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CHARLES RICHARDSON | ASIA-PACIFIC | 1 UNLOCK?

Reading the first votes from Indonesia: Jokowi still the favourite

Indonesia’s elections are notoriously difficult to read, but Joko Widodo seems the man to beat for president. A gathering of experts in Melbourne last night read the tea leaves.

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY | ASIA-PACIFIC | 2 UNLOCK?

Better optics, but Abbott sidestepping tricky issues of trade

The Australian trade mission is progressing as planned, but will anything tangible come of it?

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ASIA-PACIFIC | 2 UNLOCK?

‘Free trade’ with Japan: not much to crow about for farmers, exporters

The free trade agreement with Japan is an innocuous win for Tony Abbott that won’t help farmers and other exporters all that much, writes Leith van Onselen of MacroBusiness.

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Afghanistan’s second election: not exactly democratic consolidation

Afghanistan went to the polls with minimal violence. But it was hardly a triumph in democracy. Irregularities were many, and the Taliban sits in wait for the main presidential run-off.

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ASIA-PACIFIC | 2 UNLOCK?

When 814m people get out the vote: Indians divided as they head to polls

India’s elections begin today, and while no one party is likely to hold power without a coalition, voters are hungry for change. Freelance journalist Alys Francis reports from Delhi.

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY | ASIA-PACIFIC | 2 UNLOCK?

Talk is cheap: Abbott’s Asia trip missing the real opportunities?

Tony Abbott will get some valuable face time with prime ministers in China, but his entourage’s insistence on sticking with him instead of meeting with Chinese business means the trip’s real potential value could be lost.

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ASIA-PACIFIC | 8

Crikey Clarifier: will Indonesia sink Australian plain packaging laws?

Indonesia has become the third country to challenge Australia’s plain packaging laws for cigarettes. Freelancer writer Sally Whyte talks to experts about the case — and who is likely to win.

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CATHY ALEXANDER | ASIA-PACIFIC | 1

A legal win, but the whales may not have been saved just yet

The United Nations has ruled that Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic must stop. But there’s more to this decision than meets the eye …

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY | ASIA-PACIFIC | 8

Death-defying diplomacy when Abbott’s three-ring circus rolls into Asia

Tony Abbott will be trying to appease China, Japan and South Korea on his upcoming Asian tour. Competing interests, a lack of planning and a whirlwind itinerary mean the trip will be fraught.

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BEN SANDILANDS | ASIA-PACIFIC | 3

Hopes sink: vital clues about flight MH370 could be lost forever

Even if the voice recorder and “black box” are found, they would only provide sketchy details about what happened to the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight.

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY | ASIA-PACIFIC |

Tokyo drift: Japan could prove James Packer’s trump card

James Packer’s Crown group is eyeing up the lucrative Japanese market, which is likely to soon legalise casino gambling. But he will face stiff competition to secure the sought-after licences.

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CRIKEY INTERN | ASIA-PACIFIC | 5

Plane crazy: the wackiest theories on flight MH370

Was MH370 hijacked by terrorists? Taken to China? Found in the ocean? Covered up by the US government? All of the above? Crikey intern Ania Dutka takes a look at what we didn’t know and when we didn’t know it …

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PROFESSOR DAMIEN KINGSBURY | ASIA-PACIFIC | 4

A sclerotic Malaysian government stumbles in MH370 crisis

After a 50-year-long easy run, the Malaysian government has been subjected to an inquisition over its handling of the search for missing flight MH370. It has not performed well.

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ASIA-PACIFIC | 3

‘A bright future in his hands’: the rise and rise of Jokowi

Jakarta’s young, likeable Governor is one step closer to the presidency, with the backing of a powerful party. But Stuart Ranfurlie, a freelance journalist in Jakarta, asks: is he ready for the big league?

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BEN SANDILANDS | ASIA-PACIFIC |

Crikey Clarifier: what we know — and why only now — about MH370

The disappearance of flight MH370 has gripped the planet like few stories before. With so many twists and turns — and misinformation from authorities — we asked our aviation expert the pertinent questions …

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BEN SANDILANDS | ASIA-PACIFIC |

The next place to start looking for flight MH370: the beaches of WA

Debris from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could find its way to Australian beaches. As authorities explore possible terrorism motivations of the pilots, the search map is narrowing in the Indian Ocean.

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ASIA-PACIFIC |

No plane, but foreign media have found an enemy

With the lack of any evidence as to where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went, the foreign media have all turned on the Malaysian government, writes Asia-Pacific freelance journalist Hari Raj.

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY | ASIA-PACIFIC |

How China is using a fake news service to spread its propaganda

One of the coveted spots for foreign media at Chinese press conferences is going to a “journalist” from Global CAMG — a front for the Chinese government and not a legitimate news organisation at all.

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BEN SANDILANDS | ASIA-PACIFIC |

Four days on, a recovery operation for MH370 remains stalled

There can be no recovery operation for doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 — or questions answered on what happened to it — until any wreckage is found. Crikey’s aviation correspondent reports.

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ASIA-PACIFIC |

Slow progress for Bangladeshi garment workers as anniversary looms

As the first anniversary of the tragic Rana factory collapse in Bangladesh approaches, what are Australian companies doing to make their Bangladeshi factories safer? Alys Francis finds out.

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DAVID LLEWELLYN-SMITH | ASIA-PACIFIC |

The Chinese steel trap: resources data to give Hockey headaches

What does China’s “war on steel” mean for the Australian economy? While Joe Hockey delivered rosy forecasts last week, the news out of China looks decidedly darker.

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY | ASIA-PACIFIC |

Big promises but little reform in increasingly violent China

Xi Jinping, the most powerful person in China, has promised to crack down on corruption and institute real economic reform. Unfortunately, the reality on the ground shows neither is happening.

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ASIA-PACIFIC |

The Indian solution: how a subcontinent strategy would save lives — and money

The Manus Island and Nauru offshore detention centres are proving to be not feasible. But there is an unlikely solution: a temporary safe haven processing facility in India, writes former detention centre worker and academic Richard Curzon.

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ASIA-PACIFIC |

Three years on from Fukushima, nuclear power has some new allies

Japan has reinvested in nuclear power, even though the Fukushima power plant is still not safe. Freelance journalist David Donaldson says developing nations are just getting started with nuclear.

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ASIA-PACIFIC |

Who will bear witness? With the doctors gone, nobody watches Myanmar

The government of Myanmar has long instituted a campaign to keep the world from seeing their crimes against the Rohingya. The expulsion of Médecins Sans Frontières will likely lead to more, writes freelance journalist Tim Robertson.

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