ASEAN IN FOCUS

Tackle graft, governance to stem ‘Golden Triangle’ meth trade: UNODC

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — “Golden Triangle” countries must address corruption and collaborate more closely to tackle record meth production and the gangs who traffic the drug across Southeast Asia and beyond, the UN said Monday. From Bangkok to Brisbane, authorities are raking in huge hauls of methamphetamine stimulant pills — better known as “yaba” — and the purer, more potent crystallized version known as “ice.” They hail from the “Golden Triangle,” a lawless wedge of […]

Malaysia ex-PM denies graft charges in visit to home region

PEKAN, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s scandal-tainted former leader Sunday denied he stole public funds and complained of the way he has been treated since he unexpectedly lost power in a stunning election defeat. Striking a defiant tone in the face of a deepening corruption investigation, Najib Razak urged his political party to “fight on” after it was toppled in the May 9 vote by a political coalition that had focused on the allegations against him. […]

11 killed in Indonesia accident as truck smashes into houses

BREBES, Indonesia (AFP) — At least 11 people died in Indonesia when a truck carrying sugar smashed into several motorcycles and houses on Sunday, an official said. The truck was heading downhill in the district of Brebes in Central Java province on its way to the capital Jakarta when it failed to break, according to the local disaster agency. It tried to stop by swerving left but instead hit a car, 13 motorbikes, and seven […]

Police search scandal-tainted Malaysian ex-premier’s home

by M. Jegathesan Agence France Presse KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysian police searched the home of scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak on Thursday as the new government probes a massive graft scandal after sweeping to power in historic elections. At least a dozen police vehicles converged on Najib’s family compound in the capital Kuala Lumpur in the early hours, with a number of officers entering the home, an AFP journalist saw. Najib’s lawyer said […]

Two families staged Indonesian suicide bombings: police

by Juni Kriswanto Agence France Presse SURABAYA, United States (AFP) — A family of five, including a child, carried out the suicide bombing of a police headquarters in Indonesia’s second city Surabaya on Monday, police said, a day after a deadly wave of attacks on churches staged by another family. The spate of bombings has rocked Indonesia, with the Islamic State group claiming both the church and police station attacks, raising fears about its influence […]

UPDATED: Four suicide bombers dead in Indonesia police HQ attack: authorities

SURABAYA, Indonesia (AFP) — Four militants on motorcycles blew themselves up at a police headquarters in Indonesia’s second city Surabaya on Monday, police said, wounding at least 10 people including officers a day after a deadly wave of suicide bombings hit churches. A young girl who was with the group survived the attack, police said as they revised their initial report that two suicide bombers had participated. “There were four perpetrators riding two motorcycles who have […]

Deadly Indonesia church suicide bombings committed by one family

by Juni Kriswanto Agence France Presse SURABAYA, Indonesia (AFP) — A family of six including two young daughters staged suicide bombings at three Indonesian churches during Sunday services, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group. The bombings at three churches in Surabaya were Indonesia’s deadliest for years, as the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country grapples with homegrown militancy and rising intolerance towards religious minorities. A further three […]

Malaysia’s scandal-mired Najib hit with travel ban after poll loss

by Sam Reeves © Agence France-Presse KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s scandal-ridden former leader Najib Razak was hit with a travel ban Saturday as speculation mounted he was about to flee the country following his shock election loss, in a possible bid to avoid prosecution over a massive financial scandal. An angry crowd had gathered at a Kuala Lumpur airport, shouting at vehicles and seeking to stop them entering, after Najib tweeted that he was […]

Indonesian volcano erupts, sparking evacuations

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesian villagers living in the shadow of one of the world’s most active volcanoes fled to safety Friday as the crater erupted, sending a cascade of ash and smoke some 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) into the sky. The government ordered residents living within a five-kilometer (three-mile) radius of Mount Merapi on Java island to leave as ash covered surrounding communities and even reached parts of Yogyakarta, Indonesia’s cultural capital some 30 […]

Malaysia king agrees to pardon Anwar after opposition election win

by Martin Abbugao Agence France Presse KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s king has agreed to pardon jailed opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim, the newly installed prime minister said Friday, in the latest dramatic development after the opposition toppled the long-ruling regime. Anwar’s expected release paves the way for him to be handed power by Mahathir Mohamad, 92, who was sworn in as the world’s oldest leader Thursday following his alliance’s stunning election victory. Mahathir, who […]

Lightning strikes kill dozens across Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AFP) — Dozens of Bangladeshis were killed in lightning strikes as pre-monsoon thunderstorms wreaked havoc across the South Asian country, an official said Thursday. Farmers harvesting rice in open fields made up the majority of victims, Iftekharul Islam, a director at Bangladesh’s disaster management department, told AFP. “In the last 24 hours, 29 people have died from lightning in 12 districts. Almost all of them are farmers,” he said. Scores of people die […]

Malaysia’s Najib ‘accepts verdict of the people’ after shock election loss

  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s defeated leader Najib Razak said Thursday he accepted the will of the people after his long-ruling coalition suffered a shock election loss to 92-year-old former strongman Mahathir Mohamad. “I accept the verdict of the people,” the leader, who looked shattered after his coalition’s defeat, said. But he added that because no single party got a majority in parliament, it was up to the king to decide who will […]