Asian Insider August 15: Asia's oldest parties in for change, landslides fear in Japan, George Clooney's sis-in-law caught drunk driving

Asian Insider brings you insights into a fast-changing region from our network of correspondents.

In today’s bulletin: Indonesia's Golkar and India's Congress party head for change, torrential rains hit Japan, worrying calm in Kashmir & more  

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Two of Asia's oldest parties are trying hard to regain their influence. In Indonesia, the oldest and second-largest political party, Golkar, is gearing up for elections in December. The battle for leadership will be between Golkar member Bambang Soesatyo (left in picture above), a critic of President Joko Widodo and the party's current chairman Airlangga Hartarto, who is an ally of the President. And the result will be scrutinised for ways in which Golkar can map its future direction. Meanwhile, in India, the Congress party,  which led the country to freedom from British rule and is now in opposition, has been in a state of turmoil after its President Rahul Gandhi quit, following election results that saw the party suffering a shocking defeat. His mother and influential party leader Sonia Gandhi (right in picture) is now back at the helm, as interim leader. 

Read our reports here: 

Jokowi's ally, critic battling for leadership of Golkar

Jokowi seen in driver's seat as Indonesian parties jockey for top posts

Sonia Gandhi returns to lead India's beleaguered Congress after son Rahul quits

Leaderless Congress sinks deeper into political crisis


Forecasters in Japan warn that the severe tropical storm hitting parts of western Japan could dump dangerous amounts of rain in some regions and even lead to landslides and flooding. Already hundreds of flights and train services have been cancelled. And evacuation advisories for around 550,000 people have been issued. Read more here: 

Hundreds of flights, train services cancelled as powerful storm lashes Japan


With the Indian government's shutdown of the Internet and phone services, Kashmir stands paralysed with supplies of vital commodities and medicines disrupted. Some restrictions on movement will be eased tomorrow (Friday), the state governor has said, but curbs on communication will remain. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has slammed critics of his move on Kashmir. The special status had only led to terrorism and separatism, he said in his address to the nation on its Independence Day. On the other side of the border, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said Islamabad was prepared to respond to any aggression in the disputed region, vowing that the time had come to teach New Delhi a lesson. 

Read our reports here: 

No phone calls, no groceries: Kashmir on edge under lockdown

Kashmir curfew to be eased after Thursday: Governor

Indian PM Narendra Modi defends controversial Kashmir move in address to nation

Pakistan will react to any Indian aggression in Kashmir: PM Khan


In one of the most explicit remarks yet on how Beijing could tackle the protests in Hong Kong, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom Liu Xiaoming has said that China will use its power to quell Hong Kong protests if the situation deteriorates further. "The central government will not sit on its hands and watch," he said. Meanwhile, thousands of Chinese military personnel waving red flags paraded at a sports stadium in Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong.

Here are some of our latest reports on Hong Kong:  

China will quell Hong Kong protests that show signs of terrorism: Chinese ambassador to UK

Chinese military personnel parade seen near Hong Kong border

From silence to 'terrorism': Beijing's evolving rhetoric on Hong Kong

Meanwhile, you may want to read our US Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh's article on how Trump is dealing with Hong Kong, Kashmir and other foreign affairs issues here: 

With a one-track mind, Trump walks careful line on Hong Kong crisis


NAPPY SEARCH AT BORACAY BEACH: In Philippines, a video of a tourist letting a toddler poop near the shoreline at Boracay has gone viral on social media. And it shows another woman burying the child's soiled underwear in the sand. Now a search is on for the exact spot and part of Boracay's shoreline has been closed for a clean-up. 

MOON JAE-IN PROPOSES PEACE WITH JAPAN: South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has said Seoul will "gladly join hands" with Japan if Tokyo accepts calls to resolve their trade dispute through dialogue. But Japan has said the matter is not something that can be settled through consultations. 

MANDATORY TRAINING TO CLIMB MT EVEREST: Nepal must make training and experience in high altitude climbing mandatory for all climbers on Mount Everest and other high peaks, a government panel has said, following the deadliest climbing season in four years. Eleven climbers were killed or went missing on the 8,850m-high mountain in May – nine on the Nepali side and two on the Tibetan side.

That's it for today. There's a lot more on our website. We'll be back with updates tomorrow. Thanks for reading.