Asia News In Brief

13:04' 11-05-2017
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested renegotiating a crime repatriation agreement signed with the US 15 years ago.


    Call to renegotiate deportation agreement

    Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested renegotiating a crime repatriation agreement signed with the US 15 years ago.

    Under the agreement, Cambodians who are permanent residents in the US can be deported to Cambodia if they are convicted of a felony.

    Speaking during a university graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh on April 27, Mr Hun Sen said convicted felons of Cambodian background should be able continue to stay in the US after they served their prison sentences.

    He explained that his country does not want to cancel the deportation deal, but asked to amend it for “humanitarian and human rights reasons, and hoped the US government will accept the request.

    Since 2002, 550 convicted felons of Cambodian background have been expelled from the US. Many of them cannot even speak Cambodian.


    Beijing cleans up street businesses

    Hundreds of street businesses have been bulldozed in Beijing as part of a government clean-up. Like a similar campaign last month in Bangkok, businesses received about a month's warning.  Unlike the Bangkok campaign, they had no option to move elsewhere, and were not compensated.

    The demolition has been going on for some months in lesser known areas, but the latest work has begun in high-profile areas like the shopping district Sanlitun, an area popular with foreigners and wealthy young Chinese.

    Most are demolished for not having the correct commercial licenses. Oscar Hollande, editor of local magazine That's Beijing, says the move is also financial. “Small businesses and shops make about 30% of GDP of the city, but they’re only contributing 7.5% of the tax,” he says.


    Bun festival winners are repeat champions

    The island of Cheung Chau holds an annual race, in which contestants climb a tower made of buns, gathering as many as they can to score points. Buns on top of the tower are worth nine points, while those in the middle and lower sections count for three points and one point.

    Firefighter Jason Kwok Ka-ming, with a score of 927, won the men's division for the seventh time since 2005, while climbing instructor Angel Wong Ka-yan won the women’s title for the fifth time since 2010 with her score of 603.

    The race, starting at midnight on Thursday 27 April, was the closing highlight of the annual Cheung Chau bun festival. In 2011, the bun festival was listed by the Ministry of Culture as part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage.


    Family funeral for world's oldest man                   

    An Indonesian man, buried in the eastern part of the Java Central province a few weeks ago, is believed to have been 146 years old.

    Sodimejo, also known as Mbah Gotho, was born on December 31 1870 in Sragen, where he lived all his life. A small ceremony was carried out by his grandson Suryanto and other family members. His body was buried near the tomb of one of his daughters, who had died aged 60.

    If his identity documents are correct, Sodimejo was the longest-lived person in history, although this is not yet official.

    The Guinness World Records names French woman Jeanne Louise Calment as the longest-lived person in the world. She died in August 1997, at the age of 122 years and 164 days.

    The world's oldest living person at the moment is Jamaican woman Violet Brown, who was born on March 10 1900.

    Ahok found guilty of blasphemy

    Jakarta's Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, has been found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to a two-year jail term.

    Ahok was charged with blasphemy after he accused clerics of misleading voters, by saying Muslims were not allowed to vote for a Christian. He denied the charge, and said he had not criticised the Koran, only the way clerics were interpreting it.

    Prosecutors asked that he be given a suspended jail term, but the judges said he did it deliberately and did not show remorse. His lawyers will appeal.


    Japan wants to improve infrastructure in Asia

    The Japanese Government has offered the Asian Development Bank (ADB) ¥4.5 billion to improve regional infrastructure.

    Speaking at an annual meeting of the ADB in Yokohama on May 6, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said that the fund will be allocated over two years for infrastructure development and the application of new technology in Asia, including electricity cabling systems, renewable energy, intelligent transportation systems, smart cities and remote sensing technologies.

    Japan also worked towards a new bilateral currency swap agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), providing up to four trillion Yen (US$36 billion) to tackle difficulties in short-term liquidity in crisis.

    The deal was proposed during a meeting of the Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting of ASEAN and Japan on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the ADB.

    Kết quả hình ảnh cho “Vietnam Pieta” statue unveiled on Jeju Island



    “Vietnam Pieta” statue unveiled on Jeju Island

    A bronze statue named “Vietnam Pieta” was unveiled at the St. Francis Peace Centre on Jeju Island on April 26, as a sincere apology to Vietnamese people for what Korean soldiers did during wartime.

    Organised by the Korean-Vietnamese Peace Foundation, the inauguration ceremony attracted an audience of more than 100.

    Chairman of the foundation, Gang Woo-il, said that although the war in Vietnam came to an end 42 years ago, South Korea must uncover the truth about the massacres of innocent civilians by Korean soldiers who fought in the war.

    He added that South Korea needs to do penance and send an apology to the Vietnamese people.

    The statue of Vietnam Pieta depicts a woman embracing her baby, which is meant to comfort the souls of mothers and newborn babies killed in massacres by Korean soldiers.

    The sculptors Kim Seo Kyung and Kim Eun Sung created the statue with the aim of conveying sincere repentance to the Vietnamese people.

    Landslide win for “progressive” candidate

    Former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-In is the new President of South Korea, after winning more than 40% of the vote in elections on 9 May. He was runner up in the last presidential election, and is considered the “liberal” or “progressive” candidate. 

    Also in the running were Hong Jun-pyo, of the Liberty Korea Party, formerly called Saenuri under the leadership of disgraced former President Park Geun-Hye. Hong is sometimes called “Hong Trump” because of his strong-man image and offensive remarks about women.

    Ahn Cheol-soo, a businessman, was second in the pre-election polls. He is a tech guru who developed a computer virus program.

    Hong reached 25.2% and Ahn 21.5%, before Moon's win was conceded.

    For many South Korean voters corruption, slowing growth, unemployment, and even air pollution from China top the list of concerns. Unemployment among under-30s is now at a record 10%.


    Vietnam's PM visits Laos

    On April 26 Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc began his official visit to Laos at the invitation of his Lao counterpart Thoonglun Sisoulith.

    An official welcome ceremony for the Vietnamese leader was conducted solemnly at the Office of the Lao Prime Minister at 9.30 am.

    In the days leading up to the visit, Lao newspapers published numerous articles praising the Vietnam-Laos relationship, and stating firmly that PM Nguyen's visit will create a new momentum for the two nations to strengthen their ties.

    An article in the newspaper Pasaxon said the visit coincides with the two countries actively preparing for activities to mark the 55th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations and 40 years of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty on Amity and Cooperation. It also helps promote the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

    The newspaper Lao Phatthana reported that Vietnamese investment has greatly contributed to supporting Laos’ socio-economic development and creating jobs for locals. So far, 408 Vietnamese projects with a total investment capital of US$3.7 billion have been licensed in Laos.


    Scientists find metre-long clams

    Live specimens of the giant shipworm, a species of giant clam, have been discovered in the Philippines.

    Biologists knew of its existence for hundreds of years, but only from shell fragments and a handful of dead specimens. No one knew where it lived, until by chance a Philippines TV station broadcast a short documentary in 2010 about shellfish in a lagoon. The molluscs were growing out of the muck.

    A full-grown giant shipworm is more than a metre long, and heavy as a tree branch. The clam has a mouth and a small stomach, but its gills are very large. Bacteria live in the gills, and digest its food.

    The clam is also edible. Local divers were shown gathering the giant molluscs, which were then cut up and stir-fried.


    Bangkok Street Food Festival to be held in June

    The Tourism Authority of Thailand will organize Bangkok Street Food Festival in partnership with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in June.

    According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, it is discussing the plan to hold the event with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, as the Thai capital has been ranked by CNN as one of the top street food cities in the world.

    The festival will introduce street food along such major tourist streets in Bangkok as Yaowarat, Khao Sarn and Pratunam areas. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has not yet determined the exact location and the number of streets.

    Mr. Supasorn said that Thai tourism has improved and had better performance, as indicated from the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum which moved Thailand from the 35th to 34th rank this year.

    The country expects to go up the 25th rank in the future.


    Steel plant halted over pollution concerns

    Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has halted work at a $10 billion steel plant, over concern about its possible environmental impact, the South China Morning Post has reported.

    Steel maker Hoa Sen Group announced plans last year for the 1,700 hectare project, which could produce 16 million tonnes of steel a year.

    A year ago, a steel plant run by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Corp caused one of Vietnam’s worst environmental disasters when a toxic-waste spill polluted more than 200 km of coastline and killed more than 100 tonnes of fish.

    The Communist Party has increased scrutiny of investments since that incident, wishing to prevent another “Formosa incident”. In February, the government said it would not grant licenses to any projects with a high pollution risk. Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the environment ministry to revise rules and to intensify inspection and supervision of projects at the investment and construction stage.

    PM Nguyen requested related parties to clarify market demand and environmental impact, state-run Vietnam television (VTV)’s website said.

    Phung Nguyen and Span Hanna



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Keywords: a crime repatriation agreementbangkok street food festivalcambodian prime minister hun sen

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