ASIA NEWS BITES: Lashes for ‘Gay Sex’ in Indonesia; Mass DNA Collection in Xinjiang; Freedom of Speech Under Attack in Myanmar

Photo Credit: Corbis / 達志影像
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A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region.

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Japan:

People in Japan continue to outlive those in other countries, marking the world’s longest average life expectancy of 83.7 years, according to the latest World Health Organization report released Wednesday. - The Japan Times

Indonesia:

Two men accused of having sex with each other were each sentenced on Wednesday to 85 lashes in public, the first case of people being punished for homosexuality in the Indonesian province of Aceh under a strict version of Shariah law. - The New York Times

China:

Four Chinese airlines have halted the shipment of shark fins, joining a growing list of companies worldwide committed to the ban. - Hong Kong Free Press

Authorities in the Chinese capital have placed restrictions on the young son of a prominent human rights lawyer, preventing him from enrolling in primary school, his parents said on Wednesday. - Radio Free Asia

Xinjiang:

Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang are carrying out mass collection of DNA from individuals not suspected of any crime, rights groups and academics said. - Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong:

A 17-year-old student from Guangdong has been arrested after allegedly organizing a chat room group that disseminated messages on the “Blue Whale” suicide game. - Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong’s two-year trial run of electric taxis has backfired as its long charging time was viewed as unsuitable to operate the cabs round the clock. - South China Morning Post

Taiwan:

The Pacific island country of Fiji has closed its representative office in Taiwan to make better use of its resources and not because of pressure from China as one lawmaker claimed, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday. - Central News Agency via The News Lens

Yesterday marked 66 years since the first group of political prisoners were taken to Taiwan’s Green Island. - The News Lens

South Korea:

President Moon Jae-in's special envoy to Japan conveyed the Korean people's opposition toward a disputed agreement reached between the two countries on "comfort women" during a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Wednesday. - The Korea Times


The Moon Jae-in government will push for the reopening of an inter-Korean hotline at the truce village of Panmunjeom, a security adviser said Wednesday. - The Korea Times

Philippines:

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by global organization Walk Free Foundation, there were an estimated 401,000 Filipinos, or 0.40 percent of the population, living in modern slavery in 2015. The Philippines' estimated population as of 2016 was 100,699,000. - The Philippine Star

Thailand:

AS the weather bureau yesterday warned of heavy rains in upper Thailand, various provinces reported flooding and officials were told to monitor the situation in at-risk areas. - The Nation

Vietnam:

The construction of a megaresort has been initiated in a popular archipelago off the northern Vietnamese city of Hai Phong, mounting pressure on the local environment recognized as the world’s biosphere reserve. - Tuoi Tre News

Laos:

Soldiers from Cambodia and Laos have been locked in a standoff across their shared border since February, in a spat that has seen troops on the ground accuse each other of incursions while the leaders of the two countries dismiss reports of friction. - Radio Free Asia

Cambodia:

A company owned by business magnate Kith Meng is using its license to clear a reservoir for the Lower Sesan 2 hydropower dam in Cambodia’s Stung Treng province as a cover to launder illegally logged timber, according to a report by the country’s police force. - Radio Free Asia

More than 1,000 garment workers from a factory in Kandal province’s Takhmao City blocked a public road on Wednesday in protest over unpaid wages that have left them struggling to afford food and pay their rents, a union official said. - The Cambodia Daily

Myanmar:

Myanmar’s powerful military filed a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday against a local independent newspaper editor and its satire columnist over the publication of an article that allegedly insulted the armed forces in the latest attack on freedom of speech in the developing Southeast Asian country. - Radio Free Asia

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