In today's bulletin: Mistrust over China's coronavirus data, income inequality in Singapore falls to lowest in 18 years, Mahathir-Anwar meet, Rohingyas, China's experiment with virtual avatars and more.
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CORONAVIRUS: MISTRUST OVER CHINA DATA GROWS
Fresh questions over the reliability of data on coronavirus infections resurfaced after China changed the way it reports the number of infections. As a result of the change, Hubei province reported just 349 additional confirmed cases today (Thursday), compared with almost 1,700 additional cases a day before. Meanwhile, South Korea confirmed its first coronavirus-related death as the number of confirmed cases of infections rose to 104.
Here's the latest:
2 DEAD ON CRUISE SHIP IN JAPAN: Public criticism was mounting in Japan as two elderly people on board a cruise ship died. Nearly 620 of the 3,700 passengers on board are infected. Meanwhile, two government officials who had worked on the ship too were confirmed as infected. The rapid spread of the disease has raised alarm with Tokyo due to host the Olympics this year.
PUBLIC OUTRAGE IN HUBEI: Anger among Chinese netizens is growing over videos showing excessive policing to curb the spread of coronavirus. China Bureau Chief Tan Dawn Wei reports that one video shows a man being pulled off his motorbike for not wearing a mask and tied to a tree while another shows a grassroots worker disrupting a game of mahjong. The videos are drawing hundreds of millions of views online, she says.
WHO IMPRESSED WITH SINGAPORE: Singapore won praise from World Health Organisation chief Adhanom Ghebreyesus who said he was "very impressed with the efforts" Singapore is making to find every case, follow up with contacts and stop transmission.
To catch all our latest reports on the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, visit our microsite here.
IS THE VIRUS HERE TO STAY? Georgetown global health expert Dr Rebecca Katz speaks with US Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh in the latest episode of Asian Insider videos, on dealing with the coronavirus, and living with it in the future.
INCOME INEQUALITY IN SINGAPORE FALLS TO LOWEST LEVEL IN ALMOST TWO DECADES
Singapore's income inequality has tapered to its narrowest in almost two decades, after income for the bulk of households rose by up to 5.6 per cent while the top 10 per cent saw their income grow just 0.4 per cent. The results follow a government pledge to make tackling social inequality a key priority.
Why inequality, and not just poverty, matters to Singapore
What the movie Parasite misses about inequality in South Korea
WILL ANWAR IBRAHIM BE PM?
Some insights into possible changes in Malaysia's political leadership should be available at a leadership meeting of the ruling Pakatan Harapan on Friday. But Malaysia Bureau Chief Shannon Teoh says uncertainty over if and when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will replace Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is set to continue swirling.
Malaysia's Anwar reaffirms that he will be PM, after Apec
Supporters may hold street protest if Anwar Ibrahim is not Malaysian PM by May
Malaysia PM Mahathir says he will only step down after November, no matter what PH leaders say
CONDITIONS WORSEN FOR ROHINGYA DESPITE ICJ RULING
Heavy restrictions on Rohingya movement within Rakhine state and bleak conditions in the refugee camps of Bangladesh where more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees live, are just two of the reasons behind growing despair within the community, a month after the International Court of Justice ruling. And Indochina Bureau Chief Tan Hui Yee says the situation is prompting many more to smuggle abroad.
World Court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from acts of genocide
Myanmar leader Suu Kyi says Rohingya 'exaggerated' abuses
OUTRAGE FORCES CHINA TO PULL AVATARS IT CREATED AS INFLUENCERS
China created two virtual social media influencers in a bid to win the hearts and minds of millennials. The duo did just the opposite. An outrage followed amid concerns that Beijing was subverting a trend for political purposes. Within hours, the two were taken offline.
IN OTHER NEWS
S. KOREA'S FIRST FEMALE NEWS ANCHOR: Five times a week, Lee So-jeong is beamed into living rooms across the country, leading the "News 9" bulletin, after she broke into a decades-old boys' club in a society that is technologically and economically advanced, but still culturally male-dominated. And she even has a younger male sidekick of her own.
CHINA THREATENS MORE ACTIONS AGAINST WSJ: China warned earlier today that it might take more action against the Wall Street Journal, a day after revoking the press credentials of three of the US newspaper's correspondents over a column that China said was racist. The warning came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the decision to expel the journalists.
INDIA BUYS DRONES TO PREVENT LOCUST ATTACK: India is buying drones and specialist equipment to monitor the movement of locusts and spray insecticides to ward off a new outbreak that could ravage crops, government officials said. This follows an outbreak in neighbouring Pakistan has again raised concerns about the safety of crops such as wheat and oilseeds in India.
That's it for today. Thanks for reading and we'll be back tomorrow.
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