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April 25, 2007

This is the latest in a regular news roundup, providing TOA watchers with summaries and links to news in Asia.

Quote of the day: "This special unit will be purely working to disseminate information, explain correct information and counter the misinformation on government policies.” – Deputy Information Minister Chia Kwang Chye 


U.S. presses Cambodia police chief on trafficking
The United States on Tuesday urged Cambodia's police chief, himself once a target of U.S. questions over human trafficking, to do more to address the problem and prosecute officials involved in such crimes.

Cambodia to invest US$2.5 billion to develop road system
The Cambodian government will invest 2.5 billion U.S. dollars to develop the kingdom's road system from now to 2025, an official said on Tuesday.

Monks clash in Cambodia
Two rival groups of Buddhist monks have traded blows at a demonstration in Cambodia. Around 50 monks were staging a protest march calling for greater freedom when they clashed.


N.Korean refugees on hunger strike
Some 400 North Korean refugees who fled to Thailand have launched a hunger strike to protest alleged delays in their resettlement in South Korea, an activist group and officials said Wednesday.

Poll: Thailand still top holiday destination
Thailand remains the top destination for travelers despite civil unrest in the country, an online survey released Tuesday said. Twenty percent of those surveyed in 10 countries by VISA Asia Pacific and PATA, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, named Thailand as their most likely destination, VISA and Bangkok-based PATA said in a statement


Thailand lends Laos B320m for Pakse Airport
The Finance Ministry of Thailand plans to extend 320 million baht in loans for Pakse Airport in Laos to help boost tourism and the economy in the southern part of the country.

Teenage N.Korean defectors released in Laos
Three teenage North Korean defectors, Choi Hyang, Choi Hyuk and Choi Hyang-mi, were released from a detention center in Laos on Tuesday and are now under the protection of the South Korean Embassy there.


Hoi An plans mega tourism complex
Hoi An town in central Vietnam called Tuesday for investment in a multi-functional tourism complex which will include a temple to commemorate the nation's founders – the Hung Kings.


Court clears U.S. mining giant of pollution
An Indonesian court acquitted Newmont, the American mining giant, and one of its senior executives on Tuesday of charges of polluting a bay here with toxic waste from a now-defunct gold mine, in a case that became a litmus test of foreign investor confidence in Indonesia.


Government to counter “internet lies”
Malaysia's information ministry will create a unit to monitor and counter what it says are lies being spread on the Internet about government policies, reports said Wednesday.

Sri Lanka

Tamil rebels launch 2nd airstrike in Sri Lanka
Tamil rebel planes bombed government positions Tuesday in northern Sri Lanka in their second airstrike ever, and military officials said that six soldiers were wounded but that the aircraft had been turned back before reaching a key base.


Bhutan practices for democracy in mock elections
Thousands of Bhutanese practiced for democracy in mock elections Saturday, lining up neatly at polling stations in the latest step toward shedding nearly 100 years of absolute monarchy in the secluded Himalayan country.


'Democracy day' marks Nepal anniversary
Nepal's new government celebrated Tuesday the first anniversary of the end of absolute rule by the king as officials and analysts hailed huge progress but warned of a tough road to democracy.


Taiwan says it would win war with China
A computer simulation projected that China could land forces on rival Taiwan, but they would be repulsed after two weeks of fierce fighting and harsh losses to both sides, Taiwan's military said Tuesday.

April 23, 2007

Quote of the day: "Didn't his grandmother ever tell him to just shut up when he's got nothing good to say? Such insensitivity!" Aileen Clemente – reacting to Raul Gonzalez's remark widely interpreted as blaming a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer for her own murder.


WB, Australia to offer US$36 million for Cambodia to maintain roads
The World Bank (WB) and the Australian government will respectively provide 30 million U.S. dollars and six million U.S. dollars in aid for regular road maintenance in Cambodia, local media said on Sunday.


Constitution debate 'Buddhism defines Thailand'
Buddhist groups are increasing pressure to have the faith recognized as the national religion in the new constitution. They have threatened to reject the charter if it is not. Movement leader General Thongchai Kuersakul talks to Pravit Rojanaphruk. Below are excerpts.

Thailand to weigh new foreign business ownership rules
Thailand's military-appointed legislature will debate this week proposed changes to foreign business ownership rules that are still making foreign firms nervous despite government efforts to soothe their fears.


U.N. working to free child prisoners
The United Nations is trying to persuade Laos to reject pleas for the return of three imprisoned youth to their native North Korea.


Oil spill mystery plot thickens
For three months crude oil spills have sullied beaches, mangroves and aquaculture farms along Vietnam`s long coastline, but the government says the source of the pollution remains a mystery. While soldiers and volunteers have scraped over 1,600 tons of congealed oil and sand off Vietnam`s shores since late January, officials remain at a loss to explain whether the oil was dumped by a tanker or leaked from a platform.


Filipinos defend slain Peace Corps volunteer
A comment made by the justice secretary of the Philippines that has been widely interpreted as blaming a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer for her own murder has caused an outcry here.


Former peasant joins ranks of China's richest
A 52-year-old farmer turned developer is as plain as his company's English name - Country Garden. But the company's debut Friday on the Hong Kong stock exchange has put him in the record books.

April 16, 2007

Quote of the day: "The pirates make more money selling pornographic discs." - Fahmi Kassim, chief enforcement officer in Malaysia's southern Johur state on the crackdown on pirated DVDs.  


Cambodia confirms new bird flu outbreak
Cambodia on Saturday confirmed a new outbreak of bird flu among poultry a little more than a week after a 13-year-old girl died of the deadly H5N1 virus. The government said the fresh outbreak was discovered earlier this week in chickens and ducks raised in a family's backyard farm in Kampong Cham province, 124 kilometres east of the capital Phnom Penh.

WFP restarts feeding programs
The World Food Program (WFP), which was forced to suspend its feeding programs for nearly 750, 000 Cambodians in February when funding dried up, will restart the programs for tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS patients this month, local media reported on Monday.


Thai king pardons graffiti convict
Thailand's king has pardoned a Swiss man sentenced to 10 years in prison for spray-painting graffiti over images of him, police have said.

Rail service halted in Muslim south
Thailand suspended rail traffic on the main line through the rebellious Muslim-majority south to the Malaysian border on Monday after shots fired at a train wounded three people, officials said.


Dogs force movie pirates to turn to porn to bolster battered sales
Malaysia's movie bootleggers are selling more pornography to offset financial losses following a government crackdown using two Labradors that have found huge stashes of pirated DVDs, officials said Monday.


In Indonesia, apprehension about a changing Islam
Can Islam and democracy coexist? And what would such a democracy look like? Many optimists argue that there may be no place on earth better suited to be a Muslim democracy.


Pacquiao retains title in fight loaded with subtext
Manny Pacquiao came out from a listless start bleeding from a ghastly cut to chase down and knock out Mexican challenger Jorge Solis in the eighth round of a title fight Saturday in a victory laced with political undertones in a nation gripped with election fever.

Search intensifies for U.S. aid worker
Philippine authorities have beefed up a mountain search for a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer missing for a week while hiking solo, but have found no new clues on the woman's whereabouts, officials said Monday.


Yangtze River aquatic life irreversibly damaged
The first annual health report on the Yangtze River indicates that the billions of tons of waste that continue to be dumped into China's longest waterway are taking a serious toll its aquatic life.

April 9, 2007

This is the latest in a regular news roundup, providing TOA watchers with summaries and links to news in Asia.

Quote of the day:  ''The issue with the Cambodian banking system is security, but in Laos, it's offering modern technology and convenience to users.'' – Bank manager Paul Freer on the difference between Cambodia and Laotian banks.


Mekong gets 24-hour navigation system
In an onboard ceremony held in the Mekong near Phnom Penh Port, government ministers, foreign ambassadors, and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) launched first-ever 24-hour navigational buoy to be placed on Cambodia waterways.

Sihanouk returns from China
Cambodia's retired King Norodom Sihanouk arrived in Phnom Penh on Sunday after a seven-month stay in China for medical reasons.


YouTube seeks to end ban
YouTube offered Saturday to "educate" Thai officials who want to block individual clips from its video-sharing service, hoping to end an impasse that arose after a slideshow mocking the country's revered king appeared online.

Web crackdown tightens
Thailand has ordered the creators of a popular website to unplug its political forum for postings that allegedly insulted the country's revered monarch officials said.

Tsunami warning test scrapped
Thai authorities cancelled tests of 79 tsunami warning towers along its coast over fears they would cause panic among tourists and locals, senior officials said Sunday.

Holiday makers turn away from country amid political woes
Asian tourists have begun turning away from Thailand, official statistics show, prompting concern that holidaymakers might be avoiding the kingdom because of its continuing political woes.


Bank to bring ATMs and electronic banking to Laos
Phongsavanh Bank, the first private local bank in Laos, is preparing to usher in modern products to a country where electronic banking – and often banking of any kind – is unfamiliar.


Mouse ground flight
A white mouse grounded a Vietnam Airlines flight to Japan for more than three hours with dozens of staff scrambling to find the rodent in the cabin, the state-run carrier said Monday.


Ministers get 60% pay hike to US$ 1.26 mln
Singapore's government ministers, already among the world's highest paid, will see their annual salaries jump by about 60 percent to an average of S$1.9 million ($1.26 million), a minister told parliament on Monday.


Rampaging gunman kills 10 in southern Philippines
Nine soldiers and one civilian were killed after an unidentified gunman went on a rampage inside a patrol base in the southern Philippines, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

April 2, 2007

Quote of the day:  "We can't let the killers of these brave men and women who were slaughtered go unpunished." – Rob Abney, victim of a politically motivated grenade attack 10 years ago speaking ont eh anniversary of the attack.


Citizens of nowhere
Hidden in the back corners of the world is a scattered population of millions of nobodies, citizens of nowhere, forgotten or neglected by governments, ignored by census takers.


CPP dominates local elections
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) has scored a landslide victory in Sunday's polling of the commune councils election and thus retains its dominance in local governments, a local media said on Monday.

Victims of deadly grenade attack remembered
Dozens of Buddhist monks chanted prayers Friday to mark the anniversary of a deadly grenade attack at a peaceful anti-government demonstration 10 years ago.

Thais urged to take advantage of stronger baht to invest in Cambodia
Thai investors should take an advantage of the baht's appreciation to invest in Cambodia's construction and manufacturing industries, according to Foreign Trade Department Director-General Apiradee Tantraporn.


Women on the Front line
Female rangers are hoping their personal skills will be enough to deal with hordes of protesting women and children in the deep South, as they can respond with force only as a last resort. This restriction has exposed members of the new all-female ranger force to abuse. Some have dropped out of the force after their families were intimidated.

The changing face of Mae Sot, Thailand’s “Little Burma”
Whenever I go to Mae Sot I see gradual and slow changes. But on my latest visit, after an absence of almost eight months, I saw evidence of rapid growth.

Editorial: Thailand pulled from the brink – The Nation
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has brought Thailand back from the brink of another dangerously slippery slope. His decision to put a proposal to impose a state of emergency on hold could prove crucial for the political survival of the interim leadership.


The lady fights on
While Burma’s generals deny Aung San Suu Kyi’s influence, she still remains a relevant and uniting political force.


Building temples, churches test Malaysia's minorities
Religious minorities have long complained about obstacles in getting government permission to build places of worship in Malaysia. But their frustrations have grown amid recent accusations by activists that authorities are destroying non-Muslim shrines, heating up racial bitterness that has simmered for decades beneath a veneer of multicultural harmony.


Nation held hostage on global TV
For several hours on Thursday last week the Philippines unwittingly held center stage on the global village—but it was publicity that the nation could have done well without.

News archives - March 2007


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