The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Monday, 1 September 2014
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.
 

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


'Islam is not a state,' says author of book published for Indonesian high school students

From News Reports:
Jakarta, May 3: The book titled, 24 Weeks to a Civic Example: A Muslim Student’s Agenda, that was launched by pro pluralism organisation, the Maarif Institute, in Indonesia last month, encourages the idea that being religious is synonymous with being a good citizen, reports the Jakarta Post.
"Being a good Muslim is analogous to exemplary civic conduct but one should not conflate Islam with the state," said co-author Bambang Q. Anees, philosophy at the Bandung State Islamic University (UIN).
He warned of the dangers of religious instruction that he said must be addressed in the national curriculum.
“The current Islamic studies curriculum needs to be revised", he said.
He said that Muslims have been brought up to think that Islam is all about the history of Muslim wars and
nationhood.
"This belief translates into the belief that Islam is a state,” said the co-author at the launch of the book at the Muhammadiyah Center of Study in Menteng, Jakarta.
The Southeast Asian Times


Indonesia votes for new parliament and new president

From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 10:
Indonesians voted for a new parliament yesterday in a poll that will decide who will run for president in the presidential elections scheduled for July 9, reports the Jakarta Post.
About 75 percent of the more than reportedly 186 million registered voters caste their vote for almost 236,000 candidates in about 500,000 polling stations yesterday.
A party or coalition requires 112 of the 560 seats in the lower house of parliament to nominate a candidate for the presidency
The Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) is the only party out of 12 parties nationawide seen as having a chance of achieving this result without forming a coalition, reports the Jakarta Post.
The PDI-P has been ahead in the opinion polls and reportedly extended its lead with the nomination of Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo, 52, known as "Jokowi".
PDI-I had almost 20 percent of the reportedly 30 percent of votes counted at 2,000 polling stations yesterday or almost 20 percent of about 50 percent of total votes counted.
The official results of the legislative elections are not expected to be announced until 9 May.
The Southeast Asian Times

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Thai military order Pattaya police to clean up "Sin City"
The Pattaya City Police plan to arrest 100 sex workers a night including transgenders or "ladyboys" in an effort to "clean up" the tourist resort
From News Reports;
Bangkok Post, September 2: Pattaya police began a "clean up" of tourist beaches and "vice spots" last week in an effort to "shake off'" Pattaya's "Sin City" image, reports the Bangkok Post.
Pol Col Suppatee Boonkrong, deputy commander of Chon Buri Provincial Police and head of the Pattaya police said that he intended to eradicate prostitution in Pattaya.
The deputy commander of Chon Buri Provincial Police took over as head of the Pattaya city police two weeks after the declaration of martial law by the Commander of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22.
Martial Law was imposed under the 1914 Martial Law Act, reportedly giving the military authority to intervene during times of crises, including the imposition of a night curfew throughout Thailand and at the popular tourist beach resort of Pattaya.
The curfew has since been lifted.
“I want to completely change the image of Pattaya from "Sin City" to a friendly town that everyone can enjoy,” says Pol Col Suppatee.
He said that there were not enough police officers to tackle street prostitution in Pattaya and that police had called on volunteers to help in "night-time sweeps".
"The volunteers have no powers of arrest but can help to gather evidence by taking videos", says Pol Col Suppatee.
Thitiyanun “Doi” Nakpor, of the Sisters health counselling centre for transgenders in Pattaya said that police were targeting "ladyboy" sex workers.
She said that she had visited "ladyboys" in police custody and claims that police have set an arrest target of 100 sex workers a night, reports the bangkok post.
Pattaya City deputy mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said that police had attempted to stop vendors from breaking the rules on the use of Pattaya beaches.
The beach laws on operating hours and the amount of space allocated on the beach for beach chair and umbrellor vendors and that inlcudes the prohibition of cooking on Pattaya beaches came into effect in 2000.
Pattaya City deputy mayor said that there are 216 operators on Pattaya beach and 467 operators on Jomtien beach and none of them follow the rules.
"I have sent inspection teams to measure the deckchair plots and warn the operators of the rules along the 2.7km stretch of Pattaya's beach", he said
He said that the vendors would not co operate with the town council officials until he threatened to call the Thai military.
“I told the town council officials to tell the operators that if they don't follow the rules the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will take care of the problem,” said the Pattaya City deputy major.
The Southeast Asian Times

Police arrest Voluntary Patrol Unit in Merdeka parade
Police ordered the entire Voluntary Police Unit or Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (PPS) to surrender or face arrest yesterday as they marched in uniform at the annual Merdeka Day parade that commemorates the independence of the Federation of Malaya
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, September 1: Penang state police have arrested about 250 members of the alleged "outlawed" Voluntary Patrol Unit or Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (PPS) , a state government unit, at the annual Merdeka Day parade in Penang yesterday on orders of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Registrar of Societies (ROS) .
The Registrar of Societies (RoS), director general, Mohd Razin Abdullah, declared the Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) an "unregistered body" last week ahead of the Merdeka day parade and following the arrest of two unit members for the alleged assualt of a Penang businessman on August 18.
He said that Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) has violated Section 41 of the Societies Act 1966 by participating in the Merdeka parade as an "unregistered body".
The unit is an unlawful one', he said.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the state took full responsibility for the establishment of the Voluntary Patrol Unit or Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (PPS).
The unit is reportedly a volunteer patrol unit formed by the state government to patrol streets in each constituency of the state.
He said that the allegation that the Voluntary Patrol Unit or Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (PPS) is an "unregistered body" is not based in law.
He said that the Voluntary Patrol Unit or Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (PPS) members respect the law and were loyal to the country and the constitution of Malaysia.
"They will abide by the law", he said.
Police are investigating a report lodged by Penang businessman, Ong Eu Soon, 51 at the Farlim police station who claims that he was attacked by a group of Voluntary Patrol Unit or Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (PPS) members on August 18 at a Phor Thor Chinese temple dinner.
The businessman claims that unit members who were dressed in uniform beat him with a helmet.
The police have arrested two unit members, Yew Kuen and Chan Kwong following the alleged assualt on the businessman. Both men were released on bail until Monday, September 1.
Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament, Ramkarpal Singh Deo, claims that the two men did not attend the Phor Thor Chinese temple dinner as members of the Voluntary Patrol Unit or Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (PPS) but as Bukit Gelugor residents.
The Southeast Asian Times


Australia and Indonesia resume security co-operation
The signing of the Code of Conduct (CoC) , included in the existing 2006 Lombok Treaty, by Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa in Bali last week restored full defence co-operation, full co-operation on border security and intelligence co-operation between Australia and Indonesia
From News reports:
Denpasar, August 31: Defence, intelligence and border security co-operation resumed between Australia and Indonesia on the signing of the "joint understanding" of a code of conduct (CoC), part of the existing 2006 Lombok Treaty, by Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as witness, in Bali last week.
Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that a "joint understanding" of the Code of Conduct (CoC) would serve as a guideline for
regular communication between Australian and Indonesian intelligence agencies and institutions.
The Code of Conduct (CoC), an agreement between Australia and Indonesia on the framework for security cooperation - that was included in in the Lombock Treaty and that was signed in 2006 was suspended in November.
Indonesia suspended defence, intelligence and border security co-operation with Australia and recalled it's ambassador in Canberra following information provided by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that revealed that Australia had monitored the phone conversations of the Indonesian President, his wife and and eight Indonesian ministers and officials in 2009.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that the Code of Conduct (CoC) ensured intelligence co-operation between Indonesia and Australia.
“The basic message with the signing of this code of conduct is that we are back to where we have been,” he said.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the agreement will reinforce respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and provide a basis for enhanced intelligence cooperation.
“We both believe that a strong intelligence partnership is vital for both countries and is the most effective way of defeating those who want to harm the people of Australia and Indonesia,” she said.
The Southeastasian Times


Murder charges dismissed against former Thai PM
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 30: Charges of premediated and attempted murder of civilians in the 2010 Bangkok protests that were layed in May against former Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban were dismissed in the Thai criminal court on Thursday.
The court ruled that it did not have the authority to try members of the Thai parliament in a criminal court, reports the Bangkok Post.
Jurisdiction over the trial rests with the Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions at the Supreme Court, reports the Bangkok Post.
Former Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, who was also the director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) were charged with premediated and attempted murder of civilians between April 7 to May 19, 2010 during pro Thaksin
The Thai criminal court dismissed murder charges against former Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva on the grounds that it id not have jurisdiction to try the case. The Criminal Court ruled that jurisdiction over the trial rests with the Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions at the Supreme Court
Shinawatra or red shirts protests against the then Abhisit Vejjajiva or yellow shirt government.
Ninety-eight civilians were killed and others wounded during protests in Bangkok streets that included the pro Thaksin Shinawatra demand for the dissolution of the Abhisit Vejjajiva parliament.
The National Human rights Commission proposed in June 2010 that its chairman oversee a committee to investigate the violence at the Kok Wua intersection on April 10; the violence at the National Memorial, Don Muang, on April 28; the shooting of grenades from M79 launchers on Silom Road and the dispersal of red-shirt supporters on May 19.
In December 2010 special justice department investigators found that Thai troops under the Abhisit Vejjajiva government were probably responsible for the slaying of three people at Bangkok’s Wat Pathum Wanaram on
May 19.
Troops were also probably responsible for the death of Reuters Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto at the Khok Wua intersection on April 10, their preliminary report which has been sent to the police revealed.
Former Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban were charged with murder and attempted murder under sections 80, 83, 84 and 288 of the Criminal Code with premediated and attempted murder of civilians.
Both the former Prime Minister and his deputy have denied the charges and have submitted a petition to the court arguing that the Department of
Special Investigation (DSI) did not have the power to handle the investigation.
The Criminal Court dismissed the charges saying that the murder charges came under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions at the Supreme Court on the grounds that the former Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, had declared a state of emergency and ordered soldiers to retake the areas occupied by the pro Thaksin Shinawatra or red shirts protesters led by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).
The Southeast Asian Times


China calls for improvement in diplomatic relations with Vietnam
Standing member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Politburo official, Le Hong Anh and the President of China, Xi Jinping discuss bilateral relations in Beijing. "A neighbour cannot move away, it is in our best interests that both China and Vietnam get on with each other", Chinese President Xi Jinping said.
From News Reports:
Beijing, August 29: The President of China, Xi Jinping, called for a joint effort by China and Vietnam for the improvement of diplomatic relations at a meeting in Beijing this week attended by standing member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Politburo official, Le Hong Anh, reports Xinhua.
The call for the improvement of diplomatic relations follows the rift caused by the deployment of China's National Offshore Oil Corporation's oil rig, Haiyang Shiyou 98, to the Paracel Islands in May.
The meeting between Vietnamese and Chinese Communist party officials in Beijing this week follows the meeting in Hanoi in June between Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and China State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who co- chaired the seventh annual China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and where both disagreed with the other's claim of sovereignity over the Paracel Islands.
China State Councilor Yang Jiechi said in response to one of many requests made by Vietnam to China to remove the oil rig from Vietnamese waters that oil exploration underway in waters of the 'Xisha Islands' in China's South China Sea was 'completely legal'.
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said in June that China's exploratory drilling in Vietnam's Hoang Sa was in violation of international law.
Hundreds of companies, mostly Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean were vandalised and set ablaze in May outside HCMCity by workers protesting against the deployment of the Chinese oil rig off the Danang coast in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.
The standing member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Politburo official, Le Hong Anh attended the high level meeting this week at the invitation of the Central Committtee of the Communist Party of China and as the 'special envoy' of the General secretary of the Communist party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong.
"The attendence by the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Politburo official, Le Hong Anh at this high level meeting as the special envoy of the General Secretry of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, shows Vietnam's willingness to improve bilateral relations", said China president, Xi Jinping,
The meeting ended with agreement by China and Vietnam to seek "lasting solutions" for border disputes including joint exploration of the South China Sea.
The Southeast Asian Times

Japanese father of Thai surrogate babies wants to take them to Japan
Shigeta Mitsutoki, 24, used his Japanese passport and a Cambodian passport to travel in and out of Thailand 66 times in two years, fled Thailand following the discovery of the surrogate babies in a raid on his Bangkok condominium and on the vetro fertility clinic believed to have provided the Japanese national with in vetro fertility services, wants to take the "surrogate babies" to Japan. The Japanese nation is believed to be in japan
From News Reports:
Bangkok, August 28: Japanese national, Shigeta Mitsutoki, 24, has asked the Lat Phrao police for permission to take the so called 'surrogate babies' that he fathered and that were discovered in a raid on his condominium in the Bang Kapi district of Bangkok earlier this month, back to Japan, reports the Bangkok Post.
Pol Col Pakphum Poolsirisopha said that the Japanese national had asked police for permission to take 15 surrogate babies back to Japan through his lawyer, Kong Suriyamonthon.
Pol Col Pakphum said that lawyer, Kong Suriyamonthon, had also asked the Thai police to question the Japanese national about alleged "commercial surrogacy" in Japan.
"This is under consideration", he said.
He said that an investigation into alleged "commercial surrogacy" between the surrogate mothers and the ALL IVF fertility clinic that was raided by police earlier this month is still underway.
The All IVF fertility clinic is believed to have provided Shigeta Mitsutoki with surrogate mothers and in vetro fertility services.
Six of 11 women who provided surrogacy services to the ALL IVF fertility clinic, are reportedly willing to testify.
The "Protection of Children Born as a Result of Assisted Reproductive Technologies bill", that was proposed earlier this month and that would ban "commercial surrogacy" and ensure that commissioning parents will be granted parental rights to the surrogate child instead of the surrogate mother includes an interim provision.
The interim provision allows the commissioning surrogate parents to petition the court to issue an order to provide them with parental rights for a surrogate child.
Under this provision, Shigeta Mitsutoki, 24, can claim parental rights over the surrogate child .
Under the proposed bill, commissioning parents can claim parental rights over the surrogate child whether the child is born from a donated sperm and the egg of the commissioning mother or from a donated egg and sperm of a commissioning father.
The proposed "Protection of Children Born as a Result of Assisted Reproductive Technologies bill", that aims to protect surrogate babies and introduce measures to hand down criminal charges against those who are involved in "commercial surrogacy" will be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for final endorsement.
The Southeast Asian Times

Hanoi sends special envoy to Beijing to settle sovereignty dispute
From News Reports:
Beijing, August 27: General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, has sent "a special envoy" to China to rebuild diplomatic ties following disagreement over claims of sovereignity over the Paracel Islands, sparked by the deployment of China's National Offshore Oil Corporation's oil rig, Haiyang Shiyou 98, to the Paracel Islands on May 1, reports the South China Morning Post.
The oil rig was reportedly scheduled to conduct oil exploration in the disputed waters until mid August but Xinhua reports that the oil rig was towed away from the Vietnam coast in July, ahead of the typhoon season.
Senior Vietnamese Communist Party Politburo official, Le Hong Anh is in Beijing on a two day visit at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, reports the South China Morning Post.
Standing member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Politburo official, Le Hong Anh, is in Beijing on a two day visit at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China following the Vietnam warning that it would take the dispute over sovereignty of the Paracel islands to the International Court of Justice.
Communist Party official, Le Hong Anh will meet with officials of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China as a "special envoy" of the secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, .
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences regional security analyst ,Zhang Jie, said that Beijing aimed to "improve party-to-party relations" with Vietnam to show it can maintain communication with Hanoi despite tensions over the dispute over sovereigny of the Paracel Islands, reports the South China Morning Post.
Relations between Beijing and Hanoi were challenged in May when China's National Offshore Oil Corporation's oil rig, Haiyang Shiyou 98, was deployed to the Paracel Islands - known as the Xisha Islands in China and Hoang Sa in Vietnam
The meeting between the Vietnamese and Chinese Communist party officials in China today follows the meeting in Hanoi in June between Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and China State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who co- chaired the seventh annual China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and where both disagreed with the other's claim of sovereignity over the Paracel Islands.
China State Councilor Yang Jiechi said in response to one of many requests made by Vietnam to China to remove the oil rig from Vietnamese waters that oil exploration underway in waters of the 'Xisha Islands' in China's South China Sea were 'completely legal'.
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that China's exploratory drilling in Vietnam's Hoang Sa was in violation of international law.
Hundreds of companies, mostly Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean were reportedly vandalised an set ablaze in May by protesters against the deployment of the Chinese oil rig off the Danang coast in Vietnam's exclusive econnomic zone.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thai Patriots Network arrested for marching in a group of more than five
Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkhwamkid and six other Thai Patriot Network members who were arrested on Sunday for defying martial law that bans public gatherings of more than five, are being detained at the Phaya Thai police station
From News reports:
Bangkok, August 26: A group of seven supporters for reforms in the energy sector including a ban on coal powered plants, were singled out for arrest from groups of less than five in a march from the Victory Monument towards Chatuchak Park on Sunday, reports the Bangkok Post.
The group of seven supporters, arrested at Soi Phanholyothin 2 before the march was completed, included Thai Patriots Network coordinator, Veera Somkwamkid.
The Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkhwamkid was released from Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh last month.
He was arrested with six other members of the Thai Patriots Network while inspecting the border near Sa Kaew province's Ban Nongchan on 29 December 2010.
The disputed border area in Ban Nong Chan village of Sa Kaeo in Khok Sung district is claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.
The members of the Thai Patriots Networks insist that the location they were inspecting is under Thai sovereignty.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Veera Somkhwamkid to eight years for espionage in jail in 2011.
The release of Veera Somkhwamkid follows a request from his wife, Pis-umphai, who asked National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Thai Commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha following the establishment of marshal law in May to help secure the release of her husband.
Acting Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) chief Pol Maj Gen Amnuay Nimmano said that the seven arrested had defied martial law which bans public gatherings of more than five people.
He said that police had warned the activists to stop the march.
The Thai military blocked advocates of energy reforms from marching from Hat yai district in Songkhla province to Bangkok last week and urged them to submit their demands to the National Reform Council instead of taking the issue to the streets.
The Southeast Asian Times


US nationals in detention in Bali
yet to be charged with murder
Bali police arrest Tommy Schaefer, 22, for the murder of Chicago woman, Sheila Von Wiese Mack, 62
From News Reports:
Jakarta, August 25: Bali police are yet to charge two US nationals arrested in Bali on 14 August for the murder of Chicago woman, Sheila Von Wiese Mack, 62, allegedly at a Bali five star hotel, reports the jakarta post.
Heather Mack, 19, daughter of the murdered woman and her boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer, 22 were arrested the day after the bloodied body of Sheila Von Wiese Mack was found in a suitcase in a taxi at the entrance of the St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua.
Police allege that Sheila Von Wiese Mack was bludgeoned to death with a heavy glass object by her daughter Heather and boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer at the hotel on 13 August where the three were registered guests.
Heather Mack and her boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer are on suicide watch at the Dempasar Police station.
They and have not been permitted to communicae with each other, despite repeated requests from Heather Mack.
Both maintain that "robbers" are responsible for the death of Sheila Von Wiese Mack.
Lawyer for the prosecution, Haposan Sihombing, says that he has failed to obtain a statement from either Heather Mack or her boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer.
"They said they were waiting for their US lawyer, Michael Elkin, to come to Bali", he said
Lawyer Haposan Sihombing said he had tried to persuade Heather Mack to tell him or the police what had "happened" at the St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua on the day that the bloodied body of her mother, Sheila Von Wiese Mack, was found in a suitcase.
He has reportedly advised Heather Mack that she could be charged with violating Article 338 on murder or Article 340 on premeditated murder, reports the Jakarta Post.
"Heather Mack keeps on saying that she is waiting for her lawyer,” Haposan said.
Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Albertus Julius Beny Mokalu said the legal process would continue without statements from the suspects.
"A suspect has the right to neither sign nor give any statement", he said.
He said that police have obtained evidence from witnesses, CCTV, fingerprints, blood and weapons.
“All of the evidence will talk at the trial,” he said.
The police chief reportedly said that police are yet to find a motive for the murder.
The US Federal bureau of Investigation (FBI) are working with the Bali Police in the investigation of the murder of the Chicago woman, Sheila Von Wiese Mack.

The Southeast Asian Times

Australia rejects call for investigation into oil spill
From News Reports:
Darwin, August 24: The Australian federal government has rejected Indonesia's call for an investigation into environmental dammage caused by the explosion on 21 August 2009 aboard the Atlas 3 oil rig in the Montara field, about 250 kilometres off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia and 100 kilometres from Timor.
The Australian associated press reports that the Indonesian Deputy Environment Minister Imam Hendargo Abu Ismoyo called on the Australian government to investigate the impact of the oil spill in East Timor Sea on fishermen following failed bids to negotiate for compensation with the company responsible.
Sixty-nine workers were evacuated from the oil rig owned by the Australian subsidiary of Thailand’s State-owned oil-and-gas company, PTT, after a blowout which spewed millions of oil into the Timor Sea and took more than two months to staunch.
Australian subsidiary of Thailand’s State-owned oil-and-gas company, PTT, admitted responsibility for the explosion and were fined about US$526,371 in the Darwin magistrate’s court in July 2012.
The charges against Thai PTTEP Australasia were made by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.
Three were governed by Clause 9(4) of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and the fourth by Section 569(1) which is designed to ensure that oil-field operations are conducted 'in a proper and workmanlike manner and accord with good oilfield practice.
The Centre for Energy and Environmental Studies, Jakarta, reported in July that the pollution which followed the explosion continues to cost the fishing villages of eastern Indonesia more than $1.5 billion each year.
The centre had found the oil and chemical dispersants were still affecting marine ecosystems and costing coastal communities, reported its director, Dr Mukhtasor.
The Australia and Indonesia government as well as Thai PTTEP Australasia, which commissioned the drilling, should be obliged to fund a full investigation and compensation, he said.
In Kupang, West Timor, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council Chief Scientist Dr Robert Spies said in July 2012 that the Timor Sea could be restored, but only with “serious attempts” from the Indonesia and Australia governments in coordination PTTEP Australasia.
The Southeast Asian Times

Court rejects claims of presidential election fraud
Constitutional Court presiding justice Hamdan Zoelva announced the courts rejection of the claims of election fraud made by presidential elect Prabowo Subianto to the court with a bang of the gavel on Thursday
From News Reports:
Jakarta. August 23: The Indonesian Constitutional Court rejected claims made by presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto that widespread election fraud at the July 9 presidential elections cost him victory, reports the Jakarta Post.
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa reportedly rejected the 2014 presidential election result claiming that the election process was flawed and marred by widespread fraud and accused the general Elections Commission (KPU) of abuse of authority
The General Election Commission (KPU) declared candidate pair Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla as president-elect and vice president-elect in a televised announcment on July 22.
Joko Widodo received 70,997,833 or 53.15 percent of the 133,574,277 total votes while Prabowo Subianto recieved 62,576,444 or 46.85 percent of the total votes.
Prabowo Subianto claimed that the election process was undemocratic and went against the 1945 Constitution despite the signing of the formal final result by all General Election Commissioners and both presidential candidate witnesses.
Prabowo campaign spokesperson, Tantowi Yahya said that losing presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa accepted the Constitutional Court’s verdict that rejected claims of alleged electoral fraud but believed that the evidence presented to the court was legitimate and proved widespread and systematic fraud within the electoral system.
“Even though the Coalition accepts the verdict, we insist that the decision does not reflect substantive justice nor truth in Indonesia,” Tantowi said in a press conference after the verdict.
A written statement signed by chairmen of the parties supporting the Prabowo-Hatta ticket, namely Aburizal Bakrie of Golkar, Anis Matta of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Gerindra Party deputy chairman Fadli Zon, Drajat Wibowo of the National Mandate Party (PAN), Suryadharma Ali of the United Development Party (PPP) and MS Kaban of the Crescent Star Party (PBB) stating their acceptance of the constitutional court ruling.
President-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said after the constitutional court verdict that he would begin preparing for the next cabinet immediately. "We need to do this immediately," Jokowi told reporters in Jakarta.
The Southeast Asian Times



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


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Copy of letter dated 29 May 2012 from Vietnam Womens Union to International Olympic Committee...open 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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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
Industry
established
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
flights

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