Police investigate death of Indonesian critic who died during flight

Indonesian police are looking into the sudden death of an official who fought against a controversial gold mine, following calls for an investigation. Helmud Hontong, deputy regent of Indonesia’s remote Sangihe islands, died during a flight last Wednesday. Rights groups say his death falls into a pattern of violence of people threatened for standing up for environmental rights. But police say an initial autopsy points to a natural death. The 58-year old politician appeared in good health before his flight on Bali island, but 20 minutes into the flight began feeling dizzy, according to his aide travelling with him. He … Continue reading Police investigate death of Indonesian critic who died during flight

Tragic: Nine die as building collapses on to bus in South Korea

At least nine people have been killed after a five-storey building being demolished in South Korea collapsed on to a bus, officials said. Eight people were injured in the collapse, which happened in the southern city of Gwangju. The bus was carrying 17 people and had stopped on a street below, the National Fire Agency said. The reason for the collapse is not yet clear and search efforts are under way for survivors who may be trapped. All workers on the site had evacuated before the building collapsed, fire officer Kim Seok-sun said in a televised briefing. Some of the … Continue reading Tragic: Nine die as building collapses on to bus in South Korea

LOL: Germany to ship army beer home from Afghanistan

Germany has announced it will fly more than 22,500 litres of beer home from Afghanistan, as Nato forces prepare to withdraw.Germany has begun to withdraw its forces from the country Commanders had recently banned soldiers from drinking amid growing violence in Afghanistan ahead of the withdrawal. Local forces were unable to sell the alcohol due to religious and cultural differences in Afghanistan. A defence ministry spokeswoman said on Monday that they had found a civilian contractor to repatriate the drinks. In April, US President Joe Biden announced that all its forces would withdraw from Afghanistan on 11 September 2021. NATO … Continue reading LOL: Germany to ship army beer home from Afghanistan

Pakistan overturns Christian couple’s blasphemy death sentences

A Pakistani court has overturned a death sentence handed down to a Christian couple for blasphemy, citing a lack of evidence. Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel were convicted in 2014 for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. But on Thursday, the couple’s lawyer Saif ul Malook said the Lahore High Court had acquitted them. A prosecution lawyer told the Reuters news agency that the latest ruling would be challenged. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, and though no-one has ever been executed for it, dozens have been killed by mobs after being accused. “I am very happy that we … Continue reading Pakistan overturns Christian couple’s blasphemy death sentences

Update: China says military flight off Malaysia was ‘routine training’

China said Wednesday a flight by 16 military aircraft over hotly contested waters off Malaysia was routine training, after the Southeast Asian nation accused Beijing of breaching its sovereignty.  Malaysia scrambled fighter jets Monday to intercept the Chinese air force transport planes that appeared off Borneo over the South China Sea, where it has overlapping territorial claims with Beijing. The Malaysian foreign minister criticised the flight as an “intrusion” and said the government would lodge a protest with Beijing and summon the Chinese ambassador.  But a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur said the “activities are routine flight training … Continue reading Update: China says military flight off Malaysia was ‘routine training’

Malaysia scrambles fighter jets after 16 Chinese military aircraft fly toward Borneo

The Foreign Ministry of Malaysia on Tuesday said it would summon China’s envoy to explain an “intrusion” by 16 People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes into its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), after Malaysia’s military detected “suspicious” activity over the South China Sea.Royal Malaysian Air Force via AP A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft that Malaysian authorities said was in the airspace over Malaysia’s maritime zone on May 31. Malaysia’s air force said it scrambled jets on Monday to conduct visual confirmation after the planes flew within 60 nautical miles off Sarawak state of Malaysian Borneo. It … Continue reading Malaysia scrambles fighter jets after 16 Chinese military aircraft fly toward Borneo

Five drown in Indonesian selfie accident

Five members of an Indonesian family drowned when a dock where they were taking a selfie collapsed, police said Thursday, just weeks after a similar fatal accident.The jetty on Lake Kandi in West Sumatra where five tourists died as they tried to take pictures together The family of 14 were at picturesque Kandi Lake in West Sumatra when they gathered on the wooden structure to take a group photo, but their combined weight brought it down, police said. A 17-year-old was among the five who drowned while the rest of the family survived the Wednesday accident. “They were taking a … Continue reading Five drown in Indonesian selfie accident

Japan premium melons go for $24,800 after virus slump

In what might be the unlikeliest indicator of a post-pandemic recovery, a pair of premium Japanese melons have sold for $24,800 at auction, over 22 times more than last year’s virus-hit price.A pair of prize melons has sold in Japan for nearly $25,000, recovering from a pandemic price slump The 2.7 million yen price tag at the season’s first auction for the famed Yubari melons is still a snip compared to records for the prized produce. “This year’s recovery in price can be seen as a result of buyers looking to encourage people by putting in higher bids,” a wholesale … Continue reading Japan premium melons go for $24,800 after virus slump

Update: HK says suspension of rep office in Taiwan due to ‘gross interference’

Hong Kong said on Friday its decision earlier this week to suspend operations at its representative office in Taiwan was motivated by Taipei’s “gross” interference in internal affairs, including with its offer to assist “violent protesters.”Family members of twelve Hong Kong activists hold a news conference to seek help in Hong Kong Tension between Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government and democratically-ruled Taiwan has risen since pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong in 2019 and China responded by imposing a sweeping national security law in the city that prompted many activists to leave, some for Taiwan. On Tuesday, Hong Kong said it … Continue reading Update: HK says suspension of rep office in Taiwan due to ‘gross interference’

Hong Kong temporarily suspends operations at representative office in Taiwan

Hong Kong’s representative office in Taiwan has temporarily suspended operations, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said on Tuesday, adding only that the decision was not related to the rise in coronavirus cases there. Tensions between the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government and Taiwan have risen since pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong in 2019 and China imposed a sweeping national security law last year to quell the unrest, prompting many activists to leave the city. Taipei has criticized the law and opened a local office to help people who may want to leave Hong Kong. Last year, Taiwanese officials in Hong … Continue reading Hong Kong temporarily suspends operations at representative office in Taiwan

Taiwan blames human error during test for islandwide power cut

Taiwan’s state-owned electricity monopoly Taipower on Friday blamed human error during a test for a power cut that affected some 4 million homes the day before, and said it would offer discounts worth almost $18 million to affected customers.People leave a shop using light from their phones while experiencing a blackout due to an outage at a power plant, in TaipeiPeople pay for their purchases using the light from their phone while experiencing a blackout due to an outage at a power plant, in Taipei The rolling blackouts went on for around five hours before normal supplies were resumed early … Continue reading Taiwan blames human error during test for islandwide power cut

Political Privilege: Malaysia ex-PM Najib fined for breaking virus rules at an eatery

Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak, who has been convicted over the mammoth 1MDB scandal, is in trouble with the law again – this time for breaking coronavirus rules in a restaurant. He has been fined 3,000 Malaysian ringgit ($730) for failing to register at the eatery or have his temperature taken, police said. The penalty was announced late on Thursday. It came after footage circulated on social media showing the ex-prime minister flouting the rules in March at a Kuala Lumpur restaurant that sells a traditional chicken and rice dish. While Najib still denies any involvement in the 1MDB fraud, … Continue reading Political Privilege: Malaysia ex-PM Najib fined for breaking virus rules at an eatery