The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Thursday, 27 November 2014
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.

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

Thai military not invited to
US 4 July celebrations in Bangkok
From News Reports
Bangkok, July 2: Senior Thai military officers have not been invited by the US embassy in Thailand to attend Independence Day celebrations on 4 July in Bangkok, reports the Nation.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak said that Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth and four other senior military officers have not received an invitation from the US embassy to attend the annual US Independence Day celebration on the 4 July in Bangkok.
The US embassy in Thailand will reportedly hold a reception on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel to celebrate Independence Day.
Invitations were extended to senior government officials, selected members of the public and the diplomatic community but did not include senior Thai military officers.
Invitations for the US Independence Day celebrations that began arriving last week and that did not include senior Thai military officers
follow the ban last week on the participation of the Thai navy in the US led Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) attended by 22 navies.
The ban on the Thai navy participation in the biennual maritime exercise in the Asia-Pacific follows the declaration of martial law by Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22.
The Southeast Asian Time

Public demonstration bill debate brought forward
From News Reports:
Hanoi, June 10: The proposed draft public demonstraton bill, prepared by the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security, is to be presented to the National Assembly for possible approval earlier than planned, reports Thanh Nien.
The draft public demonstration bill that was expected to be completed within the next five years was brought forward for possible approval by legislators following public protests in 22 provinces against the deployment of the Chinese oil rig in alleged Vietnam waters on May 1.
HCMCity National Assemblyman, Truong Trong Nghia said that the government has yet to offer the public a legal means to demonstrate.
"The government is required to protect the people's right to express themselves despite conflicting interests", he said.
371 of 436 legislators agreed to debate the proposed draft public demonstration bill at a mid year session next year with voting on the possible passing of the bill to follow at the end of the year.
The Southeast Asian Times

Read the letters to The Southeast Asian here

Call for clemency or execution for death row prisoners in overcrowded prisons
Kerobokan penitentiary in Denpasar on Bali a capacity for 300 prisoners, holds 60 foreign inmates from 22 countries among its 877 prisoners of whom three are on death row and 15 are serving life sentences
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 27: The House of Representatives Commission 111 has called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to give clemency or execute prisoners on death row in order to reduce the number of prisoners in Indonesia's overcrowded prisons.
The commission’s chairman, Aziz Syamsudin said during a visit with five legislators, to the Kerobokan penitentiary in Denpasar said that
death-row inmates contributed to the problem of overcapacity at the penitentiary and were a burden on the state budget.
"The government must decide fast" he said.
Aziz Syamsudin who is also a Golkar Party member said that the government pays Rp 5 trillion (US$400 million) to provide food for the inmates in all prison across Indonesia.
"We will continue to waste our state budget if we let prisons remain at overcapacity", he said.
Warden Sudjonggo of Kerobokan prison in Denpasar said that overcapacity at the prison made it difficult to manage.
Kerobokan Penitentiary, the largest prison on the resort island of Bali with a capacity for 300 prisoners, holds 877 prisoners, including three death-row prisoners and 15 serving life sentences.
Aziz Syamsudin said that while Amnesty International was against the death penalty Indonesian law allowed the death penalty for extraordinary crimes.
The Southeast Asian Times

Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie leadership challenge
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 26: Golkar Party members are to challenge the re- elecion of chairman Aburizal Bakrie
at the party's extraordinary national congress next week, reports the Jakarta Post.
Golkar deputy chairman Agung Laksono, who announced earlier this year that he would run for Golkar Party chairman, said that he and other members of the party were working to gain support from the party's central board and its branches, chapters and affiliated organisations to unseat the chairman at the Golkar congress.
Golkar internal rules reportedly
Golkar Party chairman, Aburizal Bakrie, 68, to stand for re election
stipulate that in order to be elected chairman, a candidate must gain support from the majority of more than 500 of the available votes.
Seven Golkar party members including the deputy chairman Agung Laksono, lawmakers Airlangga Hartarto, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita and Zainudin Amali, party executive Hajriyanto Thohari, former industry minister MS Hidayat and former lawmaker Priyo Budi Santoso have declared that they will challenge Aburizal Bakrie at the Golkar national congress.
The Jakarta Post reports that the seven candidates disapprove of the Aburizal Bakrie plan to run for a second leadership term, saying that his decision to support Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, Hatta Rajasa; and his arbitrary decision to dismiss three Golkar lawmakers for their open support for presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla, was “immature and irrational” .
The call for an extraordinary national congress to unseat the chairman, follows the passing of a bill that would allow President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to force Aburizal Bakrie, who is also the chairman of the Bakrie Group of companies, to fulfill his Rp 781 billion (US$65 million) financial obligation to the victims of the PT Lapindo Brantas mudflow disaster in Sidoarjo, East Java in 2006
Thousands of PT Lapindo Brantas victims were still waiting for compensation for loss of their homes and livelihoods following the mud eruption from a natural gas well that submerged whole villages about 20 kilometres south of Surabaya.
Between 40,000 and 60,000 Indonesians were displaced after the Lapindo mudflow submerged 10,426 homes in 12 villages in Porong subdistrict in the East Java district of Sidoarjo on 29 May, 2006.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesian navy to protect local fishers from poachers
From News Reports:
Jakarta, November, 25: The Indonesian navy (TNI AL) has sent four ships to patrol the northern waters of east Kalimantan to protect local fishers from foreign fishers poaching Indonesian waters, reports the Jakarta Post.
Balikpapan, East Kalimantan naval base Colonel Ariantyo Confrowibowo said foreign fishers from countries located north of Indonesia enter Indonesian Archipelago Sea Lanes (ALKI) II that include the Makassar Straits, waters of Sulu and those of Sulawesi that border Malaysia and the Philippines in the north.
The colonel said that foreign fishing vessels stay outside Indonesian territorial waters during daylight hours or when they are being monitored.
"But as soon as night falls, they
Indonesian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Susi Pudjiastuti said that foreign poaching of fish in Indonesian waters must be stopped to restore the countrys pride as a maritime nation. The Minister has threatened to burn and sink the illegal fishing vessels if caught in Indonesian waters
enter our waters and start poaching fish", he said.
He said that foreign fishing vessels are usully large and use thousand watt lights to attract fish.
"This leaves Indonesian traditional fishermen who do not have such facilities with no fish to catch", he said.
Indonesian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Susi Pudjiastuti said that no effort was too late to minimize or eradicate the huge
losses that foreign fishers had inflicted on the country through their illegal fishing activities.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine resources said that 132 wooden vessels weighing between 10 and 15 gross tons together with 435 crew were arrested including 200 Malaysians last week.
The Minister said that the illlegal fishing vessels were up to three times larger than those used by the traditional fishers of Berau that weight about 5 gross tons.
"We suspect that the fishers arrested had planned to sell their catch to larger ships waiting outside Indonesian territorial waters", she said.
She said that the arrested fishers cannot be categorised as traditional fishermen.
In April twenty tonnes of a rare clam species were reportedly seized from five Vietnamese fishing vessels and nine crew arrested in Natuna waters in Indonesia's Riau Islands.
In January the Batam Water Police arrested 61 Vietnamese fishermen and seized their fishing vessels for alleged illegal fishing off Riau Island
The Southeast Asian Times

Myanmar nationals appeal for help in letter
Myanmar nationals, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, charged with the murder of British tourists in September are transported to the Koh Samui district court where the two men made an appeal to the victim's family for help in a letter handed to a correspondent for the British publication, the Guardian
From News Reports:
Bangkok, November 24: Two Myanmar migrant workers accused of killing two British tourists on September 15 at Koh Tao Sairee beach have appealed directly to the victims' families and British authoriies for help in clearing their names, reports the Bangkok Post.
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo - the latter incorrectly named as Win Zaw Htun made the appeal in a letter handed to a correspondent for the British publication, the Guardian, during a court appearance in Koh Samui on Thursday where the two men were remanded for the fifth time since their arrest.
Under Thai law a suspect can be remanded for a total of 84 days.
“In order that the truth can be revealed, we want to ask for help from all of you to ensure that we get access to information that the British government has. We would like this information to be shared with our lawyers so the truth can come out. We really want to express our thanks for your help.” the accused said in their signed hand written letter.
The two men say that on the night of the murder they had been drinking heavily and playing guitar on the beach, and by late evening were “so drunk we couldn’t walk properly”. Both said they had no idea who carried out the crime.
The Myanmar nationals who at first confessed to the murder of Bristish tourists Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, including the rape of Hannah Witheridge retracted their confession last month saying they were forced into making the confession.
Lawyer for the accused, Ratsada Manurassada said that the two accused were allegedly assaulted by the translator.
He said that the accused are from Myanmar's Rakhine state and are Buddhists while the translator is Rohingya Muslim and was not able to communicate effectively.
Thai prosecutors reportedly said that the withdrawal of confessions made by two Myanmar migrant workers for the murder of British tourists will not affect the prosecutors judgement of the case.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam Communist Party orders seizure of land acquired by anti-corruption unit
From News Reports:
HCMCity, November 23: The Inspection Commission of the Communist Party Central Committee of Vietnam has ordered that property acquired by the former Chief Government Inspector, Tran Van Truyen, who served as head of the Government Inspectorate, be seized, reports Thanh Nien.
Tran Van Truyen, who served in the Government Inspectorate anti-corruption unit between 2007 and 2011 allegedly accrued vast real estate holdings throughout southern Vietnam.
Central Communist Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong called for an audit of the Government Inspectorate anti-corruption unit in July following reports in local media about the former Chief Government Inspector's, vast real estate portfolio.
His real estate portfolio is reportedly estimated to be worth US$10 million and includes two identical villas
Former Chief Government Inspector Tran Van Truyen who allegedly acquired vast land holdings while serving as head of Government Inspectorate anti-corruption unit is accused of abuse of his position while land transaction were technically legal
constructed from rare wood in Ho Chi Minh Ciy and the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre where Tran Van Truyen once served as head of the provincial Communist Party.
The former Chief Government Inspector, also acquired land-use rights on a 260 square metre plot of land in Ben Tre province where a local construction company spent US$19,410 on rebuilding the house.
The Inspection Commission of the Communist Party Central Committe said in a statement that while the land transactions were "technically legal" Tran Van Truyen conduct did not meet the standards maintained by the Communist Party.
“Truyen did not think about building huge villa's on a vast plot of land surrounded by poor, struggling families,” the statement said.
The Inspection Commission said that the action of the former head of the Government Inspectorate have inflamed negative public opinion and tarnished the Communist Party's reputation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Witness to Maguindanao massacre shot dead
From News Reports:
Manila, November 22: Dennix Sakal, witness to the mass murder of 58 including 32 journalists in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao was shot dead and Sukarno Butch Saudagal injured by unidentified gunmen this week, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Dennix Sakal and Sukarno Butch Saudagal were employed by Andal Ampatuan Sr., and his son Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. who are in National Bureau of Investigation police custody for allegedly ordering the killing of 58 governor Esmael Mangudadatu supporters including the incubent governor's wife and sisters.
The 32 journalist among the 58 killed were in a convoy to cover
local politician Esmael
Esmael Mangudadatu, 46, governor of the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao whose wife, sisters and relatives were among the 58 murdered in an attack allegedly ordered by Andal Ampatuan Sr., and his son Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. in 2009
Mangudadatu's filing of his intention to run for governor in the predominantly Muslim province when dozens of gunmen abducted and then butchered them on a nearby hill and buried them in mass graves on 23 November, 2009
Dennix Sakal and Sukarno Butch Saudagal who were about to sign an affidavit stating that they had turned state witness and were to give evidence againt the Ampatuan clan for the prosecution, were shot by six unidentified armed men while in a "payong-payong" tricycle in the remote village of Bagong in Shariff Aguak on Tuesday.
Senior Insp. Archie Fajaro, police chief of Shariff Aguak said that the victims were to testify against the Ampatuans at a court hearing to be held next week
“The victims knew the perpetrators because they waved their hands upon seeing the men,” said the police chief.
He said that the police recovered bullet casings for M -16 rifles at the crime scene.
Esmael Mangudadatu who nominated his candadicy for the governor of Maguindanao province despite the slaughter of his wife and sisters
said that the shooting of the two witnesses was an attempt to prevent the trial of up to two hundred of which about one hundred were still at large, including Ampatuan clan members, police and military believed to be the Ampatuan clan's private army, from going ahead.
“They were vital witnesses to the massacre,” he said.
In all, six people - three witnesses and three relatives of other witnesses - have been killed including the driver for the Ampatuan family and a supposed key witness to the massacre, Esmail Amil Enog who testified that he had driven dozens of armed men who participated in the massacre.
Myrna Reblando, whose husband, Manila Bulletin reporter Alejandro "Bong" Reblando, was slain in the massacre has sought political asylum in Hong Kong, saying that the Philippines government cannot protect her.
The Southeast Asian Times

Napoles children plead not guilty to embezzlement
Jo Christine and elder brother James Christopher Napoles plead not guilty to aiding and abetting thier mother, Janet Lim Napoles, 49, accused of the misappropriation of P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund, known as the pork barrel funds
From News Reports:
Manila, November 21: Two children of Janet Lim Napoles, 49, accused of the misappropriation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, known as the pork barrel funds, refused to enter a plea on 15 charges of embezzlement at the Sandiganbayan Third Division court on Wednesday.
Jo Christine, 22, and elder brother James Christopher Napoles are accused of aiding and abetting thier mother in the alleged misapproriation of the
P10-billion from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) that was reportedly to be allocated to farmer-beneficiaries who were affected by cyclones "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" in 2009 through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The alleged P10-billion allegedly went to bogus non-government organizations that were allegedly established by Janet Lim-Napoles.
Janet Lim-Napoles surrendered to police in August last year after a reward of P10-million was offered by Philippine president Aquino for her arrest and was held in detention at the Fort Sto Domingo police training camp until she was admitted to hospital on March 31.
She was transferred to a prison cell in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City in June to await trial.
Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima said that evidence provided by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showed that Janet Lim-Napoles had prepared manufactured documents for submission to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) including fraudulant letters of request from mayors for funds for farmers affected by the typhoons as early as July 2009 or two months before Executive Order (EO) 848 that released the funds to implementing agencies was issued.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showed that fake memoranda of agreement (MoA) was entered into between the bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs), government departments and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The signatures of the mayors were reprotedly to have been "always forged".
Janet Lim Napoles allegedly purchased properties in the United States with pesos exchanged for dollars with local money changers. The US dollar notes were carried in hand luggage and cleared at United States airports by Filipino accomplices
Defence lawyer for the Napoles children, Stephen David, says that his clients pleaded not guilty to the charges pending a petition for a judicial review filed with the Supreme court, questioning the indictment of the siblings.
He said that the pre-trial of the charges of embezzlement is scheduled for March and that the siblings are confident that the high court will rule in their favour.
"They had nothing to do with the alleged misappropriation of the funds. They took no part in it" he said.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, chair of the Sandiganbayan Third Division court said that while the court may grant a judicial review, " I'm 99.99 percent that the Ombudsman will deny your motion for reinvestigation.
"The grounds you raised were already discussed in the preliminary investigation,” said Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
Napoles surrender in August followed the announcement by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales that an investigation into the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), would be conducted under the newly established eight agency Interagency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC)
An audit of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) between 2007 and 2009 showed that 82 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) received P6.165 billion from allocations made by 12 senators and 180 members of the House of Representatives.
The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was designed to allow legislators to fund small-scale infrastructure or community projects.
Funds were reportedly channeled to projects to win votes or to non-existent or ghost projects.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bail refused for former editor of Voice of Taksin
Bail was refused for former editor of the Voice of Taksin, Somyot Prueaksakasemsuk, 53, who is serving a 10 year jail sentence for violation of article 112 of the Thai criminal code - the Lese Majeste law.
From News Reports:
Bangkok, November 20: The 16th request for bail sought by wife of former executive editor of the Voice of Taksin, who was convicted under the Lese Majeste Law for insulting the Thai royal family and has served three and a half years of a 10 year jail sentence, has been refused bail, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Criminal Court sentenced the former editor Somyot Prueaksakasemsuk, 53, to 10 years in prison in January 2013 for violaton of the Lese Majeste law and included an extra year for allegedly defaiming Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr, a former assistant Thai army chief.
The wife of the former editor put up 1 million baht in cash on Tuesday as surety for his temporary release pending an appeal expected to be heard in the Supreme Court in 2 to 3 years.
The Thai Appeal Court in September upheld the lower court 10 year prison sentence for the former editor in the Supreme Court.
Somyot Prueaksakasemsuk, the former executive editor of two United-Front-for-Democracy-against- Dictatorship, Red Shirt, magazines - the Red Power and the now-defunct Voice of Taksin was convicted under Section 112 for publishing alleged defamatory articles against the Thai Royal family using the pseudonym Jit Polachan in February and March 2010.
He was arrested at an immigration checkpoint in northern Sa Kaeo province while reportedly trying to cross into Cambodia in April 2011 and charged with violation of that section of the Thai criminal code that is designed to ensure that King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 86, and his family are never insulted.
In February 2012 his son, Panitan Pruksakasemsuk, 24, a student at Thammasat University ,began a 112 hour hunger strike and shaved his head in protest at the Thai Criminal Court’s refusal to allow bail for his father, who by then had been detained for ten months while awaiting trial for alleged breaches of Thailand’s lese-majeste law.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indian Prime Minister signs pact with Australia on supply of uranium
Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at joint press conference at Parliament House in Canberra yesterday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime minister to visit Australia in 28 years after Rajiv Gandhi in 1986. Prime Minister Modi addressed the Australian Parliament in Canberra yesterday, saying that the fact that India and Australia had exchanged visits in the last two months is a sign of "better times to come".
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 19: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament in Canberra yesterday that he saw Australia as a major partner in India's quest to boost electricity production and address climate change following a pact signed between India and Australia that included agreement on the supply of Australian unranium to India's nuclear power plants.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India and Australia were seeking early completion on a "civil" nuclear agreement.
"The agreement will give Australia a chance to participate in one of the most secure and safe nuclear energy programmes in the world" said Prime Minister Modi.
The International Energy Agency says that nuclear provides three per cent of India's power today but will grow to 12 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent in 2050.
India reportedly plans to invest $96 billion in nuclear plants to 2040, with 21 operating now, six under construction and 57 planned or proposed.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that Australia was "ready and willing" to supply uranium to India for peaceful purposes following the signing of a uranium safeguard agreement in New Delhi in September that overturned a long standing ban on uranium to India.
“By the end of the next year we will have a Free Trade deal with India what is potentially the world’s largest market.” he said.
India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty despite reportedly possessing an arsenal of atomic weapons.
Australia Minerals council uranium spokesman Daniel Zavattiero said the industry expected to start uranium shipments to India next year.
"Initial sales are expected to start on a small scale, but the outlook is strong", he said.
Australia reportedly has the largest share of uranium resources in the world but currently exports only 8400 tonnes a year, valued at over $820 million.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australia and China sign Free Trade Agreement
President of China, Xi Jinping, said in an address to the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra yesterday that China had set two goals - to double the 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020 and to turn the country into “a modern socialist country that is prosperous, democratic, culturally harmonious by the middle of the century. “We Chinese are striving to achieve the Chinese dream which is the great renewal of the Chinese nation,” he said
From News Reports:
Canberra, Tuesday 18: Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott and President of China, Xi Jinping, witnessed the signing in Canberra yesterday of a declaration of intent to conclude the legalities of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2015 following the President of China address to the Australian Parliament in which he said that his country of 1.3 billion people was a "market of immense potential".
"It's a good day for Australia, a good day for China, a good day for consumers and ultimately a good day for workers," said Australian Prime Minister at the Federal Parliament in Canberra yesterday.
The Free Trade agreement (FTA) will remove taxes on major exports including iron ore, gold, crude petroleum oil and LNG .
The agreement will ensure 85 per cent of all Australian exports will enter China tax-free, rising to 93 per cent within four years.
The Australia China Trade agreement will see taxes on all resources and energy products removed within two years.
It will also see the removal of taxes of 12-25 percent on beef over the next nine years.
"This will add billions to the economy, create jobs and drive higher living standards for Australians," said Australiam Prime minister Tony Abbott.
China is Australia's number one trading partner, with the two-way flow of goods and services exceeding $150 billion last year.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australia called on for stronger action on climate change
Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott and US President Barack Obama at the two day G 20 Summit in Brisbane in the State of Queensland on the East Coast of Australia over the weekend. Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has rejected climate science and dismantled the carbon-price mechanism earlier this year. He also rejected appeals to put climate change more firmly on the G-20 agenda, saying that the G-20 was primarily an economic forum
From News Reports:
Brisbane, November 17: US President Barack Obama and United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Australia for stronger action on climate change at the Group-of-20 two day Summit held in Brisbane over the weekend, where host country, Australia, sought to focus on economic growth.
US President Barack Obama said at the G-20 Summit on Saturday that historically Australia and the US have not been the most energy efficient of nations.
"We've got to step up", he said.
The US president said following a meeting with China President Xi Jinping in Beijing at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last week that "no nation was immune and every nation has a responsibility to do its part"
US President Obama and China President Xi Jinping pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the APEC summit where China agreed to cap emmisions for the first time.
The US pledged to cut emissions to 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 while China, the largest emitter of greanhouse gases in the world agreed to cap emissions from zero emission to 20 percent by 2030.
The United Nations led negotiations on climate change reportedly expects all nations to pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the Paris meeting in December next year, expected to take effect in 2020.
The arguement that Australia and the United States should not act on climate change until China pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is reportedly not justified by countries that have avoided setting a limit on carbon emissions since China agreed to cap emmisions.
The Southeast Asian Times

Australian police deployed to protect
G-20 summit from protesters
Australian Aborigines protested Aborginal Deaths in Custody in a march in Brisbane on Friday ahead of the G-20 Australia summit held in the city on the east coast of Australia, saying that white Australia has a black history
From News reports:
Brisbane, November 16: About 6000 Australian Federal Police have been deployed to monitor up to 30 public protests on inequality, tax evasion and Australian Indigenous rights including protests against Russian president Vladimir Putin ahead of the G-20 Australia summit held in Brisbane on the east coast of Australia this weekend.
Deputy Police Commissioner Ross Barnett says that the deployment of the Australian Federal Police is the largest peacetime security operation Australia has seen.
He said that many of the issues raised by protesters remained "highly emotive" including the planned Australian Aboriginal Deaths in police custody march.
"Emotions could also run high at an anti-Putin demonstraion organised by the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisation", he said.
The anti -Putin demonsration is reportedly in protest of the Russian support of "separatists" in the Ukraine and the shooting down of MH17 by the alleged "separatists".
The Police commissioner says a pro-Putin rally is planned to take place in Brisbane by the Rustralia group to welcome the Russian president and his delegation.
The Russsian war ship, Varyag, has reportedly been instructed to remain in international waters off Brisbane on the east coast of Australia until the conclusion of the weekend G-20 summitt and the departure of the Russian President from Australia.
The 20 member heads of countries attending the summit plan to lift global GDP by 2 percent over the next five years with additional growth going to the poorest 20 percent of G-20 households. The heads of governments, finance and central bank governors, labour ministers of the G-20 major economies including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) are expected to announce a plan on how they will achieve that goal during the two day summit.
The Southeast Asian Times

Timor-Leste justice threatened by firing of foreign judges
By Susan Marx page here

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

The Yogyakarta Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) want the murder of Yogyakarta journalist in 1996 remembered in proposed Anti-Violence against Journalists here

Can educators from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world help keep young people out of jail in outback Australia? ..Reporter Chris Ray here

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Copy of letter dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic here


What they're saying open page 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


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

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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
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

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