The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Friday 19 July 2019
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


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Dengue fever epidemic declared state of calamity in southern Philippines

Philippine secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Eduardo Ano, has called on all local government units (LGUs) to undertake cleanup drives to eliminate mosquito-breeding areas and stop the spread of dengue fever, saying "we should not allow dengue fever to debilitate our communities," he said.

From News Reports:
Manila, July 19: The Zamboanga Sibugay provincial council in Mindanao in the southern Phippines declared the provice a state of calamity on Monday after an outbreak of dengue fever, with the Department of Health (DOH) declaring a national alert, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Provincial Department of Health (DOH) official Dr. Ulyssis Selorio declared a dengue outbreak in Zamboanga Sibugay with Camarine Sur, Sorsogon and Albay provinces in southern Luzon classified as dengue hot spots following a sharp rise of almost 2000 percent in dengue fever infections in the last six months.
"Dengue has so far killed 12 people in Zamboanga Sibugay province", he said.
The Zamboanga Sibugay provincial council unanimously voted for a resolution declaring a state of calamity after the The Department of Health (DOH) reported an alarming 3,005 dengue infections from January to July 15 compared with 150 infections during the same time last year.
Zamboanga Sibugay Gov. Wilter Palma has directed all mayors of 16 towns to conduct a province-wide synchronized cleanup to eliminate breeding places for mosquitoes.
The Governor ordered the implementation of the 4S strategy that includes search and destroy mosquito breeding places; self-protection measures; seek early consultation for fever as early as one day; and say yes to fogging as a last resort in an impending dingue outbreak.
The Department of Health (DOH) halted the innoculation against dengue fever with Dengvaxia in a school immunization program in 2017
after the death of 8 children aged between 10 and 13 was attributed to the innoculation of Dengvaxia.
Officials from the Department of Health (DOH), including Secretary Janette Garin, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and executives from the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur Inc., were among those charged with the death of the children.
Department of Justice (DOJ) undersecretary Mark Perete said that former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin and others were liable for “inexcusable lack of precaution and foresight” due to the undue haste in procuring Dengvaxia and administering mass inoculation in schools.
"Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin totally disregarded the identified risks and adverse effects of the vaccine that led to the children’s deaths", he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) halted the immunization programme on December 1, 2017 three days after French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, that developed Dengvaxia announced that the vaccine worsened symptoms in those vaccinated 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.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines call on US warships to confront China in West Philippine Sea

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell and US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim at the two day US-Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Manila that ended on Wednesday with Assistant Secretary of State saying “As a claimant state in the South China Sea, the Philippines is well-positioned to ensure that the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) code of conduct text is fully consistent with international law"

From News Reports:
Manila, July 18: The Philippines has invoked the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) with the United States against China in the Philippines maritime dispute with China in the South China Sea, with President Duterte calling on United States warships to confront China in the West Philippine Sea, saying "I'm invoking the RP-US pact," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
President Duterte called on the United States Navy to confront China following the United States reaffirmation that the United States would defend Philippine forces in an armed attack in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea at the 8th Philippines-US Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held in Manila on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I call on America to send the United States Seventh Fleet to the West Philippine Sea", he said.
Philippines Cabinet Secretary, Karlo Nograles, said that Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) with the United States can only be invoked in an armed attack, saying that "the Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) takes effect if there is an armed attack on a public vessel, on troops, on an airship."
“If it is not a military attack then the Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) cannot take effect," he said.
The Philippines call on the United States Navy to confront China in the West Philippne Sea follows China's failure to recognise Philippine jurisdiction over the Reed Bank in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
The Phillipines called on China to recognise Phillipine jurisdiction of the West Philippine Sea last month after a Chinese flagged fishing vessel reportedly rammed and sank a Philippines fishing vessel, leaving the crew to drown at sea.
The 22 crew onboard the Philippine fishing were reportedly rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel.
In 2013 The Philippines filed a complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague against China asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
In 2016 Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of “historic rights”over the South China Sea, with China rejecting the decision saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines shut down indigenous schools for teaching leftist ideology

Lumad students and their teachers in Quezen City last year

From News Reports:
Manila, July 17: Southern Philippines Mindanao Muna Representative, Eufemia Cullamat, has condemned an order issued by the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) to shut down 55 Lumad (indigenous) schools, reportedly for teaching "left-leaning ideologies," reports the Philippine Inquirer.
"The closure of the lumad schools is unjust and a denial of lumad children's right to education", she said.
She claims that the Department of Education (DepEd) wants to deprive the Lumads of their rights in order to rob them of their ancestral land.
The schools operated by Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc., were reportedly closed on the advice of National Security Council (NSC) adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, who said in a report that his findings were “serious enough to warrant immediate action.”
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who is vice chair of a government task force working to end the communist insurgency in the southern Philippines said that Lumad schools used children to protest against the government and taught them “ideologies that are anti-government.”
He said that a former teacher at a Salugpongan school in Talaingod, Davao City, Mindanao, claimed that children were taught the communist New Peoples Army (NPA) anthem, firearm and ambush instruction.
The former teacher reportedly claimed in a testimony submitted to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., that Lumad students in Sitio Pongpong were taught to commit actions aimed at "destroying the government."
He said that a Sitio Kahusayan, Calinan, Davao City, Mindanao tribal leader had asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to close the Salugpongan school in his district in April saying that the school was connected to the communist insurgency.
Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc., executive director, Maria Eugenia Nolasco, said that the operators of the school would fight the fabricated accusations and Red-tagging to justify the closure of lumad schools, saying that lumad education and self-determination is suppressed by a militaristic approach that further marginalizes the lumad.”
In February 2018 the Lumad Mindanao Peoples Federation (LMPF) secretary general, said that President Duterte's intended to deprive the Lumad of their land, saying that "the president had become the spokesperson for foreign investors who would further plunder the environment and natural resources."
“The remaining ancestral lands and mineral resources have long been defended by the indigenous peoples against incursion by foreign multinational companies,” he said.
He said that Philippine president Duterte had deployed 65 battalions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Mindanao following the declaration of Martial Law in May 2017 in order to protect investors engaged in mining and palm oil plantations.
The Southeast Asian Times


Hong Kong reporters accuse police of violence and obstruction

Hong Kong reporters joined protesters against China rule over Hong Kong on the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday in a 'silent march' to Police headquarters and the office of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, July16: About 1,500 Hong Kong journalists joined thousands of protesters against China rule over Hong Kong that included the storming of Hong Kong Parliament House earlier this month, accusing the police of violence and obstructing reporters from doing their job and calling on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to defend press freedom.
The journalists joined the protest, that began with the pro-democracy umbrella movement in 2014 with students calling on Bejing to give Hong Kong direct elections, in a 'silent march' to Hong Kong police headquarters and on to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's office.
Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) chairman, Chris Yeung Kin-hing, claims that reporters were struck by police batons and shields in clashes on Saturday, saying that "we want police to exercise control at protests," he said.
"How can the media serve the role of the fourth estate in monitoring public powers, ?” he asks.
He says that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor met with police without providing notice of the meeting to the media, saying that "the government is providing a one-way dissemination of information."
Hong Kong police have reportedly provided videos of protest clashes to Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
"The Hong Kong government is seeking to turn reporters into government mouthpieces," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Chinese arrested at Cambodian airports on arrival from HK

Three Chinese nationals under arrest at the Phnom Penh International Airport with almost $US1 million in cash

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, July 15: Three Chinese nationals were arrested at the Phnom Penh International Airport carrying almost $US1 million in cash last week, adding to the increasing number of Chinese nationals arrested at Cambodian airports on arrival from Hong Kong with large amounts of undeclared cash in their possession, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Un named Chinese nationals aged 32, 27 and 26 were detained at the Phnom Penh International Airport on arrival on Lanmei Airlines from Hong Kong on Tuesday after $US900,000 in cash was reportedly found in their suitcases.
Cambodia Ministry of the Interior secretary of state, Sok Phal, said that $US900,000 was found in three suitcases in a search conducted by Phnom Penh International Airport Customs officials.
"The Chinese nationals were arrested for attempting to bring the cash into Cambodia without declaring its source", he said.
The three Chinese nationals were reportedly to meet another Chinese national at the airport when the cash was discovered by Customs officials.
The arrest of three Chinese nationals reportedly follows the arrest of two South Koreans at the Siem Reap airport on arrival from Hong Kong with $2.2 million cash in their possession.
A Chinese national was arrested in May on arrival at Phnom Penh airport from Hong Kong with almost $US1 million in cash in his possession.
In April, three Chinese nationals were arrested after they arrived in Phnom Penh from Hong Kong with $US3.52 million in their possession.
Cambodia Ministry of Interior secretary of state, Sok Phal, said that the cash found at Cambodian airports by Customs officials was undeclared, saying that "Chinese nationals bring the money into Cambodia secretly in order to avoid paying tax."
"A thorough investigation of these cases is conducted in order to find if the money is to be used to finance terrorism or to avoid tax,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines and China agreement made binding in SONA

Filipinos protest at Chinese consulate in Manila on Friday on the anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruling July 12, 2016 that ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea

From News Reports:
Manila, July 14: Philippines Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio warned ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA)
on 22 July that the alleged verbal agreement made by the President Rodrigo Duterte with Chinese President XI Jinping that allows the Chinese to fish in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea would be binding should the President confirm the agreement in his address in the Congress, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that a verbal agreement or any agreement that allows the Chinese to fish in the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea is a violation of the Constitution.
He said that confirmation of the verbal agreement with China in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) would make the agreement that allows the Chinese to fish in the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea a legal agreement.
"Should the President mention the agreement in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 22 July it becomes legally binding on the Philippines and that means that China can fish in an area at least 59 times larger than Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal", he said.
On 13 March Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Philippines Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales lodged allegations of crimes against humanity at the Internatuonal Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against China President Xi Jinping who is accused of implementaing a systematice plan to control the South China Sea, undermining food and energy security, causing destruction of the environment and depriving thousands of fishermen of their livelihoods.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly withdrew from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague four days after the allegations were lodged in the Netherlands, saying that "the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, especially not over China."
“China is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC),” he said.
In 2013 The Philippines filed a complaint with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague against China asking the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
On July 12, 2016 Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea, with China rejecting the decision saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction over this matter."
The Southeast Asian Times


ASEAN Defence Ministers extend regional hotline to eight countries

Regional Defence Ministers at the 13th Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) on Sustainable Security extend hotline to eight countries forming the ADMM-Plus platform

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 13: Defense ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries adopted the Asean "Our Eyes" intelligence initiative that includes the extention of the regional hotline to eight countries at the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) on Sustainable Security that ended in Bangkok yesterday, reports Agence France Presse.
The adoption of the Asean "Our Eyes" intelligence initiative that would reportedly reduce the risk of misunderstanding between the 10 Asean member countries includes the extention of the regional secured crises communication hotline to eight countries.
The Asean Defence Ministers agreed to the extention of the regional secured crises communication hotline to Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States reportedly for rapid direct communication in order to share information.
The 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam together with the eight countries included in the extention of the regional secured crises communication hotline will form the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus platform.
Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, said that new defence cooperation intitiatives that includes the extension of the regional secured crises communication hotline to eight countries "are a good sign for Asean"
"The combined militaries of the 10 Asean countries and eight ADMM-Plus members account for the majority of the world's troops." he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines visit to Vietnam strengthens bilateral partnership

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin and Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh

From News Reports
Hanoi, July 12: Vietnam's and the Philippines Foreign Ministry's signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a meeting in Hanoi on Monday, on the first official visit by the Philippines Foreign Secretary, Teodoro Lopez Locsin, to Vietnam, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Min, said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) "would help strengthen the bilateral partnership."
Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin said that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was evidence of the success of the meeting between the Philippines and Vietnam.
Vietnam Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Min, said that Vietnam would support the Philippines in its role as country coordinator of the ASEAN-China dialogue relations from 2018 to 2021, saying that "Vietnam would expect the support of the Philippines in Vietnam's role as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 2020-2021 and in Vietnam's role as the ASEAN chair in 2020."
Vietnam and the Philippines Foreign Ministry's agreed to follow the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the dispute with China over claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
Vietnam and the Philippines Foreign Ministry's agreed to mutual support and to maintain regional solidarity in the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DoC) in the South China Sea and on negotiations on an effective Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
Negotiations between the ten Asociation of South East Asian (ASEAN) member countries and China for the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DoC) and a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea seeks to prevent the escalation of the maritime dispute between Vietnam and the Philippines and China.
China's claim over the South China Sea is contested by Asociation of South East Asian (ASEAN) member countries, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand repeals martial law orders

Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha dissolves the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) repealing martial law orders including orders that require criminal trials to be held in a military court

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 11: Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha dissolved the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) repealing martial law orders that came into effect with the declaration of martial law in 2014, saying that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has served its purpose, reports the Bangkok Post.
The dissolution of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) reportedly repeals 66 of the more than 200 orders issued under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) over the five years of martial law that overruled all civil laws.
Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha who is also the commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) dissolved the
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that replaced the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) under the ousted Yingluck Shinawatra administration following the 2014 coup under order 9/2562.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that reportedly issued announcements and orders to facilitate administration and national reform and to promote unity and reconciliation under martial law is to be constitutionally dissolved with the swearing in of the new cabinet this month.
The Bangkok Post reports that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) "no longer serves its purpose," saying that "the implementation of national reforms have been completed."
Martial law that was declared by the Royal Thai army in 2014 and that was followed by the establishment of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) gave Commander and current Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Prayuth Chan-ocha control of all security operations including the Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc), Royal Thai Police Office army, navy, air force, Interior Ministry and relevant government agencies.
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar vows to continue protests against coal mining for health reasons
From News Reports:
Yangon, July 10: Thousands of Mine Kaing township residents including monks in Myanmar's northern state of Shan State on the Chinese border are protesting against the resumption of coal mining, warning that they will continue protesting until the operators stop mining, reports the Myanmar Times.
Monk, Ven. Sao Saw Je Ya said that more that 3000 residents including monks from Wan Yard, Kard Phui, Ho Na, Wan Hua Yawn, Pang Ke Tu and Ham Ngai are protesting against the resumption of coal mining.
Coal miners, Pyae Aung Hein Co and Hein Myittar Co were forced to halt operations in 2017 after about 4000 residents including monks protested against coal mining in the Mine Kaing township.
"The protesters fear that the coal mine is endangering their livelihoods and the environment", he said.
He said that the coal mine operators have not attempted to talk to the residents about the resumption of their mining operations, saying that "if the miners don’t stop we will hold more protests with more people."
He said that Mine Kaing township residents noticed renewed mining activity about 300 metres away from the former mining site last month, saying that "a bulldozer had arrived, housing for workers was under construction and an access road to the mining site was being cleared."
A statement saying "we will oppose any groups misusing their power to threaten and oppress Mine Kaing township residents in attempting to dig for coal,” was reportedly issued to coal miners Pyae Aung Hein Co and Hein Myittar Co., representative, U Ai Chong on June 11.
"Monks and local people oppose any groups that attempt to destroy our beloved watershed and lands, and try to dig for coal," the statement said.
In February 2017 the Myanmar Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Conservation, U Ohn Win, said that the government would stop the issue of new coal mining licenses due to the harmful effects of coal mining on health.
“We will also be inspecting current coal mining operations to check if they conform to regulations," he said
Coal was previously extracted from only three mines located in Sagaing Region and areas in northern Shan State but by 2017 there were reportedly 57 private coal mining operators in northern Myanmar.
The Southeast Asian Times


Fishermen call for impeachment of President Duterte for allowing Chinese to fish in Philippines waters

Philippines National Federation of Small Fisherfolk (Pamalakaya) chair, Fernando Hicap, said that his organisation would lead the filing of an impeachment complaint against President Duterte

From News Reports:
Manila, July 9: Filipino Fishermen have called on congress to support their bid to impeach Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, accusing the government of violating the Constitution in a verbal agreement with Chinese President XI Jinping that allowed Chinese to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Former Anakpawis party, representative and now National Federation of Small Fisherfolk (Pamalakaya) chair, Fernando Hicap, said that his organisation would lead the impeachment complaint against President Duterte when the 18th Congress convenes on July 22.
He said that President Duterte is accused of violation of the Constitution, treason and betrayal of public trust by “compromising the West Philippine Sea and the rights of the Filipino fisherfolk to China.”
He said that the alleged verbal agreement violated Article 7, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution that states that no treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective, unless concurred by at least two-thirds of the Senate.
He said that the Duterte administration's failure to protect its waters, particularly the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), was also in violation of the government’s duty as stated in Article 12, Section 2.
“This treasonous verbal agreement between President Rodrigo Duterte and President XI Jinping has resulted in intensified harassment of the Filipino fishers, massive poaching within our fishing territory and environmental plunder and destruction of our resource-rich West Philippine Sea by China,” he said.
“We call on the newly elected representatives in Congress to stand with the Filipino fisherfolk to uphold our sovereign and territorial rights and to hold President Duterte accountable,” he said.
The votes of at least a third of the members of the House of Representatives are needed for an impeachment complaint to be endorsed by the Senate.
In March Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly withdrew from the International Criminal Court (ICC) tribunal four days after alleged crimes against humanity were lodged at the International Criminal Court on March 13 against China in the South China Sea.
China President Xi Jinping is accused of implementaing a systematice plan to control the South China Sea, undermining food and energy security, causing destruction of the environment and depriving thousands of fishermen of their livelihoods.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended China President Xi Jinping against allegations of crimes against humanity lodged by Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Philippines Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, saying that “China is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
"The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, especially not over China," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam watching China's missile launch in South China Sea

Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spokeswoman, Le Thi Thu Hang, called on China to adhere to international law and sovereignity in the East Vietnam Sea at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday

From News Reports:
Hanoi, July 8: The Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on China to adhere to international law and sovereignity in the East Vietnam Sea following United States reports of China's missile launch in the South China Sea last week, reports Tuoi Tre News
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spokeswoman, Le Thi Thu Hang, said that "Vietnam is deeply concerned with reports from the United States Department of Defence that China has launched anti-ship ballistic missiles from man-made structures near Vietnam's Truong Sa or Spratly islands over four days last week."
"Vietnam calls for all parties involved in activities in the South China Sea to respect the sovereignty of Vietnams East Sea," she said at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday.
China claims sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea with the construction of reefs capable of hosting military aircraft, despite rival claims of sovereignty from ASEAN neighbours Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia.
"Vietnam calls for all concerned parties to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration of the Conduct of Parites in the East Sea (DOC)", she said.
She said that Pentagon spokesman Lt.Col. Dave Eastburn confirmed in an CNBC report on Tuesday that China had launched a missile from the man-made structures in the East Vietnam Sea.
The China Maritime Safety Administration reportedly announced that China's naval forces would be conducting a series of anti-ship ballistic missile tests in an area to the north of the Spratlys from June 29 until July 3, calling on all fishing vessels to avoid the 22,500-square-kilometer area during the exercise.
In 2016 Vietnam called for all signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) that include ASEAN member states and China to comply with international law following the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision that ruled against China's claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea.
The court in The Hague ruled that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking “historic rights” in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
China's President Xi Jinping said following the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling that China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea "shall under no circumstances be affected by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague awards, " calling on the European Union to maintain an objective stance and neutrality on the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision.
The Southeast Asian Times

Elderly Chinese tourists arrested
for begging in Australia

Seven Chinese nationals were arrested for being in possession of the proceeds of the crime of begging in Melbourne on Friday

From News Reports:
Melbourne, July 7: Police arrested elderly Chinese nationals for begging in the streets of Melbourne in the Australian state of Victoria, charging the tourists with professional begging, an illegal act in Australia, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Victoria Police Acting Inspector Giovanni Travaglini said that three women aged 65, two aged 67 and 71 and two men aged 68 and 72 were arrested on Melbourne streets on Friday for professional begging, saying that a large amount of cash was confiscated.
"The professional beggars had converted Australian dollars into Chinese yuan," he said.
"Those charged were claiming to be homeless but officers have discovered that they had access to housing in the Melbourne CBD (Central Business District)," he said.
He said that while all begging was illegal, false claims of homelessness were deceitful and concerning.
He said that the Victoria Police are working with the Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police, (AFP) the City of Melbourne and the Salvation Army in its investigation of the alleged organised begging syndicate.
City of Melbourne Mayor, Sally Capp, said that she was "gobsmacked" at the suggestion that beggars were being flown to Australia from China on tourist visas to beg in the Melbourne CBD.
"I think it's clear now that they are part of an organised begging syndicate," she said.
Salvation Army, Major Brendan Nottle said a 2015 investigation into professional begging in Melbourne was initiated when police brought a number of elderly Chinese nationals who had been begging into the care of the Salvation Army.
He said that the investigation found that nine out of 135 beggars were professional beggars, saying that "one professional beggar said that he raised between $300 and $400 a day on a regular basis.
"Begging six days a week makes begging a very profitable way of earning an income," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Stepson of ousted former PM Razak charged with money laundering

Riza Aziz, 49, stepson of ousted former Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak, charged with four counts of money laundering at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Friday July 5, 2019

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, July 6: The stepson of ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is on trial for using his position as finance minister and chairman of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in the misappropriation of RM42 million from the fund, was charged with four counts of money laundering at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court yesterday, reports the Star.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said that stepson, Riza Aziz, 49, was arrested on Thursday and released on bail for money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
She said that Riza Aziz was arrested after an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that began in July last year, found that his company Red Granite Pictures had received funds from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Riza Aziz was charged with money laundering for allegedly siphoning funds from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to finance films produced in the United States by his company Red Granite Picures that financed the production of the film The Wolf of Wall Street.
He was arrested after four days of questioning at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and charged despite his claim that his company had not profited from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.
Red Granite Pictures reportedly paid US$60 million (RM234million to the US government in March in order to resolve allegations that Riza Aziz had profited from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) claimed that Red Granite Picures that produced the Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street, received money from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Riza Aziz claims that the amount paid by Red Granite Pictures to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) following a civil lawsuit in the United States, absolved him from allegations of money laundering by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million by the Good Star Ltd company and Red Granite Pictures.
Malaysian fugitive financier Low Taek Jho (38) who is wanted for money laundering of funds siphoned from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) reportedly to the Good Star Ltd company and Red Granite Pictures is reportedly a family friend of the ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai senators warn of demonstrations after assault on pro-democracy student

Senators of the Thai National Legislative Assembly (NLA), who were selected by the Prime Minister, have called for a parliamentary investigation into the brutal assault of pro-democracy student activist Serithiwat Sirawit

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 5: Thai Senators have called on police to apprehend those responsible for the brutal assault of pro-democracy student activist Serithiwat Sirawit, 27, in order to avoid street protests, reports the Nation.
Senator Jetn Sirathranont warned that the assault of the anti-government activist, who urged the 250 senators not to support Prime Minister Praut Chan-ocha for another term following the March general elections, that the assault could be used as a political move to ignite street demonstarations.
The result of the elections saw the pro-Royal Thai Armed Forces party, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) nominee incumbent Prime Minister Praut Chan-ocha, who is also the commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), elected as Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Praut Chan-ocha selected the 250 senators to the parliament as stipulated by the 2017 constitution.
Senator Jetn Sirathranont said that senators had called on the government to reject widespread accusations that Prime Minister Praut Chan-ocha is behind the attack last week on the anti-government student activist.
"I don't believe the government or the powers-that-be were behind the attack," he said.
He said that senators would call for a parliamentary investigation into the assault if police made no progress, saying that senators would call on Royal Thai Police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda, who is also a senator, to redouble efforts to find the attackers.
Pro-democracy student activist Serithiwat Sirawit was reportedly attacked by men riding motorcycles who reportedly hit the activist about the head with baseball bats, leaving him with severe injuries.
The activist is reportedly recovering from his injuries that include a broken nose, damage to his right eye and serious injuries to his head and body in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of an unidentified hospital where he is under police guard..
Senator Jetn Sirathranont said that a parliamentary channel should be used to investigate the assault, saying that "I don't want this matter to be used as a political move to ignite street demonstrations", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


China accuses US and UK of fanning political unrest in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was elected by a nominating committe in Beijing, accused the United States and the United Kingdom of fueling the protests
From News Reports:
Hong Kong, July 4: China's Foreign Ministry issued a statement after the storming of the Hong Kong Legislative Council on Monday saying that China is against the interference of America and Britian in the internal affairs of Hong Kong and China, with accusations of "fanning political unrest in Hong Kong," reports Xinhua.
The Commission of the Foreign Ministry of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) demanded that "western governments stop fanning political unrest in Hong Kong" in a statement following the protest against China rule over Hong Kong that saw the ransacking of the Legislative Council, the defacement of the Hong Kong emblem and portraits of government officials and the spraying of walls with anti government graffiti including the hoisting of a Bristish colonial flag.
The Commission of the Foreign Ministry of China spokesman, Geng Shuang, called on America and Britian "to speak and act cautiously," "not to send misleading signals" and "not to make any wrong moves."
He said that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and that Hong Kong affairs are absolutely China's internal affairs.
"We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to interference in Hong Kong affairs," he said.
He said that China condemned the storming of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, saying that China supported the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and police efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was elected by a nominating committe in Beijing, accused the United States and the United Kingdom of hypocrisy, saying that the two countries have been "deeply involved in fueling the protests" despite their calls for an end to the violence.
She claims that "outside agitation is responsible for an increase in serious illegal acts, "saying that "the illegal acts undermine the rule of law, social order and harm the fundamental interests of Hong Kong residents.
A banner "Hong Kong is not China" was raised in protest of China's rule over Hong Kong during the protests on Monday that coincided with the celebrations of the 22nd anniversary of the return of the British colony to China in 1997.
Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, states that the former British colony is an “inalienable” part of China.
The Southeast Asian Times



Bangkok Post columinist, Kavi Chongkittavorn, writes "Asean does not have to choose sides if its leaders are all on the same page" ahead of the 34th ASEAN Summit held in Thailand this weekend ...Open page here


MEDIA CHECK
Cambodia-China Journalist Association (CCJA) launched in Phnom Penh ...open here


Darwin reporter John Loizou asks a survivor of the 1965 killings in Bali "why didn't you try to stop them" in "Remembering the slaughter in Paradise"
........open page here



"Goodbye America" says B.A. Hamzah as he calls for Asians to determine their own political destiny in "Time for Asia to set it's own course, minus the U.S."...open here


Is prescribed burning of grasslands in northern Australia out of control? ......Chris Ray reports ... open page here

"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

Viet Nam is planning to go nuclear by the year 2020.reports
John Loizou
in "Calculating the costs of nuclear energy in Vietnam" ...open page here

Bombed by the Americans for Christmas in 1972, Ha Noi Bach Mai hospital is still a war zone...Christina Pas reports...Open page here


The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12, 2018 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here

 

Cuba's 302 physicians in East Timor work at five hospitals and remote villages throughout the republic...writes Darwin reporter John Loizou ...open page here

 

Indonesia ready for big 'brother' role in ASEAN
By Prashanth Parameswaran
.......open page here

 

Benedict Anderson, a man without a country, dies in Indonesia Jeet Heer reports.....open page here


Thousands of Northern Australia's indigenous rock art sites are under threat from buffalo, fire and feral animals. Tim Lee reports ........open page here

 

Copy of letter 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic Committee...open here


A cartoon goes inside the tour bus in Manila on the day that ended with the slaying of eight Hong Kong tourists ...Open page here



What they're saying open page here


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US...0.7582
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ambodia...3,115.36
China..Yuan
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East Timor.
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Indonesia Rupiah
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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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