SOUTHEAST ASIA AND OCEANIA
Learn about the recent developments in the Southeast Asia and Oceania regions. Our writers Euan McArdle and Ayako Ohara produce weekly. Our section editor is Jasmine Arielle Ting.
While the U.S. is currently battling Hurricane Florence, Southeast Asia faces a natural threat of its own: Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which stormed through the Philippines over the weekend and claimed dozens of lives in its deadly path.
On Sept. 3, 2018, two Malaysian women were caned for having sexual intercourse in a car, placing Malaysia’s ultraconservative anti-LGBTQ laws in the global spotlight. The harsh sentence passed down by the Islamic courts was roundly condemned by many human rights groups such as Amnesty International, who called it “a terrible day for human rights”. In the remarks, the judge added that the caning was “a lesson and reminder … [to] the members of society”.
On Sunday, April 28, over 1,000 people in the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai publicly protested against a luxury housing development on forested land.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Sunday that the ban on Filipino workers from going to Kuwait is now permanent, intensifying diplomatic tensions between the Southeast Asian country and the oil-rich Persian Gulf nation.
Last Thursday, a senior Myanmar minister expressed his concerns over the “very poor conditions” of Rohingya refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, insisting that the upcoming monsoon season should be the catalyst for the repatriation of the country’s beleaguered Muslim minority.
Indonesia’s largest sulfur mine is rapidly transforming into a tourist destination with many miners quitting their jobs to become tour guides. However, international attention is quickly shifting to the extreme working conditions experienced by the sulfur miners.
The United States is looking to send thousands of Vietnamese immigrants, most of whom are refugees, back to the communist-ruled country, despite the existence of a bilateral agreement between the two nations that protect many of them from deportation, according to the ex-US Ambassador to Vietnam.
The Australian television program 60 Minutes recently released a video showing appalling treatment of livestock that were exported from Fremantle, Australia and sent to Doha, Qatar.
With Prime Minister Najib Razak calling for the dissolution of parliament on Friday, the 14th Malaysian General Elections will have to take place within the next 60 days.
Last February, two Belarus nationals, Anastasia Vashukevich and Alexander Kirillov, were arrested in Pattaya, Thailand. Now, the two offer what they describe as evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, in exchange for asylum in the US.
A Singaporean parliamentary committee examining potential legislation to weed out “fake news” is coming under fire from activists who claim that the committee had misrepresented their views and threatened those who attempted to give evidence.
Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton recently came under fire for asserting that white farmers in South Africa “should be granted Australian emergency visas” when asked about the current debate over land redistribution in South Africa.
Under the false pretence of helping Filipino workers achieve the American dream, human traffickers have been sending them to other countries such as Russia and Turkey, where they are exploited for manual labor, according to Jalilo Dela Torre, the top representative of the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment in Hong Kong.
Last weekend, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australian Special Summit was held in Sydney. It was the first ever ASEAN Summit in Australia. Before the summit, many Australians took to the streets to protest the Australian government for hosting it
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared his intent to withdraw the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC), subsequent to his accused partaking in a controversial era of violence, drug scandals, and hushed corruption by the international community.
Wearing a black clerical collar, Cardinal George Pell attended the first day of a four week long court hearing to test the strength of the prosecution’s case made against him. Last June, Pell was charged with the sexual abuse of multiple people in his home state of Victoria in Australia. So far, he is the most senior official in the Vatican to be charged with sexual abuse.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen accused the United States on Saturday of being dishonest in their announcement of aid cuts to the Southeast Asian nation, claiming that Cambodia has not received such financial assistance since 2016.
the only ways to escape poverty. While the sport of choice in the United States is football, Thailand’s national sport is Muay Thai.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have now settled into various camps and communities in Bangladesh after being dislocated by Myanmar security forces.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will receive a ceremonial welcome from United States President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump on Friday, during his official visit in the US. Turnbull is leading a large delegation with chief ministers and premiers, as well as business leaders. According to news.com.au, the ceremony will be “the most significant honor bestowed on an Australian PM since John Howard visited in 2006.” Although Trump is largely unpopular in Australia, as an expert in the United States Studies Center located in Australia indicates, it is a great opportunity for Turnbull to improve economic ties between the two countries.
In the last two decades, Indonesia has been able to maintain an environment of relative coexistence among its various ethnic and religious groups. However, attacks in recent years with religious motivations are hinting towards an increase in sectarianism.
On Monday, Filipino citizens were barred from traveling to Kuwait for employment. This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte angrily condemned the Kuwaiti government for excusing the abuse of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), specifically Filipino domestic workers.
On Friday, February 9, U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed his intent to nominate Harry B. Harris Jr., the Commander of the United States Pacific Command, as American Ambassador to Australia.
For the first time in history, a team of Nepali scientists are surveying the height of Mount Everest. The height was officially recognized by the Nepali government as 29,029ft above sea level, which was calculated in 1950.
On Sunday, Nathan Ruser, a 20 year-old Australian student at Australian National University, found a new security flaw in global military outposts through the fitness app Strava.
The last few years’ rise in Islamic Terrorism in Southeast Asia has prompted six ASEAN members to launch a collaborative intelligence pact as of January 25th. Named “Our Eyes”—in reference to the Anglospheres Five Eyes pact— is being hailed as a means to counter the rise of radicalism in the region.
Fifty-eight refugees are being relocated to the United States from a detention center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. As part of the “Dumb Deal” according to US President Donald Trump, they are the second group of refugees admitted into the US.
On Tuesday, the Myanmar government and the Bangladesh government agreed on a repatriation timeframe to return 1,500 refugees every week. Bangladesh hopes to return all of the refugees in two years. However, it will take ten years with this quota.
As announced last Sunday, Malaysia’s longest serving Minister Mahathir Mohamad intends to run in the elections once again, accompanied by the potential deputy Anwar Ibrahim. The two previous rivals are forming an opposition coalition against the current Prime Minister Najib Razak. A topic of much controversy, this recent Malaysian political development is a peculiar source of discussion for several reasons.