ASEAN IN FOCUS

Strong 6.1-magnitude quake hits off Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian coast early Tuesday, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake hit at a depth of 31 kilometers (19 miles) off Sumba island, some 150 kilometers west southwest of the city of Waingapu, according to the United States Geological Survey. It was followed by a weaker quake in the same area with an initial reading […]

Myanmar ‘too slow’ in allowing Rohingya return: UN chief

UNITED NATION, United States (AFP) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday criticized as “too slow” Myanmar’s efforts to allow the return of Rohingya Muslim refugees, describing the lack of progress as a source of “enormous frustration.” More than 720,000 Rohingya are living in camps in Bangladesh after they were driven out of Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state during a military campaign in 2017 that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing. Myanmar has agreed […]

Woman convicted in Singapore of forcing maid to hurt self with hot water

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — A Singaporean woman was found guilty Friday of abusing her Myanmar maid, including forcing her to pour hot water onto herself and to drink water laced with floor cleaner. The abuse of the maid, Phyu Phyu Mar, happened from August to October 2016 at the house of the Singaporean married couple who employed her, according to court documents. The abuses detailed in six charges against the wife — Linda Seah — […]

Singapore picks US F-35 fighter jet over Europe, China rivals

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Singapore has chosen the F-35 warplane to replace its ageing fighter jets, opting for the US aircraft over European and Chinese models, the defense ministry said Friday. The affluent city-state, which has one of Asia’s best equipped militaries, had earlier said it was evaluating Lockheed Martin’s F-35 along with Europe’s Eurofighter Typhoon and Chinese-made stealth warplanes. “The F-16s will have to retire soon after 2030 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter […]

Crocodile mauls woman to death in Indonesia

MINAHASA, Indonesia (AFP) — An Indonesian woman has been mauled to death by a huge pet crocodile on the island of Sulawesi, officials said Wednesday. Deasy Tuwo, the head of a laboratory at a pearl farm in Minahasa in North Sulawesi, was killed by the 4.4-metre (14-foot) reptile last Thursday, authorities said. The 44-year old’s badly mauled body was found by colleagues the following morning, Hendrik Rundengan, from the local conservation agency, told AFP. “The […]

Second black box from Lion Air crash found: Indonesian officials

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Divers have found the second black box from a doomed Lion Air jet that crashed last year killing all 189 people onboard, Indonesian authorities said Monday. “We have found the cockpit voice recorder this morning, at around 9 am,” Haryo Satmiko, head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, told AFP. © Agence France-Presse

Myanmar Reuters journalists lose appeal against 7-year sentence

by Jonathan KLEIN / Athens ZAW ZAW Agence France Presse YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — A Myanmar judge dismissed an appeal Friday by two Reuters journalists jailed for seven years while investigating atrocities committed against the Rohingya, dashing slim hopes that the pair could be freed early. Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested in Yangon in December 2017 and later jailed for violating the state secrets act, a charge Reuters said […]

Anger at arrests in Malaysia for alleged royal insults

  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Three people have been arrested in Malaysia for allegedly insulting the former king on social media after his shock abdication, sparking anger Thursday from activists at the use of “draconian” laws. Sultan Muhammad V stepped aside at the weekend after just two years on the throne. No official reason was given, but it came after he reportedly married a Russian ex-beauty queen while on medical leave. It was the […]

Chinese warships dock in Cambodia to boost ‘military cooperation’

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AFP) — Three hulking Chinese warships docked in Cambodia Wednesday for a four-day visit, as Beijing parades its naval prowess alongside its staunch Southeast Asian ally. China is the largest investor in Cambodia and has pumped billions into the economy while asking few questions about its abysmal rights record. While doling out cash China has also sought high-profile military exchanges, fuelling speculation that it is building a naval base off the Cambodian […]

Malaysian king abdicates in historic first

by Sam Reeves Agence France Presse KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s king abdicated Sunday in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave and reportedly married a Russian ex-beauty queen. Sultan Muhammad V’s decision marks the first time a king has stepped aside during his five-year term in the Muslim-majority country. The national palace confirmed the resignation with immediate effect of the 49-year-old, […]

Strong 6.6-magnitude quake hits off Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — A strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian coast early Monday, sending residents running out of their homes, but no tsunami warning was issued. The quake hit at a depth of 60 kilometres (40 miles) under the Molucca Sea, some 175 kilometres north northwest of the city of Ternate, according to the USGS. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties and Indonesia’s geophysics agency did not issue a tsunami […]

Tourists flee Thai islands as Tropical Storm Pabuk closes in

by Dene-Hern Chen Agence France Presse KHAO LAK, Thailand (AFP) — Tens of thousands of tourists have fled some of Thailand’s most popular islands and resort areas as Tropical Storm Pabuk closes in and threatens to batter the southern part of the kingdom with heavy rains, winds and seven-metre (22-foot) waves. The islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, packed with holiday-makers during the peak Christmas and New Year season, have emptied out since Wednesday […]