Asian News in Brief - 9/11/2016

17:14' 17-11-2016
The holiday was established to celebrate the anniversary of Cambodias independence from France.

    Students hold balloons as they walk past the Independence Monument during celebrations marking the 62nd anniversary of the country's independence from France in central Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Samrang Pring - RTS631R


    Cambodia celebrates Independence Day        
    Cambodia celebrates Independence Day on 9 November.
    The holiday was established to celebrate the anniversary of Cambodia's independence from France.
    From 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France and a virtual colony by the 20th Century. Seeing that the French control was affected by World War II,  Prince Sihanouk declared independence from France in March 1945. France regained control of the region after the war, but the Prince's move had sparked a desire for independence. In 1953 France agreed to grant full independence to Cambodia, and this was achieved on 9 November 1953.
    Cambodian Independence Day is celebrated with festivals, parades, and firework displays. The main celebrations are held in the capital Phnom Penh, beginning with a formal ceremony at the Independence Monument, at the junction of the Preah Norodom and Preah Sihanouk Boulevards.
    This is followed by a gala parade, featuring colourful floats and marching bands.
    In the evening, the Royal Palace and other buildings are illuminated, and a huge fireworks display takes place near the riverbanks of the Royal Palace.

    Former PM Pen Sovann dies aged 80
    The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) reports that the former Prime Minister and current opposition lawmaker, Pen Sovann, died at his home in Takeo province on Saturday 29 October at the age of 80 due to illness.
    Mr. Pen Sovann suffered a stroke in January last year. He was the Prime Minister of Cambodia for six months in 1981, after the fall of the Democratic Kampuchea in 1979.

    Roosters given blinkers to stop fights
    About 400 roosters have been fitted with blinkers at a farm in northeast China to stop them fighting and killing each other. Blinkers are usually worn by horses to block vision from the sides of their eyes.
    This step has been taken at an orchard in Helong village in Liaoning province, reported.  The owner of the farm, Li Deyang, hopes the blinkers,  by restricting the birds’ vision, will curb aggression and cut the number of animals killed in fights. The blinkers are in various sizes, so each rooster can have different pairs as they grow. The farmer said there was no need to put blinkers on hens as they seldom fought with each other.
    Neighbours joked that the roosters appeared “cultivated” and intelligent, as they look like they are wearing glasses. People have driven from nearby villages to get a sight of the blinkered poultry.

    Fall in yuan little help for exporters
    A 10% fall in the yuan against the US dollar over the past 15 months has done little to boost sales of Chinese goods abroad, Sidney Leng reports in South China Morning Post.
    Since the People’s Bank of China devalued the yuan by 1.9% last August, the currency recently hit a low of 6.77 yuan to the dollar. But Chinese exports, in dollar terms, shrank 7.5% in the first nine months to US$1.5 trillion.
    Chinese exporters at the China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou said they were hoping for stronger offshore demand and better products. A dozen Chinese exporters said they were more concerned about economic conditions overseas. Darren Xiao, a sales consultant with furniture maker Oppein Home, said “economic conditions in importing countries” would determine business.
    Overseas buyers at the fair said China was losing its low-cost advantages. Stanislav Koroed, a Russian buyer of lighting products, said some Chinese products were more advanced but it was increasingly cheaper to make things in Russia. Another problem was the range of products at the fair. Craig Hicks, an Australian distributor of audio and video equipment, said he failed to find “a single new product” at the fair.
    The yuan has performed better against many other currencies than against the dollar.

    Japan’s newest destroyer launched
    On October 19, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) launched its newest destroyer, Asahi, at a shipyard in Nagasaki, southwestern Japan.
    About 1,300 people, including Japanese Deputy Defence Minister Kenji Wakamiyam, attended the launching ceremony.
    The destroyer is MSDF’s first ship combining gas turbine engines with an electric propulsion system to increase fuel efficiency. The ship is also equipped with a new navigation and target detection system and has anti-submarine capabilities.
    It is built by Mitsubishi heavy industries group, with a tonnage of 5,200 tons, 151 meters in length and 18.3 meters in width, at a cost of around 76 billion yen (approximately US$732 million).

    Japan appoints new Ambassador to Vietnam
    According to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Tokyo, in a cabinet meeting on 21 October, the Japanese Government appointed Mr. Umeda Kunio, former Japanese Ambassador to Brazil, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Vietnam.
    Mr. Umeda Kunio, 62, was born in Hiroshima and graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Kyoto, in 1978. He has held various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Head of Department of South Asia and Director General of the Department of International Cooperation.
    In January 2014, Mr. Umeda Kunio was appointed as Ambassador of Japan to Brazil. He will replace Mr. Fukada Hiroshi, former Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam, whose term in office has just ended.

    Coast Guard fires on Chinese fishing boats

    South Korea's Coast Guard central regional headquarters said an M60 machine gun was fired into the sky to seize two Chinese fishing boats. This is the first time weapons have been used in such an operation. The boats were were working illegally off the western port city of Incheon.
    No Chinese fishermen were harmed and nothing was damaged, an official source said. The gun was fired because the fishing boats tried to flee.
    South Korea has been taking tougher measures against illegal fishing, following the sinking of one of its patrol boats last month. In early October, a Coast Guard speedboat was rear-ended and sank while it was carrying out an operation against Chinese vessels poaching in the Yellow Sea.

    Virtual tools explore “Plain of Jars”

    Combining drone technology and virtual reality tools, archaeologists from Monash University and the Australian National University have created a 3D virtual reality model of the Plain of Jars in the Phonsavan region of Laos.
    The area, one of Asia's strangest archaeological sites, is so called because around 2500 ancient giant stone jars are scattered over hundreds of square kilometres. Nobody knows which civilisation created them, although they are thought to date from about 500 BC to 200 AD.
    Phonsavan was bombed heavily in the wars of the 1960s, leaving many unexploded bombs, so it is a dangerous area to explore physically. Only seven of over eighty known jar sites have been cleared. Even those are marked only by “easily missed red-and-white marker stones”, according to Lonely Planet.
    The collaborative virtual reality effort, led by archaeologists Dr Louise Shewan from Monash University, and Dr Dougald O’Reilly of ANU, will now allow important archaeological field work to continue from a safe distance. Dr O’Reilly says the technology, called CAVE2TM, brings together drone footage, ground penetrating radar data and digital imagery.
    The five-year archaeological project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Projects grant. The team comprises Australian, Lao, Polish and New Zealand researchers.

    Myanmar to hold by-election of the parliament in April  next year

    Myanmar's Union Election Commission (UEC) has announced a by-election of the parliament on April 1 next year.
    In the by-election, 18 vacant seats will be filled, including 9 in the House of Representatives (Lower House), 3 in the House of Nationalities (Upper House) and 6 in state parliaments.
    The vacant seats were produced because there were some constituencies which failed to hold polls for the general election in November 2015. Other parliamentary seats were left empty after parliament members were appointed as government cabinet ministers.
    According to the time table published by the UEC, forms will be issued to overseas voters between November 15 and December 15, and the date for submission of names of candidates will be between November 28 and December 7.
    The campaign period will be from January 30 to March 30, 2017. The election result will be announced within the next four days following the by-election.

    25 arrests for acts of “lese majeste”

    Twentyfive people have been arrested for “lese majeste” - offending or insulting the royal family - since His Majesty King Bhumibol passed away. Deputy police spokesman Piyaphan Pingmuang said police are tracking down other suspects, some of whom allegedly distributed offensive content through social media.
    Pol Maj Gen Piyaphan said lese majeste cases stood at 167 before Oct 13. Most concern messages posted online which breach Section 112 of the Criminal Code, better known as the lese majeste law.
    In one incident, a 55-year-old woman, reportedly suffered from a mental illness, was slapped in the face on a public bus, after she made insulting comments about the monarchy. In another incident, a man in Chon Buri was beaten and forced to bow down in front of a portrait of the King after posting an inappropriate message concerning the King.
    In a bizarre case, a student at a vocational school opened a Facebook page in the name of his girlfriend's stepmother, and used this page to post insulting messages. The girlfriend told police she had asked her boyfriend to create the page and post the messages so people would think they came from her stepmother.



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