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Thailand: World’s tallest man dies in Surin

A man who once stood 269 centimeters tall and was thought to be the world’s tallest person has died on November 9 at his home in Surin province at the age of 26.

Pornchai had suffered from many illnesses related to his unusual growth and hypertension. He was bedridden and being cared for by his family. His mother was going to take care of him in that morning but found him dead.

Mr. Woen said after Pornchai’s illness and his unusual growth was reported by the media, people from across the country had sent money to a bank account opened for donations and she had received a total of 110,000 baht (approximately US$ 3,065).

Mrs. Woen said she had about 50,000 baht (approximately US$ 1,532) left in the bank account and it would be used for Pornchai’s funeral.

Myanmar: Obama hails election result

On November 8, Barack Obama has hailed the result of landmark elections in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is on track for a majority, taking about 80% of declared seats.

Mr. Obama called Ms. Suu Kyi to congratulate her and her party, saying he hoped the result would lead to “a more peaceful and prosperous future."

While previous statements by British Prime Minister David Cameron and US Secretary of State John Kerry praised only the running of the election.

Mr. Obama, who has visited Myanmar twice during his presidency, said he hoped all parties would respect the official election results.

He directly acknowledged the election to be “the success of the National League for Democracy," and called Ms. Suu Kyi’s “tireless efforts and sacrifice over so many years to promote a more inclusive, peaceful, and democratic Burma," referring to Myanmar’s other name.

Myanmar’s military chief, Min Aung Hlaing, said the military would “do what is best in co-operation with the new government during the post-election period."

President Thein Sein has also pledged that his government “will respect the people’s decision and choice and will hand over power as scheduled."

President Thein Sein and Min Aung Hlaing have congratulated Ms. Suu Kyi on her party’s performance in the polls, though they have not formally conceded defeat. They have agreed to hold talks on national reconciliation with her after the final results are announced.

The NLD won elections decisively in 1990 – only for the result to be nullified and Ms. Suu Kyi placed under long-term house arrest.

Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

Photo Credit: AP

Vietnam: Philippines and Vietnam plan to sign pact on strategic alliance

The Philippines and Vietnam plan to sign an accord next week to elevate their relationship to a strategic level, allowing them to deepen economic ties and maritime cooperation, a Philippine official said on November 10.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the accord may be signed on the sidelines of next week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila in the presence of President Benigno Aquino III and his Vietnamese counterpart.

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang is among 11 heads of state Aquino will meet with one-on-one in Manila, Jose said.

Vietnam and the Philippines are at odds with China over contested territories in the South China Sea. But both have not characterized the proposed alliance as targeting Beijing, which they have strongly criticized for its increasingly aggressive steps to assert its claims in the disputed waters.

Last year, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said such a partnership aimed to improve trade, investment and maritime cooperation, including search and rescue work at sea.

Although a plan to sign the pact earlier did not push through due to a need to clarify some wordings, the proposal for the Southeast Asian neighbors to bolster their ties progressed rapidly. Both governments agreed to convene a joint committee to start talks on a strategic partnership only more than a year ago, Philippine officials said.

Aside from China, Vietnam and the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have also been involved in the disputes, which raged anew last year after China began transforming seven mostly submerged disputed reefs into islands that rival governments feared Beijing would use as military forward bases to reinforce its claims and presence far from the Chinese mainland.

Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

Photo Credit: AP

Translated and compiled by Eric Wong and June
Edited by Olivia Yang