ASIA NEWS BITES: Spy Charges for Australian Filmmaker in Cambodia; New Panama Papers Revelation in Japan; China Pushes to Cut UN Human Rights Funding

ASIA NEWS BITES: Spy Charges for Australian Filmmaker in Cambodia; New Panama Papers Revelation in Japan; China Pushes to Cut UN Human Rights Funding
Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像

What you need to know

A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region


President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he did not seek support from Washington to end the siege of a southern Philippines town by Islamist militants, a day after the United States said it was providing assistance at the request of the government. - Reuters

Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon is believed to be hiding with foreign terrorists in the area in Marawi City where 13 Marines were killed in a clash with the Maute militants over the weekend, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. - The Philippine Star

The leader of the Islamic State (IS) himself ordered the siege of Marawi City, which has been ravaged by prolonged clashes between government forces and Maute militants for the past three weeks, President Duterte said yesterday. - The Philippine Star


Half the number of bodies from Myanmar plane crash recovered. The Burma Army would complete its search for victims and debris of the military aircraft that crashed into the Andaman Sea on Wednesday, said the Burma Army Chief, adding that he believed it crashed due to bad weather. - Irrawaddy


Japanese individuals and companies listed in the leaked Panama Papers owe more than ¥1 billion ($9.06 million) in taxes on undeclared income, sources close to the matter have said. - The Japan Times

Earthquake simulators have become tourist draws at disaster education centers nationwide, with a growing number of foreign visitors eager to learn about the hazards of life in a seismically active country. - The Japan Times

Western Digital to raise Toshiba chip offer in the last-ditch bid. - Reuters

The Osaka Prefectural Police will deploy 900 police officers to about 400 unmanned bank branches with ATMs on Monday in an effort to prevent bank transfer scams often involving elderly citizens. - The Japan Times


China’s government is working to keep climate change cooperation with the U.S. alive after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, even if that means sidestepping the White House to seek closer ties with U.S. states. - The Wall Street Journal

As the United States was withdrawing from the Paris climate pact, China’s clean energy ambitions were being reflected in the launch of the world’s largest floating solar farm. - AFP via Hong Kong Free Press

China is pushing to cut United Nations funding for human rights monitoring posts in Africa, according to diplomats speaking to New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW). - Hong Kong Free Press


Clad in camouflage and armed only with their convictions, the paramilitary wing of Indonesia's biggest Muslim organization is on a campaign -- to crush intolerance and defend the nation's inclusive brand of Islam. - ABS-CBN


An Australian filmmaker has been charged with spying in Cambodia after he was photographed flying a drone over a political rally. - ABC News

Wild elephants kill a villager in Mondulkiri protected area. - The Cambodia Dialy

An opposition spokesman said on Sunday that if the CNRP won next year’s national elections, all transactions in the country would be in Khmer riel within one year—a huge reversal of the current situation, in which 84 percent of transactions use the U.S. dollar, according to National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) statistics. - The Cambodia Dialy

South Korea:

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Sunday nominated a former navy chief as his defense minister, the president's office said, as the government faces challenges tackling North Korea's rapidly developing weapons program. - Reuters

North Korea:

About NZ$215,000 in Government funding was given to groups to use for humanitarian reasons in North Korea over the past eight years - including for a "New Zealand Friendship Farm" - but it was halted last year because of concern about North Korea's nuclear testing. - The New Zealand Herald

North Korea says it has moved closer to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile with the potential of hitting the U.S. mainland. - New Delhi Television


In documenting Taiwan, a filmmaker makes ultimate sacrifice. - Central News Agency

A computer designed in Taiwan was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for testing for a long-term contract, a Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology official has confirmed. - The Taipei Times

In the first quarter of the year, the nation’s average internet connection speed was 16.9 megabits per second (Mbps), the 16th-fastest in the world and fifth-fastest in the Asia-Pacific region, a quarterly report on global internet speeds said. - The Taipei Times

Hong Kong:

The Democratic Party has vowed to fight for “self-determination to the greatest extent” for Hong Kong, although it flatly rejects calls for Hong Kong independence. - South China Morning Post

Dozens of activists Saturday dressed in bloody costumes sprawled outside one of Hong Kong’s most popular restaurants linked to the sale of shark fin soup to protest against the killing of the marine predators. - AFP via Hong Kong Free Press