Vast destruction in Vanuatu; Where is Thailand headed? Philippines arrest militant leader


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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Aid workers relay tales of complete devastation in Vanuatu. Four civilians in Thailand are headed to a military court. Plus the leader of a militant group is captured in the Philippines.

More bad news from Vanuatu

The old story of how things go from bad to worse, unfortunately seems to be running true in Vanuatu, where some aid workers are calling it the worst disaster they’ve seen.

Four Thais face military court

Ever since the junta assumed control of Thailand, one of the orders issued following the coup barred public gatherings. Now, four who defied that order aren’t facing trial in civil courts, but perhaps in a military court.

Philippine Army arrests splinter group leader

The Philippine Army can cross one more militant off its list. Mohammad Ali Tambako, founder and leader of the Justice Islamic Movement was apprehended. Will this lead to an end to the fighting that has killed 50,000 and displaced 80,000?

Aid workers relay tales of complete devastation in Vanuatu. Four civilians in Thailand are headed to a military court. Plus the leader of a militant group is captured in the Philippines.

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.

Subscribe to this and other podcasts at AsiaNewsWeekly.net. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you.

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Merkel and Murayama: Do Right by History

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Updates on the search for those responsible for the bomb blast in Bangkok, multiple calls for Japan to face its dark history, and is Philippine President Aquino trying to pass the piso?

Bangkok Blast Update

Bangkok continues to hunt down those responsible for the grenade attack outside a courthouse Saturday. Here are the latest updates as Prayuth once more indicates martial law may continue.

Merkel and Murayama Urge Abe on History

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Japan and urged the Japan to face up to its wartime past, saying that Germany doing so was “one of the conditions for reconciliation” with its neighbors. A sentiment echoed by the man who issued the landmark apology 20 years go.

Was Aquino Fooled?

Facing mounting criticism over the botched January raid in Mindanao, Philippine President Aquino placed the blame on a police general for giving him poor information. Is they way Aquino handling the situation presidential?

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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Japan’s Controversial National Secrets Law Stalled

Japan’s security law is stuck in neutral, Tony Abbott might be calling the kettle black, bomb blasts in Bangkok may lead Thailand down a dangerous path, and BIFF takes a hit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Japan’s security law is stuck in neutral, Tony Abbott might be calling the kettle black, bomb blasts in Bangkok may lead Thailand down a dangerous path, and BIFF takes a hit.

Japan’s Secrets Law Stalled

According to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo, the National Secrets Law, which took effect last December, was needed to protect the nation. However, the Diet’s Upper House hasn’t been able to accomplish the tasks requisite to implement it. What’s the hold up and more importantly, why? 

Australia’s Tony Abbott: Pot Calling Kettle

A new United Nations report has found that Australia’s policy towards asylum seekers violate international conventions against torture. Abbott says Australia is sick of being lectured to, but isn’t that what he’s doing to Indonesian President Widodo?

Bombing in Bangkok

Officials in Bangkok are on alert after a grenade was detonated outside a criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand. All signs point to those loyal to ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. How will junta leader and new Prime Minister respond?

BIFF Takes a Hit

Armed Forces Philippines have carried out a military operation that’s killed 56 members of the Bangsomoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF. Is the final step in achieving peace in Mindanao?

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.

Subscribe to this and other podcasts at AsiaNewsWeekly.net or in your favorite podcast application, like iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you.

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Combating Daesh absolutely in Australia’s national interest

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces tough questions and Philippine commandos strike it big in a raid on Mindinao. Plus Australia prepares to increase troop deployment to combat Daesh and North Korea looks to fire a medium range missile.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces tough questions and Philippine commandos strike it big in a raid on Mindinao. Plus Australia prepares to increase troop deployment to combat Daesh and North Korea looks to fire a medium range missile.

Japanese Prime Minister Faces Questions Over Contributions

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister now finds himself the subject of questions, after it becomes evident that some of his political contributions have come from companies that have received government subsidies. Thrice before, members of his cabinet have had to step down due to scandals, will this sink the premier’s approval rating below 50 percent?

Armed Forces Philippines Snares Bomb Factory

After a botched military raid in Mindinao this past January, Armed Forces Philippines partnered with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to route bases held by rival Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). The result this time was a success, snaring Aquino a much needed win.

Australia Prepares to Send More Troops to Fight Daesh (Islamic State)

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced he will send an additional 300 troops to Iraq, part of a joint mission with New Zealand to help train local forces to combat Daesh (Islamic State). The Premier says that doing so is in the country’s best interest.

North Korea May Soon Fire Medium Range Missiles

With new military drill launched by the US and South Korea, the DPRK announced that hopes of a resumption of inter-Korean dialog have been dashed. This comes as South Korean military officials say they see signs of a possible medium range missile launch the first in two years.

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.

Subscribe to this and other podcasts at AsiaNewsWeekly.net or in your favorite podcast application, like iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you.

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Philippine Military to take on BIFF, new radiation discovered at Fukushima, NK at UN, and more

Philippine military officials order attacks on BIFF and new radiation leaks are found in a Fukushima nuclear plant. Plus a North Korean diplomat plans to address the UN on human rights and Bangladesh arrests its former PM.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Philippine military officials order attacks on BIFF and new radiation leaks are found in a Fukushima nuclear plant. Plus a North Korean diplomat plans to address the UN on human rights and Bangladesh arrests its former PM.

All-out offensive against BIFF

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. ordered the Western Mindanao Command to launch “all-out offensive” against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). He said the operation sought to protect communities from assaults launched by the rebel group.

New radiation leak found at Fukushima

Tuesday, the operator of the nuclear power reactors in Fukushima said it found a pool of highly contaminated water. The pool was located on the roof of a plant building. Plant operators suspect it may have leaked into the sea via a gutter, perhaps during a rain storm.

North Korea to address UN Human Rights Council

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong looks to be beaded to the March 2nd meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, in what appears to be an attempt to counter international criticism of the country’s human rights record. Ri would be the first North Korean foreign minister to address the council.

Former Bangladesh PM Arrested

A court in Bangladesh issued an arrest warrant yesterday for former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia related to two corruption cases after she failed to appear in court. The former PM’s lawyers argued that she was concerned the ongoing unrest in Bangladesh would affect her personal safety, claiming to be confined to her office.

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.

Subscribe to this and other podcasts at AsiaNewsWeekly.net or in your favorite podcast application, like iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you.

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Is MILF training with Abu Sayyaf? Li’s Daughter graft target? Viber may be out of Korea

Are Filipino Muslims training with Abu Sayyaf and Kim Jong-un calls for combat readiness. Plus a former Chinese Premier’s daughter could be the next one snared for graft and messaging app Viber could be out of Korea.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Are Filipino Muslims training with Abu Sayyaf and Kim Jong-un calls for combat readiness. Plus a former Chinese Premier’s daughter could be the next one snared for graft and messaging app Viber could be out of Korea.

Could the Philippines’ MILF be training with Aby Sayyaf?

The Philippine government is currently attempting to validate photographs depicting members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front training in Sulu with the presence of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

North Korea must be combat ready

According to state media, North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un, told the Central Military Commission, they needed to be “fully ready to react to any form of war to be ignited by the enemy.”

Next week, South Korea and the United States begin the annual Key Resolve joint military drill. North Korea views them as hostile and prelude to war.

Former Chinese premier’s daughter in anti-graft crosshairs

Chinese President Xi JinPing’s anti-corruption probe could target the daughter of former premier Li Peng. Many of recent the anti-corruption actions have involved companies related the former premier’s family.

Viber possible forced out of Korea

SK Telecom, South Korea’s leading mobile phone carrier recently won a District Court case against smart phone mobile messaging app Viber. The decision could send the technology company out of Korea. The court said Viber infringed on four of SK Telecoms patents and that it could not distribute its software in the Korean market.

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.

Subscribe to this and other podcasts at AsiaNewsWeekly.net or in your favorite podcast application, like iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you.

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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.

Subscribe to this and other podcasts at AsiaNewsWeekly.net or in your favorite podcast application, like iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you.

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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.

Subscribe to this and other podcasts at AsiaNewsWeekly.net or in your favorite podcast application, like iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you.

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Whale Sharks and Waterfalls [Oslob, Philippines] – GOT #16



Traveling to the Philippines? How about some fun with nature. On our recent trip, Jo and I visited Oslob, Cebu. What makes this place famous is the ability to jump in the water and swim with whale sharks. They’re not predatory, and in fact, giant fishes that are fairly harmless. It’s an amazing experience and one that I recommend. Nearby there’s also a great waterfall worth your time.