to China from Kenya, which has official relations with Beijing and not Taipei.

The officials hoped to establish a way to jointly investigate the two cases, in which the scams were conducted from a third country, and visit the detained Taiwanese, Taiwan's Justice Ministry said on Tuesday (April 19). 

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Taiwanese scammers are responsible for over 50 per cent of all telecom fraud on the mainland, where people’s telephone numbers and other private data are easily available. 

The Kenya incident has triggered a scramble by Taiwan to ensure Taiwanese now detained in several foreign countries – most of them for alleged fraud – are sent back to Taiwan instead of China. Twenty of them were repatriated from Malaysia over the weekend.