The Malaysian authorities should immediately drop charges against a rights activist accused of showing a film about Sri Lanka’s civil war without Censorship Board approval, Human Rights Watch said today. Lena Hendry, of the human rights group Pusat KOMAS, was charged under the Film Censorship Act for organizing a screening of “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” on July 3, 2013, in Kuala Lumpur. Hendry, whose trial starts on October 21, faces up to three years in prison and a fine of RM30,000 (US$9,500).

A Malaysia appeals court on Monday upheld a government ban against the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths, reported the Associated Press. This action has overruled claims by Christian groups in the country that the decision violates their religious rights. Malaysian Judge Mohammad Apandi Ali, who led a three-member appeals court panel, stated that the use of “Allah” was “not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived in Bali for an Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit Sunday bearing what could be called a $36-billion vote of confidence from Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company. Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib sprung the “gargantuan” investment figure during a joint availability with Harper in Putrajaya, saying Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company Petronas has committed to construction of a liquid natural gas plant in British Columbia and the pipeline to feed it.

The U.S. government shutdown has claimed some more casualties. President Barack Obama’s visits to Malaysia and the Philippines next week will be called off because the logistics staff who precede the massive presidential entourage aren’t in place. Secretary of State John Kerry will go instead. That might not be a big deal if Xi Jinping, currently in Indonesia on his first Southeast Asian tour since taking office as China’s president in March, weren’t just about to visit Malaysia too.

Since last year in China, people have been retiring faster new workers are entering the workforce. Fourteen percent of the population is now at least 60 years old, and at this pace, China’s total population will start to decline in 2030. And now even some of those retirees are contributing to population loss, increasingly spending their twilight years in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, according to a recent report in China’s state-run Global Times (GT).

The Australian elections today may not make global headlines, but as any Australia-watcher will tell you, politics "down under" is dramatic, passionate and almost Shakespearian in its endless narrative of unexpected betrayal, ruthlessness, revenge and the search for redemption. Today’s contest is between incumbent Prime Minister Kevin Rudd from the Labour Party and Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition Liberal and National coalition.

Those responsible for developing the Malaysia Nation Brand have come in for a lot of flack since the announcement by the Prime Minister that ‘Endless Possibilities’ was the new Nation Brand tagline. And then, after several days of negative comments, respected news portal the mole reported last Thursday that the official launch of the tagline may be scrapped or at least delayed.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has refuted allegations that the Endless Possibilities tagline adopted by Malaysia was copied from Israel. According to PMO, the Government unveiled its latest branding concept four months before Israel announced the same theme as part of its tourism promotion. “Malaysia’s Endless Possibilities nation branding concept was unveiled in January 2013 at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.