Duterte remains strong: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, elected on a tough-talking populist platform, enters his second year in office from an unrivaled position of strength, writes Richard Javad Heydarian. While confronting his biggest political crisis in Mindanao, where Islamic State-affiliated groups have stepped up a campaign of terror, he has managed to rally all relevant domestic and international partners, including China and the United States, to his government’s side.
Syria ceasefire holds: A US-Russian brokered ceasefire for southwest Syria, the first peacemaking effort of the war by the US government under President Donald Trump, appears to be holding. Ellen Francis writes that the United States, Russia and Jordan reached the “de-escalation agreement,” which appeared to give Trump a diplomatic achievement at his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Germany.
India’s nuclear self-sufficiency: Narendra Modi’s government has committed itself to nuclear energy in a big way and has approved plans to build 10 new atomic reactors that will take India’s nuclear capacity to 63,000 megawatts by 2032. Seema Sengupta reports that this push to fast-track the domestic nuclear industry will help Delhi achieve long-term energy security and self-sufficiency while also contributing significantly to its sustainable development goals with regard to clean energy.
Vladimir meets Donald: When Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump sat down to talk at the G-20, they needed deliverables and they needed headlines… and they got both, says Pepe Escobar. The pair were originally scheduled to talk for just 35 minutes but actually met for more than 2 hours and the “win-win” meeting may have been staged-managed but it still proved that diplomacy beats demonization.
HBO in Chinese: TV series The Teenage Psychic is HBO Asia’s first original Chinese-language production and the American network jointly developed the series with Taiwan’s Public Television Service and the Singaporean production company InFocus Asia. Liu Hsiu Wen talks to Chen Ho-yu, the show’s writer and director, about transforming the project from a short film to an original TV series screened in 23 countries.