North Korea says no to Human Rights agreements, HK Seeks more security, and more

Kim Jong-un says no to human rights agreements and some in Hong Kong seek greater security controls. Plus some Thais say it’s not the right time for elections and the Islamic State is detected in West Java.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kim Jong-un says no to human rights agreements and some in Hong Kong seek greater security controls. Plus some Thais say it’s not the right time for elections and the Islamic State is detected in West Java.

North Korea Abandons Human Rights Agreements

A North Korean diplomat, wishing to remain anonymous, said Pyongyang will no longer honor its international human rights agreements.

Tougher Security in Hong Kong Sought

Two Hong Kong delegates to China’s parliament are seeking to implement more stringent security laws in the wake of the pro-democracy protests which paralyzed the city for nearly two months.

Thailand isn’t ready

Over a three day period, Master Poll surveyed 659 people in Thailand, and more than two-thirds said that the nation wasn’t ready for elections. Only 28% felt the government had a handle on the situation and the nation could support a general election.

IS Detected in West Java

The Sukabumi Military District Command in West Java suspects ISIS is recruiting members in the area. “According to our intelligence reports, there are several groups, which are believed to have recruited and disseminated ISIS view here, and we are closely monitoring their existence,” Sukabumi Military District Commander Lt. Col. Sarifudin told Antara news.

Keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send an email to the show with your comments, questions, and feedback. Just drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

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Aceh reacts to Abbott, new Comfort Women suit, former Maldivian President arrested, and HK police snap bad photo

Residents in Aceh, Indonesia are insulted by Australia’s Prime Minister and more than 2,000 sue the Asahi Shimbun for tainting Japan’s honor. Plus Police in the Maldives arrest the former President and Hong Kong police aren’t smiling after a bad photo.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Residents in Aceh, Indonesia are insulted by Australia’s Prime Minister and more than 2,000 sue the Asahi Shimbun for tainting Japan’s honor. Plus Police in the Maldives arrest the former President and Hong Kong police aren’t smiling after a bad photo.

Aceh Residents Collect Funds to “Repay” Australia

Last week Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged Indonesia to remember the 2004 Aceh tsunami, saying Australia would feel “grievously let down” if executions of two Australian nationals proceeded despite the financial assistance his country offered after the disaster.

The residents of Aceh also didn’t take too kindly to the Australian PM linking tsunami aid to the pending executions, and decided to do something about it.

Asahi Shimbun Sued Over Comfort Women Stories

This past August, the Asahi Shimbun retracted a number of articles it published about Japan’s sexual enslavement of women during World War II. The articles were based on information provided by Seiji Yoshida. While his statements were long proven false, it wasn’t until 2014 the paper retracted them and apologized.

To those in Japan’s right wing, revisionist circles, the retractions vindicated their claims that there was no organized recruitment or coercion. Last week, a group of 2,100 plaintiffs, including Japanese nationals living abroad in the United States, filed a class action suit in the Tokyo District Court.

Maldivian Police Arrest Former President

Police in the Maldives have arrested former President Mohamed Nasheed, accusing the former leader of illegally detaining a senior judge more than three years ago while in office. He was arrested in his home Sunday as hundreds of his supporters clashed with police, who used tear gas to keep them at bay.

Hong Kong Police Take a Bad Photo

Members of Hong Kong’s Police Tactical Unit may not be smiling for much longer. About a dozen officers posed for at least a pair of photos that once posted on-line, went viral. The images depicted the officers holding an assortment of firearms under banners that read “Full of happiness in the Year of the Goat” and “Disperse or we will fire” – an apparent jab at the Umbrella Movement.

Keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send an email to the show with your comments, questions, and feedback. Just drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

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City investigates new sinkhole, FTA expected to be signed, PM pledges to improve inter-Korean ties, and Kim Jong-un invited to Bandung

The Korea Times Podcast

Today on The Korea Times Podcast: Seoul officials investigate why two people fell through a sidewalk and South Korea and China look to ink their FTA this week. Plus New Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo promises to improve inter-Korean relations and Kim Jong-un gets an invite to the Asian-African Conference.

Is China a bully, can Abe complete his reforms, will democracy return to Thailand and more

Is Asia’s alpha dog China? Shinzo Abe pushes reform in Japan, but at what price? And will democracy ever come to Thailand? These stories and more are on the February 20th edition of Asia News Weekly.

Is Asia’s alpha dog China? Shinzo Abe pushes reform in Japan, but at what price? And will democracy ever come to Thailand? These stories and more are on the February 20th edition of Asia News Weekly.

China: Asia’s Alpha Dog?

As we come to the tail end of the Chinese, or Lunar New Year, hundreds of millions of Chinese travelers are returning from visiting family, friends, and other locations around the globe. However, leading up to the holiday the archipelago accused a Chinese Coast Guard vessel of ramming three fishing boats near the Scarborough Shoal.

Is China bullying small, ASEAN nations in the South China Sea, as some have suggested? It’s the question I put to Mark Cozad, Senior Defense Policy Analyst with the RAND Corporation.

Japan’s Abe Promises Reform

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used a snap election to justify is vision for the country. In his first speech since reorganizing his cabinet following that event, Abe announced he wanted to implement a number of reforms.

“A rocky road lies ahead of all of these goals — the greatest reform effort since the end of the war,” Abe said before continuing, “However, we must undauntedly make progress in carrying out these reforms.” Returning to the podcast is Michael Cucek, Adjunct Fellow at the Institute for Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, to shed a little light on Abe’s plans.

Will Democracy Return to Thailand?

Thailand was riddled by protests in 2014. Clashes between competing Red and Yellow Shirt supports ultimately prompted then General Prayuth Chan-o-cha to step in, first declaring martial law, and then instigating a full blown coup.

The General, now Prime Minister, vowed to implement a wide variety of reforms and restore democracy to the nation. Just when that will take place, is anyone’s guess. He originally said it would be in place in about a year… but that’s continually pushed back.

Politics and Freedom

In the past year, we’ve seen a trend with many governments imprisoning critics. It leaves some to wonder just how free Asia is and what the future holds. What follows are three examples of how some Asia governments are limiting free speech, and perhaps, using political power plays to eliminate opposition leaders.

Regional News

Concluding the podcast is a look at other regional news that may have done unnoticed the past week. Stories include a rather progressive movement in one Japanese ward that would recognize same-sex unions. Another story hails from China, where the black market for blood is the only place some who needed it can to ensure they stay alive. Plus a horrible tail of a girl who killed her infant child, threw it in the river, only to have it found by children on their way to school.

Keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send an email to the show with your comments, questions, and feedback. Just drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

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Cambodia Judge Replaced, China Pays, and News from Hong Kong

A judge in a controversial Cambodian trial gets the boot and China pays compensation in a murder acquittal case. Plus as the Year of the Sheep begins, there’s little joy to be found in Hong Kong.

February 19, 2015

A judge in a controversial Cambodian trial gets the boot and China pays compensation in a murder acquittal case. Plus as the Year of the Sheep begins, there’s little joy to be found in Hong Kong.

Judge in Cambodian Trial Sidelined

The chief judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court which was adjudicating a controversial murder case, has been replaced at the behest of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Former Death Row Prisoner Gets Cash

A court in China’s southern city of Fuzhou ordered the payment of 1.14 million yuan (about $182,000) to Nian Bin, a former death row prisoner who was acquitted on charges of poisoning two children in July 2006. He was freed from Death Row this past August, after serving eight years and failing to win multiple appeals. Finally, a court in Fujian province found there was insufficient evidence for his conviction.

Flu Hits Hong Kong

A flu outbreak and serious air pollution are putting dampening spirits on Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year celebrations. Thus far 288 fatalities related to the flu have been reported, including at least 18 in the past day or so. Unfortunately, more are expected over the holiday weekend and the city has placed more than 300 doctors on standby in public hospitals as precautionary measure. Public outpatient clinics are being equipped to handle an extra 1,000 cases daily, according to health-care authorities.

Embrace the Sheep Says CY Leung

Today marks the beginning of the new lunar year, embodied by the sheep in the Chinese Zodiac. In a New Year’s message to Hong Kong residents, the city’s Chief Executive used the animal to suggest protesters simply follow Beijing’s lead and be part of the herd.

“Last year was no easy ride for Hong Kong. Our society was rife with differences and conflicts. In the coming year, I hope that all people in Hong Kong will take inspiration from the sheep’s character and pull together in an accommodating manner to work for Hong Kong’s future,” he said.

Keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send an email to the show with your comments, questions, and feedback. Just drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

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Slavery and human rights in the Koreas


 Labor camps, harsh working conditions, and people fleeing for their lives. Those are stories we usually associate with human rights in North Korea. But these are recent events from South Korea.  The state of human rights on the Korean peninsula is one conversation taking place in Asia… now.

Labor camps, harsh working conditions, and people fleeing for their lives. Those are stories we usually associate with human rights in North Korea. But these are recent events from South Korea.  The state of human rights on the Korean peninsula is one conversation taking place in Asia… now.

Joining me this week is Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, to answer the questions of where North Korea’s human rights stand, how they compare to South Korea, and how South Korea compares to the rest of Asia.

As we move forward this year, what changes do you think need to take place to ensure adequate human rights for all?

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Suicide Bombs, Japanese Anti-terror Aid, and Another Tiger Goes Down

Suicide bombs detonate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Plus Japan pledges anti-terror aid and another Chinese Tiger is nabbed for graft.

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Suicide bombs detonate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Plus Japan pledges anti-terror aid and another Chinese Tiger is nabbed for graft.

Afghan Suicide Bomb

Provincial officials said a group of suicide bombers attacked a police station in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 22 officers and wounding 18 others. The attack on the police installation happened a day after Taliban insurgents killed at least 13 policemen in the southern Kandahar province.

Pakistan Suicide Bomb

Pakistani authorities said a powerful suicide bomb went off just outside police headquarters in the eastern city of Lahore Tuesday, killing at least five people and wounding many more. Witnesses described the explosion as so powerful that they were knocked to the ground. The injured are being transferred to nearby hospitals.

Japan Pledges More Terror Aid

Japan has pledged $15.5 million to help countries in the Middle East and Africa that are battling militants from the Islamic State group. Tokyo’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday the aid would support counter-terrorism efforts, including increased border control and investigation capabilities.

China’s Graft Probe Snares Another

Chinese prosecutors said Tuesday a former top Communist Party official will face a criminal investigation over allegations he accepted bribes. Su Rong was expelled yesterday from the party and stripped of all his government positions, becoming the latest high-ranking official to be brought down by President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive.

Keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send an email to the show with your comments, questions, and feedback. Just drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

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Park Reshuffles Cabinet, Lotte World Safety Issues, Taxes Soar, and Late Night Drag Racing

The Korea Times Podcast

Today on The Korea Times Podcast: Park gets a new Prime Minister and completes her cabinet reshuffle and more safety problems at the second Lotte World are uncovered. Plus taxes for Korea’s middle class are set to soar and some Koreans are putting the pedal to the metal.

Japan out of recession; More calls for Aquino to resign; New PM for ROK; Border clashes in Myanmar

New economic data suggests Japan has emerged from its recession and more voices sound calling for Philippine President Aquino to step down. Plus South Korea’s President Park finally gets a Prime Minister and clashes continue in Myanmar.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New economic data suggests Japan has emerged from its recession and more voices sound calling for Philippine President Aquino to step down. Plus South Korea’s President Park finally gets a Prime Minister and clashes continue in Myanmar.

Japan Emerges From Recession

Japan’s economy expanded at a measly 2.2%, compared to an expected 3.7% last quarter. While this is good news, it’s also a sign the economy is still in a fragile recovery stage. Economists are quick to point out that after two contracting quarters, a single expansion doesn’t signify a trend or that the worst is over. Japan’s real estate prices remain high, stock prices have shot up, but the yen weakened.

More Filipinos Call For Aquino to Step Down

One Billion Rising is a Filipino movement calling for an end to violence against women. It’s now added another objective: To press for the resignation of Philippine President Aquino over the controversial police operation that left 44 law enforcement officers dead.

President Park Gets a PM

The third time turns out to be the charm for South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, whose latest Prime Minister nominee was confirmed, all be it along party lines.

Lee Wan-koo met with initial bipartisan support; however, during his confirmation hearing, serious questions arose about avoiding South Korea’s compulsory  military service, property speculation, and exerting influence on the media.

Border Clashes in Myanmar

Fighting between Myanmar’s army and ethnic Kokang fighters in a region bordering China has resulted in death tolls climbing in recent weeks and sent tens of thousands scurrying. China says more than 30,000 raced across the border into Yunnan province last week, after an uptick in the fighting in Myanmar’s northeastern state of Shan.

Keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send an email to the show with your comments, questions, and feedback. Just drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

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