Malaysia’s Mahathir says expects to be sworn in as PM today

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysian veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad, 92, said he expected to be sworn in as prime minister later Thursday after his stunning election win, adding there was an “urgency” for him to take office. “We expect today for me to be sworn in as prime minister,” he told a press conference, addressing concerns over a delay by saying that some “confusion” over the process had now been cleared up. “We hope by […]

Hanoi demands Beijing withdraw missiles from disputed islands

HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Hanoi has demanded Beijing remove military equipment from contested islands in the South China Sea, saying reported missile installations are a “serious violation” of Vietnam’s sovereignty. The warning follows a report from US network CNBC last week that China had installed anti-ship and air-to-air defenses on the Spratly Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam. China did not confirm the new military equipment but last week affirmed its right to build […]

Malaysian opposition bets on ‘tsunami’ of Muslim support

by M Jegathesan Agence France Presse KULA PILAH, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s opposition hopes a surge of support from disillusioned members of the country’s Muslim majority can carry them to an unlikely victory in Wednesday’s elections. The optimism has been triggered by the decision of 92-year-old former leader Mahathir Mohamad, a champion of the country’s Muslim Malays, to run as the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate. They believe his connection to rural Muslim voters can trigger […]

Rohingya will be safe in areas ‘designated’ for them: Myanmar army chief

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — Rohingya refugees who return to Myanmar will be safe as long as they stay in the model villages built for them, the country’s army chief has said, renewing fears they will be kept in settlements indefinitely. Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to Bangladesh after the military launched a brutal crackdown on insurgents in August that the US and the UN have called ethnic cleansing. Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to […]

Duterte: Southeast Asian leaders emphasized need to honor “sovereign equality, non-interference” in 32nd ASEAN Summit

(Eagle News)–The leaders of Southeast Asian nations reiterated the need to honor “time-honored principles” of  “sovereign equality” and “non-interference” in internal affairs in the 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Singapore. This is according to President Rodrigo Duterte, who spoke upon his arrival in Davao from the summit on Sunday, April 29. He said during the summit, three “key” documents were also adopted to address terrorism and extremist violence, illegal drug trade, and […]

President Duterte holds bilateral meetings with Vietnam PM, Indonesian President

  President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, April 27, met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit in Singapore. The President together with some of his Cabinet officials first met with Prime Minister Phuc at Ritz-Carlton Millenia Hotel. The Prime Minister congratulated Duterte for the successful Philippine ASEAN chairmanship, stating that its outputs were good foundations for more […]

UN council visits Myanmar as it eyes action on Rohingya crisis

by Carole Landry Agence France Presse UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — The UN Security Council will pay a visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar beginning Saturday as it weighs next steps to address one of the world’s worst refugee crises, stemming from the forced exodus of Muslim Rohingya. Myanmar has come under international scrutiny since a military campaign launched in August drove more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes in northern Rakhine state and into […]

SE Asian leaders to vow to fight protectionism

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Southeast Asian leaders are expected to rally against protectionism at a summit in Singapore this weekend amid fears that tit-for-tat tariffs between the US and China could escalate into a global trade war. A region of around 650 million people, Southeast Asia is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, thanks largely to the benefits of free and open trade. But officials and analysts have warned that an escalation of trade tensions between […]

Look: President Duterte arrives in Singapore for ASEAN Summit

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived on Thursday night, April 26, at the Changi Airport in Singapore to attend the 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits. Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Del Mar Yap and Singapore Minister of State, Ministry of Manpower, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sam Tan Chin Siong welcomed President Duterte upon his arrival.  

Indonesia sentences eight Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Eight Taiwanese drug smugglers were sentenced to death by an Indonesian court Thursday after being nabbed with around a ton of crystal methamphetamine in a country that has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws. The men were arrested during raids last July, when the drug network’s suspected leader was killed in a shootout with Indonesian police. “The defendants have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of colluding and […]

UPDATED: Ten killed, dozens injured in illegal Indonesia oil well fire

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AFP) — Ten people have been killed and dozens injured in a huge blaze at an illegal oil well in Indonesia, authorities said Wednesday. Several homes were also destroyed after an oil spill sparked a huge fire at about 1:30 am (1830 GMT Tuesday) in a residential area on Sumatra island’s Aceh province. It was still burning by early afternoon. “There was a group of people digging in the old well but suddenly […]

Indonesia’s former speaker gets 15 years in jail for corruption

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia’s former parliament speaker was handed a 15-year prison term on Tuesday in a victory for an ongoing clamp-down on widespread corruption. Setya Novanto, once among the country’s most influential politicians, had been accused of taking millions in kickbacks and bribes linked to the national roll-out of government ID cards. His months-long trial came after a string of maneuvers — including allegedly faking an injury in a car crash — that […]