Major aftershocks jolt Philippines after magnitude 7.6 quake

By Cecil MORELLA MANILA, Dec 2, 2023 (AFP) – A powerful magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Saturday, the US Geological Survey reported, followed by four major aftershocks that sent residents fleeing from coastal areas amid fears of a tsunami. The initial quake struck off the coast of the country at a depth of 32 kilometres (20 miles) at 10:37 pm local time (1437 GMT) about 21 kilometres northeast of Hinatuan municipality on […]

Binance faces Philippine ban as SEC tightens grip on crypto trading platforms

MANILA, Dec 1, 2023 (AFP) – The Philippines will block access to cryptocurrency giant Binance, an official said Thursday, as part of a crackdown on online trading platforms operating in the country without licences. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Tuesday that Binance was not registered in the Philippines and therefore not authorised to sell or offer securities in the country. Filipinos could withdraw their investments before access to Binance’s platform and apps was […]

Myanmar ethnic minority fighters clash with military on major trade route

  YANGON, Myanmar, Dec 1, 2023 (AFP) – Ethnic minority fighters clashed with Myanmar’s military on a major trade route to Thailand on Friday, blocking traffic and sending people fleeing, residents and local media said. Fighters from the Karen National Union (KNU) fought with the military at dawn in the town of Kawkareik in eastern Karen state, according to local media reports. The town sits on the Asia Highway that links the trade hub of […]

Philippines installing monitoring station in disputed sea

THITU ISLAND, SOUTH CHINA SEA, Dec 1, 2023 (AFP) – The Philippines said Friday it was establishing a coast guard station on the largest island it holds in the disputed South China Sea, to improve monitoring of Chinese vessels asserting Beijing’s claims in the waters. National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano made the announcement during a visit to the Philippine-held Thitu Island, which is part of the hotly contested Spratly Islands. The coast guard station would […]

Thai hostages set to return after release by Hamas

BANGKOK, Nov 30, 2023 (AFP) – Seventeen Thai hostages kidnapped and held for weeks by Hamas in the Gaza Strip are expected to return home on Thursday to be met by overjoyed relatives at the Bangkok airport. Tens of thousands of Thais were working in Israel, mostly in the agricultural sector, when Palestinian militants poured over the border on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping about 240, according to Israeli authorities. At […]

Crew of Israel-linked tanker seized off Yemen ‘safe’: US official

DUBAI, Nov 27, 2023 (AFP) – A tanker linked to an Israel-affiliated company was seized off Yemen Sunday by armed individuals, US defence officials said, but the crew members were later brought to safety. “There are indications that an unknown number of unidentified armed individuals seized the M/V Central Park in the Gulf of Aden Nov. 26,” a US defence official told AFP. The maritime security firm Ambrey said that “US naval forces are engaged […]

Myanmar armed group seizes China-Myanmar border crossing

BANGKOK, Nov 26, 2023 (AFP) – An ethnic minority armed group in Myanmar has seized control from the country’s ruling junta of a lucrative border crossing to China, local media and a security source said Sunday. Clashes have raged across Myanmar’s northern Shan state, close to the Chinese border, after an armed alliance of three ethnic minority groups launched an offensive against the military in October. The groups have seized dozens of military positions and […]

Iran says it helped broker release of Thais held in Gaza

TEHRAN, Nov 25, 2023 (AFP) – Iran said Saturday it helped broker the surprise release of Thai nationals who had been held by Palestinian militants in war-ravaged Gaza since their shock attack on Israel last month. On Friday, Hamas unexpectedly released 10 Thais and a Filipino, along with the 13 Israeli women and children that were part of a temporary truce deal with Israel. Israel in turn freed 39 Palestinian women and children from its […]

Indonesian police, fishers start patrols to stop Rohingya boats

LHOKSEUMAWE, Indonesia, Nov 25, 2023 (AFP) – Indonesian police and fishermen said Saturday they have begun patrolling parts of the country’s westernmost province to prevent Rohingya refugees from landing on its shores, after nearly 1,100 members of the persecuted Myanmar minority arrived this month. Thousands from the mostly Muslim minority risk their lives each year making sea journeys from refugee camps in Bangladesh, often in flimsy boats, to try to reach Malaysia or Indonesia. As […]