Philippine Bomb Blast; Shanghai Stocks Dive; Uighur Students Convicted; Hong Kong Clearing Set


Philippine Bomb Blast; Shanghai Stocks Dive; Uighur Students Convicted; Hong Kong Clearing Set

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mindanao Bomb Blast

At least nine were killed and twenty injured when a bomb exploded on a commuter bus in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao. Officials say the explosion occurred as a bus operated by the Rural Transit company passed a university in the town of Maramag. Many of the victims were students. Buses operated by Rural Transit in the past have been targeted before. Muslim extremists and gangs have been blamed in the past for such attacks.

Shanghai’s Stocks Take a Dive

Shanghai’s stock market take a 5.43% dip in value. While alarming, the market is up nearly 40% from the year, but such a radical change does raise some concerns and regulators have warned investors to be wary.

Tohti’s Students Convicted

Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who was convicted earlier this year of separatism and sentenced to life, was painted as an influencer on seven of his students, who received jail terms as well. A Chinese court has given jail terms of between three and eight years to the students. Chinese authorities have not commented on the sentences, but six of the students belong to the Uighur minority, which complains of government persecution.

Hong Kong To Clear

A ruling Tuesday by Hong Kong’s High Court gave authorities permission to tear down street barricades at the main Admiralty protest site. The injunction was published in local media stated thousands of police will work with bailiffs to clear the tent city Thursday.

The order only gives permission to dismantle a portion of the Admiralty site, but authorities are expected to clear the entire area and reopen traffic. The South China Morning Post reported police will also break up a smaller protest site in Causeway Bay.

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Leung set to clear Protesters; Philippines recovers; DPRK lifts wage ceiling; China refuses arbitration


Leung set to clear Protesters; Philippines recovers; DPRK lifts wage ceiling; China refuses arbitration

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Force unavoidable in Hong Kong

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said “furious resistance” is expected from some protesters in the Admiralty area when bailiffs execute a court order to clear part of the protest site.

Leung told reporters, “I think we should be prepared, both psychologically and operationally, that towards the end of the illegal occupation there will be fewer people taking part and they tend to be more radical. This seems to be the pattern in illegal social movements in other countries. Maybe during the clearance or when police help bailiffs to execute the order, there would be some rather furious resistance.”

It’s expected the city will move on the area Wednesday.

Homes destroyed from Typhoon Hagupit

Mass evacuations before Typhoon Hagupit arrived this past weekend helped to ensure there was no repeat of the mass casualties in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan last year.

“There is a collective sigh of relief. The initial assessment is that there are no casualties. We were better prepared… up to 50,000 people were packed in evacuation centers,” said Jerry Yaokasin, vice mayor of Tacloban.

The powerful storm as resulted in at least twenty deaths and heavy rains are expected in the area throughout the day.

North Korea ends wage ceiling

North Korea has removed the limit for wages paid to its workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the facility operated in conjunction with South Korea.

According to a state-run website, this removes the cap put in place by a 2003 law that said North Koreans would be paid at least $50 per month and raises couldn’t exceed 5 percent of the monthly wage. The lifting of the raise limit might cause problems at the jointly run complex, as all salaries are negotiated through consultations between North and South Korea on an annual basis.

China bemoans Philippines for arbitration referral

China chided the Philippines for challenging its territorial claims in the South China Sea through international arbitration. The archipelago referred the matter to The Hague earlier this year, and China stated it would not submit to arbitration to resolve the dispute.
“By initiating compulsory arbitration at this moment, the Philippines is running counter to the common wish and joint efforts of China and ASEAN member states. Its underlying goal is not… to seek peaceful settlement of the South China Sea issue, but rather, by resorting to arbitration, to put political pressure on China,” said the official Xinhua news agency.

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TAB: China’s killer drones, APEC begins, and US skips Philippines


China reports the ability to use laser to target shoot down drones. APEC begins in Beijing. The US Navy skips dropping anchor in Philippines due to anti-American sentiments.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

China’s Xinhua news agency is reporting China has successfully tested a domestically developed laser defense system specifically designed to target and destroy low-flying unmanned drones. In a statement released by the China Academy of Engineering Physics the device is able to shoot down various small aircraft within a two-kilometer radius and can do so in five seconds after locating its target. “Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage,” said Yi Jinsong, a manager with China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment, a group under the academy supervising the project.

The United States and the Philippines ushered in a new base sharing agreement earlier this year, designed to bolster the archipelago’s defense of their territorial waters in the South China Sea. That relationship was recently put at risk when a US Marine allegedly killed a transgendered woman in Olongapo City last month. The fall-out from that event continues as nine US Navy vessels scheduled to arrive now through December, have canceled their port calls due to “anti-American sentiments.”

Guided by China Vice Foreign Minister and Chair of the 2014 APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting Li Baodong, APEC Senior Officials from member economies will meet to finalize a package of new growth-enhancing measures today. The APEC meeting is scheduled through Tuesday, November 11th and will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping who’s chairing the event and 20 other heads of states from nations.

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TAB: Hong Kong protests get violent, the Koreas meet, and US Marine arrested for murder


The latest from Hong Kong as authorities crack down, North and South Korea meet, and a US Marine is arrested for murder in the Philippines.

October 16, 2014

What started off as police calmly removing barricades to free up traffic turned violent on Wednesday, as hundreds of police systematically and forcibly removed protesters from where they had been holed up. Perhaps the most alarming footage that surfaced from the day was video footage by local television station TVB, showing six plain clothed officers dragging a protester into the darkened entrance of a building, where they beat him for four minutes.

North and South Korea held senior-level military talks on Wednesday, discussing a pair of incidents last week where both sides exchanged fire. Generals and government officials from both sides met for five hours in Panmunjom and first such discussion since 2011.

A U.S. Marine has been charged with murder in the death of a transgender woman who was found strangled in the Philippines. Jeffrey Laude, who is also known as Jennifer, was found naked with her head in a toilet in an Olongapo hotel room shortly after midnight Sunday.

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Show Notes

Thumbnail: Alcuin Lai

TAB: Hong Kong Close to “Anarchy,” DPRK Visits South Korea, and Asian Volcanos


The deadline for student groups to move out from Hong Kong's HQ area looms as CY Leung says the area is close to
It’s Monday, October 6, 2014, and this is The Asia Brief.

The Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong continued this weekend, but unlike the peaceful week-long of assembly, violence erupted on at least two occasions. Triad gang members clashed with protestors Friday and police used pepper spray and batons Saturday and early Sunday. Chief Executive CY Leung gave protesters until today to vacate the area around government buildings, bringing the situation a head as allegations surface that the government is using police and gang members to sir up trouble. Members from the student-led groups Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students, remain outside government HQ.

Japan officials have recovered nearly all bodies from last week’s deadly Mt. Ontake eruption, but rescue operations have been hampered by weather and environmental conditions. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the nation’s Mayon Volcano continued to inflate, which means magma is still moving upward, indicating an imminent eruption.

Three high-ranking members of North Korea’s leadership met with South Korean officials in Seoul during the closing weekend of the Asian Games. Seoul officials said the South invited the delegates to meet with President Park Geun-hye at Cheong Wa Dae. The meeting, however, did not materialize due to time constraints and the two countries plan to hold more talks soon. Both sides also assert that Kim Jong-un is firmly in control of the nation.

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NOTES

TAB: Occupy Central Continues, Bodies Recovered From Japanese Volcano, PhiBlex Begins


Today's Asia Brief includes updates on Occupy Central's protest in Hong Kong, rescue efforts on Japan's Mt. Ontake, and start of PhiBlex.

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, September 30, 2014, and this is The Asia Brief.

Tens of thousands of Occupy Central protesters continue to cripple Hong Kong, digging in deeper and fortifying their conviction to obtain the right to freely choose their own officials without interference from Beijing. Hong Kong officials pulled back deployed riot police on Monday, handing those assembled a victory of sorts and boosting morale. A protest on this scale is unprecedented in Hong Kong and neither side can afford to back down.

The bodies of five more hikers were found under the ash on the slopes of Mt. Ontake in Japan, bringing the death toll to 36. More than 200 soldiers and firefighters, including units with gas detection equipment, were part of the search mission near the peak, but they had to pull back because of toxic gas.

The Philippines and the United States have launched an annual military exercise in the South China Sea. The Philippine Bilateral Exercises, or “Phi-blex is comprised of about 5000 troops from both nations.

Thank you for joining me today. Follow the Asia News Weekly Twitter and Facebook feeds for more news throughout the day.

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NOTES

THE ASIA BRIEF: Sept. 22, 2014


Fung-Wong

It’s Monday, Sept 22nd, 2014, and this is The Asia Brief.

Tropical Storm Fung-Wong, called Mario in The Philippines, brought torrential rain and damage to the archipelago before setting course towards Taiwan where destruction followed. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga admitted there was little progress from North Korea’s search into Japanese Abductees. Thai police have requested assistance from the FBI to help pursue leads in the brutal killing or a pair of British tourists, while Indonesian authorities set to try American Tommy Schaefer for murder in Bali.

Follow the Asia News Weekly Twitter and Facebook feeds for more news throughout the day.

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SHOW NOTES

ASIA NEWS WEEKLY: Miller, Asian Games, and More

Matthew Miller gets 6 years in North Korea, Uighurs are sentenced for China’s 9/11, and the Asian Games bring the best athletes to South Korea. These stories and more are on the September 19th edition of Asia News Weekly.

Asia News Weekly returns with a summary of Asia-Pacific’s biggest stories. Leading off the podcast is the fate of American Matthew Miller. He was arrested while entering North Korea in April of this year and has now been sentenced to six years hard labor. What was he doing in North Korea and what could the verdict mean for Jeffery Fowle, another American being detained? Host Steve Miller breaks it down.

The courts in China this week heard several cases involving what it says are Uighur extremists. The Chinese courts convicted four of a deadly knife attack in Kunming that left 30 dead and 140 wounded. The event has had a lasting effect on the city, which still boasts a strong police presence. The trial of Ilham Tohti, a Uighur scholar critical of Beijing also began. He’s charged with promoting separatism.

Miller revisits the competing claims in the South China Sea, specifically between China and The Philippines. Last year, China revealed historical maps to support its claim of nearly 90% of the area. This past week, Manila decided to go the same route and reveal maps dating back nearly 1000 years that paint a different story.

Kim Tae-jong, Assistant Sports Editor of the The Korea Times joins Miller to discuss the 17th Asian Games that begin today (September 19, 2014). What are the games, what should we keep our eyes on, and how are ticket sales going are all answered by Kim.

The podcast concludes with The Weekly Brief. Miller recounts several of the biggest stories taking place throughout the region including a raid nabbing 15 suspected IS militants in Australia, the United States vowing not to curtail surveillance of China, the first trilateral meeting between China, South Korea, and Japan in two years, and more.

Download the complete show notes here, with sources for this week’s podcast.

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Thumbnail: KCNA

The Asia Brief: 9.16.14


The Asia Brief: Indonesia, ISIS, IS, Thailand, Koh Tao, Philippines, US, China

It’s Tuesday, Sept 16th, 2014, I’m Steve Miller, and this is The Asia Brief.

Indonesian officials have arrested four individuals suspected of having ties to the Islamic State. Thai law enforcement personnel are investing the murder of two British nationals found naked on a beach in Koh Tao. American military forces prepare to being a base sharing plan in the Philippines, aimed at keeping a closer eye on China and bolstering the archipelago’s maritime defense.

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Show Notes

The Asia Brief – Sept. 15, 2014



Good morning. It’s Monday, September 15th, 2014, I’m Steve Miller, and this is The Asia Brief.

Typhoon Kalmaegi Hits the Philippines, Matthew Miller goes on trial in North Korea, and Signs of North Korea’s submersible rockets.

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Show Notes