ASEAN IN FOCUS

Indonesia moves two Australian convicts to final prison

Indonesian authorities transferred two convicted Australian drug traffickers on Wednesday (March 4) to a maximum security prison inNusakambangan Island of central Java province. The prisoners were transferred despite pleas for mercy from the government ofAustralia. The executions threaten already fragile relations between at times uneasy neighbours Australia and Indonesia. Australians Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, were transferred with tight security of ten armed security personnel for each person. The prisoners are among 11 […]

APEC meetings in Tagaytay start; output to form part of Cebu Action Plan

The Department of Finance is hosting a series of related meetings on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) the output of which will form part of the Cebu Action Plan that will be launched during the APEC Finance Ministers Meeting in September in Mactan. The series of APEC meetings started Tuesday, March 3, in Tagaytay City with the Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion.  The APEC Public Private Partnership (PPP) Experts Advisory Panel Meeting is set on […]

Australia says search for MH370 plane may be called off

(Reuters) — The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia’s deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already underway between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared one year ago this week, carrying 239 passengers and crew shortly after taking off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing. More […]

Australian PM Abbott says Indonesia “carefully considering” its position on execution of Australians

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke to Indonesia‘s President Joko Widido on Wednesday (February 25) night and asked to show mercy for the two Australians on death row at Bali’s Kerobokan Prison. “Well it was a positive sign that the conversation took place. The fact that the president of Indonesia and the prime minister of Australia can talk candidly about these issues is a sign of the strength of the relationship and it’s a sign of the depth of the friendship between Australia andIndonesia. I don’t think […]

French President Francois Hollande arrives in Manila for two-day state visit

French President Francois Hollande arrived at a military airbase in Manila on Thursday (February 26) for a two-day visit aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and gathering support in addressing climate change. Over one hundred delegates accompanied Hollande on the state visit, including businessmen, heads of organisations, environmental advocates and celebrities like Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard and Melanie Laurentwho are known for their stand on climate change. Upon arrival, Hollande laid a wreath of flowers in front of the monument of Jose Rizal, […]

VW gets government approval for Thai plant

(Reuters) – Germany’s Volkswagen has won approval from Thai authorities to build a manufacturing plant for fuel efficient cars near Bangkok after months of delays. A VW spokesman said on Saturday that it had received the go-ahead but the carmaker would now assess the situation and that no decision has been made yet whether to build the factory, confirming a report in German weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche. According to previous media reports, the 1 billion euro […]

Bangkok police detain at least three over street demonstration

Thai police plucked at least three people off the streets of the capital on Sunday (February 22) after they held a small gathering to “exchange views” with the country’s military junta. Thailand’s military has severely restricted public gatherings since seizing power in a coup last May. Taking a hard line on dissent, it has detained more than 300 people, including activists, journalists and politicians. The leader of a group of four people, Akkarakit Noonchan, was […]

Indonesian protesters collect coins to return Australian tsunami aid

Hundreds of people gathered in Jakarta on the streets of Jakarta on Sunday (February 22) to join a coin collection drive in protest to Prime MinisterTony Abbott’s comment linking clemency please for two Australians on death row to the country’s 2004 tsunami relief aid. Earlier in the week, Abbott said Australia would feel “grievously let down” if the executions proceeded despite the roughly A$1 billion (784 million USD) in assistance it gave after the disaster, […]

Myanmar declares state of emergency, imposes martial law

Myanmar President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in the Kokang region in the east and imposed a three-month period of martial law on Tuesday (February 17) night, hours after a Red Cross convoy came under attack. “Tension has escalated in the area and it was found that Article 144 of Criminal Procedure alone is not effective to control chaos and to manage administration sector while lives and property of civilians are under threat […]

Australians on death row in Indonesia to be transferred for execution

Two Australians on death row in Indonesia will be transferred from a prison in Bali to the location of their execution this week, the head of provincial prosecutors’ office said on Monday (February 16). Momock Bambang Samiarso told reporters that Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Australians who were sentenced to death in 2006 for a plot to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia, will be sent to a maximum security prison at Nusakambangan Island in central […]

Hong Kong woman found guilty of abusing Indonesian maid

Indonesian Erwiana Sulistyaningsih called for equal rights for all migrant workers in Hong Kong at a news conference on Tuesday (February) after her former employer was found guilty of abusing her. Erwiana stood with migrant worker representatives at the news conference holding up signs that said “End Slavery”. The landmark case triggered outrage over mistreatment of maids and shed light on abuse that many women face in overseas jobs. Former beautician Law Wan-tung, 44, sobbed […]

Malaysia’s Anwar jailed for five years after losing appeal in sodomy trial

(Reuters) – Malaysia’s highest court rejected on Tuesday an appeal by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim against a 2014 sodomy conviction, sending the politician who poses the greatest threat to the long-ruling party back to prison for five years. Human Rights Watch condemned the court decision, decrying what it called Anwar’s persecution which it said put at risk the democratic freedom of all Malaysians. Anwar, the ruling party’s rising star in the mid-1990s before he fell […]