Good morning. Here's my take on some of the stories driving the debate in politics, finance and social issues across Asia today:
So far, so good on Modi's foreign policy.
The presence of Nawaz Sharif in New Delhi this week was enough to cheer geopolitics junkies. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to invite his Pakistani counterpart to his inauguration, and their hour-long meeting a day later, gives the world hope for peace in South Asia, albeit faint. Modi did the Asia region one better, extending an invitation to Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone call with Premier Li Keqiang. As Modi unveiled some of his economic priorities today, few would pay bigger dividends than stronger trade ties with China.
Back to square one with MH370?
Turns out, missing Malaysian Air flight 370 wasn't in the remote stretch of the Indian Ocean military personnel and rescue teams had been searching -- again. It's the latest setback in what's already the longest search mission of the passenger-jet era. Investigators scouring waters from the South China Sea to the Southern Ocean haven't found a single fragment of the Boeing Co. 777-200, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. All that's sure is that MH370 has officially moved into Amelia Earhart territory when it comes to aviation mysteries.
FBI helps China investors in oddest of ways.
This really is one for the intended consequences hall of fame: a U.S. Justice Department probe helping investors reverse China stock losses. That's indeed what happened after the indictment of five Chinese officials and their placement on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list for cybercrimes. Speculation that the dispute will give China’s technology companies an advantage over U.S. rivals has driven the benchmark gauge of Chinese technology companies up 5.5 percent since May 19. Of course, those on the losing side of these trades can't be happy very with Washington.
China, India edge higher on obesity list.
A new analysis published in The Lancet is ominous news for health-care budgets in China and India. Turns out, the heaviest countries after the U.S., accounting for about 13 percent of the world’s obese people, were China and India, which together represent 15 percent. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded study means Beijing and New Delhi had better start preparing for spikes in diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease and cancer, among other health-threatening conditions. And that's on top of the worsening pollution challenges facing Asia's No. 1 and No. 3 economies.
Was Thailand's latest coup a good thing?
Well, I'll give the generals who grabbed power in Bangkok on May 22 credit for spin. As the junta that seized power released leaders from the Red Shirt movement opposed to the coup and, reportedly, played around with Facebook, they found time to argue their actions really saved Thailand from the specter of a civil war. Another way of looking at things, of course, is that the coup has increased the odds of conflict down the road. You can try to read more about it than this Wall Street Journal piece. Just perhaps not on Facebook.
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