Asian Insider: US-China war of narratives | First Flight Out

Dear ST reader,

Almost two months into the Ukraine war, the debate over who is to blame for the conflict continues. In particular, the narratives in the United States and in China are vastly different.

Eager to travel again as borders reopen? Check out The Straits Times weekly travel series First Flight Out where ST correspondents give an insider look at what's new and exciting in destinations around the world.

US-China war of narratives on Ukraine

Who is to blame for the war in Ukraine? US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh and China bureau chief Tan Dawn Wei present the views from the two capitals. 

From Washington: A battle between good and evil

From Beijing: Why America, not Putin, is the culprit

First Flight Out: Bangkok

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Thailand correspondent Tan Tam Mei kicks off this new series with perennial favourite Bangkok, exploring the lesser known districts and new shopping spots that have emerged during the pandemic. 

Tips: How to pick a ‘safe’ travel destination

Interactive: Your guide to travel rules around the world

Will Shanghai undo China's Covid-19 image?

When Shanghai went into lockdown three weeks ago, many could not fathom how China's most cosmopolitan city could be reduced to a sprawling ghost town and its residents confined to their homes with food rations. 

There were also questions over why Beijing is sticking to its zero-Covid policy that might not be suited in the current wave of outbreak.

Will Shanghai's travails undo the positive international image that China has cultivated over the past two years in its handling of the pandemic? Read China bureau chief Tan Dawn Wei's commentary.

Besides their impact on the economy, lockdowns have also affected China's property sales, reports China correspondent Aw Cheng Wei.

Malaysia's party politics

In an attempt to smooth internal friction, Malaysia's biggest party Umno has announced it was proposing that vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob continue as prime minister after the next election

Meanwhile, the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat will hold one of its most crowded party elections in its history next month amid waning influence and electoral support.

In this Saturday's Asian Insider special report, ST Malaysia bureau will examine the power struggles within the various parties as they gear up for an imminent general election.

What's next for Sri Lanka?

Fresh anti-government protests broke out across Sri Lanka on Wednesday (April 20), a day after police shot dead a demonstrator. The latest violence came as the island nation appealed for an IMF bailout in the midst of the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

Bad economic management and extreme populism have led to this catastrophe, writes associate editor Vikram Khanna as he lists the lessons to be learned from the crisis. 

The current protests have also opened up old wounds as the people start to condemn the Rajapaksa regime's other egregious mistakes, reports India correspondent Rohini Mohan. 

Special report: Sri Lanka at a crossroads

ST Debrief: What happens when Sri Lanka defaults on its debt

South-east Asia's unsolved mysteries

In the second of a five-part monthly series, Philippines correspondent Raul Dancel follows the trail of a fabled loot that a Japanese general was believed to have hidden in the 1940s. Find out why this fascination with treasures persists among Filipinos and how late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ son is fuelling that obsession.

ICYMI: What happened to flight MH370 that vanished into thin air?

Devout gathering

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Once named by Discovery as the world’s top 3 religious festivals, Taiwan’s Dajia Mazu holy pilgrimage is set to be held as usual as Covid-19 numbers are back in single digits again in Taiwan.

Every year, millions of worshippers and tourists flock to southern Taiwan to follow the revered sea goddess Mazu on her annual pilgrimage, one of the island's biggest religious festivals. Taiwan correspondent Katherine Wei joined the participants and soaked in the colourful and festive mood in Chiayi.

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