Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ASIA NEWS BITES: Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan; Jakarta Suicide Bombing Kills 5; Duterte Mulls Nationwide Martial Law


Gay rights supporters in Taiwan are celebrating after the Constitutional Court yesterday said banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. - The News Lens


At least five people were killed — including three police officers — and ten others injured on Wednesday night when two explosions ripped apart a TransJakarta bus station in Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, according to National Police Spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto. - The Jarkata Globe

Prosecutors proceeded on Wednesday with their appeal against Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy sentence, submitting appeal documents to the Jakarta High Court, a court spokesman said. - The Jarkata Globe


Duterte says he may widen martial law from Mindanao to include all of the Philippines. - The Washington Post

Philippine security forces are battling Muslim militants who have laid siege to a city in the volatile southern region of Mindanao. The upheaval began after troops raided a hideout in search of Isnilon Hapilon, one of Asia's top militant leaders. - The Philippine Star

President Trump praised President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines in a phone call last month for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the island nation where the government has sanctioned gunning down suspects in the streets. Mr. Trump also boasted that the United States has “two nuclear submarines” off the coast of North Korea but said he does not want to use them. - The New York Times


China has gone on a spending spree, borrowing money to build cities, create manufacturing giants and nurture financial markets — money that has helped drive the economic powerhouse in recent years. But the debt-fueled binge now threatens to sap growth in the world’s second-largest economy. - The New York Times

Armed men abducted two Chinese nationals in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan Wednesday, police said, a rare incident that is likely to raise security concerns around the country’s many China-backed infrastructure projects. - The Wall Street Journal Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang are engaged in a province-wide operation that has installed surveillance cameras in the majority of Protestant Christian churches in a region known as "China's Jerusalem." - Radio Free Asia

Political cartoonist Jiang Yefei has been subjected to mistreatment at the hands of the authorities since being handed back to Chinese authorities in November 2015, in a move that drew strong criticism from the U.N. High Commission for Refugees and human rights groups, his wife told RFA. - Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong:

Over 27,000 individuals, 80 civil groups, and five lawmakers have urged the government to appeal a High Court decision that grants welfare benefits to a gay civil servant for his husband. - Hong Kong Free Press

South Korea:

A military court in South Korea sentenced an army captain to six months in prison on Wednesday for having sex with other servicemen, igniting an outcry against what rights groups called a homophobic “witch hunt” in the country’s military. - The New York Times

North Korea:

Pictures of dictator Kim Jong Un applauding as another North Korean missile ascends into the sky have become routine. But the Hermit Kingdom’s two most recent launches deserve special attention because they show Pyongyang nearing its goal of deploying a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could destroy American cities. - The Wall Street Journal


About 900 Myanmar government representatives, lawmakers, top military and political party officials, and delegates from ethnic armed groups opened the second round of de facto national leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s key peace initiative on Wednesday. - Radio Free Asia


In mid-December, when news emerged that the number of newborn babies in Japan in 2016 would likely fall below 1 million for the first time since the government started collecting data in 1899, it sparked a renewed debate on how to reverse the downtrend in the fertility rate. - The Japan Times


A recovering drug user with HIV died 10 days after he walked out of Prey Speu detention center in Phnom Penh, a death an NGO worker attributed to his being denied access to medication and methadone treatment while he was locked up for more than a month. - The Cambodia Daily

A Cambodian man slated to be deported from the U.S. in March before being granted an emergency stay of removal continues to face deportation to Cambodia, even after a judge recently decided to halt his repatriation, his sister said this week. - The Cambodia Dialy


Coal-fired power, despite its environmental impacts, is still the dominant power source for electricity-hungry Vietnam. - Vn Express

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