ASEAN IN FOCUS

Cambodian psychiatrist helping genocide survivors wins ‘Asia’s Nobel Prize’

Manila, Philippines (AFP) A Cambodian psychiatrist treating victims of the Khmer Rouge and a French environmentalist cleaning up Indonesian rivers were among the winners Wednesday of the 2022 Ramon Magsaysay Award — considered Asia’s Nobel Prize. The annual award, established in 1957 and named after a Philippines president who died in a plane crash, honours those who have performed “selfless service to the peoples of Asia”. The foundation that runs the award announced four winners […]

Filipinos in Libya urged to stay home as deadly clashes kill 32

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday night urged Filipinos in Libya to take shelter at home as deadly clashes in the capital killed 32. In a text message to reporters, DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said no Filipino has been reported among the casualties. “The DFA strongly urges our kababayans to take shelter at home or in other safe places while the fighting is ongoing and to contact our Embassy through its hotline […]

Malaysia’s jailed ex-PM Najib back in court for more graft charges

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AFP) Malaysia’s jailed former prime minister Najib Razak returned to court Thursday to face more charges linked to a multi-billion-dollar financial scandal at state fund 1MDB, two days after he began serving a 12-year prison term. Najib, 69, was sent to prison Tuesday after the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest tribunal, upheld his sentence in the initial batch of charges linked to the scandal that brought down his government in 2018. Najib was […]

Former British ambassador to Myanmar detained in Yangon

A statement on the arrest of Vicky Bowman, Director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business: https://t.co/XibRhhSIXM pic.twitter.com/xdIQk1yhoO — Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) (@ihrb) August 25, 2022 Yangon, Myanmar (AFP) Myanmar authorities have arrested Britain’s former ambassador to the country and her husband, a prominent artist and one-time political prisoner, for allegedly violating immigration laws, the junta said on Thursday. Vicky Bowman, who served as envoy from 2002 to 2006, was detained for […]

Thailand approves first instant noodle price rise in 14 years

Bangkok, Thailand (AFP) Thailand will raise the price of Thai instant noodles, the trade department said Wednesday, marking the first price increase on the must-have daily staple in 14 years. The kingdom’s economy has not bounced back after fully re-opening to tourists earlier this year, and has been battered by 14-year-high inflation and the economic knock-on effects of the Russian-Ukraine war. Prices of instant noodles are capped by Bangkok at six baht ($0.16) per packet […]

Strong quake hits off coast of Indonesia’s South Sumatra

Jakarta, Indonesia | AFP | A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Indonesia late Tuesday, according to the US Geological Survey, sending people fleeing their homes but with no casualties or damage immediately reported. The shallow quake occurred in the waters off the southwestern coast of Sumatra island, at around 9:30 pm (1430 GMT) — nearest to Bengkulu, South Sumatra and Lampung provinces. It sent people in South Sumatra and Bengkulu rushing from their […]

Term-limit row leaves Thai PM facing calls to quit

Bangkok, Thailand | AFP | by Rose TROUP BUCHANAN A legal showdown that could oust embattled Thai Prime Minister Prayut Cha-O-Cha reaches the country’s constitutional court this week, threatening fresh political turmoil for the kingdom just months before national elections. The former general has clung on to office through major anti-government protests in 2020, a bruising pandemic, a faltering economy and scores of political near-misses — but now the very constitution whose design he oversaw […]

Indonesia records first case of monkeypox virus

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia has recorded its first case of monkeypox in a 27-year-old man who returned from travelling overseas, the country’s health ministry said on Saturday. The World Health Organization designated the outbreak of the virus an emergency last month — something it reserves for diseases of highest concern. Indonesian health ministry spokesperson Mohammad Syahril said the patient had a “high awareness and knowledge of the disease”. “So when he got the […]

Myanmar junta chief says military open to negotiations with Suu Kyi after her trial

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — Myanmar’s military chief said Friday the junta is open to negotiations with ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to end the crisis sparked by its coup after her trials in a junta-run court have concluded. Suu Kyi, 77, has been detained since the generals toppled her government in a coup on February 1 last year and plunged the Southeast Asian nation into chaos. She has been jailed for 17 years for […]

Hong Kong sets up task force on Southeast Asian job scams

Hong Kong, China | AFP | Hong Kong law enforcement on Thursday announced a task force to track down and help trafficked residents ensnared by so-called “boiler room” scams in Southeast Asia that have become a growing scourge. In recent months, victims have reported being lured to countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos on false promises of romance or high-paying jobs, and then held against their will and forced to work, sometimes for […]

Indonesia leader says Putin and Xi to attend G20 summit: report

Jakarta, Indonesia | AFP | Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will attend the upcoming Group of 20 summit, the leader of host nation Indonesia said in an interview published Friday. The pair’s attendance would set the stage for showdown talks with US President Joe Biden at a time when Washington is at odds with both of the rival powers, particularly over crises in Ukraine and Taiwan. It has been unclear […]

WHO turns to public for monkeypox name change

by Nina LARSON The World Health Organization, which is looking to rename monkeypox, called Tuesday for help from the public in coming up with a less stigmatising designation for the fast-spreading disease. The UN health agency has for weeks voiced concern about the name of the disease that emerged onto the global stage in May. Experts warn the name can be stigmatising to the primates it was named after, but who play little role in […]