Asian Insider, Oct 18: Moves to block Anwar from becoming PM, China’s weakest growth in 3 decades

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

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In today’s bulletin: Will Anwar Ibrahim ever become PM? US-China trade war knocks China’s growth rate further, the murder suspect behind Hong Kong’s crisis says he is willing to surrender, can the region’s meth trade be stopped, Japan’s future monarch and more.

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MOVES TO BLOCK ANWAR FROM BECOMING PM?

Will veteran Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim's aspiration to be the country's Prime Minister ever come true? It is once again not certain. Our Malaysia Bureau Chief Shannon Teoh says recent calls for Malay parties to unite could well be a ploy to prevent him from becoming PM, his sources have told him. 

Malay unity move a bid to block Anwar Ibrahim from becoming PM: Sources 

Mahathir says he expects to remain Malaysia's PM for some three years, contradicting Anwar

Anwar's dilemma: Dealing with Mahathir's promised handover

CHINA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH SLOWS TO WEAKEST PACE IN 3 DECADES

China's growth rate slowed to 6 per cent year on year in the third year, data released Friday shows, dismaying observers. And with the trade war between the US and China continuing, fears of a global recession have increased. Will Beijing take fresh measures to avoid a further slowdown? 

China's economic growth slows more than expected to 6% in Q3; slowest pace in 27 years

China editor takes aim at Trump adviser Peter Navarro for quoting made-up economist in books

China hopes for phased trade deal with US soon

THE MAN WHO SPARKED THE HONG KONG CRISIS TO SURRENDER

Chan Tong Kai, who hails from Hong Kong, and is a suspect in a Taiwan murder case that sparked the Hong Kong's worst political crisis in decades is considering turning himself to Taiwanese authorities, according to media reports. He is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend during a Valentine's day trip to Taiwan. The change of mind has reportedly come about after a conversation with a pastor. He is currently in jail on a money-laundering charge. 

It was Hong Kong's inability to prosecute Chan for the murder, committed in Taiwan, that prompted Chief Executive Carrie Lam to introduce sweeping legislation earlier this year that would have allowed one-time extradition deals with mainland China, as well as Taiwan, which led to the protests. Meanwhile, the city is bracing for more protests over the weekend.

Murder suspect in case behind Hong Kong protests to surrender, paper says

Hong Kong braces for weekend of fresh anti-government protests

Apple boss Tim Cook meets Chinese regulator after Hong Kong app criticism

HUNTING FOR ASIA'S EL CHAPO

Asia's El Chapo’s syndicate is believed to be funnelling tonnes of methamphetamine and other drugs to at least a dozen countries from Japan to New Zealand. Tse Chi Lop is now the prime target of Operation Kungur, an international man-hunt by about 20 agencies spanning from 3 continents. 

With the hunt for asia's El Chapo in full swing, The Straits Times US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh speaks to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) officials and Indochina Correspondent Tan Hui Yee to unravel the booming drug trade in Southeast-asia.

JAPAN'S 13-YEAR-OLD FUTURE MONARCH

Japan's preparing for the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito at a ceremony, next Tuesday. But the spotlight is also on 13-year-old Prince Hisahito, who could well be the country's future monarch. His birth was seen as a miracle by conservatives but now questions are arising about whether he is being properly groomed. 

Fate of Japan's imperial dynasty rests on shoulders of a 13-year-old boy

Japan imperial couple face heavy burden of tradition

IN OTHER NEWS...

XI-MODI’s NOT SO ORDINARY MEETING:  The leaders of China and India, that account for 37 per cent of the world's population, met in India for an informal summit. No statement was issued. Our Associate Editor Ravi Velloor, who keenly tracks South Asia, says Chinese President Xi President might now have a better appreciation of India’s southern region, but it is not clear if he took away a better appreciation of India's strategic concerns.

JAPAN TROOPS IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ: Japan has decided to dispatch its own self-defence troops to the Strait of Hormuz area instead of joining the United States coalition to protect merchant vessels passing through key Middle Eastern waterways, the Asahi newspaper reported.

PRINCE WILLIAM AND WIFE KATE LAND SAFELY IN ISLAMABAD: Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate landed in Pakistan's capital Islamabad earlier today, after turbulence forced the couple to stay overnight in Lahore.

LONGEST NON-STOP FLIGHT FROM SYDNEY TO NEW YORK: Qantas is set to test the mental and physical limits of long-haul aviation when it operates the first direct flight from New York to Sydney today. Up to 40 passengers and crew will be on board the 19-hour non-stop journey on passengers. The flight will land on Sunday morning.

That’s it for today. We’ll be back with you tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Shefali