Asia News In Brief

19:27' 18-08-2017
Cambodian newswire Fresh News reported on August 3 that Nhek Bunchhay, former Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Khmer National United Party, has been arrested for links with drug production in Kampong Speu province in 2007.

    Kết quả hình ảnh cho First avian flu outbreak in philippine



    Former Deputy PM arrested for drug links

    Cambodian newswire Fresh News reported on August 3 that Nhek Bunchhay, former Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Khmer National United Party, has been arrested for links with drug production in Kampong Speu province in 2007.

    The police made the arrest under an order from the court, said General Neth Savoeun, National Police Chief of Cambodia.

    In 2007, the police found materials for drug production in a raid on a major drug farm owned by Chea Chung, an advisor of Mr Nhek. According to witnesses, Mr Nhek regularly joined Chea Chung in visits to the farm.

    Chea Chung, two Chinese and one Thai national are currently being held in jail, charged with drug production.

    In June, King Norodom Sihamoni signed a decision to strip Mr Nhek of his Deputy PM position.

    If he is convicted, his party will be dispersed according to the newly revised law on political parties.


    Landmark deal on wartime sex slaves

    New Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono Taro Kono has expressed hope that a landmark agreement concluded with South Korea, on the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II, will be implemented steadily.

    “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's speech on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the agreement between Japan and Korea have expressed everything about this issue,” said Mr Kono. “I think it is a good idea to settle the deal steadily.”

    However, South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier said that people in his country did not accept the agreement signed between his predecessor Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Abe.

    Under the agreement, Japan has transferred one billion yen (approximately $9 million) to a fund to compensate the wartime sex slaves and their families. Mr Abe has also expressed regret and apology for the hurt the victims have felt. The two governments agreed that the issue would be “resolved irreversibly” if both sides fulfilled their obligations.


    K-pop stars hold peace concert

    Some of the biggest stars of K-pop music held a two-hour concert for peace on Saturday 12 August at Nuri Peace Park, less than 10 kilometres from the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas.

    The concert was attended by an estimated crowd of  25,000 mostly young South Koreans. Stars performing included Girls’ Generation, BTOB, Cosmic Girls, Mamamoo and Gfriend.

    This is the seventh time that the local government and the Korean national television network MBC have hosted the annual DMZ Peace Concert. The event commemorates National Liberation Day, a holiday common to both Koreas, that remembers the end of Japanese occupation in 1945.

    Some of the concert-goers were critical, complaining that the government has used the popular music genre to promote the political message of unification. However, many others said they appreciated the message of peace, and hoped the music could be heard over the border.


    Laos, Cambodia achieve solution to border issue

    Laos and Cambodia have agreed to pull back their troops from the border area between Attapu Province of Laos and Strung Treng Province of Cambodia.

    Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen concluded the

    agreement at a meeting on August 12 in Vientiane, Lao state-run news agency KPL reported.

    Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, the Lao PM said they agreed that the Lao side will withdraw the remaining troops in the disputed border area and Cambodia will stop building a road at that area.

    The two countries’ border committees and foreign ministries will continue to hold talks looking for solutions to border area issues where border stones have not yet been planted.

    The two leaders also concurred that they would continue creating incentives for discussion when problems arise.


    China helps launch $13bn rail project

    China and Malaysia have broken ground for a $13 billion rail project linking the east and west coasts of the Malayan Peninsula, Bangkok Post reports.

    The 688km East Coast Rail Link, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will connect the South China Sea at the Thai border in the east with the Straits of Malacca shipping routes in the west. The project is being built by China Communications Construction Co Ltd.

    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the rail link would significantly cut travel time to and from the east coast. The project will be 85% financed by a loan from China Exim Bank, and the rest from a bond programme managed by local investment banks.

    Security tightened ahead of Games

    On August 12 Malaysian police arrested 249 people in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur for causing a commotion, in a three-hour operation launched to crack down on crime ahead of the 29th South East Asian Games.

    Most of them were youngsters. They were nabbed after being reported disturbing the peace and threatening the safety of residents and tourists in the area.

    Weapons such as pocket knives, knuckle dusters and drugs were also seized from those arrested.

    Regional police chief Sukri Kaman said that the police force is working to tighten security in Kuala Lumpur ahead of SEA Games 29.


    First avian flu outbreak reported

    The first avian flu outbreak in the Philippines was reported on August 11 at a poultry farm in Pampanga Province on Luzon island.

    At least 38,000 chickens have died of avian influenza Type A Subtype H5 in the town of San Luis, north of Manila, said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol.

    He added that about 400,000 poultry would be culled within one kilometre of the outbreak to prevent the spread of the disease. It would also be forbidden to transport poultry from Luzon to other parts of the country.

    There has been no case of human transmission so far in the province, the secretary said.

    Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the Department of Agriculture was seeking the cause of the outbreak, and warned the community to take flu precautions, and visit doctors or hospitals if they had flu symptoms for more than three days or felt weak.


    Stem cell research to be presented at forum

    A Thai pediatrician will present her stem cell research at the annual forum of the International Society for Cellular Therapy.

    Dr. Waratsaya Fongsarun, who specialises in paediatric haematology and oncology, conducted a study commissioned by Thai StemLife Company Limited, a private stem cell provider. Her research explores factors affecting stem cell collection in the blood stream and the use of stem cells to treat knee deterioration.

    The study marked a milestone in stem cell development in Thailand. Stem cells are currently being used to treat blood diseases, with research being carried out for other illnesses.

    The Thai Ministry of Public Health will introduce a stem cell bill to protect consumers and promote local research in the future.


    Culinary students win study trip to Australia

    Two Vietnamese students of cooking have won Austrade’s Taste of Australia culinary competition, giving them an opportunity to study and develop their skills further at Torrens University, a private university with locations in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

    In April 2017, Nguyen Phuong Dieu and Nguyen Hong Quan defeated other competitors in three rounds: a skills test, a mystery box challenge and a replication test.

    As a result, they will enjoy a week-long itinerary of cultural activities including tours of Sydney, the Blue Mountains and culinary learning sessions with Australian culinary master, Jason Hannah, and sessions in practical kitchen skills at the William Blue College’s award-winning student training restaurant in The Rocks at Sydney.

    Taste of Australia was created in 2016 by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) in conjunction with a number of industry partners. The competition and trip is designed to introduce more Australia food and beverage techniques and products to consumers and industry in Vietnam, and to foster closer cross-cultural connections between the two nations.

    Phung Nguyen and Span Hanna




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