World

Commentary: That Gojek and Tokopedia merger should have happened a long time ago
World

Commentary: That Gojek and Tokopedia merger should have happened a long time ago

If two of Indonesia’s most valuable tech companies come together, they can take on bigger rivals. The question is whether this is too late, says David Kuo. SINGAPORE: The union of Gojek and Tokopedia seemed almost inevitable after rumours of an on-off wedding of two of Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing companies, namely, Grab and Gojek, was finally called off. The deal between Grab and Gojek reportedly fell apart because neither could agree on the control each business would have in the combined entity. Concerns that a merger might not pass regulatory scrutiny because of their already dominant positions in ride-hailing were also brewing. Then there was also the not insignificant matter of who would helm a Grab-Gojek entity. Whilst Grab is the larger of the two companies, Gojek i...
Indonesia’s Jokowi announces second Cabinet reshuffle in 4 months
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Indonesia’s Jokowi announces second Cabinet reshuffle in 4 months

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday (Apr 28), after parliament approved his plan to reorganise several agencies while creating a new investment ministry. This was his second Cabinet reshuffle in just over four months. Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, announced that Mr Bahlil Lahadalia will head the newly created Investment Ministry. Mr Lahadalia is the current head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). He will continue to lead the coordinating board concurrently. Mr Lahadalia said that unlike the BKPM which is primarily responsible for attracting foreign investors, the new ministry will coordinate both foreign and domestic investments as well as improve investment climate at the central, provincial and district levels o...
Biden seeks a new view of infrastructure, far beyond asphalt
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Biden seeks a new view of infrastructure, far beyond asphalt

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is giving himself lots of latitude when he defines infrastructure for the purpose of spending money on it. It’s not just steel, but home health care workers. Not just excavating dirt, but building “dignity". The Republican Party says if it’s not a pothole, port, plane or bridge, forget about it. Never mind that Donald Trump, like Biden, wanted schools to get a piece of an infrastructure pie. At least in theory, everyone likes infrastructure and is willing to spend big on it. That’s why the definition of infrastructure matters as Biden tries to sell the country and Congress on the largest such package in generations. In short, the bulk of Biden's plan does not fit the traditional understanding of infrastructure, meaning below the structure, or foundati...
Malaysian company aims high with cultivation of Japanese muskmelons
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Malaysian company aims high with cultivation of Japanese muskmelons

After more than a decade of experimenting, a trio of Malaysian farmers say they have found the right concoction of nutrients and treatments to successfully grow Japanese muskmelons, one of the world’s most expensive fruits. The farmers at Malaysian company Mono Premium Melon regularly rub the melons with a soft cloth or glove, a practice called tama-fuki said to enhance their flavor, and play classical music over speakers in the greenhouses, which is believed to stimulate growth. “Every single Japanese melon that you see in our farm is almost like an art piece,” said Seh Cheng Siang, director and co-founder of Mono, at the company’s farm in Malaysia’s administrative capital Putrajaya. Since the last century, farmers in Japan have been perfecting the art of cultivating these melons, whic...
China Labour Day travel rush gives glimpse of life after COVID-19
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China Labour Day travel rush gives glimpse of life after COVID-19

BEIJING: Millions of travellers criss-crossed China as the Labour Day holiday got underway on Saturday (May 1), packing out tourist sites, thronging restaurants and visiting family as the vast country edges towards life after COVID-19. The world's second largest economy is expecting about 265 million journeys by road, train or boat during the five-day holiday, a transport ministry official said this week - numbers last seen in 2019 before the coronavirus struck. A large crowd of people wearing face masks visit the promenade on the Bund along the Huangpu River during a holiday on May Day, or International Workers' Day, in Shanghai on May 1, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Hector Retamal) Hundreds of day trippers packed out the walkway along the top of the Great Wall at Badaling, about 60km from ...
Why sanctions could worsen the tragedy in Myanmar
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Why sanctions could worsen the tragedy in Myanmar

Since Myanmar’s military seized control of the government from the National League for Democracy (NLD), hundreds of people have been killed by security forces during anti-coup protests. NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi was also detained on spurious charges together with other democratically elected leaders. In addition, the modest democratic progress the country made during the period of awkward coexistence between the NLD and the military over the last decade appears to have been completely wiped out. The instinctive response of the U.S. toward the humanitarian crisis — based on its foreign policy DNA — is to slap on sanctions. The Biden administration, which places particular importance on human rights, has swiftly adopted such sanctions against the country’s military leaders, including th...
Indians rush for vaccines as relentless new wave sends COVID-19 death toll past 200,000
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Indians rush for vaccines as relentless new wave sends COVID-19 death toll past 200,000

NEW DELHI: Indians struggled to register online for a mass vaccination drive set to begin at the weekend as the country's toll from the coronavirus shot past 200,000 on Wednesday (Apr 28), worsened by shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen. The second wave of infections has seen at least 300,000 people test positive each day for the past week, overwhelming health facilities and crematoriums and prompting an increasingly urgent response from allies overseas sending equipment. The last 24 hours brought 360,960 new cases for the world's largest single-day total, taking India's tally of infections to nearly 18 million. It was also the deadliest day so far, with 3,293 fatalities carrying the toll to 201,187. Experts believe the official tally vastly underestimates the actual toll ...
Soccer-Clubs meet over reforms as fans slam “crisis profiteering”
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Soccer-Clubs meet over reforms as fans slam “crisis profiteering”

MANCHESTER, England -Europe's leading clubs were meeting on Friday to thrash out their position on reforms and the financial structure of UEFA's Champions League as fan groups criticised them for "crisis profiteering" in supporting plans to expand the competition to 36 teams. The European Club Association (ECA) was holding a board meeting, with UEFA's Clubs Competitions Committee due to meet later. UEFA's ruling executive committee meets on Monday ahead of Tuesday's congress where president Aleksander Ceferin hopes to have his plans voted through. The ECA has been supportive of UEFA's plans to expand the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams and change the group stage to a single-table format with 10 games instead of the current six. However the top clubs have made a late push for g...
China’s big tech ‘rectification’ continues after Alibaba record fine
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China’s big tech ‘rectification’ continues after Alibaba record fine

BEIJING: A record fine, public penitence from a tech giant and a "who's who" of digital firms warned to "rectify" their ambitions within a month - state regulators are showing no one is bigger than Beijing in Xi Jinping's China. E-commerce titan Alibaba absorbed the massive US$2.78 billion penalty from China's market watchdog last Saturday, after a months-long investigation found it had been abusing its dominant market position. Analysts say the chastening was part of Beijing's plan to force a diet on tech giants - from Alibaba to Tencent to Baidu - who have grown fat on the data and personal finances of the Chinese public. After being hit with China's biggest ever corporate fine - the equivalent of four percent of annual sales - Alibaba said it would "fully comply" and drop an excl...
What Germany’s next leader means for Europe and the world
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What Germany’s next leader means for Europe and the world

The slate of candidates vying to succeed Angela Merkel is now clear — and so is the unenviable pile of global problems the eventual winner will inherit. Merkel’s impending departure after some 16 years as German chancellor brings into play not simply the direction of Europe’s biggest economy, but the balance of power on the continent. With the world increasingly defined by a great power rivalry reminiscent of the 19th century, the winner of September’s federal election will face international demands from the get-go. The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is already seeking a clear line from Berlin on issues from China and Russia to the tussle for control of key technologies. Germany is faced with questions of how closely to cleave to Washington as the European Union tries to car...