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Thailand’s cannabis clinic offers bright future 

Thailand is making rapid progress with its policy of legalising the medical use of cannabis with a pilot project in Bangkok seeing thousands of potential patients.  The Thai authorities opened the first two full-time cannabis oil clinic for medical treatment as part of a policy...

Singapore fake news law to face legal challenge 

A Singapore opposition party says it will legally challenge government corrections under the so-called fake news law, which came into effect in October. The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was ordered in December to put government notices stating that a piece contained false information on its...

Singapore’s economy limps into 2020

Singapore's economy grew by just 0.7 per cent during 2019 as the US-China trade war disrupted the financial hub along with a cyclical global downturn in the electronics sector. The Lion City, which is about half the size of Houston, narrowly avoided entering a recession...

Indonesian minister calls for probe into 1965 killings

Indonesia says it is looking to establish a "truth and reconciliation" commission to address human rights violations, including the anti-communist massacres of 1965-66.  A commission began work in 2004 to examine crimes committed under the dictator Suharto, whose demise in 1998 began a transition to...

Indonesia activists demand climate action 

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Indonesia is demanding the government in Jakarta steps up action to tackle the climate crisis.  The grassroots movement, established in July 2019, is demanding the Indonesian government declare a climate emergency and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.  The Low Carbon Development...

Vietnamese tanker captain jailed for Singapore oil theft 

A Vietnamese oil tanker’s captain has been jailed for more than 5½ years in Singapore for his involvement in the theft of approximately US$150 million of oil stolen from Pulau Bukom, Royal Dutch Shell’s largest refinery. Doan Xuan Than is the second person jailed in...

Myanmar tourism suffers during genocide trial 

Myanmar’s Rohingya genocide trial could harm the country’s popularity among big-spending tourists from the west, according to the sector.  The case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague has highlighted the plight of the Rohingya, more than 730,000 of whom fled to Bangladesh...

Buoyant Vietnam leads Asean for investment 

An Asia-Pacific study says Vietnam remains a leading destination for foreign direct investment.  More than 1,000 employers contributed to the PwC survey “Doing business across borders in Asia Pacific 2019-20”. Nearly 50 per cent of Vietnamese firms said they were “very confident” of receiving ongoing investment,...

Vietnam calls for restraint in South China Sea 

Vietnam has asked Beijing to show restraint in the South China Sea next year after a Chinese oil drill-ship and its naval escorts spent months operating uninvited within the Vietnamese exclusive economic zone (EEZ).  Vietnam takes the rotating Asean chair next year.  “I hope that during...

Singapore targets opposition with fake-news law

A Singaporean opposition leader has been forced under the so-called fake news law to amend a Facebook post that criticised state education spending. The Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) was implemented in October, sparking claims it would be used to muzzle criticism. Ministers are...

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Pangolin critically endangered , wildlife watchdog warns

Shy, scaly and highly elusive, pangolins exist primarily in Asia and Africa. Today, they are also currently the most heavily trafficked mammal in the...

Indonesia shares blame for rising seas 

It is customary to blame the developed world for creating climate change after centuries of putting profits before environmental concerns.  The argument goes that western...

Indonesia counters coronavirus with interest rates cuts

Bank Indonesia (BI) has cut its benchmark interest rate to address the economic impact of the coronavirus.  The Indonesian central bank cut its benchmark interest...