ASEAN IN FOCUS

Thai PM says ‘illegal protests’ must be controlled as parliament opens

  BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said Thailand needs to bring “illegal protests” under control on Monday as he opened a special parliamentary session to discuss months of pro-democracy rallies. Prayut, the former military chief who staged the 2014 coup, has faced increasing pressure in recent weeks from tens of thousands of protesters demanding his resignation. The student-led rallies are calling for Prayut’s resignation, a rewrite of the military-scripted constitution and an […]

US Coast Guard to tackle China ‘illegal’ fishing in South China Sea

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States said Friday it will deploy Coast Guard patrol ships in the western Pacific to counter “destabilizing and malign” activities by China in disputed fishing grounds of the South China Sea. Accusing China of “illegal” and “unregulated” fishing, as well as “harassment” of fishing boats from regional countries, White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in a statement that the US Coast Guard “is strategically homeporting […]

PHL, ASEAN prioritized to receive China’s COVID-19 vaccines after efficacy proven in trials, says Palace

Strategically located cold storage facilities needed for vaccine distribution in PHL   (Eagle News) – The Philippines is targeted as one of the priority countries that would receive COVID-19 vaccines from China once these have passed efficacy and clinical trial tests in China, aside from other countries in the ASEAN region, Malacanang said. In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that said that there are two vaccines from China that are now in […]

Thailand welcomes first tourists since March

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Thailand has welcomed its first group of tourists in seven months, as part of an experiment aimed at testing if a wider opening is possible as the coronavirus cripples the kingdom’s economy. A planeload of 39 Chinese tourists flew into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport Tuesday evening from Shanghai to a welcome from staff in full protective equipment. The visitors underwent health checks and had their luggage disinfected, before donning protective clothing themselves […]

Young and restless: Protest parallels in Thailand and Hong Kong

by Dene-Hern Chen, with Jerome Taylor in Hong Kong BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Hong Kong and Thailand have both seen their streets filled with protesters daring to take on an entrenched political elite, and to discuss once-taboo subjects in their push for greater freedoms. Voranai Vanijaka, a political analyst at Bangkok’s Thammasat University, said tech-savvy youths in both territories have “shared cultural values”. “(It’s) the love for freedom and the courage to fight for change,” […]

Updated: 10 soldiers dead, 12 missing in Vietnam after second big landslide in days

  HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Ten soldiers are dead and a frantic search is under way for 12 others after a huge landslide hit central Vietnam on Sunday, as the country battles its worst flooding in years. Heavy rain has pounded the region for more than a week and at least 64 people have been killed in floods and landslides, according to Vietnam’s disaster management authority, with concerns mounting that waters could rise further. Rocks […]

Thousands of Thai protesters return to streets after police clashes

  by Thanaporn PROMYAMYAI and Lisa MARTIN Agence France Presse Thousands of Thai pro-democracy protesters massed in multiple locations across Bangkok Saturday, defying an emergency decree banning gatherings for the third consecutive day after confrontations saw riot police use water cannon on peaceful demonstrators. But the escalation in police tactics has not cowed the burgeoning youth-led movement, which is demanding the resignation of a premier first brought to power in a military coup and reform […]

More than 20 protesters arrested in Thailand

  BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Thai police arrested more than 20 people under sweeping new emergency measures Thursday, with pro-democracy activists reporting a handful of high-profile leaders were among those detained. The arrests came after thousands gathered in Bangkok, including on the route of a royal motorcade, with many raising a defiant three-fingers. The salute, borrowed from the “Hunger Games” books and films, has been harnessed by the youth-led movement as a symbol calling for […]

Hunt for missing rescue team in flood-hit Vietnam, more rain forecast

HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — A search operation has been launched for a missing rescue team as severe flooding and landslides battered central Vietnam, authorities said on Wednesday, as the country braced for further heavy rain. Close to a million people have been impacted by heavy downpours and rising waters since mid last week, with more than 200,000 homes flooded, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Thirty-six people are […]

Indonesia FM calls for ‘equal access’ to Covid-19 vaccines

by Lucie GODEAU / Peter BRIEGER JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Developing countries must have ‘equal access’ to future Covid-19 vaccines, Indonesia’s foreign minister warned, as wealthy nations scoop up billions of doses. Retno Marsudi said it was crucial for rich and poor nations to work together so “we can guarantee equal access to a safe and affordable vaccine”. “Can you imagine…if most vaccines go to developed countries?” Marsudi told AFP in a video interview from […]

Floods, rough seas kill 18 in Vietnam as fresh storm on the way

HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — At least 18 people died and more than a dozen are missing after floods submerged homes in central Vietnam and rough seas capsized fishing boats, authorities said Monday, as another storm threatened fresh downpours. Images on state media showed entire villages under water in Quang Tri and Quang Nam, while murky floodwaters swept through the Imperial City of Hue and the tourist hotspot Hoi An over the weekend. More than a […]

18 dead in Thailand bus-train collision

by Pitcha DANGPRASITH and Thanaporn PROMYAMYAI in Bangkok CHACHOENGSAO, Thailand (AFP) — At least 18 people were killed and more than 40 injured in Thailand Sunday when a freight train crashed into a bus taking passengers to a religious ceremony, officials said. The morning collision, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the capital, Bangkok, toppled the bus and sheared off part of its roof. More than 40 passengers were rushed to nearby medical facilities […]