ASEAN IN FOCUS

Thai boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died

CHIANG RAI, Thailand (AFP) — The 12 boys and their coach rescued from a Thai cave mourned the death of an ex-Navy SEAL who died while taking part in the mission, the health ministry said Sunday. The “Wild Boars” football team are recovering in hospital following 18 days spent inside the Tham Luang cave after entering on June 23 and getting trapped by monsoon floodwaters. Doctors say they are in good health following a successful […]

Brit diver tells of ‘massive relief’ at unprecedented Thai cave rescue

by Richard SARGENT and Vijitra DUANGDEE Agence France Presse CHIANG RAI, Thailand (AFP) — The British diver who found 12 Thai boys and their coach trapped alive in a flooded cave has described his “massive relief” as he counted them one by one, sparking a rescue bid unprecedented in its daring and complexity. The young “Wild Boars” and their 25-year-old football coach Ekkapol Chantawong wandered into the cave on June 23. Sudden floodwaters forced them […]

Massive fire rips through Bali port

BENOA, Indonesia (AFP) — A massive fire laid waste to dozens of boats at a Bali port on Monday as firefighters battled to bring the dramatic blaze under control. The fire started around after midnight on the Indonesian holiday island and quickly engulfed nearly 40 local vessels but no injuries were reported, police said. “So far there are no casualties,” Bali police spokesman Hengky Widjaja told AFP. Images from Benoa port, which sits next to […]

PHL wins 3 more bronze medals in SEA Swimming Championships

The Philippines won three more bronze medals in the 42nd Southeast Asia Swimming Championships at the Trace Aquatic Center in Los Bano, Laguna on Sunday, as the country ended its campaign in the tournament. Xiandi Chua, Kirsten Robyn Tan and Lady Samantha Corpuz delivered the medals for the Philippines. The country’s medal haul consisted of four golds, 11 silvers and 14 bronzes. Chua, who topped the 200-meter individual medley (IM) and 200-meter backstroke events in […]

Pompeo preaches prosperity to North Korea, via Vietnam

by Dave Clark Agence France Presse HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Washington’s top diplomat Mike Pompeo was addressing Vietnamese business leaders but his real audience was not in the Hanoi dining room. The US Secretary of State was sending a message from the thriving commercial heart of this once war-torn city all the way to North Korea. Vietnam fought a brutal war to expel American invaders, but now the former foes enjoy burgeoning trade ties and […]

Rescuers vow to take ‘no risks’ in evacuation of Thai cave boys

by Thanaporn Promyamyai and Joe Freeman MAE SAI, Thailand (AFP) — Thai rescuers vowed to take a “no risk” approach to free 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave, as fresh video emerged Wednesday showing the team in good spirits following their astonishing discovery nine days after going missing. Freeing the boys from the still-submerged cave complex is expected to be a protracted process, fraught with challenges for a group who are […]

Three dozen dead in Indonesia ferry accident

SELAYAR, Indonesia (AFP) — Nearly three dozen people have died after a ferry ran aground off the coast of Indonesia, according to an updated official toll Wednesday, the latest deadly maritime accident in the Southeast Asian archipelago. The KM Lestari was believed to be carrying nearly 190 people when damage to its hull forced the captain to ground the vessel on Tuesday afternoon about 300 meters (yards) off Selayar island, near the larger island of Sulawesi. […]

Ex-Malaysian PM Najib charged with corruption

by M. Jegathesa Agence France-Presse KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was formally charged Wednesday with corruption linked to a multi-billion dollar financial scandal that contributed to his shock election defeat less than two months ago. The first ex-premier in Malaysia to appear before a judge, Najib pleaded not guilty to three counts of criminal breach of trust and a separate charge that he abused his position to pocket 42 […]

UN chief hears of ‘unimaginable’ atrocities as he visits Rohingya camps

KUTUPALONG, Bangladesh (AFP) — UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he heard “unimaginable” accounts of atrocities during a visit Monday to vast camps in Bangladesh that are home to a million Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar. Guterres described the situation for the persecuted Muslim minority as “a humanitarian and human rights nightmare,” as he prepared to tour makeshift shelters crammed with people who escaped a huge Myanmar army operation last year that the UN […]

Capsized Indonesian ferry spotted at bottom of lake: officials

SIMALUNGUN, Indonesia (AFP) — An Indonesian ferry that capsized and sunk with scores of people aboard has been found by search teams combing the depths of one of the world’s deepest lakes, authorities said Friday. The vessel was believed to be operating illegally with no manifest and an insufficient number of life jackets when it went down on Lake Toba, a picturesque tourist destination in Sumatra. Authorities have struggled to pinpoint the exact number onboard […]

Bali reopens airport after volcano eruption strands thousands of tourists

DENSPAR, Indonesia (AFP) — Bali opened its international airport Friday after a volcanic eruption temporarily grounded flights, stranding thousands of tourists on the Indonesian holiday island. Ngurah Rai airport began operating around 2:30 pm local time (0730 GMT), about 12 hours after it closed in response to Mt. Agung belching smoke and ash. Ash is dangerous for planes because it makes runways slippery and can be sucked into their engines. A change in wind direction […]

Foreign divers, soldiers join rescue for Thai children trapped in cave

  by Sippachai Kunnuwong / with Jenny Vaughan in Bangkok © Agence France-Presse MAE SAI, Thailand (AFP) — A team of US military personnel and British divers joined rescue efforts at a flooded cave in northern Thailand where 12 children and their football coach have been trapped for five days as heavy overnight rains hampered the search. Flood waters seeped into a second chamber of the Tham Luang cave and forced some of the rescue divers […]