• G7 sees need to send strong message on South, East China Sea disputes

    G7 sees need to send strong message on South, East China Sea disputes

    Group of Seven (G7) leaders agreed on Thursday they need to send a strong message on the South and East China Sea in which China is locked in territorial disputes with Japan and some Southeast Asian neighbours. “Prime minister (Shinzo) Abe led discussion on the current situation in the South China Sea and East China [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • UN reaches out to China to build peacekeeping force

    UN reaches out to China to build peacekeeping force

    The United Nations is reaching out to China as it pulls together a standby force of 15,000 troops for quick deployment to conflict zones, the UN peacekeeping chief said Thursday. Although Herve Ladsous did not name the countries that will take part in the new reserve force, he does plan to travel to China early [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • Chinese state media warns G7 against South China Sea ‘meddling’

    Chinese state media warns G7 against South China Sea ‘meddling’

    Chinese state media warned the Group of Seven nations on Thursday not to “meddle” in South China Sea disputes, as leaders from the bloc gathered for talks in Japan. The commentary came as European Council President Donald Tusk said on the sidelines of a summit in Ise-Shima that the bloc should take a “clear and [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • Obama says N Korea nuclear programme is serious mid-term risk

    Obama says N Korea nuclear programme is serious mid-term risk

    US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions pose a serious medium-term threat, adding that engagement with China and other countries had seen progress on the issue. “It’s something that we’ve put at the centre of discussions and negotiations with China,” Obama told reporters. “What we’ve seen is improved responses from [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • HK pro-democracy protester guilty of assaulting police

    HK pro-democracy protester guilty of assaulting police

    A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist who was allegedly beaten by police in an attack captured by television cameras and beamed around the world was found guilty Thursday of assaulting and resisting police officers. Political activist Ken Tsang was accused of splashing liquid on police officers during mass street rallies in 2014 – – the same [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • Obama to make history, stirs debate with Hiroshima visit

    Obama to make history, stirs debate with Hiroshima visit

    Barack Obama will on Friday becomes the first US president to visit Hiroshima, site of the world’s first atomic bombing, a gesture Washington and Tokyo hope will showcase their alliance and breathe life into stalled efforts to abolish nuclear arms. Even before it occurs, though, the visit has stirred debate, with critics accusing both sides [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • G7 says ‘concerned’ by situation in East, South China seas

    G7 says ‘concerned’ by situation in East, South China seas

    Rising maritime tensions in Asia are a cause for concern and disputes should be resolved legally and peacefully, the leaders of the Group of Seven advanced democracies said Friday. Though no individual countries were mentioned, the contents of their declaration at the close of an annual summit appeared to be directed at China. Beijing’s claim [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • Japan’s Shinzo Abe to take G7 leaders to shrine as economy tops summit agenda

    Japan’s Shinzo Abe to take G7 leaders to shrine as economy tops summit agenda

    Abe was to take US President Barack Obama and other G7 partners to the expansive grounds of Ise Grand Shrine in central Japan, dedicated to sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, mythical ancestress of the emperor. Japanese prime Minster Shinzo Abe escorted Group of Seven (G7) leaders to the Shinto religion’s holiest site on Thursday before a [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | Indianexpress | 6:00 AM
  • After sea spat, China pledges deeper defence ties with Indonesia

    After sea spat, China pledges deeper defence ties with Indonesia

    China wants deeper military ties with Indonesia and will strengthen cooperation on bilateral and multilateral issues, China’s defence minister told his Indonesian counterpart, after a recent diplomatic spat in the South China Sea. In March, Indonesia attempted to detain a Chinese trawler it accused of fishing in its exclusive economic zone in the South China [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • S. Korea navy fires warning shots after North incursion

    S. Korea navy fires warning shots after North incursion

    A South Korean naval vessel fired warning shots Friday after a North Korean patrol boat and fishing boat crossed the countries’ disputed maritime border, Seoul’s defence ministry said. The incident coincided with a prolonged push by North Korea for talks to reduce military tensions that escalated sharply after Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test in [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM
  • Vietnam restricted access to Facebook during Obama visit: activists

    Vietnam restricted access to Facebook during Obama visit: activists

    The Vietnamese government restricted access to Facebook Inc inside Vietnam for several days this week as part of a broader crackdown on human rights and political dissidents during a visit by President Barack Obama, two activist organisations said on Thursday. Officials of Access Now, a digital rights organisation, and Viet Tan, a Vietnamese pro-democracy group, [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM
  • Korean Air Jet Has Apparent Engine Fire at Tokyo Airport

    Korean Air Jet Has Apparent Engine Fire at Tokyo Airport

    An engine fire broke out on a Korean Air jet about to take off from a Tokyo airport Friday, and seven people may have been injured, an official said. Firefighters put out the blaze within the hour, and all 302 passengers and 17 crewmembers were evacuated, said Kyosuke Okada, a government official assigned to Haneda [...]

    28-May-2016 Intellasia | AP | 6:00 AM

Society

Elderly elephant named in petition drive dies in Tokyo zoo

An elephant that set off a petition drive to move her out of her concrete pen in a small zoo in Japan died Thursday at age 69. Hanako, or “flower child,” was a gift from the Thai government in 1949 and lived in Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo since she was 2. She was Japan’s [...]

Vietnam restricted access to Facebook during Obama visit: activists

Vietnam restricted access to Facebook during Obama visit: activists

The Vietnamese government restricted access to Facebook Inc inside Vietnam for several days this week as part of a broader crackdown on human rights and political dissidents during a visit by President Barack Obama, two activist organisations said on Thursday. Officials of Access Now, a digital rights organisation, and Viet Tan, a Vietnamese pro-democracy group, [...]

Indonesian birds face extinction due to pet trade: study

Thirteen species of Indonesian birds, including the country’s symbolic Javan Hawk-eagle, are at serious risk of extinction mainly due to the pet trade, a wildlife watchdog warned Wednesday. The vast Indonesian archipelago is home to a dizzying array of birds and keeping them as pets has long been part of the national culture, with birdcages [...]

Health

Korean Survivors of Atomic Bombs Renew Fight for Recognition, and Apology

When President Obama visits Hiroshima this week, a small delegation from South Korea plans to gather around an obscure monument there dedicated to a group of victims who endured more than their share of misery, yet whom few remember. As many as 220,000 people were killed by the atomic bombs that the United States dropped [...]

Children risk health farming tobacco in Indonesia: HRW

Children risk health farming tobacco in Indonesia: HRW

Children are being put to work on tobacco plantations in Indonesia that supply some of the world’s biggest cigarette companies, putting their health at serious risk, Human Rights Watch warned Wednesday. Despite Indonesian law prohibiting child labour in hazardous industries, the rights group documented dozens of cases of minors – some as young as eight [...]

213 new dengue cases reported in Singapore last week

There are now 55 active dengue clusters in Singapore, including seven classified as high-risk. A total of 213 new dengue cases were reported in Singapore in the week ending May 21, according to latest figures published on the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) dengue website. Another 36 cases were reported between May 22 and 3.30pm on [...]

FinanceAsia

Asia stocks remain cautious ahead of Yellen speech

Asia stocks tilted slightly upwards Friday but remained cautious ahead of a speech from the US central bank head and after a weak lead from Wall Street as oil pulled back below $50 a barrel. Comments from the Group of Seven leaders Friday morning stressed the importance of global economic growth while stating the potentially [...]

Asia stocks edge up after US data, dollar consolidates month’s gains

Asian stocks pulled ahead on Friday after US data continued to cast the economy in a positive light, while the dollar was on the defensive against major peers. Europe is set to follow suit, with financial spreadbetter IG expecting Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE) to open up 0.05 percent, and Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI) to start the [...]

Asia stocks take breather, oil passes $50 a barrel

Asia stocks took a breather Thursday after a rally during the previous session, but energy firms were mostly up after oil surged past $50 a barrel for the first time this year. Investors seemed to brush off another strong lead from Wall Street and Europe, treading softly as the Group of Seven leaders’ summit kicked [...]

Regional

Vietnam jails four asylum seekers returned by Australia

A court in Vietnam on Thursday jailed four Vietnamese for terms ranging from two to 2-1/2 years each for “organising others to flee abroad illegally” after Australia sent back their group of asylum seekers, their lawyer said. The 46 asylum seekers were aboard a small vessel intercepted off Australia’s remote west coast last year and [...]

With Arms Embargo Lifted, What’s On Vietnam’s Shopping List?

With the arms embargo finally lifted, what might Vietnam look to purchase? Now that the US arms embargo has been lifted, what might be on Hanoi’s shopping list? According to a recent article at Defense News, US defense officials and industry reports suggest “a lot.” Several months ago, I suggested that European producers would likely [...]

The Potential Pitfalls of US-Vietnam Rapprochement

Washington must carefully calibrate its approach to Vietnam to avoid inflaming regional tensions. In formally lifting Washington’s embargo on the sale of weapons to Vietnam, US President Barack Obama has affirmed that this action should not be seen as being aimed at any other state. Yet the subtext of Obama’s visit is clear: it is [...]

China

Chinese state media warns G7 against South China Sea ‘meddling’

Chinese state media warns G7 against South China Sea ‘meddling’

Chinese state media warned the Group of Seven nations on Thursday not to “meddle” in South China Sea disputes, as leaders from the bloc gathered for talks in Japan. The commentary came as European Council President Donald Tusk said on the sidelines of a summit in Ise-Shima that the bloc should take a “clear and [...]

US panel launches trade secret theft probe into China steel

The US International Trade Commission said on Thursday it launched an investigation into complaints by United States Steel Corp (X.N) that Chinese competitors stole its trade secrets, fixed prices and misrepresented the origin of their exports to the United States. The ITC said in a statement that it has not made any decisions on the [...]

China Says It Has Room to Increase Debt to Boost Economic Growth

China’s government still has room to borrow more to finance the investment and construction that’s needed to shore up economic growth, the Ministry of Finance said. Overall risks associated with government debt, which amounted to 26.66 trillion yuan ($4.1 trillion) at the end of last year, are under control, the ministry said in a statement [...]

Malaysia

Don’t ignore red flags on graft, NGOs tell government

The government should watch out for red flags that indicate possible graft to prevent scandals like the sabotage of the Malaysian Immigration System (myIMMs), anti-corruption groups said yesterday. Transparency International Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar said indicators of unlawful activities included officers staying back after work, having too much access to computerised information and being [...]

Malaysia PM ordered to enter defense in corruption suit

Malaysia’s High Court has ordered prime minister Najib Razak to enter his defense in a legal suit filed by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others. The suit – brought by Mohamad, Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Anina Saadudin last month – alleges Razak abused his executive powers to influence investigations into a state fund [...]

Illegals slipping into Malaysia due to sabotaged immigration system

A sensational claim that human trafficking syndicates are able to move illegal migrants unhindered in and out of Malaysia – due to a sabotaged immigration system – has been reported by Turkish Anadolu Agency (AA). This claim comes after the Malaysian Immigration Department has found elements of sabotage in the enforcement of the Malaysian Immigration [...]

Indonesia

Indonesia, Japan relations at crossroads

As signs abound that Indonesia’s current administration harbors little affection for Japan and amid China’s economic assertiveness, another bilateral meeting between Indonesia and Japan is expected to set the tone for more cordial relations. The meeting is being held on the heels of fresh concern from Tokyo over Jakarta’s unclear stance on a $1.5 billion [...]

Indonesians back death for child abusers, activists unhappy

Indonesia’s introduction of the death penalty and chemical castration for child sex offenders won applause from the public Thursday, but activists warned the punishments would not serve as a deterrent. President Joko Widodo signed a decree Wednesday introducing the tougher measures, which also included fitting monitoring devices to offenders after their release from jail, in [...]

Indonesia’s new child rape punishments a pyrrhic victory for women’s advocates

Indonesia’s harsh new punishments for child sex offenders – including the death penalty and chemical castration – represent something of a pyrrhic victory for women’s advocates in Jakarta. When Yuyun, a schoolgirl from a remote village in Sumatra, was brutally gang-raped and murdered by 14 males in April, her death was delegated to a couple [...]

Singapore

Gunvor Singapore closes increased $1.04 billion loan

Gunvor Group has closed $1.041 billion (0.70 billion pounds) of syndicated revolving credit facilities to support new activities and existing operations in Asia Pacific, the company said on Thursday. The financing, which is for wholly-owned subsidiary Gunvor Singapore Pte Ltd, is split between a $955m, one-year tranche and an $86m, three-year tranche. The loan was [...]

Singapore ex-BSI wealth manager stays in remand as prosecutor challenging bail

A former Singapore wealth manager of troubled Swiss private bank BSI Bank will remain in remand of white-collar police after the state prosecutor said it is challenging a court’s decision on Thursday to grant him bail of S$600,000 ($435,761). The case is part of Singapore’s money laundering investigation related to scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) [...]

Singapore Property Closer to Bottom Than HK, LaSalle Says

Singapore’s property market may be closer to a bottom than Hong Kong, according to LaSalle Investment Management, which oversees more than $58 billion in real estate funds. Governments in Asia’s two most expensive residential markets have imposed curbs in recent years to tame prices and improve affordability. As demand has dropped amid a slowdown in [...]

Thailand

Briton dies after speedboat ‘capsizes’ in Thailand

A British woman has died after a speedboat capsized near the island of Koh Samui, in Thailand, the Foreign Office says. A British man is also believed to be missing after the boat with 32 passengers and four crew “hit a big wave”, Thai police said. The boat had been travelling from Mu Ko Ang [...]

BoT: Thailand can ride global storm

The economy is strong enough to withstand the impact from continuous volatility in the global financial and capital markets because of the country’s limited exposure to foreign-denominated debt, says the Bank of Thailand. “For the macroeconomic view of Thailand, we do not have to worry because we have several buffers on the external front. Many [...]

Three tourists killed, one missing in Thai speed boat accident

Three foreign tourists were killed and one other remains missing after a packed speed boat capsized off the popular Thai holiday island of Koh Samui, a police officer said Friday. The boat, which was carrying 32 tourists plus four crew, flipped over Thursday afternoon after it was slammed by a wave near a rocky stretch [...]

Philippines

Duterte Faces Costlier Debt as Philippine Central Bank Retools

Incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to face higher borrowing costs when he takes office next month as the central bank mops up excess cash. Deposit auctions by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas starting in June are designed to absorb an influx of funds from overseas workers that have kept three-month treasury bill yields below [...]

Duterte vows economic growth outside of ‘dead’ Philippine capital

Incoming Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte pledged Thursday to spread economic activity beyond the overpopulated capital of Manila, calling it a “dead” city overrun by shantytowns. Duterte said he would create new jobs by setting up economic zones outside of Manila to spread the wealth beyond the sprawling metropolis of about 15 million people, and that [...]

Manila’s Smear Attempts Can’t Change Historical Records

The South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the Philippines in 2013 is being watched closely by the international community as the court’s ruling may be announced before the end of June. Whatever the outcome, the case, which aims to overrule Beijing’s time-honored legal interests in the South China Sea, ranging from navigation and fishing [...]

Japan

G7 summit: David Cameron addressing the press in Japan – live

David Cameron has said he will not withdraw his claim that the UK could thrive outside the EU. “Britain is an amazing country. We can find our way whatever the British people choose,” he told reporters at a press conference at the G7 summit in Japan. “But the question for us is not are we [...]

Japan regulates virtual currency after Bitcoin scandal

Japan has passed a law regulating virtual currency, after the country found itself at the epicentre of a multi million dollar embezzlement scandal following the spectacular collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange. Once one of the largest, most established exchanges for the cryptocurrency, MtGox collapsed in 2014 after a suspected theft worth nearly half [...]

Japan April core CPI falls 0.3 pct yr/yr

Japan’s core consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in April from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday. The core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, was more than economists’ median estimate for a 0.4 percent annual gain. The so-called core-core inflation index, which excludes food and energy prices [...]

Korea

Korean Air evacuates plane at Japan’s Haneda airport after engine smoke

Korean Air Lines evacuated 319 passengers and crew from an aircraft preparing to take off from Japan’s Haneda Airport in Tokyo after smoke came from its left engine. The incident prompted authorities to temporarily close down Japan’s busiest aviation hub. Images broadcast by NHK showed the Boeing 777 on a runway being sprayed with foam [...]

Obama says N Korea nuclear programme is serious mid-term risk

Obama says N Korea nuclear programme is serious mid-term risk

US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions pose a serious medium-term threat, adding that engagement with China and other countries had seen progress on the issue. “It’s something that we’ve put at the centre of discussions and negotiations with China,” Obama told reporters. “What we’ve seen is improved responses from [...]

S. Korea navy fires warning shots after North incursion

S. Korea navy fires warning shots after North incursion

A South Korean naval vessel fired warning shots Friday after a North Korean patrol boat and fishing boat crossed the countries’ disputed maritime border, Seoul’s defence ministry said. The incident coincided with a prolonged push by North Korea for talks to reduce military tensions that escalated sharply after Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test in [...]

Hong Kong

Hongkongers pooh-pooh waste treatment plant, despite free spa

It is billed as a groundbreaking way to deal with Hong Kong’s human waste, and even includes an onsite spa free to residents, but a new eco-friendly sludge treatment plant has not washed with some locals. The sustainable T-Park development blends into coastal hills near the town of Tuen Mun in the north of Hong [...]

HK pro-democracy protester guilty of assaulting police

HK pro-democracy protester guilty of assaulting police

A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist who was allegedly beaten by police in an attack captured by television cameras and beamed around the world was found guilty Thursday of assaulting and resisting police officers. Political activist Ken Tsang was accused of splashing liquid on police officers during mass street rallies in 2014 – – the same [...]

Ecuadorian bank cyber thieves used HSBC accounts in HK

Question marks over HSBC’s ‘know your customer’ processes as lawsuit shows how thieves used front companies in Hong Kong to launder money stolen in SWIFT cyber attack Cyber thieves who stole $12m from a bank in Ecuador by cracking the security surrounding its SWIFT international payments system used front companies in Hong Kong with accounts [...]

Taiwan

Taiwan’s cat-loving president to adopt retired guide dogs

Taiwan’s new president, whose two cats grace many of her Facebook posts, said Thursday she would adopt three retired guide dogs, but dismissed media speculation over a “civil war” among presidential pets. President Tsai Ing-wen, who was inaugurated last week, has two cats called Xiang Xiang – “Think Think” in English – and Ah Tsai, [...]

Taiwan angry over ‘emotional’ female president comments

Outraged Taiwanese took to the Internet Thursday to slam sexist comments by a Chinese analyst who said the island’s new president practises “emotional” politics because she is a single woman. The scathing attack Tuesday from a member of China’s organisation overseeing relations with the island comes amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Taipei after the [...]

Cabinet releases policy guideline report

The new Cabinet on Thursday released a preliminary report on its policy guidelines, in which it vowed to make Taiwan a responsible and indispensible member of the international community. The report consisted of 19 chapters, including sections on foreign policy, national defense, internal affairs, finance, education, technology and economy. It includes President Tsai Ing-wen’s (???) [...]

Vietnam

Vietnam’s workforce to reach over 54.4m in Q2

Vietnam ‘s workforce is estimate to reach 54.47 million in the second quarter of this year, accounting for 76 percent of the country’s above 15 year-old population, a slight rise of only 0.4 percent over the first quarter. A labour market bulletin for the first quarter released by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social [...]

Jan-May FDI approvals soar 136pct y-o-y

Foreign investors have registered nearly $3.3 billion for new and operational projects this month, taking the total foreign direct investment (FDI) figure in the January-May period to $10.16 billion, up 136.4 percent year-on-year. According to statistics of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, 907 new FDI projects with total registered capital of $7.56 billion had [...]

225,000 graduates unemployed despite businesses failing to fill jobs

Vietnam recorded some 225,000 unemployed graduates in the first quarter of 2016 while many industrial zones are still facing serious lack of qualified staff, according to a local official. The data was revealed in a workshop on improving the training quality of the country’s labour force in industrial and export processing zones in Vietnam co-organised [...]