ASEAN IN FOCUS

More people flee after eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Semeru

  Lumajang, Indonesia (AFP) Rescuers evacuated more people Monday from nearby villages after the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Semeru, with officials warning of danger from cooling lava despite less activity from the volcano. More than 2,400 villagers have now fled their homes and taken shelter in 11 evacuation centres after the highest mountain on the country’s main island of Java erupted early morning Sunday. “The military, police, local disaster and village officials keep evacuating people […]

Strong quake hits Indonesia’s Java island, injures one

Jakarta, Indonesia (AFP) A strong earthquake hit Indonesia’s main island of Java on Saturday, injuring at least one person and shaking the same town devastated by a tremor last month that left more than 330 people dead. The 5.7-magnitude quake struck on land at a depth of 112 kilometres (70 miles), with the epicentre located 18 kilometres southeast of the West Java city of Banjar, according to the United States Geological Survey. Indonesia’s meteorological agency, […]

Indonesia’s Mount Semeru erupts, forcing thousands to flee

Lumajang, Indonesia (AFP) by Agus Harianto with Agnes Anya in Jakarta Indonesia’s Mount Semeru erupted Sunday spewing hot ash clouds a mile high and rivers of lava down its side while sparking the evacuation of nearly 2,000 people exactly one year after its last major eruption killed dozens. The burst from the highest mountain on Indonesia’s main island of Java, around 800 kilometres (500 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta, prompted authorities to raise the alert […]

Canada unveils new Asia-Pacific strategy with eye on China

Canada on Sunday unveiled its new economic and diplomatic strategy for the Asia-Pacific region, allocating 2.3 billion Canadian dollars (US$1.7 billion) over the next five years to the plan aimed at mitigating risks posed by China. The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has based its strategy on five major planks: promoting peace and security, notably by sending a warship to the region; bolstering trade and investment; boosting “feminist international assistance”; financing sustainable infrastructure; and […]

Malaysia’s new PM Anwar: from prison to power, a dream fulfilled

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AFP) by Martin ABBUGAO / M JEGATHESAN It has been a bumpy road to the pinnacle of power for Anwar Ibrahim, who on Thursday achieved his dream of the Malaysian premiership. In his decades-long quest for the top job, the 75-year-old has tasted political triumph and defeat, led street protests for democratic reforms and strung together a multi-ethnic opposition coalition while behind bars. He was named prime minister by Malaysia’s king after […]

Opposition leader Anwar named Malaysia PM: palace

  Malaysia’s perennial opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was named prime minister on Thursday, ending a days-long political impasse after inconclusive polls. His ascension — making him the country’s fourth leader in as many years — caps a turbulent political life for Anwar, during which he served jail time on corruption and sodomy charges. “After taking into consideration the views of Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers, His Majesty has given consent to appoint Anwar Ibrahim […]

US VP Harris visits Philippine island near China-claimed waters

  Puerto Princesa, Philippines | AFP | by Allison JACKSON US Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday visited a Philippine island near waters claimed by China to show support for the longtime US ally and counter Beijing’s growing influence in the region. Harris is the highest-ranking US official ever to visit the western island of Palawan, the closest Philippine landmass to the Spratly archipelago in the hotly contested South China Sea. Beijing claims sovereignty over […]

URGENT: ‘Nearly 20’ dead, 300 injured in Indonesia quake: local official

Cianjur, Indonesia | AFP | Nearly 20 people have been killed and at least 300 injured in an earthquake that rattled Indonesia’s main island of Java on Monday, a local official from the town worst-hit by the tremor told local media. “The information I got for now, in this hospital alone, nearly 20 died and at least 300 people are being treated. Most of them had fractures from being trapped by the ruins of buildings,” […]

URGENT: 6.9-magnitude quake strikes off western Indonesia: USGS

Notable quake, preliminary info: M 6.9 – 212 km SW of Bengkulu, Indonesia https://t.co/xddDIngaJl — USGS Earthquakes (@USGS_Quakes) November 18, 2022 #Earthquake (#gempa) confirmed by seismic data.⚠Preliminary info: M6.6 || 212 km SW of #Bengkulu (#Indonesia) || 10 min ago (local time 20:37:07). Follow the thread for the updates👇 pic.twitter.com/JUoqLHd8pt — EMSC (@LastQuake) November 18, 2022 Jakarta, Indonesia | AFP | A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off western Indonesia Friday, the United States Geological Survey said, […]

Police, protesters clash as Bangkok hosts summit

  Bangkok, Thailand | AFP | Thai police fired rubber bullets Friday in clashes with dozens of protesters trying to march to the venue of an Asia-Pacific summit in Bangkok. Around 50 people demonstrating against the event and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha threw rocks, bottles and broken glass during half an hour of scuffles with hundreds of riot police. The incident took place near the Thai capital’s Democracy Monument, around eight kilometres (five miles) from […]

British, Australian and Japanese prisoners freed in Myanmar junta amnesty

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — A former British envoy, an Australian economic adviser and a Japanese journalist flew to Thailand late Thursday after being freed by Myanmar’s junta in an amnesty releasing almost 6,000 prisoners. Since a military coup last year, Myanmar has seen a bloody crackdown on dissent in which thousands of people have been jailed. Former British ambassador Vicky Bowman, Australian economic adviser Sean Turnell and Japanese journalist Toru Kubota touched down in Bangkok […]

Myanmar junta to release UK ex-ambassador, Australian and Japanese prisoners

Yangon, Myanmar (AFP) ADDS fresh quote, 200 gathered outside prison, Australian FM statement Myanmar’s military said Thursday it will release almost 6,000 prisoners, including a former British ambassador, a Japanese journalist and an Australian economics adviser, in a rare olive branch from the isolated junta. The Southeast Asian country has been in turmoil since the military’s coup last year and a bloody crackdown on dissent during which thousands have been jailed. Former British envoy Vicky […]