The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Monday, 5 October 2015
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House
From News Reports:

Hanoi, July 6: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam will visit the United States from July 6 to July 10 at the invitiation of the United States State Department in a "landmark" visit, Rueters reports.
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
Rueters quotes a senior state department official saying that the meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the President of the United States "would skirt protocol" because the General Secretary is "not part of a government".
"Obama saw the visit as crucial", Rueters reports the senior state department official as saying.
Rueters also quotes the senior state department official saying that "there was a broad agreement that it made sense to treat General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong as the visit of "the top leader of the country".
"It's a pretty big event," Rueters quotes the state department official as saying.
The Southeast Asian Times

France agrees to return Aboriginal remains home to Australia
From News Reports:
Canberra, November 25: French president Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed to work together to return Aboriginal remains to Australia during the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia last week, reports Australian Associated Press.
The French head of state and the Australian prime minister said that a joint expert committee is to be established to help identify the origin of the Aboriginal remains held in France.
The head of state and prime minister said in a joint statement that the identification process would respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including the French legal system.
"The French government will examine possible solutions to enable the return of the Aboriginal human remains to their community of origin." the statement said.
Australia believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being held in Museum collections around the world including in Europe and the
United States.
In 2010 a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of Aboriginal skeletal remains to Australia including the severed head of Australian Aboriginal warrior, Yagan, to the Noongar of South West Western Australia after being missing in action for about 177 years. Yagan was shot dead for his resistance to British settlement on the Swan river.
The Southeast Asian Times

"No " to proposal to delete religion from Indonesian national identity card

From News Reports:
Jakarta, November 10: Islamic-based political party politicians oppose the proposal put by the newly selected Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, that national identity cards (KTP) do not include the religion of the car holder.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Aboebakar Al Habsy said that not to include the religion of the card holder on national identity cards (KTP)
contradicted the country’s founding philosophy of Pancasila
“If we believe that Pancasila is our state ideology and our national identity, then why should we be ashamed of including our religion on our national identity card," he said
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also proposed that the regious beliefs of Indonesian citizens be omitted from official government documents.
He said that the religion of Indonesian citizens on national identity cards (KTP) or in official government documents should not be imposed.
"It's up to the people", he said.
The Souheast Asian Times

The Wolf bridge: An insult to Thai monarchy
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 31: Thai University students, Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Mankong, 26, were charged in the Ratrachada Court on Monday, with defamation of the Thai monarchy in a play titled "The Wolf Bridge" performed at the Thammasat university in October 2013, reports the Bangkok Post.
The students were charged with insulting the Royal Thai family in the fictional depiction of the monarchy in a play performed in commemoration of the 37th and 40th anniversaries of the October 6, 1976 and October 14, 1973 pro-democracy student uprisings at Thammasat University.
The prosecution cites nine passages from the plays's script, a work of fiction that depicts a fictional monarch, that allegedly insults the monarchy and as such is in violation of the lese majeste law.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, actor and Pornthip Mankong, producer of the play, in detention since arrested on 13 August, have been refused bail are scheduled to appear in court to enter pleas on December 29.
The Southeast Asian Times

World including
Asean PM's and Presidents to attend inauguaration of Indonesian president
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 18: World Prime ministers, Presidents and State representatives including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the inauguaration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as President of Indonesiaon on Monday.
The speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said that representatives from the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member nations have also been invited to attend the swearing in of the former governor of Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as president of Indonesia.
"The Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also expected to attend", he said.
He said that the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has also invited "domestic VIP's" including former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
“All chairpersons of political parties have also be invited,” said the speaker.
The Southeast Asian Times

Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 12: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flag found flying from a coconut tree in Aceh on Sunday has been torn down, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the banned ISIS flag was reportedly the first in Aceh.
Police chief First Inspecter Azwan said that the flag of the nationally banned movement was discovered by chess players sitting at a food stall near the coconut tree in the Sungai Raya district of East Aceh regency in Aceh.
He said that a bomb disposal team inspected the area before the flag was taken down.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia's rejection of the State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and banned the teaching of ISIL ideology in Indonesia last month at his parliamentary state-of-the-nation address and ahead of the 69th anniversary of Indonesias Independence.

The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

From News Reports:
Singapore, August, 18: The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act by the Singapore parliament last week will enable Singapore regulators to sue individuals or companies in neighbouring countries for causing severe air pollution in Singapore.
The Act that was first proposed in 2013 would enable Singapore to impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that under the Act, Singapore will have the legal right under the Objective Territorial Principle to take legal action against air polluters.
"While neighbouring countries have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources in accordance with their policies they also have a responsibility to ensure that "slash and burn" agricultural practices do not cause damage to Singapore", he said.
The passing of the 2014 Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Act gives Singapore the legal power to serve notices on those that do not have assets or a presence in Singapore.
Indonesia is yet to ratify an Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was signed by ASEAN member counries in November 2003 in order to
address haze pollution arising from land and forest fires.
A bill passed in the Indonesian House of Representatives in July 2013 gave the Indonesian goverment the power to seize assetts gained from illegal logging and illegal clearing of forests for palm oil plantations.
The new bill, designed to protect more than 13 million hectres from deforestation, gave the Indonesian government a mandate to establish a task force including police to monitor the prevention and eradication of deforestation.
The Southeast Asian Times

Papua Biak massacre remembered in Sydney
with 136 white carnations
From News Reports:
Sydney, July 5: A ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the Biak Massacre in West Papua ua on 6 July 1998 will be held at the Waverley Cliffs cemetery in Sydney on Sunday.
The Waverley Cliffs community will throw 136 white carnations from the waverley cliffs into the Pacific Ocean in memory of the Biak massacre.
A citizens tribunal, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney last year on the 15th anniversary of the Biak massacre found that 136 West Papuan protesters were thrown into the sea by Indonesian security forces.
The tribunal heard eye witness testimony that the West Papuan demand for the right to vote for independence from Indonesia was met with gunfire by Indonesian security forces.
Survivors of the massacre told the international team of jurists that the unarmed West Papuan protesters were surrounded and shot by Indonesian security forces and that survivors were thrown into the sea on 6 July 1998.

The Southeast Asian Times

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

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British filmakers on trial in Indonesia for violation of visa regulations
Film makers, Rebecca Prosser, 30, and Neil Bonner, 31, on trial in Batam for violation of Indonesian visa regulations
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 4: Lawyer for two British film makers who were arrested in May and have been held at the Batam Immigration detention center for violation of Indonesian visa regulations, has asked the panel of judges in attendance at the trial that began last week to deport them, reports the Jakarta Post
Rebecca Prosser, 30, and Neil Bonner, 31, were arrested by the Indonesian Navy in waters off Belakang Padang Island in Batam in Raiu Province for filming a re-enactment of a pirate attack in the Malacca Straits without the required documents.
The two filmakers are charged with violation of Indonesian visa regulations under Article 112 of Law No. 6/2011 on Immigration, which carries a sentence of five years imprisonment and a Rp 500 million (US$35,000) fine.
Lawyer, Aristo Pangaribuan, objected to handcuffs and prison uniforms for his clients, saying that "the use of handcuffs, prison uniforms and imprisonment with other criminals is extremely unreasonable".
"We want this objection to be recorded," the lawyer told the panel of judges.
He said that the treatment did not conform with his clients' offense and that the two British filmakers should be deported instead of facing trial.
The Britons were arrested together with nine Indonesians, Zamira Lubis, Andi Kusnanto, Ahmadi, Marsel Karel, Indratno, Apson Kakahue, Samsul, Diki and Lamusa in waters off Padang Island at Batam in the Riau Islands.
Batam Naval Base, Capt. Rudi Amirudin made the arrest at about midnight on 29 May while the Britons were filming a re-enactment of a pirate attack from two motorised vesssels.
All Indonesians excluding Zamira Lubis who was the interpreter, were former pirates from Belakang Padang Island.
The former pirates were reportedly hired to re-enact the piracy attack.
The Britons were reportedly filming the re-enactment for sale to National Geographic when they were arrested.
The navy confiscated four machetes, four masks, one daylight video camera, one evening video camera, one GoPro camera and one digital camera.
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia's Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) are against presidential apology for mass killing of communists
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 4: Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) has refused to apologise to the victims of the 1965 communist purge, saying that an apology from president Joko Widowo for the mass killing of communists in Indonesia "will lead to the rise of a communist ideology and threaten Muslims", reports the Jakarta Post.
Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Patron Muhammad Rizieq Shihab says that the state would have to pay compensation of Rp 1 billion (US$68,000) to each of the three million families should the president apologise to the victims.
"The Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) could rise again", he said.
President Joko Widodo said in in his 70th anniversary of Independence speach in August that the government would reconcile with all victims of gross human rights violations including those who suffered from the 1965 anti communist purge.
"Reconciliation is expected to restore the rights of victims and their families", he said.
National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Nur Kholi, head of the investigation team into the killings of at least 500,000 members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) during the 1960s and 1970s declared in his findings in July 2012 that the systematic prosecution of alleged members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) after the failed 1965 coup was a gross human rights violation.
The commission urged that military officials who were involved in the purge be brought to trial.
Nur Kholis said that "State officials under the Operational Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (Kopkamtib) led by former president Soeharto who served from 1965 to 1967, and between 1977 and 1978, should be taken to court for various crimes, including mass rape, torture and killings".
National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), proposed that the Indonesia government appoint a committee for Reconciliation and Truth and deliver a presidential apology to families of victims as well as the survivors.

The Southeast Asian Times

Arrest warrant issued for taxes for owner of Bangkok Santika Club
Bangkok Santika Club owner, Wisuk Setsawat, 50, left, leaving the Criminal Court in 2013 after the Appeals Court acquitted him of all charges relating to the 67 fatalities and 103 injuries causd by a fire at his club on New Year's Eve 2008
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 3: An arrest warrant was issued by the Criminal Court for Bangkok Santika Club owner, Wisuk Setsawat, 50, for not attending the Court of Appeal that ruled against him on a 85-million-baht tax evasion charge, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Bangkok Santika Club owner failed to attend the court to hear the judgement against him for a second time.
He failed to appear at the first Court of Appeal on September 1.
His lawyer told the court last week for the second time that his client was "ill."
But the Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant and re scheduled the hearing to November 2.
In April 2014, the Criminal Court sentenced the Santika Pub owner to a year in prison for failing to pay tax of 85.4 million baht from 2003 to December 2008 when the club was destroyed by fire on New Year's eve.
Wisuk Setsawat, alias Sia Khao, the major share holder in White and Brothers (2003) Co that managed the Bangkok Santika Club, was one of six charged with gross negligence leading to the death of 67 and injury to 103, causing damage to property, breaching entertainment venue regulations including allowing underage customers to enter the premises and consume drugs.
Wisuk Setsawat, was aquited in October 2013 on appeal for gross negligence and responsibility for the Bangkok Santika Club New year's Eve fire of 2008.
The Appeals Court judges said that his failure to provide adequate fire safety equipment in the Santika Pub was in violation of the 1979 Building Control Act but was not the direct cause of the fire.
In March 2009, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration investigators found that public works officials had failed to inspect the premises before the fire.
The investigators, who summonsed 15 district officials to gather evidence for their inquiry, also found faults in the assessment of the building before a building permit was issued.
There had been no inspections either during construction or in later modifications.
The investigators found that the building did not comply with the architectural drawings and that the owners had not sought permission for modifying the building, nor did they apply for a permit for the usage of the building.
The fateful 2008 New Year Eve celebration was promoted as the “Goodbye Santika” night, apparently because the pub owner was planning to move to a new venue because his lease of the property could not be extended.
Firemen, who arrived soon after midnight, found New Year revellers trying to flee the inferno in single file through a narrow front door.
The Southeast Asian Times

West Papuan activist claims his son's death was a political assassination
From News Reports:
Jayapura, October 2: Committee National West Papua (KNPB) activist, Reverend of the Gorong-Gorong Kingme Church, Obed Bogau, whose son was shot dead by Indonesian police in Timika, West Papua on Monday says the killing was politically motivated.
Senior high school students Kaleb Bogau, 17 and Efrando Sabarofek, 17, were both shot in the chest and legs by Indonesian police in Gorong-Gorong, Timika outside the Biak public housing complex where they had gathered with friends at about 7.00pm.
Kaleb Bogau died of his injuries at the housing complex.
Efrando Sabarofek is reportedly in critical condition at the Timika hospital.
Committee National West Papua (KNPB) activist and Reverend of the Gorong-Gorong Kingme Church, Obed Bogau, says that he is treating the death of his son as a "political assassination."
An unidentified witness says that the students were sitting with friends in the public area of the housing complex when they were approached by four police officers.
The witness says that a police officer asked "if there was any trouble", reportedly intimating that the group of youths were "making trouble.
A second unidentifed witness says that police trucks arrived at the housing complex and asked a tenant, "where are the young people who are making trouble here ?"
A third witness says that the police fired into the crowd that had gathered outside the housing complex following the shooting of the two students, injuring three.
Regional Chief of Police, Paulus Waterpau sent a text message of apology from Jayapura to Committee National West Papua (KNPB) activist and Reverend of the Gorong-Gorong Kingme Church, Obed Bogau, for the death of his son.
Obed Bogau reportedly refused the apology saying that Indonesia had "killed many Papuans and was treating them like animals".
The body of the Sorong Raya. West Papua Committee National West Papua (KNPB) chairman, Marthinus Yohame was found in a sack floating out to sea last month.
The Committee National West Papua (KNPB) is reportedly a non-violent movement comprising mostly of youth and students who are active in all major centres across Papua in seeking Independence from Indonesia.
The Southeast Asian Times

Enironment activist beaten to death in East Java
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 1: Police have arrested 36 suspects allegedly involved in the death on Sunday of an enironment activist, who the day before rallied against sand mining on Lumajang, East Java beaches, reports the Jakarta Post.
Kancil, 52, was reportedly beaten to death at the Selok Awar-Awar village meeting hall in the subdistrict of Pasirian in Lumajang allegedly on the orders of sand mining company PT Indo Multi Mineral Sejahtera.
The sand mining company holds a concession to operate sand and gravel-mining on a 4,000 ha plot of land granted by state-owned forestry firm Perhutani.
Lumajang Police head Adj. Sr. Comr. Fadly Munzir said that a number of men visited the activist at his home on Sunday.
"They took Salim to Selok Awar-Awar village meeting hall where they beat him to death", he said.
The protesters had reportedly blocked dozens of trucks transporting the sand from the beach the day before the activist was killed.
The protesters claim that "sand mining had left holes 5 metres deep in diameter on the beach".
The suspects are accused of violating Article 338 of the Criminal Code on murder with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison
The Southeast Asian Times

Islamic extremists continue to obliterate Roman and Christian shrines in Syria, reports Chris here

Thai PM assures United Nations of elections
Thai Prime Minister and military commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), Prayut Chan-o-cha, assured United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that elections would be held in two years
From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 30: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha assured United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
at the 70th Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sunday that his government will return Thailand to democracy in 2017, reports the Bangkok Post.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut told Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
at at his first United Nations meeting since the declaration of Martial law in May 2014, that a general election in Thailand was scheduled for July 2017.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who is also the military commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that was established after the declaration of Martial Law said that "military rule will end in 2017".
Thailand will comply with its obligations as a United Nations member country", he said.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that Thailand was committed to the United Nation's sustainable development goals and pledged to be an active and constructive partner with the global community.
About 500 Thais residing in the US gathered at the United Nations in New York for a second day to express their support for the Thai Prime Minister, urging him to continue with reform.
Anti-coup protesters lined the street leading to the United Nations in New York on Saturday holding placards and shouting slogans as the Thai Prime Minister arrived.

The Southeast Asian Times

Monitoring of prisoners in Indonesia to be improved
Gayus Halomoan Tambunan, 34, who is serving a 30 year jail sentence was photographed enjoying a meal at a Jakarta Restuarant earlier this month
From News Reports:
Jakarta, September 29: The monitoring system in Indonesian prisons to prevent violations against regulations will be "tightened" following the siting of a former tax official, who is serving a 30 year jail sentence, in a restuarant earlier this month.
Former middle-ranking tax official, Gayus Halomoan Tambunan, 34, is serving his sentence at the Sukamiskin penitentiary in Bandung, West Java was photographed enjoying a meal in a Jakarta restuarant earlier this month.was convicted and sentenced by three Corruption Court judges in March 2012 for accepting bribes; failing to report gratuities; money laundering and bribing police officers to escape detention.
He reputedly amassed up to rupiah 100 billion, about US$11 million, from corporate tax payers.
The former tax officer admitted to having received US$500,000 from Kaltim Prima Coal, a company partly owned by the family of former Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie.
The former tax official who is serving his sentence at the Sukamiskin penitentiary in Bandung, West Java was photographed enjoying a meal in a Jakarta restuarant earlier this month.
In 2010 the former tax officer apparently used a passport originally intended for a five-year-old girl named Margareta to visit Macau, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
His travels also included attendance at a Commonwealth Bank of Australia-sponsored tennis tournament in Bali after bribing his way free from detention at the headquarters of the elite police Mobile Brigade in Kelapa Dua, east Jakarta.
Nine police guards were arrested for accepting up to $40,000 from Gayus Halomoan Tambunan.
The former tax official has allegedly left the prison without authorisation at least 60 times since his detention.
Director General for Penitentiaries at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Akbar Hadi, said that modern devices to monitor prisoners would be installed in prisons.
He said that more security officers would be employed to escort prisoners from their cells.
"Prisoners would not easily visit restricted areas if esorted by 10 security officers", he said
The Southeast Asian Times

Suspects in Bangkok shrine bombing re-enact crime
Adem Karadag, 28, also known as Bilal Turk, re-enacted his part in the explosion at the Hindu Erawan shrine in central Bangkok on August 17. He was captured on CCTV footage placing the bag containing the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the shrine
From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 28, Two suspects in the explosion that killed 22 and injured 171 at the Hindu Erawan shrine in central Bangkok last month, re-enacted the crime on Saturday, reports the Bangkok Post.
Adem Karadag, 28, and Yusufu Mieraili, 25, the prime suspects in the explosion of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Hindu Erawan shrine on August 17, were secured by police and military during the re-enactment.
A team of metropolitan police, national police and soldiers that included explosive ordinance disposal officers, medical workers and sniffer dogs were deployed to the Ratchaprasong intersection and Hua Lamphong railway station to secure the crime scene for the re-enactment, reports the Bangkok Post.
Adem Karadag, 28, was the first of the two suspects to be arrested for his alleged involvement in the explosion at the Hindu shrine and the Sathon pier explosion the next day.
Adem Karadag reportedly placed the bag containing the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Erawan shrine on August 17.
He was arrested at his rented room in Bangkok's outlying Nong Chok district on August 29.
Bomb-making materials and forged Turkish passports were found in the room.
Yusufu Mieraili reportedly told police that he met Adem Karadag at Hua Lamphong railway station prior to the explosion at the Erawan shrine.
He allegedly detonated the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) from a mobile phone from the CentralWorld shopping centre located opposite the Erawan shrine.
Yusufu Mieraili was arrested in Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo on September 1.
The Bangkok Military Court approved 17 new arrest warrants for suspects allegedly involved in the deadly explosion at the Hindu Erawan shrine in central Bangkok last month.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand to chair the largest inter-governmental organisation of developing countries in the UN
Thai Foreign Ministery representative, Apichart Chinwanno, right, in New York at the United Nations 39th annual meeting of G-77 foreign ministers
From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 27: Thailand was endorsed as chair by the group of 77 developing nations (G-77) that includes China and the 11 member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), in New York on Friday despite calls to end martial law in Thailand, reports the Bangkok Post.
Thai Foreign Ministery representative, Apichart Chinwanno, said that Thailand was endorsed because "Thailand gave its assurance that it would play a leading role in promoting cooperation among developing countries".
He said that the endorsement by the group of 77 developing nations (G-77) at the United Nations 39th annual meeting of G-77 foreign ministers "reflects the international community's confidence and trust in Thailand".
"Thailand is ready to serve as a 'bridge-builder' within the 77 developing nations group and with other UN member nations," he said.
He also said that Thailands role in G-77 will benefit the Thai bid for a seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member.
"If we are successful in the chairman role in G-77 and show that we have the potential to protect the group's interests, it will definitely benefit our bid for the UNSC seat," said Thai Foreign Ministery representative, Apichart Chinwanno.
The Group of 77 (G-77) that was established on 15 June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries” is the largest inter-governmental organisation of developing countries in the UN.
The Southeast Asian Times

China to establish a national carbon emissions market
China President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive in the United States on Tuesday for a state visit
From News Reports:
Washington, September 26: President Xi Jinping announced yesterday that China will establish a national carbon emissions market in 2017 as part of a joint climate change agreement with the United States, reports Rueters.
The joint climate change agreement, announced in Washington yesterday by China President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama, includes a national carbon cap-and-trade system that will reportedly "build momentum towards a global climate change pact in Paris later this year".
More than two hundred countries are expected to sign a "global climate change pact" in Paris that would replace the Kyoto protocol, a legally binding treaty on reducing carbon emissions, signed in 1997.
The joint climate change agreement reportedly also builds on the announcement made in Beijing last November by China President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama to set targets to reduce gas emissions with President Barack Obama pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025.
President Xi Jinping said that the 2017 establishment of the national carbon emmissions market "would help meet China's goal of reducing emissions after emissions peak in 2030.
He said that the national carbon emissions market will cover key sectors including power generation, iron and steel, chemicals and cement.
Both President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama reportedly committed to control emissions from heavy trucks and to "cooperate on building efficiency and appliance standards" under the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group (CCWG), the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center and the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippine navy deployed to rescue tourists abducted from Samal Island
CCTV footage shows the tourists that were abducted by unidentified gunmen at the marina on Samal Island southeast of Davao on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines
From News Reports:
Manila, September 25: The Philippine navy has been deployed to Samal Island, a tourist resort island in the southern Philippines, in an effort to intercept the gunmen who abducted Norwegian manager of the Oceanview resort on the island, two Canadians tourists and a Filipino woman at gunpoint on Tuesday.
Norwegian, Kjartan Sekkingstad, Canadians, John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50, and Filipino woman identified as Tess were forced at gunpoint to leave the resort island with the unidentified gunmen in a speedboat.
John Ridsdel, 68, is reportedly the president of mining company TVI Minerals Processing based in the Philippines.
Philippines Army (PA) of the Armed Forces of the Phillipines (AFP), Captain Alberto Cailo Caber said that the Philippine navy was deployed to stop the gunmen and their captives from reaching Basilan Island believed to be a Abu Sayyaf militant "stronghold".
Ground units were also deployed to locate possible landing sites in southeastern Mindanao.
Abu Sayyaf was declared a "terrorist group" by the Basilan Island court under the Human Security Act earlier this month.
Captain Alberto Cailo Caber said there were about 30 foreign tourists at the Oceanview resort when the gunmen "stormed" the Island
"Their captives were not taken at random,” he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thai PM stops new gold mining permits for twelve provinces
From News Reports:
Bangkok, September 24: Thai Prime Minister, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, military commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) told farmers from provinces targeted for gold exploration that no new mining permits would be issued "until all problems are dealt with", reports the Bangkok Post.
"If the problems cannot be solved the mines would remain closed, said Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The decision not to issue mining exploration permits for Phichit, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, Lop Buri, Loei, Nakhon Sawan, Saraburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Surat Thani, Sa Kaew and Satun provinces follows the march by about 500 farmers on Government House on Tuesday.
Farmers from the 12 provinces demanded in a letter signed by 27,522 that the government cancel its policy of granting a Special Prospecting Licences (SPLs) to the twelve provinces in order to "boost gold mining".
The farmers demand that the government stop the issuance of new mining permits including the current 107 gold mining applications and not renew the existing 33 gold concession licences and 65 special prospecting licences that have been issued for 12 provinces.
Spokeswoman for the villagers, Dr Arom Kamching, says that gold mining conessions are unjustified because "mining causes pollution
deforestation, contaminates the environment and poisons villager with heavy metal and cyanide".
"We do not want new concessions to be granted while existing problems are left unsolved", she said.

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


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