The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Thursday, 2 April 2015
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

Read the letters to The Southeast Asian here

Golf course and race track seized in raid on Thai forest reserve
From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 2: The Thai Justice Ministry, the Second Army, the Royal Forest Department, the Department of Special Investigation, the Land Department and the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission seized the Bonanza Golf and Country Club in a raid on a forest reserve in the Pak Ching district in Nakhon Ratchasasima province in northeast Thailand on Tuesday, reports the Bangkok Post.
Justice Ministry, deputy permanent secretary, Dussadee Arayawuth, who led the raid, said that a golf course and a racing circuit known as "Bonanza Khao Yai" and owned by businessman Phaiwong Techanarong was seized on 151 rai of reserved forest land.
Second Army legal team, Col Sommai Busaba reportedly said that the Bonanza Golf and Country Club expanded the forest reserve land to include the golf course and race track between 1993 and 2006.
He said that the forest reserve surrounding the golf course and race track was purchased by business groups and nominees of politicians who acquired the land expecting a high-speed rail service to run through Nakhon Ratchasima Province.
Pol Col Dussadee said that the golf course, the race track and other structures were allegedly constructed on forest reserve land with fraudulant land title deeds.
"Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) will investigate the state officials who issued the documents", he said.
The Thai military raid on forest reserve land follows the declaration of martial law in May by military commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the seizure in July under Col Sommai Busaba of more than 3,900 rai of land in the Sung Noen district forest reserve in Nakhon Ratchasima Province believed to have been illegally obtained with fraudulant land title deeds in 1992.
The Southeast Asian Times

Trial of US citizen charged with murder adjourned in Bali
Heather Lois Mack, 19, takes her nine-day-old baby girl, Stella, from the Kerobokan prison clinic to the Sanglah Hospital in Bali for treatment
From News Reports:
Denpasar, April 1: The trial of US citizen Heather Lois Mack, 19, arrested for the murder in August of her mother at a five star Bali hotel was adjourned in Bali following the birth of her child, reports the Jakarta Post.
Heather Lois Mack was reportedly pregnant when arrested after the bloodied body of her mother, Chicago woman, Sheila Von Wiese, 62, was found stuffed in a suitcase in the boot of a taxi at the entrance of the St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua.
Heather Lois Mack gave birth at the Wings Amerta international-standard hospital in Bali last week and returned to the Kerobokan in Denpasar where she has been detained without bail since her arrest.
The Denpasar District Court adjourned the trial that was to begin last week after the newborn was admitted to the Kerobokan prison clinic.
Kerobokan prison doctor, Anak Agung Gede, said that the 9-day-old baby girl is suffering jaundice and will be taken to the Sanglah Hospital hospital for further treatment.
Heather Lois Mack was arrested together with her boyfriend ,US citizen Tommy Schaeffer, 22, the day after the body of Sheila Von Wiese, 62, was found at the hotel on 13 August where the three were registered guests.
Police allege that Sheila Von Wiese Mack was bludgeoned to death with a heavy glass object by her daughter Heather Lois Mack, 19 and boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer, 22, at the hotel.
Both said when arrested that "robbers" were responsible for the death of Sheila Von Wiese Mack, 62, when questioned by police at the Dempasar Police station following their arrest.
Tommy Schaeffer, 22, has since confessed to killing Sheila Von Wiese Mack saying that she had insulted him in a racial slur and had called her daughter a prostitute.
He said that he was angry after Sheila Von Wiese Mack had threatened to kill his unborn baby and had attempted to strangled him.
The Southeast Asian Times

Only two Nauru refugees show up for possible resettlement in Cambodia
Refugees detained by the Australia Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection on the Island of Nauru in Papua New Guinea refuse offer of resettlement to Cambodia
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, March 31: Only two refugees from the about 200, detained by the Australia Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection on the Pacific island of Nauru in Papua New Guinea attended a meeting last week that was organised to inform them of the benefits of resettlement in Cambodia, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Australian Immigration spokesman, Peter Dutton, said that the purpose of the Cambodian Immigration officials visit to the Australian detention centre on the island of Nauru was “to speak to refugees living in the Nauruan community about settlement options in Cambodia”, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Cambodian immigration officials reportedly told the two refugees that they would be given permanent visas and travel documents but that they would have to pay for English-language lessons and would lose all but emergency financial support after a year.
The two unidentifed refugees reportedly said that they had no intention of resettling in Cambodia.
The refugees reportedly said that they attended the meeting out of curiosity.
“We are traded like slaves between two corrupted governments", said the unidentified refugee.
Cambodia Minister of the interior Sar Kheng and Australian Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison signed an agreement in Phnom Penh in September that would enable the settlement of the Nauru refugees in Cambodia and not in Australia.
The agreement included the payment of $US35 million in development assistance to Cambodia by Australia over the next four years in return for the voluntary resettlement of refugees from Australian detention centres on the island of Nauru in Papua New Guinea and on the Australian mainland to Cambodia.
Nauru refugees protested outsde the Australian High Commission in Nauru following the signing of the agreement in September saying that they reject Australia's offer of resettlement in Cambodia.
Cambodia Centre for Human rights, president, Virak Ou, said that Cambodia was in no position to take refugees.
He said that Cambodia was a poor counry and that the health system is "sub-par' at most.
"I don't know how the refugees will send their children to school," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Asean member country dignitaries pay tribute to Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton at the state funeral for former Prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew
From News Reports:
Singapore, March 30: Dignitaries from more than twenty countries paid tribute to founding Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, 91, the longest serving Prime Minister in world history, at a state funeral in Singapore yesterday, reports the Straits Times.
Former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital with pneumonia on February 5 in a critical condition. His condition reportedly deterioriated. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew died early last Monday morning.
More than a milllion Singaporeans lined the 15 km route in tropical rain yesterday to bid the former Prime Minister farewell as the funeral cortege past Old Parliament House, Marina Barrage, and St Andrew’s Cathedral, and to the National University of Singapore.
Lee Kuan Yew lay on a ceremonial gun carriage, protected from the afternoon downpour by glass casing, that was led past city landmarks to the National University of Singapore Cultural Centre where the state funeral service was held.
The about 30 dignitaries from countries including the member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) included Myanmar President Thein Sein, Malaysia King Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Philippines President of the Senate Franklin Drilon, Indonesian President, Joko Widodo attended the state funeral .
Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, UK, House of Commons, William Hague, US delegation led by former US president Bill Clinton and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger also attended the state funeral.
Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore's first and the longest-serving Prime Minister 1959 - 1990.
He helped found the People's Action Party in 1954 in alliance with communist trade unionists - with whom he would later break - and became Singapore's first prime minister when Britain granted self-governance in all matters except defence and foreign affairs.
He resigned from the executive committee and his cabinet ministerial post after the 2011 parliamentary elections in which the ruling party won its lowest overall vote percentage since independence from the British in 1965.
The Southeast Asian Times

Jakarta private water suppliers to appeal court ban on privatization of water supply
From News Reports:
Jakarta March 29: Private water suppliers Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) and Thames PT PAM now PT Aetra Air Jakarta are to appeal the ruling made by the Central Jakarta District Court on Tuesday to ban the privatization of the supply of water to Jakarta residents
Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) spokeswoman Meyritha Maryanie said that the water suppliers were 'surprised' and 'disappointed' by the
Central Jakarta District Court decision.
“We will appeal the verdict", she said.
Thames PT PAM now PT Aetra Air Jakarta corporate secretary Pratama S. Adi said Aetra would also appeal the court decision.
Central Jakarta District Court ruled in favor of the Coalition of Jakarta Residents Opposing Water Privatization (KMMSAJ), who began legal proceedings against the private water suppliers in 2013.
The private water suppliers contract with the Jakarta city administration,, began in 1997 and was due to expire in 2013.
The Coalition of Jakarta Residents Opposing Water Privatization (KMMSAJ) claimed that Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) and Thames PT PAM now known as PT Aetra Air Jakarta had both failed to provide adequate supplies of clean, potable water for Jakarta residents since the signing of the agreement, saying that only 60 percent of Jakarta residents had piped clean water.
Presiding Judge Iim Nurohim said that the defendants have been negligent in fulfilling Jakarta residents right to water.
“The court has ordered the defendants to end the privatization of water in Jakarta in accordance with Bylaw No. 13/1992 on city owned water operators,” said presiding Judge Iim Nurohim.
Last month the Constitutional Court revoked the law that allows the private sector to monopolize water resources.
The Constitutional Court judges argued that the 2004 Water Resources Law that allowed the private sector to monopolize water resources contravened the Constitution.
Constitutional Court judge Jusice Aswanto said the constitution stipulates the right to water as a basic right and mandates the state to control and regulate water resources.
He said that the private sector could not be granted exclusive rights to water resources such as rivers, springs, lakes and swamps, saying that the private sector must apply for a license to sell water.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai anti-coup activist arrested for third time for public assembly
Pansak Srithep, 48, was arrested in Bankok on Thursday under the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) ban on political gatherings of more than five since the declaration of Martial Law in May
From News Reports
Bangkok, March 28: One of four anti-coup activists who filed a petition with the Supreme Court for trial in a criminal court as a civilian and not in a military court as required under Martial Law for allegedly breaching the ban on political assembly was arrested for the third time in two months for the same offence, reports the Bangkok Post.
Pansak Srithep, 48, was reportedly first arrested for political assembly at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre on 14 February, Valentine's Day, in protest of the cessation of elections following the declaration of Martial Law in May 2014.
He was arrested for the second time for polical assembly on Bangkok's Rattanathibet Road as he embarked on a three day 50 kilometer march on March 15 in protest against trial of civilians in a military court, reports the Bangkok Post.
Police arrested Pansak Srithep, 48, for the third time on Thursday as he was preparing to embark on a march from Soi Rang Nam to Thammasat University's Tha Phra Chan campus.
Pansak Srithep was reportedly to embark on a march from Soi Rang Nam in Bangkok, where his son was shot dead by an alleged government military sniper in the May 2010 pro Thaksin red shirt anti government protests in Bangkok when he was arrested and taken to the Bangkok military court.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) under the command of General Prayuth Chan-ocha, also Prime Minister, banned political gatherings in order to prevent possible violence, threats to national security and law and order on the declaration of Martial Law and later released on bail.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha rejected the call by the European Union 28 member countries last month to conduct trials in a Civilian Court and not a Military Court.
He also dismissed calls in October to lift Martial Law, saying that Martial Law would continue until national reform including the election of the Prime Minister is in place.
The Southeast Asian Times

MILF commanders to be disciplined for failure to report terrorists
From News Reports:
Manila, March 27: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commandos are facing disciplinary action for their failure to report the presence of alleged Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino, Basit Usman, who are on the U.S. FBI wanted list, at Tukanalipao village in Mamasapano in Muslim Maguindanao in the southern Philippines.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman, Ghazali Jaafar said that the 105th Base Command and 118th Base Command commandos are also facing discipllinary action for the failure to report the presence of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos to Tukanalipao village in Mamasapano on January 25.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman, Ghazali Jaafar, said that MILF commandos were liable for their failure to report on the presence of terrorists in Mamasapano in Muslim Maguindanao in the southern Philippines
He said that investigators are yet to question the 105th Base Command and 118th Base Command commandos in order to determine the appropriate disciplinary action that incudes suspension, cutting of supplies and the stripping of rank or demotion.
A military encounter between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), its breakaway faction, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) left 44 PNF-SAF and 18 MILF and an undisclosed number of BIFF and seven civilians dead in Tukanalipao on the January 25 encounter.
The military encounter followed the deployment of 392 National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos to Mamasapano in Muslim Maguindanao, to arrest Malaysian Islamic terrorist, Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan and Filipino terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, who between them have a $5 million bounty on their heads and are on the U.S. FBI wanted list.
The National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos reportedly killed Marwan in a raid on his hideout in Tukanalipao village, Mamasapano, but Usman, although wounded, escaped.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman, Ghazali Jaafar said that the MILF Central Committee would also investigate allegations that members of the 105th Base Command and 118th Base Command commandos protected alleged Malaysian- terrosrist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino, Basit Usman, at their hideout in Tukanalipao village.
“We want to find out why, if they knew Marwan was there, they did not report it to their immediate superiors,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Hanoi officials suspended for plan
to fell thousands of trees

From News Reports:
Hanoi, March 26: The Hanoi People's Committee has ordered the suspension of officials who are allegedly responsible for the plan to fell thousands of trees from city streets, reports Thanh Nien.
The head and second head of the Hanoi Department of Construction are among the reportedly "scores" of officials including contractors who have been suspended for their involvement in the plan to chop down 6,700 trees.
Contractors had chopped 500 trees from the streets of Hanoi before ordered to stop by the Hanoi People's Committee chairwoman Nguyen The Thao.
The chairwoman reportedly stopped the felling following a Hanoi residents street protest against the felling of the trees last week.
The chairwoman claims that the public protest against the project that aimed to fell 6,700 trees from 190 streets in Hanoi was due to "the lack of transparency" and the failure by the committee to consult with residents.
The chairwoman said that the committee had "listened to public opinion" in its decision to stop the "tree-cutting project" .
The "landscaping " project worth US$3.4 million was reportedly planned to replace "rotting' and "ugly" trees in order to make way for unidentified "construction" projects.
The Hanoi People's Committee chairwoman, Nguyen The Thao, has instructed the city's chief inspector to establish a task force in order to invesigate the landscaping project.
The Southeast Asian Times

Trial for US Marine charged with murder begins in Philippines
Joseph Scott Pemberton, 19, charged with murder, escorted by U.S. security into the reportedly "heavily secured" courtroom in Olongapo city, northwest of Manila on Monday
From News Reports:
Manila, March 25: The trial for U.S. First class Joseph Scott Pemberton, 19, arrested for the murder of transgender Jennifer Laude began in Olongapo City, northwest of Manila on Monday, reports the Philipine Inquirer.
Joseph Scott Pemberton, who has pleaded not guilty, was issued with an arrest warrant by Judge Roline Ginez Jabalde of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court in December.
The prosecution found probable cause to indict the US marine for the murder of transgender Jennifer Laude in October, a non bailable offence.
Joseph Scott Pemberton was transferred from a U.S. warship to Philippine military headquarters in metropolitan Manila, where he is held under American custody including Filipino guards.
Lawyer, Rowena Garcia-Flores, said that the murder charge should be reduced to homicide or killing without intent.
The court found “aggravating circumstances” to indict US First class Joseph Scott Pemberton, including “treachery, abuse of superior strength and cruelty.”
Transgender Filipino, Jennifer Laude, was found dead on October 11 in a hotel toilet in Olongapo City, north of Manila outside the former US military base in Subic Bay.
Joseph Scott Pemberton, an anti-tank missile operator from New Bedford, Massachusetts, is accused of strangling transgender Jennifer Laude and then drowning her in the hotel toilet after discovering Jennifer Laude was a transgender woman.
Prosecutors said that U.S. First class Joseph Scott Pemberton checked into the hotel with transgender Jennifer Laude after meeting the transgender in a bar in a 'red-light' district.
Prosecutors reportedly presented their first witness, hotel worker Elias Gallamos, who identified U.S. First class Joseph Scott Pemberton as the man who was with Laude shortly before she was found dead.
US First class Joseph Scott Pemberton was serving in the Philippines under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that includes the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that gives the United States defence forces access to the Philippines but does not include the establishment of permanent US bases in the Philippines.
The Southeast Asian Times

Former PM Lee Kuan Yew dead at 91
Former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, 91, who died yesterday in Singapore said "I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial," in an inerview with The New York Times in 2010. "I'm not saying everything I did was right. But everything I did was for an honourable purpose"
From News Reports:
Singapore, March 24: Former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, 91, who was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital with pneumonia on February 5, in a critical condition, and whose condition reportedly deterioriated, died in the early hours of Monday morning.
Former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who was born on 23 September 1923, grew up speaking english in a Singapore that was part of the British colonial empire.
His education at Singapore's Raffles College and law studies at Cambridge University were interrupted by the three-year Japanese occupation of the island in World War II.
Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore's first and longest-serving prime minister.
He helped found the People's Action Party in 1954 in alliance with communist trade unionists - with whom he would later break - and became Singapore's first prime minister in 1959 when Britain granted self-governance in all matters except defence and foreign affairs.
He resigned from the executive committee and his cabinet ministerial post after the 2011 parliamentary elections in which the ruling party won its lowest overall vote percentage since independence from the British in 1965.
Lee Kuan Yew said that strict limits on free speech and public protest were necessary to maintain stability in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country that witnessed race riots in the 1960s.
The former Prime Minister imposed harsh penalies for minor infractions including littering.
Drug traffickers face a mandatory death sentence and vandals are canned as was US teenager Michael Fay in 1994 despite a plea for leniency from US president Bill Clinton.
He reportedly said that stability was needed to enable economic growth and raise living standards in a country with few natural resources.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Lee Kuan Yew will be remembered as one of the most inspiring Asian leaders.
He said that Lee helped transform Singapore from a developing country to one of the most developed in the world.
"Lee Kuan Yew transformed Singapore into a thriving international business hub", he said.
Lee Kuan Yew is survived by his sons, Lee Hsien Loong, who is Singapore's current prime minister, and Lee Hsien Yang, daughter, neurologist Lee Wei
Ling. His wife of more than 60 years, Kwa Geok Choo, died in October, 2010.
The Southeast Asian Times

Land granted to Australian Aborigines under the Land Rights Act is up for grabbs by developers.
Aboriginal Land Rights activist, Dr William B Day urges former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon. Ian Viner, AO QC to act page here

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


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