ASEAN IN FOCUS

Keyboard predators: Southeast Asia’s kids targeted by online paedophiles

  by Sophie DEVILLER and AFP bureaus Agence France Presse BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Southeast Asia is in the grip of a fresh surge of paedophile activity with predators orchestrating and watching abuse on live-streaming sites and via webcams, and paying for it with near-untraceable cryptocurrency, victims and children’s charities warn. With widespread poverty, lax laws, and creaking judicial systems, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and the Philippines have long been seen as soft spots by […]

Ten drug smugglers sentenced to death in Vietnam

HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Vietnam has sentenced 10 people to death for smuggling meth, ketamine and ecstasy across the country by train, state media reported Friday as the communist country deepens its crackdown on drugs. The gang shifted 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of drugs from northern Vietnam to the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City between 2015 and 2016, according to state-run media on Friday. Five men and five women were given the […]

Vietnam launches tourism campaign to attract more Filipinos to visit country

  (Eagle News) – The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, in cooperation with the Embassy of Vietnam, has launched a campaign to further promote Vietnam as a tourist destination for Filipinos. Dubbed “Soulful Vietnam,” the campaign hopes to make Filipinos more aware of tourist spots in this Southeast Asian country which has seen increasing tourist arrivals in the past 10 years. “Last year, we had 150,000 Filipinos going to Vietnam. The Philippines is a very […]

Myanmar plane in emergency touchdown as landing gear fails

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) —  A Myanmar pilot saved the day after his aircraft’s landing gear failed, safely putting the jet on the runway with no front wheels on Sunday, an official said. The nail-biting touchdown — in which no one was hurt — was the second instance of a malfunctioning flight in less than a week within the country. Myanmar Airlines flight UB-103 — an Embraer-190 model — touched the ground at around 9:00 am […]

Eleven injured as plane slides off Myanmar runway

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — Eleven people were injured as a plane slid off a runway while landing at Yangon airport in Myanmar Wednesday, police said, as a freak storm hit the city. Images on Facebook showed a crumpled Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane lying on the grass at the side of the runway. An AFP photographer saw an injured woman being carried to an ambulance on a stretcher. “One pilot, an air hostess and nine passengers […]

Myanmar frees two Reuters journalists after global outrage

  by Hla-Hla HTAY and Richard SARGENT Agence France Presse YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — Two Reuters journalists jailed for their reporting on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar walked out of prison on Tuesday, freed in a presidential amnesty after a vigorous global campaign for their release. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were mobbed by media as they stepped out of Yangon’s notorious Insein prison after more than 16 months in detention. Their December 2017 […]

King Maha Vajiralongkorn crowned Rama X of Thailand

by Aidan JONES and Sippachai KUNNUWONG King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Rama X of Thailand, was crowned Saturday in a dazzling show of pageantry, laced with Hindu and Buddhist ritual, vowing to reign “with righteousness” on behalf of the Thai people. Starting at the auspicious time of 10:09 am (0309 GMT), the public was granted a rare window into the cloistered halls of Thai power as the key rituals of the three-day coronation began. King Vajiralongkorn is […]

Vietnamese woman in Kim Jong Nam murder case freed

by Nicolas Anil KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — A Vietnamese woman who had been accused of assassinating the North Korean leader’s half-brother was freed from prison Friday, ending legal proceedings over the brazen killing after an often bizarre two-year saga. Kim Jong Nam, the estranged relative of Kim Jong Un and once seen as the heir apparent to the North’s leadership, died in agony after having his face smeared with a banned nerve agent as […]

Thailand set for coronation of King Rama X, first in 69 years

by Dene-Hern Chen Agence France Presse BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be crowned this weekend in a pageantry-laden ceremony , as Rama X furthers his primacy over one of the world’s richest monarchies and a kingdom beset by ulcerous political divides. The May 4-6 coronation comes more than two years after Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne at the death of his father Bhumibol Adulyadej. Bhumibol reigned over seven tumultuous decades and was […]

Indonesia detains Vietnamese fishermen after clash in South China Sea

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia has accused the Vietnamese coastguard of ramming one of its vessels to block the interception of a boat fishing illegally, as a senior minister announced a return to sinking foreign trawlers. The clash in the South China Sea at the weekend saw Jakarta summon Vietnam’s ambassador on Monday, after the navy detained a dozen Vietnamese fishermen. “The actions taken by the Vietnamese coast guard ship endangered the lives of […]

Floods in Indonesia kill dozens, thousands displaced

  by Debbi Ernest Agence France Presse BENGKULU, Indonesia (AFP) — Floods sparked by torrential rains have killed nearly 40 in Indonesia with a dozen more still missing, officials said Monday, marking the latest calamity for a disaster-prone nation. Landslides and floods are common during the monsoon season between October and April, when rains lash the vast Southeast Asian archipelago. On Monday, Indonesia’s disaster agency confirmed 29 deaths and said at least 13 more people […]

Torrential rain triggers flooding, evacuations in Indonesia’s capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Torrential rain triggered flooding in parts of the Indonesian capital Jakarta overnight, the disaster agency said Friday, forcing the evacuation of residents. Heavy rain pounded the greater Jakarta area, causing the Ciliwung river to burst its banks, and prompting flash flooding in at least 17 communities. Dozens of residents in parts of the capital’s east, where flooding occurs frequently during rainy season, were forced to wade through streets filled with 1-metre […]