Sunday, April 24, 2011

Updates for the week of April 18th

Malaysia - Minister wants to know why 72 Malaysians jailed in China
April 19, 2011

Currently there are 72 Malaysians detained in China for drug trafficking and smuggling
offenses. Foreign Minister Datuk Deri Anifah Aman asks why: "We need to find out where we should tighten our rules and the reasons behind the crime. We need to find out why."

Original article.

Vietnam - Vietnam’s Inflation Accelerates to Fastest Pace in 28 Months
April 23, 2011

Vietnam's inflation rate accelerated to the fastest pace its had since 2008. Consumer prices increased 17% since one year ago. “Inflation shows little signs of responding to monetary and fiscal austerity just yet,” said Bill Stoops.

Original Article

Thailand - Thai army denies using toxic gas in Cambodian border battle
April 23, 2011

Battles that began April 22 have killed five Thais and six Cambodians, ending two months of peace since the United Nations Security council urged a permanent cease-fire on Feb. 14. Cambodia's Defense Ministry said Thai soldiers used "heavy guns loaded with poisonous gas" in yesterday's fighting.
Thailand denies any accusations of doing so.

Original article.

Indonesia - Indonesian police find explosives at suspect's home
April 24, 2011

Indonesian police say they found explosive material after a search of an alleged bomber's home in the city of Bekasi. The suspect, who is identified by his initial P, has been connected to the failed attempt to detonate a bomb in a cathedral.

Original article.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Updates for the week of April 11th

Thailand - Thailand wants to close Myanmar refugee camps
April 11, 2011

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated that "They[Myanmar refugee camps] have been in Thailand for more than 20 years and it became our burden to take care of them", after Thailand showed desires to close its Myanmar refugee camps following Myanmar's first election in 20 years. They want to send back the more than 100,000 residents in these camps.No definite date has been announced but the Thai government is currently in discussion with the Myanmar government.

Original article

Malaysia - M'sia unveils 10-year capital market growth blueprint
April 12, 2011

Malaysia announced a 10-year plan to strengthen its capital markets with goals to triple the size of its capital market to $1.9 trillion (S$2.$ trillion) by 2020. The plan promised to "speed up approval for business, improve fund-raising rules and allocate more funds to venture capital and private equity firms." Essentially, the plan provides for a more business and investment friendly market in Malaysia.
The Prime Minister Najib Razak states that "we are paving the way not only for a more equitable society but for a Malaysia that is more stable, more transparent and more market-friendly."

Original article

Philippines - Philippine army arrests bomb suspect with JI links
April 13, 2011

Abi Pamanay, a suspected militant believed to be a liaison between Muslim rebels and a southeast terrorist network, was arrested in the central part of Mindanao Island on Tuesday based on an arrest warrant for murder in connection with bombing attacks. Philippine army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz accused Pamanay of being a member of the largest Muslim separatist group and a "senior associate" of notorious bomb-maker Adul Basit Usman who is a Filipino on the US State Department's list of most-wanted terrorists. Pamanay did not resist arrest and denied the charges against him.

For more information on JI visit this site.

Original article

Cholera outbreak kills 19 in Philippine tribe
April 14, 2011

An outbreak of cholera killed 19 remote cave-dwelling Philippine tribe members and affected more than 400 others. Treatment of the Palawanon tribe proves difficult with the tribe's poor hygiene and isolation. Manuel Mapue, the head of a government dispatched medical team, concluded that cholera was to blame; initially, doctors made a wrong diagnosis of the diarrhea.
The area had no portable water system and samples from the rivers used by the tribes showed positive for feces contamination.

Original article

Indonesia - Suicide bomber wounds 26 at Indonesian mosque
April 15, 2011

A suicide bomber wounded 26 people at an Indonesian mosque during Friday prayers in the West Java town of Cirebon. Many of the injured were police officers.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Updates for the week of April 4th

Thailand - Why Thai Rice Production May Decline

As world supply of rice increases, the price goes down, making it harder on Thai's farmers who are currently struggling with less than reasonable prices and less than expected production.
Ever since 1965 Thailand has prospered from its rice exports. Thai farmers say production costs are higher than income, they can't afford to continue planting.
The government has proposed to reduce annual exports by 20% and focus on higher grade rice, in addition to installing a southeast Asian standard for rice quality.
This means Thailand is ready its role of being the leading rice exporter.

Singapore - Lim Boon Heng stepping down

Lim Boon Heng, a minister in Prime Minister's Lee Hsein loong's office, announced that he will not be seeking re=election.
He plans to continue serving in the People's association and the National Trades Union Congress.
But he did not specify whether he would continue with the People's Action party.

Indonesia - Indonesia may extend interest-rate pause as inflation slows

Indonesia's central bank will probably extend the pause in raising interest rates after inflation slowed for the second month in march.
The official decision comes out tomorrow.
They raised the key rate,determines bank lending rates and the cost of credit for borrowers, for the first time in February, stating that the strengthening currency is helping reduce price gains. An economist comments that "They have to raise rates sooner rather than later as just tightening via the exchange-rate channel will not be enough.”

Malaysia - Malaysian MP says men have affairs as wives 'neglect' duty

"MALAYSIAN men have extramarital sex because of 'wives who neglect their responsibilities' to their husbands, a Malaysian lawmaker told Parliament on Thursday, outraging women's groups."
Men say that when the arrive home, their wives ignore their marital duties and put of the sexual advances of their husbands.
But "In Islam, wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfill their husband's demands." said Ibrahim Ali who heads a right-wing "Wives failing in their duties pushed men to go to 'private places to satisfy their urges", he said. -- AFP"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

News Updates for Week of March 28th

Philippines - Rebels Kill 8 of Politician’s Staff

Muslim rebels killed eight armed employees of a local politician in a clash in the southern Philippines on Sunday, the military said. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels opened fire at the armed security staff of a Muslim political clan at its property on Mindanao island. 'The clash left at least eight people dead, at least four injured and there are two missing on the Mangudadatu side,' Colonel Asto said, referring to the property owners who are related to Esmael Mangudadatu, governor of Maguindanao province. The clash came amid peace talks between President Benigno Aquino's government and the 12,000-member MILF, which has been waging a decades-old armed campaign that has left 150,000 people dead according to some estimates.

Vietnam - Thousands Cheered Capture of Revered Turtle

Thousands of onlookers cheered in central Hanoi on Sunday when rescuers captured for treatment an endangered and ailing giant turtle revered as a symbol of Vietnam's centuries-old independence struggle. This is one of the most endangered animals in the world and there's very little known about it.

Philippines - Two of Fifteen Hostages Freed

Two of a group of 15 teachers and students hostages taken by armed tribesmen in the Philippines were freed on Sunday, hours after the kidnappers failed to show for talks with the government, police said.
The abduction of the group on Saturday was part of a bid by members of the forest-dwelling Manobo tribe to secure the release of a relative held in prison while on trial over a similar mass kidnapping in 2009, officials said.

Malaysia - Gold Bags of Cash Seized from “Dirty” Customs Officers

Gold bars and bags of cash containing up to RM600,000 (USD 200K) have been discovered in the homes of several Customs officers during raids by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Other ill-gotten stash included luxury watches and posh cars.

The MACC seized millions of ringgit from at least five of the 62 Customs officers arrested to date in a series of raids over under-declaration of duties and tax evasion. MACC investigation director Datuk Mustafar Ali said a Customs director arrested last Tuesday had millions of ringgit spread over several bank accounts. Another officer had almost RM1 million (USD 330K) in his bank acount. Two others had between RM500,000 and RM850,000, he told a press conference on Saturday.

It is learnt that investigations by a task force estimated that about RM10bil (USD 3.3B) had been smuggled out or remitted overseas.

Myanmar Warns against Decadent Dress for New Years

Revellers who wear 'decadent' clothing during Myanmar's upcoming New Year's celebrations can face up to a month in prison, a news report said on Sunday.
The four-day festival begins April 13 and marks the traditional New Year on the lunisolar calendar that is also used in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. It's one of the few times when Myanmar's citizens can cut loose under the watchful eye of the repressive regime. Revellers in the impoverished country splash one another with water and dance in the streets, despite annual warnings of proper etiquette from the government.

Singapore – Yale-NUS to Open in 2013

Yale-National University of Singapore liberal arts college is finally a done deal.
On Thursday, the two universities announced that the 'Yale-NUS College', as it will be called, will open in 2013 and at a steady state admit 250 students a year. They will take up general education courses that will synthesise Western and Asian perspectives in the first two years, before going on to concentrate on a major. At the end of the four years, students will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts or Science (Honours) awarded by NUS, but their degree scrolls will include the Yale-NUS College name.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

News Updates for Week of March 21st

Indonesia – Muslims Protest Gaddafi

MORE than 10,000 Muslims marched on Sunday in Indonesia to support pro-democracy and reform movements in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, calling for the immediate resignation of Libya's leader and protection of civilians. Men, women and children attending the rally in the capital of the world's most populous Muslim nation waved Indonesian flags and shouted 'Allah akbar,' Arabic for 'God is great.' Banners and placards carried by marchers read: 'Revolution for freedom,' 'No to Dictator Gaddafi' or criticised the international air strikes that have checked Libya's military and helped rebels gain control of key towns.

Two 7.0 Earthquakes hit Myanmar

Two strong earthquakes struck north-eastern Myanmar less than a minute apart on Thursday night. They could be felt as far away as Bangkok, but a tsunami was not generated. The first 7.0-magnitude quake was just 10km deep, according to the US Geological Survey. It was followed by another of the same strength but far deeper: 230km. The quakes struck along Myanmar's borders with Thailand and Laos, about 110km from the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai. Buildings swayed in Bangkok, 800km south of the epicenter. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says it was located too far inland to create a destructive wave.

Thailand Rejects Foreign Election Monitors

Thailand on Thursday dismissed suggestions that foreign observers were needed to monitor its upcoming election, with the deputy prime minister saying he does 'not respect' Westerners. It would be 'inappropriate' to allow outside involvement in the poll, which is due in June or July and comes after deadly street protests last year, said Suthep Thaugsuban. 'I don't respect 'farangs'. We do not have to surrender to them,' he said, using the Thai word for 'Westerners'.
Thailand has never officially allowed election monitors to operate during its polls, but anti-government 'Red Shirts' have recently called for international observers to be present. 'I am surprised that Red Shirts do not respect our country's sovereignty... I don't understand why they constantly call for foreign involvement, it is inappropriate,' Mr Suthep told reporters.

Malaysia - Police Arrested 2 in Connection with Sex Video

Police arrested two men in connection with the sex video of a man who is said to resemble a prominent opposition politician having sex with a foreign prostitute. It is learnt that the two - former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik and businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah - are now out on police bail.

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SEASA <3's

Sunday, March 13, 2011

News Article for Week of March 14th

SEASA extends our deepest condolences to those harmed by the tsunami and earthquake in Japan that occurred over the past week. We hope your family and friends are safe and sound, and we wish Japan a swift recovery.

Here’s a special news article.

Japanese PM on Disaster

Japan is facing its worst crisis in the 65 years since the end of World War II, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Sunday, calling on the nation to unite after it was devastated by a huge earthquake. The situation at a quake-stricken atomic power plant also remains grave, Mr Kan said as engineers battled a nuclear emergency sparked by the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake and the devastating tsunami it triggered.

'The current situation of the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear plants is in a way the most severe crisis in the past 65 years since World War II,' Mr Kan said at a press conference. 'Whether we Japanese can overcome this crisis depends on each of us,' Mr Kan said, calling for the nation to unite. 'I strongly believe that we can get over this great earthquake and tsunami by joining together.'

Japan battled a feared meltdown of two reactors at a quake-hit nuclear plant Sunday, as the full horror of the disaster emerged on the ravaged north-east coast where more than 10,000 people were feared dead.

And for some Southeast Asian news,

Bibles issue being resolved amicably

The issue of the impounding of 30,000 Bibles at Port Klang and Kuching Port is being resolved amicably with the parties concerned, based on advice from the Attorney-General. Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the situation was not due to the books or the material but the pending appeal by the Catholic Herald over the use of the word 'Allah' in its publication. Mr Hishammuddin was commenting on the controversy over the impounding of the Bibles following calls by the Sarawak government for the books to be released immediately.

Thailand – Red Shirts Mark 1 Year Protest Anniversary

Thousands of anti-government 'Red Shirt' demonstrators took to Bangkok's streets on Saturday amid a heavy police presence, marking a year since the start of protests in the capital that turned deadly. Thai society remains deeply divided following political violence that left about 90 people dead - mostly civilians - in a series of bloody street clashes between armed troops and protesters in April and May last year. Police estimated that about 25,000 people had joined Saturday's gathering by early evening with the numbers expected to increase later for a video-link address by the Reds' hero, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra. 'In the past year we have suffered excruciating pain and been suppressed by the elite,' said Nattawut Saikuar, one of seven main leaders of the movement recently released on bail after nine months in prison.

To end on a high note, SEASA’s Culture Show is this Saturday at Lyons Rat! Be there for some terrific performances!!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

News Updates for Week of February 21st

Thailand – Army Did Not Kill Reuters Cameraman

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has concluded that Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto, who was killed during political protests last year, was not shot by security forces, the head of the DSI said on Sunday.
That conclusion contradicts a preliminary finding in a DSI report leaked to Reuters in December, which indicated the bullet that killed the Japanese journalist on April 10 came from the direction of troops.

Thailand – Future Uncertain for Children in Baby Scam

The fate of around nine unborn children hangs in the balance as Thai authorities weigh what to do with the offspring of Vietnamese women freed from an illegal baby breeding ring in Bangkok.
A total of 14 women, half of them pregnant, were freed on Wednesday from an operation using them as surrogates for wealthy childless couples overseas who placed orders for newborns online. A few were offered up to US$5,000 (S$6,364) per baby.
'There is a risk that those children might end up as stateless, that they won't get citizenship anywhere,' said Benedict Phillips, Asia strategy director at Save The Children. Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has described the gang, which operated under the name Baby 101, as 'illegal and inhuman' and suggested some of the women had been raped.

Malaysia – Businessman Pays SGD 9 Million Ransom

A businessman from Singapore was forced to pay a staggering SGD $9 million to secure the release of his family in what has been described as Malaysia's largest ransom payment in recent years.
The nightmare began when the businessman's wife, their maid and daughter were driving home. They were forced off the road by another vehicle in Permas Jaya recently. Subsequently, the kidnappers took over the wheel and drove off with the three of them to an undisclosed location.
Bukit Aman sources said that the kidnappers sent an MMS of the three victims being held at gunpoint to the businessman before demanding a ransom of $50 million. The kidnappers warned the millionaire, who has businesses in real-estate and gaming, not to alert the police and to pay up if he wanted his family back. It is learnt that after negotiations, the kidnappers agreed to a ransom of $9 million and demanded that the money be prepared in large denominations of Singapore dollars.
Apparently, the businessman was then instructed to drive to a plantation in Kulaijaya to drop off the money. Sources said that the victims were only released at least two days after the ransom was paid. It is learnt that they were blindfolded and gagged during the ordeal which lasted several days. The three victims, who were all unharmed, were eventually dropped off around Danga Bay.

Thailand – Former Tennis Star and Miss Universe to Breakup

Former tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan and 2005 Miss Universe Natalie Glebova will tell the public about their breakup for the first time in a prerecorded television program.

Indonesia - Increase in Arms a Cause for Concern

From petty crime to armed robbery to major terrorism operations, the increasing use of illicit firearms in Indonesia has reached a level that security experts warn must be addressed.
“Armed robbery has been around for years, but the cases seem to have intensified recently,” said Suryo Guritno, an independent weapons expert. 

Police say there were almost 1,000 crimes involving guns or explosives last year. 

In a special report, the Jakarta Globe looks at the various ways civilians, for whom legally owning a gun is almost impossible, can get their hands on weapons. 

In Cipacing, West Java, dubbed Indonesia’s air rifle manufacturing capital, homemade pistols can be bought for as little as Rp 2.5 million(USD 300), but they are often of such poor quality that they either misfire or break after a few shots. Real handguns are for sale at black-market prices of about Rp 15 million (USD 1700).
More worrying are those smuggled out of police or military armories, which one army deserter says is relatively easy to do. This appears to have been the source for a group of militants accused of running a terrorist training camp in Aceh. 

Two police officers are being tried for selling 28 weapons and 20,000 rounds of ammunition from a police warehouse to the terrorist group.

Malaysia and Turkey Joined in Police Training

Malaysia and Turkey have agreed to cooperate in police training which will also see Turkish police personnel attending the Malaysian Academy on Trans-national Organised Crime (Matoc) in Langkawi, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. Datuk Hishammuddin said the exchanges would help build stronger relations between the police forces of both countries.

Philippines - Marcos victims in Philippines to get compensation

About 7,500 victims of human rights abuses during late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos' regime will receive compensation for their suffering starting next week, 25 years after a peaceful revolt forced Marcos into exile in Hawaii, their lawyers said on Thursday.
It is the first time the victims will receive any compensation since they filed a class suit in 1986.'The distribution is historic and a triumph after 25 years of struggle to achieve justice,' said American lead lawyer Robert Swift. Mr Swift said victims will receive the equivalent of US$1,000 each starting in a ceremony on Monday. Mr Swift and his Filipino co-counsels, assisted by the Commission on Human Rights, will distribute checks personally to claimants or their heirs in Manila and 15 other locations in the country.

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