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Paul Rivers

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Junta dodges succession issue 

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn appears to have shied away from the top job. Source: YouTube Hereditary monarchies are almost by definition unstable because first-born sons invariably rebel against their fathers. After initially failing to learn the lessons of the Imperial Rome, Shakespeare's plays, Game of...

Jakarta toughens sex crime stance

The fate of a Sumatran child has reinforced demands for legal changes. Source: Wikimedia Indonesian MPs have voted to allow strict punishments against convicted paedophiles, including chemical castration, 10-year minimum prison sentences and execution. President Joko Widodo proposed the changes. The Indonesian Doctors’ Association has said...

Baht bounces after king’s death 

Thais are dressing largely in black. Source: YouTube Thailand's currency has strengthened against the US dollar for a second day running as the stock market surged to a four-day high.  Investors have been braced for a period of potential volatility following the death of King Bhumibol...

Thais enter year of mourning

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej during a 1970s documentary. Source: Wikimedia A year of mourning has been announced following the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest reigning monarch, aged 88. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said entertainment must be “toned down” for a month,...

Lee deepens Australian ties

Australian, US and Singaporean troops fire at Puckapunyal, Australia. Source: Wikimedia Singapore has called on China to engage “constructively” with other players, including the USA, to ease tensions in the South China Sea. During a visit to Australia to deepen military ties, prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull...

Duterte unveils vast drug clinic

Many of the Philippines' drug problems are rooted in poverty. Source: Wikimedia The Philippines has unveiled plans to open what it called a "mega" drug rehabilitation centre in November, funded by a Chinese businessman, capable of treating up to 10,000 patients. The clinic to the north...

12 more die in Rakhine

Rakhine State is resource-rich but ravaged by poverty. Source: YouTube Twelve people have allegedly died in the north of the troubled Rakhine State in western Myanmar in clashes between militants and troops, the state media has reported. Four soldiers and one attacker were reportedly killed on...

1MDB pair charged in S’pore

Singapore’s judiciary is delving into the 1MDB scandal. Source: Wikimedia Singaporean prosecutors have charged two former private bankers with forgery and other criminal charges in relation to the misappropriation of billions of dollars from the Malaysian 1MDB state fund.  Yak Yew Chee, 57, and Yvonne Seah,...

Rohingya blamed for police deaths 

Large sections of the Rohingya community were burned out of their homes in 2012. Source: YouTube Nine Myanmar police officers were killed in attacks early on Sunday on three outposts in troubled Rakhine State, with the authorities blaming Rohingya militants.  Police Major General Zaw Win told...

Beijing tightens imperial grip

Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow in September 2014 blindfolded with a red scarf, symbolising Communist China's political repression. Source: Wikimedia   China's ability to control its southern neighbours' domestic affairs raises increasing doubts about their independence. Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand appear to have assumed quasi-colonial status. As...

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