INTELDROP 06 March 2016 [Pacific]

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East Asia Correspondent – David McDonald

U.S. Navy Sends Carrier Strike Group To Confront China

 4 March 2016

Navy Times (WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Navy deployed a fleet of ships to the South China Sea, on January 15.  The armada contains an aircraft carrier, two cruisers, two destroyers, and the seventh fleet flagship.  The crew of the aircraft carrier, USS Stennis, heads the operation.  In recent days, the group sailed into contested waters in the South China Sea to conduct freedom of navigation exercises.  China continues to deny militarization of the South China Sea and blamed U.S. presence and the deployment of the Stennis for the escalation in the region.  Source: http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2016/03/03/stennis-strike-group-deployed-to-south-china-sea/81270736/   (Reliability: High)

China ‘Not Heading For Hard Landing’ Says Top Economic Planner

6 March 2016

BBC (BEIJING) — China’s economic planner, Xu Shaoshi, stated that despite forecasts of economic slowdown, the country “will not experience a hard landing.”  On March 5, the National People’s Congress lowered economic growth in 2016.  Xu also stated that the drop came in response to unstable global markets and the decline of commodity prices.  China is slowly shifting away from its overreliance on industry and continues to face economic decline.  Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35739295  (Reliability: High)

Student Leader Urges Freedom Of Speech After Arrest, Release In India

4 March 2016

CNN (NEW DELHI) — Authorities arrested Kanhaiya Kumar, a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University, last month on charges of sedition.  His arrest sparked massive protests about freedom of speech as the Indian government undergoes intense civil rights debates.  After his release on bail, Kumar stated that he remains committed to protecting free speech.  The Indian government continues its debates on the issue after Kumar accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as anti-nationalist because of its execution of a militant separatist.  Source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/asia/india-student-leader-speech/index.html (Reliability: Moderate)

Malaysian Parties Call For National Movement To Remove PM

4 March 2016

Asia Times (KUALA LAMPUR) — Malaysian leaders from various parties called for a movement to remove the scandal-ridden Prime Minister Najib Razak.  A coalition of Malaysian politicians, spearheaded by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, met to discuss what they determined as heavy corruption in the Razak led government.  Officials alleged that Razak accepted USD 681 billion, a payment equivalent to the amount stolen from a firm he founded.  Najib denies allegations and claims they are a part of a conspiracy to remove him from office.  Source: http://atimes.com/2016/03/malaysia-cross-party-alliance-demands-removal-of-pm/ (Reliability: Moderate)

In Italy And Spain, Chinese Banks Are Implicated In Money Laundering

27 February 2016

The Economist (ROME) — On February 19, authorities arrested Liu Wang, the European Head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in Madrid for funneling illegal funds back to China.  Sources alleged that the money came from smuggling and worker exploitation.  American researchers claim that there is also a heavy presence of Chinese gangs in Southern Europe.  Source: http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21693633-italy-and-spain-chinese-banks-are-implicated-money-laundering-china-nostra?zid=306&ah=1b164dbd43b0cb27ba0d4c3b12a5e227 (Reliability: Moderate)

Bangkok Boat Explosion Injures Numerous Passengers

5 March 2016

BBC (BANGKOK) — The engine of a water taxi exploded as it pulled into a pier on March 5.  The explosion injured 58 passengers who suffered either severe burns or injuries from flying debris.  Several reports site a leak as the origin of the accident.  Three of the injured passengers consisted of two Myanmar and one Japanese national.  Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35734943 (Reliability: High)

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