ASEAN IN FOCUS

Indonesia picks Borneo island for new capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia will move its capital to the eastern edge of jungle-clad Borneo island, President Joko Widodo said Monday, as the country shifts its political heart away from congested and sinking megalopolis Jakarta. The proposed location — near the regional cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda — is an area at “minimal” risk of natural disasters, where the government already owns some 180,000 hectares (445,000 acres) of land, he added. “The location is […]

Sinking city: Indonesia’s capital on brink of disaster

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Time is running out for Jakarta. One of the fastest-sinking cities on earth, environmental experts warn that one third of it could be submerged by 2050 if current rates continue. Decades of uncontrolled and excessive depletion of groundwater reserves, rising sea-levels, and increasingly volatile weather patterns mean swathes of it have already started to disappear. Existing environmental measures have had little impact, so authorities are taking drastic action: the nation […]

Power restored after tens of millions hit by Indonesia power blackout

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Power was mostly restored in Jakarta and Indonesia’s heavily populated Java island after a widespread electricity outage Sunday that the state utility PLN blamed on disruptions at several power plants. Tens of millions of people were affected by the blackout which plunged buildings in the sprawling capital — home to about 30 million people — into darkness and forced the temporary closure of its new mass rapid transit system. Passengers were […]

Footage shows Bangkok bombing in mall minutes from ASEAN summit

  BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Footage emerged Saturday of the moment a bomb exploded in a Bangkok mall as the city hosted a major summit, the device apparently hidden inside a cuddly toy animal. There were nine successful or attempted bomb blasts on Friday throughout Bangkok which left four wounded as the city hosted a regional summit attended by top diplomats, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Footage […]

JUST IN: Thai government confirms ‘bombing incidents’ in Bangkok

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — The Thai government on Friday confirmed a number of small “bombing incidents” in Bangkok as the city hosts a major summit, urging the public not to panic as police tighten security. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha was told of “the bombing incidents and has ordered an immediate investigation”, spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said, adding “security measures have been tightened. The public is urged not to panic.” © Agence France-Presse

UPDATE: Bombs rattle Bangkok during ASEAN summit, wounding three

by Aidan JONES / Thanaporn PROMYAMYAI BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP ) — Several small bombs exploded across Bangkok on Friday, rattling the Thai capital as it hosted a regional summit attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and leaving three people wounded. Thailand, which has a grim history of political violence, remains deeply divided after a controversial March election returned a Thai junta to power as a civilian government. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who led […]

Pompeo says US not asking ASEAN allies to ‘choose’ on China

  by Francesco FONTEMAGGI / Dene-Hern Chen Agence France Presse BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted Thursday that Washington was not asking Southeast Asian nations to “choose” between his country and rival power China, as he trailed a rebooted security and trade strategy at a Bangkok summit. The denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, a bitter trade war between the superpowers and open access to contested seas dominated talks between Pompeo […]

Indonesia returns containers of waste to France, Hong Kong

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia has returned seven shipping containers of illegally imported waste to France and Hong Kong, an official said Tuesday, marking the latest move by a Southeast Asian nation to send back rubbish to their wealthy places of origin. The containers were loaded with a combination of garbage, plastic waste and hazardous materials in violation of import rules, according to customs officials on Batam Island near Singapore. “The containers left on Monday […]

10 Filipino fishermen caught illegally fishing in Indonesian waters brought back to PHL

  Ten Filipino fishermen who were caught illegally fishing by Indonesian authorities in their waters arrived in Davao City on Saturday noon, aboard the BRP Emilio Jacinto. The fishermen, who faced cases of illegal fishing, poaching, smuggling and illegal entry in Indonesia, were released through the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Liaison in Manado, Indonesia. Foreign Affairs’ Uriel Norman Garibay who was present during the turnover of the fishermen […]

Vietnam criticizes China over vessels in disputed waters

  HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Vietnam has accused China of trespassing and demanded a Chinese survey ship in the South China Sea withdraw in the latest flashpoint over the disputed territory. The two countries have long been locked in a maritime disagreement over the resource-rich waters, with the Chinese claiming nearly all of it. But the international community has largely sided with the other claimants — Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei — citing […]

Strong US-PHL alliance “deters aggression and promotes regional stability,” says US State Dep’t official

  (Eagle News) – United States Assistant Secretary David R. Stilwell stressed the importance of a “strong U.S.-Philippines alliance” saying this “deters aggression and promotes regional stability.” Stilwell co-chaired the recent US-Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue” held from July 15 to 16 in Manila. The US Department of State official said the Philippines is an important strategic partner and treaty ally, and promised to help “improve our combined defense posture.” “As a treaty ally, our partnership […]

Quake off Indonesia’s Bali causes minor damage, sparks panic

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) — A strong earthquake struck off the Indonesian holiday island of Bali on Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey said, causing residents to flee their homes and damaging several buildings. The quake, which had a magnitude of 5.7, hit at 7.18am local time (0018 GMT) and was centered 82.1 kilometers (50.9 miles) southwest of the island’s capital Denpasar, according to the USGS. The tremor, which was felt as far away as Banyuwangi […]