The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
 
Friday 19 January 2018 
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

Vietnam opens consulate in Macau
From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 9: Vietnam's Hong Kong Consulate General launched a consulate office in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China on Friday, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Consulate General of Hong Kong, Tran Than Huan, said at the launching ceremony that the office aims to better ensure the rights of Vietnamese citizens and tourists in the region.
He said that the consulate office in Macau will provide easier access to information about Vietnam, saying that
it would boost friendship and co-operation between Vietnam and Macau.
The Consulate General said that the office expected to recieve support from local organisations including the Vietnam Fellow Countrymen Friendship Association in Macau.
More than 20,000 Vietnamse are employed as domestic workers, in the service industry at Macau's casino's.
Vietnamese also operate tourist and services companies.
The Southeast Asian Times

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

Hanoi, July 6, 2015: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam will visit the United States from July 6 to July 10 at the invitiation of the United States State Department in a "landmark" visit, Rueters reports.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Rueters quotes a se
nior state department official saying that the meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the President of the United States "would skirt protocol" because the General Secretary is "not part of a government".
"Obama saw the visit as crucial", Rueters reports the senior state department official as saying.
Rueters also quotes the senior state department official saying that "there was a broad agreement that it made sense to treat General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong as the visit of "the top leader of the country".
"It's a pretty big event," Rueters quotes the state department official as saying.
The Southeast Asian Times

France agrees to return Aboriginal remains home to Australia
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 25: French president Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed to work together to return Aboriginal remains to Australia during the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia last week, reports Australian Associated Press.
The French head of state and the Australian prime minister said that a joint expert committee is to be established to help identify the origin of the Aboriginal remains held in France.
The head of state and prime minister said in a joint statement that the identification process would respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including the French legal system.
"The French government will examine possible solutions to enable the return of the Aboriginal human remains to their community of origin." the statement said.
Australia believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being held in Museum collections around the world including in Europe and the
United States.
In 2010 a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of Aboriginal skeletal remains to Australia including the severed head of Australian Aboriginal warrior, Yagan, to the Noongar of South West Western Australia after being missing in action for about 177 years. Yagan was shot dead for his resistance to British settlement on the Swan river.
The Southeast Asian Times


"No " to proposal to delete religion from Indonesian national identity card

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10: Islamic-based political party politicians oppose the proposal put by the newly selected Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, that national identity cards (KTP) do not include the religion of the car holder.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Aboebakar Al Habsy said that not to include the religion of the card holder on national identity cards (KTP)
contradicted the country’s founding philosophy of Pancasila
“If we believe that Pancasila is our state ideology and our national identity, then why should we be ashamed of including our religion on our national identity card," he said
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also proposed that the regious beliefs of Indonesian citizens be omitted from official government documents.
He said that the religion of Indonesian citizens on national identity cards (KTP) or in official government documents should not be imposed.
"It's up to the people", he said.
The Souheast Asian Times

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 12: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag found flying from a coconut tree in Aceh on Sunday has been torn down, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the banned ISIS flag was reportedly the first in Aceh.
Police chief First Inspecter Azwan said that the flag of the nationally banned movement was discovered by chess players sitting at a food stall near the coconut tree in the Sungai Raya district of East Aceh regency in Aceh.
He said that a bomb disposal team inspected the area before the flag was taken down.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia's rejection of the State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and banned the teaching of ISIL ideology in Indonesia last month at his parliamentary state-of-the-nation address and ahead of the 69th anniversary of Indonesias Independence.

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

From News Reports:
Singapore, August, 18: The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act by the Singapore parliament last week will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore.
The Act that was first proposed in 2013 would enable Singapore to impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that under the Act, Singapore will have the legal right under the Objective Territorial Principle to take legal action against air polluters.
"While neighbouring countries have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources in accordance with their policies they also have a responsibility to ensure that "slash and burn" agricultural practices do not cause damage to Singapore", he said.
The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act gives Singapore the legal power to serve notices on those that do not have assets or a presence in Singapore.
Indonesia is yet to ratify an Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed by ASEAN member counries in November 2003 in order to
address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires.
A bill passed in the Indonesian House of Representatives in July 2013 gave the Indonesian goverment the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations.
The new bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres from deforestation, gave the Indonesian government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua Biak massacre remembered in Sydney
with 136 white carnations
From News Reports:
Sydney, July 5: A ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the Biak Massacre in West Papua ua on 6 July 1998 will be held at the Waverley Cliffs cemetery in Sydney on Sunday.
The Waverley Cliffs community will throw 136 white carnations from the waverley cliffs into the Pacific Ocean in memory of the Biak massacre.
A citizens tribunal, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney last year on the 15th anniversary of the Biak massacre found that 136 West Papuan protesters were thrown into the sea by Indonesian security forces.
The tribunal heard eye witness testimony that the West Papuan demand for the right to vote for independence from Indonesia was met with gunfire by Indonesian security forces.
Survivors of the massacre told the international team of jurists that the unarmed West Papuan protesters were surrounded and shot by Indonesian security forces and that survivors were thrown into the sea on 6 July 1998.

The Southeast Asian Times


Read the letters to The Southeast Asian Times...open here

Hong Kong judge sentences student political activist to three months jail
Protesters at the "pro-democracy umbrella movement" in the streets of Hong Kong on 8 October 2014
From News Reports:
Hong Kong. January 19: Hong Kong student political activist, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, 21, was sentenced to a second jail term of three months on Wednesday for his role in "Occupy Central With Love and Peace" protest movement that began in Hong Kong in 2014.
High Court Judge Andrew Chan, described his role as "a leading role" in the "pro-democracy umbrella movement" street demonstrations in central Hong Kong, opposing the 2017 elections that would allow Beijing to nominate candidates for Chief Executive.
For more than two months, tens of thousands of mostly students camped in tents on major highways, defying police demands to vacate the streets.
Umbrellas reportedly became a symbol of defiance after protesters used them as shields against police pepper spray and batons.
Student political activist, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, was charged with contempt of court for failing to clear the Hong Kong streets during the Hong Kong street protests.
High Court Judge Andrew Chan said that although Joshua Wong Chi-fung had stayed in the protest area for only 90 minutes on the day in question, "his involvement in obstructing the street clearance operation was extensive.
"He played a leading role on that day," he said.
The High Court Judge said that he was of the view that the only appropriate punishment for student political activist, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, was one of "immediate imprisonment."
Beijing ruled in August 2014 that Hong Kong could use the "one man one vote" system to elect the Chief Executive in 2017 but from only two or three candidates that would be elected by a nominating committee from Beijing.
The Hong Kong students called on Beijing to give Hong Kong direct elections and also for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was elected by committee in Beijing.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia and China sign agreements in Phnom Penh
China Premier Li Keqiang, left, and Cambodia Prime Minister hun Sen, right, signed 19 agreements and memorandums of understanding last week as the two countries marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 18: The Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen and Premier Li Keqiang of China signed a total of 19 agreements in quick succession in Phnom Penh on Monday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The 19 agreements were signed by Cambodian ministers of agriculture, health, industry, transportation, labour, finance and commerce and with high-profile business tycoons such as Kith Meng from the Royal Group, Lim Chivv Ho from the Attwood Investment Group, and Pung Kheav Se, chairman of the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation’s (OCIC).
The agreements include a concession agreement to build the “Sihanoukville Expressway”, a finance cooperation agreement for a new airport in Phnom Penh Cambodia State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman, Sinn Chanserey Vutha, said the agreement would help realise the government’s plan to have a new airport by 2025.
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesman Gao Feng said that trade between China and the five Mekong countries that include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam has seen rapid economic growth.
"China is the largest source of foreign investment for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and the third and fourth-largest source for Thailand and Vietnam." he said.
He said that Chinese enterprises have made progress in constructing economic and trade cooperation zones including infrastructure cooperation with the Mekong countries.
The Southeast Asian Times


West Papuans get a stake in US PT Freeport-McMoRan copper and gold mine in Mimika
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 17: The Indonesian government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Papua provincial administration and the Mimika regency administration, granting the local government a 10 percent stake in gold and copper miner, PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), located in the eastern region of Papua, reports the Jakarta Post.
The government, represented by the Finance Ministry, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and state-owned aluminum PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that would give the local government a stake in the local subsidiary of United States-based mining giant PT Freeport-McMoRan in order to "accomodate the rights of the indigenous people."
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that under the MoU both the Papua administration and Mimika regency would jointly own a 10 percent stake of the 51 percent of divested PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) shares, saying that "negotiations between the government and PTFI are still taking place."
“A portion of the stake is granted to accommodate the rights of indigenous people who are affected by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) operations,” she said.
Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and state-owned aluminum PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) president director, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, said that the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) had settled the allotment of shares among central and local governments in the coming divestment of PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI).
The Independent Traditional Community spokesman, Vinsen Oniyoma, said earlier this year that "the traditional rights of major tribal communities in Amungme and Kamoro over land used by Freeport had not been respected since the establishment of the mine in 1967.
"Freeport has caused extensive damage to the environment," said the spokesman.
In August 2013 PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PT Indosmelt (Indosmelt) and PT Indovasi Mineral Indonesia (Indovasi) to build a copper smelter, showing that the US company supported the Indonesian government plan for mining companies to process or refine their ore in Indonesia by 2014.
The 2009 Indonesian Mining Law prohibits the export of minerals and this provision was to become effective from 2014.
It is intended to ensure domestic supplies and to maximize benefits to the State through the creation of value-added products.
But the 2009 policy did not apply to large companies such as PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) that hold contracts-of-work with the national government.
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Thai judges ready to try fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra
Fugitive former Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, fugitive former Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra
From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 16: The Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders has estalished a panel of judges to try fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia on alleged malmalfeasance in the Krung-Thai-Bank (KTB) fraud case and the Thaksin government's conversion of mobile phone operators' concession fees into excise tax that allegedly benefited Thaksin's own company, reports the Bangkok Post.
Office of the Attorney General (OAG) deputy spokesman Trumph Jalichandra said that his office had requested the Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders to try fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia.
"The trial of fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra would be the first under the new law that came into effect last year that allows the court to try politicians in absentia", he said.
In November last year the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) called on the Supreme Court to resume the prosecution of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra under the new law.
A warrant for the arrest of the fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was issued in October 2012.
Nine senior Supreme Court judges agreed then to try Thaksin Shinawatra and 26 alleged accomplices for malfeasance in the raising or approval of alleged fraudulent Krung-Thai-Bank (KTB) non-performing loans worth almost baht 12-billion.
All were accused of violation of Article 157 of the Criminal Code - the law that governs the behaviour of officials of State agencies; the Commercial Banks Act; the Securities and Exchange Act, and the Public Companies Act.
The Supreme Court in August 2015 sentenced 19 of 26 defendants in the Krung-Thai-Bank (KTB) corruption case to jail terms for their involvement in approving loans totalling more than 10 billion baht in 2003-2004 to real estate developer Krissadamahanakorn through its affiliates, although the company was rated a non-performing debtor.
The Supreme Court did not rule on Thaksin, who did not appear in court.
In October former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of fugitive former prime minister Thanksin Shinawatra, fled Thailand reportedly for London.
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is seeking political asylum following a prison sentence that was handed down in her absence by the Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.
The former Prime Minister was found guilty as charged with committing nonfeasance and malfeasance in the national rice subsidy programme reportedly resulting in the loss of 518 billion baht to the state while holding the post of Prime Minister.
The Southeast Asian Times

Soekarno granddaughter to stand for election in East Java
Puti Guntur Soekarno, granddaughter of Indonesia's first president Soekarno, was endorsed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to stand for election in East Java
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 15: Granddaughter of Indonesia's first president, former president Soekarno, is the nominated Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) candidate for East Java deputy governor regional elections, reports the Jakarta Post.
House of Representative legistlator, Puti Guntur Soekarno, is the daughter of Soekarno's eldest son, Guntur Sukarnoputa and is also the neice of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, chair of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)
Puti Guntur Soekarno replaces Banyuwangi Regent Azwar Anas as the running mate of the incumbant East Java deputy governor, Saifullah Yusuf, who withdrew his candicasy last week following the circulation of photographs that allegedly showed him with an unidentified woman.
Puti Guntur Soekarno and Saifullah Yusuf are supported by the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the two largest parties in East Java.
The province is reportedly considered the stronghold of Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, the Nadhlatul Ulama.
The Jakarta Post reports that at least five generals serving in the National Armed Forces (TNI) and high ranking Indonesian National Police officers are for the first time to stand for the 2018 regional elections.
The Great Indonesia Movement Party (GERINDRA), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the National Mandate Party (PAN) has endorsed National Armed Forces (TNI) Lieutenant General Edy Rahmayadi who is to apply for early retirement and stand for Governor of North Sumatra.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has endorsed East Kalimantan Police Inspector General Safaruddin to stand for the East Kalimantan gubernatorial election.
In June 2017 former president Megawati Soekarnoputri accepted the position of chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Presidential Working Unit on Reinforcement of the Pancasila Ideology (UKP-PIP).
"The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) will always stand strong to guard Pancasila," she said.

The Southeast Asian Times

"Rockefeller and the Demise of Ibu Pertiwi" by Kerry B. Collison "is undoubtedly fictional but by no means improbable, " says Johannes Nugroho ....open page here

Call to stop the sinking of foreign fishing vessels gains support
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 14: The call by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) to stop the sinking of foreign fishing vessels illegally fishing in Indonesian waters was supported by the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan and Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Thursday with the Vice President saying, "There should be a limit to the boat-sinking policy."
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, deputy chairman of Dadin, Yugi Prayanto said on Wednesday that the sinking of fishing vessels contributes to pollution at sea.
He said that the government should use illegal fishing vesels for the benefit of local fishermen, saying that the fishermen could use them for fishing or to sell the vesels for parts.
"The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry should give the seized foreign illegal fishing vessels to local fishermen in order to boost fish exports," he said.
But Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, believes that the sinking of the illegal fishing vessels is evidence that Indonesia is dedicated to safeguarding Indonesian waters.
"The Maritime and Fisheries Ministery see "a deterrent effect" in the sinking of the seized foreign fishing vessels." she said.
The Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force 15 sank 10 illegal foreign fishing vessels in Natuna waters with seven in Tarempa waters both located in the Riau Islands in November last year.
Operational director Rear Adm. Wahyudi Hendro Dwiyono said then that unlike the previous sinking of ships no explosives were used in the sinking of vessels
"Instead, the ships were sunk by making holes in their hulls."
In April this year the Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and Fishing Task Force 15 simultaneously sank 81 foreign boats at 12 locations for illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.
It was the largest number of illegal fishing vessels to be sunk simultaneously since the sinking of 60 fishing vessels for the celebration of Indonesian Independence Day on 17 August 2016.
The Indonesian government reportedly sank 71 boats from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and China in celebration for each year of Independence.
Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said then that the Maritime and Fisheries Ministery see "a deterrent effect" in the sinking of the seized foreign fishing vessels.
On Independence Day, 17 August, 2015 the Indonesian navy blasted 70 foreign fishing vessels out of Indonesian waters in celebration of 70 years of independence.
The sinking of the illegal fishing vessels is part of the government campaign driven by President Joko Widodo to stop illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.
"Illegal fishing costs the country billions of dollars in lost revenue every year", said the president.
The Southeast Asian Times

Death of Philippines schoolchildren linked to anti-dengue innoculation
Parents of schoolchildren who were inocculated agains dengue fever in Cavit and Lunguna province in the Philippines are seeking legal helf from the Public Attorney Office (PAO)
From News Reports:
Manila, January 13: The death of five children in the Philippine provinces of Cavite and Luguna have been linked to theanti0dengue fever innoculation of Dengvaxia conducted by the Department of Health (DOH), reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) director of Forensic Laboratory, Dr Erwin Erfe, said that Officials in Cavite and Laguna provinces are monitoring the
health of thousands of schoolchildren who have been inoculated with Dengvaxia, saying that "the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) have found a link between the deaths of five schoolchildren and dengue fever vaccine."
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory, examined the bodies of two schoolchildren, Zandro Colite, 11, from Cavite province and Lenard Baldonado, 10 from Laguna province on January 7 after their bodies were exhumed.
The Forensic examiners found bleeding in the lungs and enlarged organs in the case of Lenard Baldonado, 10, from Laguna Province.
The death certificate for Zandro Colite, 11, reportedly indicated that he had died from ruptured appendix on December 27.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) director of Forensic Laboratory, Dr Erwin Erfe, said that the forensic examiners had observed a pattern in the death of five children who had been inoculated with Dengvaxia, saying that the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory examined the body of an 11-year-old boy from Bataan province on Tuesday, who died within 12 hours of developing a headache and fever following the innoculation of Dengvaxia.
He said on Wednesday that the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory, have also examined the body of a 13 year old boy who died in Bulacan province on January 3 after the innoculation of Dengvaxia.
"The forensic examination was conducted in Sampaloc, Manila, on Wednesday morning with the consent of the boy’s parents," he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) halted the immunization programme on December 1, three days after French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, that developed Dengvaxia announced that the vaccine worsened symptoms in vaccinated people who had no previous exposure to the dengue virus.
More than 830,000 schoolchildren had received at least one dose of Dengvaxia before the Department of Health (DOH) stopped the immunization program.
Records from the Cavite provincial health office reportedly show that 68,366 schoolchildren had received the first dose of Dengvaxia, while 37,966 had
received the second dose and 36,860 had completed the three doses.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australian nurse denied reduced sentence in surrogacy conviction
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 11: Australian nurse, Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, who was found guilty and imprisoned for 18 months in Cambodia's landmark surrogacy trial, was denied an appeal for a reduced sentence by the Phnom Penh Appeal Court on Monday, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The Australian nurse was denied a reduced sentence despite the submission of a letter to the court to confirm a diagnosis of cancer in her left eye.
“I request the court to reduce the punishment so that I can leave prison and receive treatment,” she said.
But Appeal Court Judge Kim Danny upheld the verdict despite the plea for a reduced sentence on the grounds of failing health.
He said that the Australian nurse had received a relatively lenient sentence for her role in the recruitment of Cambodian women as surragate mothers, saying that "the charges against her carried a maximum prison term of two years."
"The Appeal Court upholds the verdict," he said.
Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, and two Cambodian women, Cambodian nurse Samrith Chakriya, 34, and Commerce Ministry employee Penh Rithy, 28, were found guilty in August of acting as intermediaries for pregnant woman and adoptive parents and of fraudulently obtaining documents such as birth certificates.
Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles denied the charges saying that she did not recruit women to be surrogates or seek intended parents, saying that her role was "to supervise surrogates and provide medical care including ultrasounds and medication during the pregnancies."
“I monitored the surrogate mothers to care for them and make sure they were safe,” she said.
Cambodian nurse and translator Samrith Chakriya reportedly claimed to know very little about the surrogacy process.
Commerce Ministry employee Penh Penh Rithy denied involvment in fraudulently obtaining birth certificates.
Judge Sor Lina said that evidence showed that Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles was founder of Fertility Solutions Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), that she had recruited Cambodian women as surragate mothers and that she had paid surrogate mothers during their pregnancy in instalments and witnessed the contracts they signed with intended parents.
The Judge found that Penh Rithy was in charge of birth certificates and documents and Samrith Chan Chakriya cooperated with Tammy Davis-Charles by helping to take care of surrogate mothers,” she said.
“Samrith Chan Chakriya truly knew that this was surrogacy,” she said.
The three women were reportedly charged not for commercial surrogacy but for allegedly being intermediaries between an adoptive parent and a pregnant woman and for fraudusuch as birth certificates.
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodians on trial for uranium smuggling
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, January 11: The trial of four Cambodians accused of smuggling uranium from Vietnam to Cambodia in August last year, began in Phnom Penh on Tuesday with defence lawyers arguing that the substance found in their possession was not uranium, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Construction worker Chea Yu, 44, and alleged accomplices, Chan Thoeun, Tit Raksmey and Dy Vibol are charged with possessing a substance used to produce chemical, nuclear, biological or radioactive weapons.
Lawyer, Eng Sothea, said that there was no evidence that the substance found in the possession of his client, alleged accomplice, Chan Thoeun, is a banned chemical in Cambodia, saying that "the police cannot prove that the substance was uranium".
The four accused including my client, Chan Thoeun, would be dead, as would the police, had uranium be found in their possession", he said.
Construction worker, Chea Yu claimed he was given the substance by a Vietnamese male in Vietnam identified as Mai, who reportedly told him that the substance was “acid used to test gold", costing $400,000 a litre.
Judge Leng questioned Chea Yu on the alleged purpose of the substance.
"How can a gold merchant afford an acid test at that cost," he asked.
Construction worker, Chea Yu said that he did not know that the substance found in his possession was uranium, saying that the allegation that the substance was uranium was 'news' to him.
In January 2014 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supported Vietnam in its proposal to develope nuclear energy, with director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, giving an assurance to then Prime Minister Nguyen Tang Dung, to support Vietnam in the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
"Vietnam is committed to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons", said Prime Minister Nguyen Tang Dung.
The Southeast Asian Times


Trial of 22 Petro Vietnam executives begins in Hanoi
Presiding judge Nguyen Ngoc Huan, centre, announced the opening of the two week trial of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petro Vietnam) executives at the Hanoi People's Court on Monday
From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 10: The trial of 22 Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) executives including former senior executive, Dinh La Thang, 58, charged with causing losses of more than $150 million to the state, began in Hanoi on Monday, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The 22 Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) executives including former senior executive Dinh La Thang are referred to in the Supreme People’s Procuracy indictment as "holding key positions in critical economic units, who were entrusted by the State and the people to manage public capital and implement the construction of nationally important projects including the Thai Bình 2 thermal power plant project.”
Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), former senior executive Dinh La Thang was found
responsible by the Central Inspection Commission (CIC) of the Communist Party of Vietnam for having caused 'serious losses' to Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petro Vietnam) while chairman between 2006-2011.
The Central Inspection Commission (CIC) of the Communist Party of Vietnam that is responsible for the fight against corruption, said that Politburo member and Secretary of HCM City Party Committee, Ðinh La Thang, had committed “serious violations causing public discontent and bringing the Party and the Government into disrepute.”
Ðinh La Thang, who is a former member of the 10th Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, is accused of violating government decrees on the law on bidding while chairman at Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petro Vietnam).
The Central Inspection Commission (CIC) found that Dinh La Thang was responsible for losses of VNÐ900 billion (US$39.59 million), including VNÐ800 billion ($35.19 million) in investment in the OceanBank.
Dinh La Thang was also held responsible for authorising contract bidding packages that were in violation of Government decrees and also for advising the prime minister to approve numerous contract bidding packages that failed to meet legal regulations.
He was found responsible for the violation of the law on bidding related to the construction contract for Dung Quat Biofuel Plant, the Ðình Vu Polyester manufacturing plant and several bio-energy projects.
The Southeast Asian Times

Coalition nominates Dr Mahathir as candidate for next PM
Dr Wan Aziz Wan Ismail, wife of jailed People's Justice Party (PKR) Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir Mohamad were nominated as candidates for deputy prime minister and prime minister of Malaysia on Saturday
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, January 9: Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 92, was unanimously voted as a candidate for the post of prime minister of Malaysia by the Pakatan Harapan coalition, reports the Star.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said that "it wasn't easy for the parties that were previously my enemies to accept me as a candidate but they are aware of the importance of bringing down the current government."
"Our focus is to save our beloved country," he said.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohomad resigned from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party in March 2016, saying that the party is seen as "supporting corruption" under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
"I won't call it the United Malays National Organisation anymore, this is Mr Najib's party," he said.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is the longest serving Prime Minister of Malaysia, 1981 to 2003, and is reportedly a 'fierce critic' of the current prime minister, Najib Razak.
Pakatan secretariat, Saifuddin Abdullah has named Dr Wan Aziz Wan Ismail, wife of jailed People's Justice Party (PKR) advisor Anwar Ibrahim, as the candidate for the post of deputy prime minister of Malaysia.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) chairman Dr Mahathir, People's Justice Party (PKR) president Dr Wan Azizah, Pribumi president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Tan Kok Wai and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu stipulated that the Pakatan Harapan coalition would apply for a royal pardon for People's Justice Party (PKR) advisor Anwar Ibrahim should the coalition wrest power from Barisan.
The Pakatan member parties also agreed to limit the tenure of the prime minister to two terms and to the allocation of 52 seats to Pribumi, 51 seats to People's Justice Party (PKR), 35 seats to Democratic Action Party (DAP) and 27 seats to Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).
In August 2014 the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and Malaysian police began investigation of allegations published in the Wall Street Journal on 2 July 2014 that funds that had allegedly been donated by one of nine sons of the late Saudi king Abdullah, were transferred from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak private bank accounts.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia calls on ASEAN to work harder on economic intergration
India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, left, and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, right, in Jakarta ahead of the ASEAN - India Network of Think Tanks held on Saturday
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 8: Indonesia`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India to work harder in order to "speed up" economic intergration , reports the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia`s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno LP Marsudi, said at the ASEAN - India Network of Think Tanks held in Jakarta on Saturday that economic cooperation should be a priority in the ASEAN and India relationship.
"ASEAN and India have the potential to generate the world economy with its huge market of more than 2 billion and total Gross Domestic Product of US$25 billion," she said.
The minister said that trade between the ten ASEAN member countries and India are increasing, saying that total trade in 2016 had reached $58.4 billion."
"India's foreign direct investment to ASEAN is $1.05 billion," she said.
ASEAN Secretary General, Lim Jock Hoi, said that the association was committed to strengthening cooperation with India, saying that India was a strategic ASEAN partner.
"ASEAN cooperation with its partners including India contributed to regional stability and prosperity, " he said.
ASEAN Secretary General, Lim Jock Hoi, called on India to continue to participate and contribution to ASEAN regional development.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai wants to know if fugitive PM Yingluck Shinawatra is in London

From News Reports:
Bangkok, January 7: The Royal Thai Police have repeated their call to UK authorities for confirmation that fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is residing in the UK, after a second photo published on social media in the last ten days, shows that the fugitive prime minister is in London, reports the Bangkok Post.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said on Friday that the Royal Thai Police have called on UK authorities through Interpol to confirm if in fact fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is residing in the UK.
Thailand is ready to extradite the former prime minister from London where she is reportedly seeking political asylum
The second photo of the fugitive

Fugitive former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, right, with a friend outside Harrods in London on Thursday

former prime minister reportedly taken on Thursday, shows Yingluck Shinawatra posing with a friend outside Harrods in London.
"Police are checking with the woman posing with the former prime minister," he said.
A photograph showing a woman who resembles fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was taken at the Westfield Shopping Centre in London on December 26 with a boy who resembles her 15 year-old son, Sup Amornchat.
The photograph last month was reportedly the first public sighting of the former prime minister since she fled Thailand in August ahead of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders ruling that sentenced her to prison.
The Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced the fugitive former prime minister to five years in prison in absentia for dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy programme.
The former Prime Minister was charged with committing nonfeasance and malfeasance reportedly resulting in the loss of 518 billion baht to the state while holding the post of Prime Minister.
The former prime minister was found guilty of the alleged offences under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Organic Act on Counter Corruption 1999.
The former prime ministers was accused of colluding with two Chinese companies not authorised by the Chinese government to undertake G2G deals with the Thai government to buy rice from stockpiles generated by the government rice pledging scheme.
The former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra denied all charges made against her by the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) who voted unanimously in May 2014 following the declaration of Martial Law that there was sufficient evidence to indict the ousted prime minister on charges of dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy programme.
The Southeast Asian Times

Fugitive Vietnamese real estate developer apprehended in Singapore
Vietnamese real estate developer, Phan Van Anh Vu, 42, under arrest in Vietnam for revealing state secrets
From News Reports:
Hanoi, January 6: Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security arrested Vietnamese real estate developer for allegedly revealing state secrets in Hanoi on Thursday following his deportation from Singapore, reports the Vietnam News Service.
The Vietnamese Police Investigation Agency under Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security issued an arrest warrant for Vietnamese real estate developer, Phan Van Anh Vu, 42, on December 21 following his disappearance from his home in Danang.
The Ministry of Public Security reportedly launched an investigation into the Danang real-estate deveoper, Phan Van Anh Vu, in early December, accusing him of “deliberately revealing state secrets.”
The real estate developer fled Vietnam, enroute for Germany, when he was apprehended in Singapore by the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for travelling on a false Vietnamese passport.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security reportedly alerted the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoint Authority in Singapore that the Vietnamese fugitive travelled on a false passport.
Singapore lawyer, Remy Choo, who is representing Vietnamese real-estate developer, Phan Van Anh Vu, said that he was notified of his client's deportation by the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority after he was deported from Singapore.
"I am disappointed that despite our best efforts for our client he was deported without our knowledge or given an opportunity to contest the allegations made against him," he said.
Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security says that Danang real estate developer, Phan Van Anh Vu, is in its custody and that investigations would continue in accordance with Vietnamese law.
Under Vietnamese law serious security offences, such as revealing state secrets, carry the death penalty.

The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine legislator opposes immunity for Marcos heirs to illegal fortune
From News Reports:
Manila, January 5: Opposition legislator Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman is against the submission put by lawyer and Marcos loyalist, Oliver Lozano, that would grant immunity to the heirs of former president Ferdinand Marcos in exchange for the return of an unspecified amount of the Marcos reportedly illegal fortune, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
"Any law giving criminal immmunity to the Marcos family would be against Philippine jurisprudence in that criminal culpability is not subject to compromise", said opposition legislator Albay Rep. Edcel Lagmanhe.
He said that any attempt by president Rodrigo Duterte to settle with the Marcos heirs to recover their illegal fortune must conform to the requirements of transparency, accountability and conditionality.
Presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said that president Rodrigo Duterte had not taken action on the Oliver Lozano proposal that would grant immunity to the heirs of the former president Ferdinand Marcos.
"Congress was required to pass a law before the president Duterte could enter into a settlement with the Marcos family", he said.
Opposition legislator Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman argues that president Duterte does not require a new law to pursue settlement with the Marcos family over the illegal fortune.
"President Duterte has a “continuing right and obligation to recover the Marcos illegal fortune, either by judicial action or compromise settlement, under Executive Order No. 1 of President Corazon Aquino (PCGG),” he said.
Former human rights lawyer, Harry Roque said that striking a compromise deal with the Marcos family would run counter to the country’s antigraft and plunder laws.
“We have criminal laws penalizing plunder and it will be contrary to law to enter into a compromise agreement, except under exceptions already identified by the Supreme Court,” he said.
In July 2010, the then newly-elected Nacionalista Party Senator for Ilcocos Norte Province, northwest Luzon, Ferdinand Bong Bong Marcos Jr, son of president Ferdinand Marcos, revealed that an estimated US$658 million that his father amassed before it was frozen in Swiss bank deposits had disappeared.
The Swiss government froze the money after Ferdinand Marcos was toppled in a popular revolt in 1986 and transferred it to an escrow account in 1998.
Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in September 1989.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines military urges Communist rebels in Mindanao to surrender
From News Reports
Manila, January 4: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) urged the Communist rebels of the New Peoples Army (NPA) to surrender or face a full-scale offensive following the Christmas and New Year ceasefire that ended on Tuesday, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command spokesman, Col. Teody Toribio, said that Communist rebels had time to think about the welfare of their families during the ceasefire period.
"We assure the rebels who surrender that the government will provide them with all necessary assistance," he said.
He said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions of Mindanao would launch an all-out counter insurgency operation to crush the New Peoples Army (NPA) at the end of the truce at midnight on Tuesday.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 203rd Infantry Brigade, spokesman, Capt. Christopher Cuenca, said that “open arms would be extended to those rebels who decide to walk the path of genuine peace, meaningful progress and principled lives.”
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the presidential announcement of Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) from Sunday December 24 to Tuesday January 2018 had been violated by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front (NDF)
"The New People’s Army (NPA) fighters attempted to abduct a member of the Cafgu Active Auxiliary and attacked a military outpost in Compostela Valley on Christmas Day, he said.
In November Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte announced the cancellation of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), following the end of the five month seige of the southern Philippine city of Marawi.
In December Philippine president Rodrigo classified the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People's Army (NPA) terrorists under the Republic Act 10168 and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
Organizations or group or persons under the Acts are reportedly defined as "any person or entity designated and/or identified as a terrorist, one who finances terrorism, or a terrorist organization or group under the applicable United Nations Security Council Resolution or by another jurisdiction or supranational jurisdiction.
The Southeast Asian Times


KPK director resigns to stand for Bogor mayoral election
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) director of networking inter-institutional cooperation, Dedie Rachim, resigns to stand for mayoral election
From News Reports:
Jakarta, January 3: The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) director of networking inter-institutional cooperation, Dedie Rachim, is to stand for mayoral election in Bogor in West Java in 2018, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Agus Rahardjo, said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) director of networking inter-institutional cooperation, has tendered his resignation in a letter dated December 27.
"The administration process is currently under way," he said.
He said that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) would select a successor through an open competition mechanism.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) director of networking inter-institutional cooperation, Dedie Rachim, will be the running mate of incumbent Bima Arya, who is seeking re election in the 2018 mayoral election, both running as independents.
The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established on 29 December 2003 with the swearing in of five commissioners by President Megawatti - five years after Indonesia said that it had had enough of corruption and President Soeharto.
The People’s Consultative Assembly said in 1998, the same year that Soeharto resigned, that they wanted "a clean state administration free from corruption, collusion and nepotism".
Indonesia established - anti-corruption courts in 33 provinces in 2011 each with six judges with two of the judges attached to the higher court.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) courts reportedly hold trial hearings with their secretariats at existing district courts.

The Southeast Asian Times

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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
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Brunei...
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ambodia...3,115.36
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East Timor.
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Indonesia Rupiah
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Japan..78.8528
Laos..6,140.58
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
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35.3212
Singapore dollar...
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26.2521
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Nam
Dong..16,849.44

Singapore
properties listed for sale in Myanmar

From News Reports:
Yangon, November 25: Singapore's largest property developer, the Far East Organization, is to partner with Myanmar's local property sales and marketing company, Min Zin Agency, in Yangon to sell condos in Singapore.
Managing director of the Min Zin Agency in Yangon, Ko Kyaw Min Zin, said that Singapore's Far East Organization has expanded its sales and marketing efforts into Myanmar.
“The Far East Organisation has been selling their Singapore properties to Myanmar buyers since 2009,” he said.
The Far East Organisation reportedly have over 750 properties in Singapore’s residential, hospitality, retail, commercial and industrial sectors,
including 45,500 or one in every six private homes in Singapore listed with the Min Zin Agency in Yangon.
The Southeast Asian Times


China to invest in rail and road construction
in Indonesia
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10:
Indonesia's Railway Corporation (PT KAI) and state construction company PT Jasa Marga signed a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) with China Investment Fund (CIF) to develop indonesia's railway services and toll road construction.
Witness to the signing, coordinating Minister for the Economy Sofyan Djalil, said that the MoU will provide the groundwork for further cooperation between China Railway and P KAI and China Investment Fund (CIF).
"The MoU is the first step towards further development of public services between China and Indonesia" he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia, Xie Feng said that the MoU would spark more cooperations between China and Indonesia and would bring about "real benefits to the public."
The Southeast Asian Times

Penang health department shuts down soya bean factory
From News Reports:
Penang, October 19: Five Penang food factories including a 100 year old soya bean factory at Tanjong Bungah were ordered closed by the state health department for failure to observe health standards.
State health, food safety and quality division, deputy director Ku Nafishah Ku Ariffin said soya bean products were processed in an unclean "rusty and moldy kitchen".
"Our inspectors found that wet products were left to dry on "dirty" bamboo sticks along with bathing towels. The bamboo sticks were also dirty and dusty," she said.
A "sweets" factory in Teluk Kumbar, a noodle factory in Simpang Ampat and a sauce factory in Bukit Metajam were also closed by the state health department
The Southeast Asian Times

Fuel smugglers including military personnel under arrest
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 15: Riau Islands Police have arrested 30 suspects including several Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel and seized 64 cars, two boats and 106 tons of fuel.
Riau Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Arman Depary said in Batam last week that the seized cars had been modified to hold 100 litres of fuel.
"The Military (TNI) personnel are suspected of fuel smuggling and have been handed over to the military base", he said.
TNI Commander Gen. Moeldoko said that the alleged suspected fuel smugglers are honor-based service military personnel.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai coup blammed for fall in tourist arrivals
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 18: The Thai tourism sector suffered its largest fall in international visitors to Thailand in June, the first month after the establishment of marshal law and the military seizure of the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
Tourism reportedly accounts for 10 percent of the Thai economy.
Data from the Thai Department of Tourism shows that inernational tourist arrival numbers in July fell by 10.9 percent compared to the same time last year.
International arrivals in July totalled 1.91 million compared to 2.15 million in July 2013.
Arrivals from China with a18 percent share of all visitors to thailand and the largest group of visitors to Thailand, fell by 25.3 percent.
Arrivals from the United Kingdom with a 4 percent share of all visitors to Thailand, was one of the few large markets to record a gain, of 6.2 percent
The Southeast Asian Times

US Senate approves sales of nuclear equipment to Vietnam
From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 31: The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed legislation approving a 123 agreement on civil nuclear commerce with Vietnam at a business meeting of the committee last week.
The 123 agreement under the US Atomic energy Act of 1954 establishes a civil nuclear commerce agreement that allows the US to export nuclear reactors, research information and equipment to Vietnam.
The civil nuclear commerce agreement between the US and Vietnam is "part of Vietnam's effort to ease its shortage of energy towards meeting over 10 percent of the domestic power demand by 2030", reports the Vietnam News Service
The Southeast Asian Times

Court for construction
Industry
established
in Malaysia
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, May 3: The first two Construction Courts for Malaysia were opened by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam last week, reports the Star.
The courts will deal with disputes in the construction industry.
Works Minister Datuk Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof said that the establishment of the courts will transform the way the construction business in the country operates.
"The construction industry stakerholders can now have their disputes resolved by judges with expert knowledge and experience in construction industry disputes', he said.
The proposal by the Construction Industry Board (CIDB) for the establishment of the construction courts was first put to the Judiciary in January 2013.
Britain is the only other country that has a specially designated court that deals with construction industry disputes.

The Southeast Asian Times

Bali communities want larger share of tourism revenue

From News Reports:
Denpasar, April 14: Bali community-based tourism operators have called for amendments to regulations that stipulate that the local community pay the Bali regency administration 60 percent of their total tourism revenue.
Penglipuran tourist village in Bangli, community-based tourism manager, Nengah Moneng, said that he objected to the fact that his community received only 40 percent of the total revenue.
"We want to have 60 percent share of the tourist revenue to pay for operating costs", he said.
The Penglipuran tourism manager said that operating costs for trekking, traditional dance, cultural shows including religious rituals had increased.
The cost of operating lodges and community halls for tourism had also increased.
"An increase in revenue for not only the Bangli community but for tourism based communities across Bali would benefit tourism island-wide" said the tourism manager.
The Southeast Asian Times

Riau forest fires force Chevron to shut down oil wells
From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 21: PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI), the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based oil company Chevron has shut down 573 oil wells in the Riau province of Sumatra.
The deteriorating quality of air due to forest fires that have been raging for the last month has forced PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI) to shut down its oil wells and evacuate workers and there families.
Indonesia's upstream oil and gas regulator, SKK Migas, public relations officer, Handoyo Budi Santoso, said that oil assets in Riau province are important to national crude oil production.
"The biggest production loss came from the shutdown of Rokan block, operated by Chevron Pacific Indonesia, the country's biggest producer of crude oil production", he said
The Jakarta Posts reports that potential losses are estimated at about 12,000 barrels of oil a day.
The Southeast Asian Times


Sabah caters to influx of tourists from China

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, March 5:
The New Straits Times reports that there was an 86 percent increase in tourist arrivals from China
to Sabah in the last two years.
Data from the Sabah Tourism Board reportedly shows that 193,010 tourist tourists arrived in Sabah from China in 2011 increasing to 360,361 in 2013
Sabah West Coast Coffeeshop Association chairman, Yong Chee Yun, said coffee shop operators were catering to the influx of tourists from China.
"Coffee shops displayed tourist friendly signs in Chinese saying 'how are you?' and menues included China's favourite foods", he said.
Sabah and Labuan Chapter chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels and general manager of the At Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort,
said that staff members are encouraged to learn Mandarin.
"So that they can converse better with guests" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Pilots strike forces Merpati to cancel
flights

From News Reports:
Jakarta,January 29: A pilots strike forced State-owned PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines to cancelled all scheduled flights to Surabaya, Merauke and Timika on Saturday, reports The Jakarta Post.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra said that the airline had not paid salaries to pilots and cabin crew for two months.
The Jakarta Post reports that PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines was required to restructure its operations.
Merpati corporate secretary Riswanto Chendra Putra says that Merpati has signed a memorndum of understanding (MoU) with PT Armagedon Indonesia and PT Bentang Persada Gemilang to restructure the company.
The airline has debts of Rp 6.5 trillion (US$533 million) reports the Jakarta Post.
"The management would pay the salaries around March or early April, said the Merpati corporate secretary.
Merpati’s workers union advisory board official, Erry Wardhana, said about 200 Merpati pilots planned to strike again next Saturday for an indefinite period.
"The pilots would strike until 1,600 Merpati employees were paid", he said.
The union advisory board official says that this is the first time that Merpati workers have gone on strike over unpaid wages.
The pilots are owed wages for December and January reports the Jakarta Post.
The Southeast Asian Times


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