Asian Insider Oct 15: Carrie Lam’s annual address, a K-pop star’s suicide

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

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In today’s bulletin: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam will try and deliver her annual policy address as usual tomorrow amid risks of disruption by protesters; the suspected suicide of K-pop star Sulli has captured the world’s attention; Singapore’s economy escapes recession; one of the world’s worst paedophiles is killed; and more...

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CARRIE LAM TO GO AHEAD WITH ANNUAL POLICY ADDRESS ON WEDNESDAY

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she will try to deliver her annual major policy address on Wednesday as planned in the city’s Legislative Council, despite concerns that protesters will try to prevent her from entering the building. Mrs Lam said today that her speech will address the city’s housing crisis - an issue that some consider to be one of the many driving forces behind the current unrest. The situation in Hong Kong has taken a turn for the worse since the start of the month when she announced a ban on face masks. This past weekend saw a police officer stabbed in the neck and a remote-controlled bomb detonated near a police vehicle.

What you need to know about Hong Kong today:

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam vows to address housing crunch in policy speech

Hong Kong under 'de facto curfew' as subway stations shut early

Analysis by Global Affairs Correspondent Benjamin Kang Lim: The NBA poser - what price to play in China's court?

Tens of thousands rally in Hong Kong in support of US Bill

STAR’S DEATH REIGNITES QUESTIONS ABOUT K-POP PRESSURE

The suspected suicide of 25-year-old Sulli, a Korean pop star, has once again raised questions about the culture of the K-pop industry. The intense pressure in the industry and the seeming prevalence of mental health issues among its stars has long been a talking point in South Korea without all that much action being taken.  Just two years ago, another star, named Jonghyun, committed suicide at age 27. Sulli’s prominence - her death made headlines around the world - may finally prompt change.

Read also: Why are K-pop stars susceptible to depression

ST OPINION: SINGAPORE’S CLOSE CALL WITH RECESSION

Latest GDP figures from Singapore, released yesterday, didn’t have terribly bad news - but it didn’t have particularly good news either. Though the Singapore economy will dodge a technical recession - year-on-year third quarter growth came in at 0.1 per cent - there wasn’t all that much to cheer about. Associate Editor Vikram Khanna dives into the latest economic numbers to see what it tells us about where the weak spots and risks might be for Singapore and the broader global economy.

Recession avoided, but Singapore economy not out of the woods yet

In other Singapore news: Singapore and China sign bumper number of deals at top annual bilateral summit

SECURITY TIGHTENED FOR JOKOWI’S SWEARING-IN

Joko Widodo will be sworn in for his second term as Indonesian President this Sunday amid high security after a violent attack on his chief security minister last week. Minister Wiranto was stabbed last Thursday by a militant linked to ISIS. About 30,000 troops from the armed forces and police will be stationed in Jakarta ahead of the event that will be attended by foreign leaders from around the region. This has ultimately proved to be a bumpy election season for Indonesia with violent protests in the wake of the results. Protests also erupted last month over the passing of controversial laws in Parliament.

See also: Indonesia's chief security minister Wiranto recovering after surgery for knife attack: Minister

PAEDOPHILE WHO ABUSED HUNDREDS KILLED IN JAIL

One of the world’s worst paedophiles - a Brit who confessed to sexual attacks on an estimated 200 children during his time in Malaysia and Cambodia - was killed in jail over the weekend. Richard Huckle, 33, who posed as a photographer, English teacher and philanthropist to win the trust of poor families, went undetected for years. He was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to 22 life sentences by a London court in a case that prompted new protections for children in Malaysia. His death has prompted mixed emotions from his victims.

Special report: Retracing the footsteps of a paedophile

IN OTHER NEWS:

Transgender councillor: A transgender candidate has been elected as councillor for a rural Bangladeshi town, the first in the ultra-conservative Muslim-majority nation where laws still discriminate against sexual minorities.

Turkey tariffs: US President Donald Trump on Monday (Oct 14) raised steel tariffs on Turkey and threatened more sanctions over its incursion into Syria as he scrambled to limit the damage from his much-criticised decision to clear US troops from Turkey’s path.

Typhoon HagibisThe death toll in the worst typhoon to hit Japan for decades climbed to 67 on Tuesday (Oct 15) as rescuers slogged through mud and debris in an increasingly grim search for the missing and as thousands of homes remained without power or water.

School lunches:  Japan manages a rare feat for a developed country when it comes to feeding its children - high scores for nutrition but very low obesity rates. One major key? School lunches. 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.

Jeremy