Regional


Two Myanmar men sentenced to death in Thailand for murder have been given a momentary reprieve: The court yesterday allotted an extra month for their appeal. The defence team applied for and was granted the extension just four days before the initial court deadline.
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As 2016 begins, an historic contest is under way over competing development models – that is, strategies to promote economic growth – between China, on the one hand, and the US and other Western countries on the other. Although this contest has been largely hidden from public view, the outcome will determine the fate of much of Eurasia for decades to come.
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Mainland Southeast Asia is set for a year of uncertainty and potential friction as sensitive political transitions loom, especially in Thailand and Myanmar, and external economic factors, like the slump in commodity prices and China’s slowdown, take the steam out of regional economies.
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It is a long walk on rugged terrain. The nearest traditional rice field of the indigenous Karen is five kilometres away from the village, tucked away in a dense forest. Yet Mueno, while carrying her three-old son, shows no sign of fatigue even as I am gasping for breath.
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The Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) has indefinitely suspended its’ assistance to Burmese seeking to work in Malaysia, in protest of a visa fee hike.
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Asian stock markets edged down Tuesday following data showing China’s economy, the world’s second biggest and a key driver of global growth, logged its weakest performance in a quarter of a century last year.
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British human rights activist Andy Hall will stand trial in a Thai court charged with defaming a Thai fruit company and violating computer laws, which could lead to seven years imprisonment if found guilty.
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Indonesia must strengthen its defenses against Islamic State and work with neighboring countries to fight it, Jakarta’s police chief said on Friday, a day after an attack by suicide bombers and gunmen in the heart of the Southeast Asian nation’s capital.
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Just weeks after a Thai court sentenced two Myanmar migrants to the death penalty for the murder of two British tourists in Koh Tao, a similar case involving the killing of a young Thai woman appears to be headed to trial.
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Thailand delivered a progress report on Thursday on efforts to clamp down on illegal fishing in a last-ditch attempt to show progress made ahead of a visit by EU officials next week.
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Militants launched a gun and bomb assault killing at least six people in the center of the Indonesian capital on Thursday, police said, in an attack that followed a threat by Islamic State fighters to put the country in their “spotlight.”
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Fourteen Burmese fishermen rescued from Indonesia’s Ambon Island were returned to Rangoon on Tuesday, state-run media reported.
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Burma’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday expressed concern over North Korea’s claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on Jan. 6.
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The death sentences handed down to two migrant workers from Burma by a Thai court on Christmas Eve ignited widespread condemnation in Burma. Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 22, were convicted of the murder of British tourists David Miller and Hannah Witheridge on the Thai resort island of Koh Tao in September 2014. The police investigation and proceedings were widely criticized for serious shortcomings, including allegations of police torture to extract initial confessions which the Thai authorities refused to investigate seriously.  Forensic experts from Thailand and Australia have raised serious questions about DNA evidence linked to the rape of Witheridge, on which the prosecution heavily relied. Defense lawyers have said they will appeal the decision. (more…)

China’s total trade volume fell seven percent year-on-year to 24.59 trillion yuan (around $3.74 trillion) in 2015, Customs said Wednesday, hit by slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy and plunging commodity prices.
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As fears over China’s slowing economy send global rubber prices spiralling toward a six-year low, and demand for rubber from neighbouring heavyweights such as Thailand dries up, plantation owners across Myanmar are shuttering their businesses.
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China formally arrested several Chinese human rights lawyers on suspicion of subverting state power after months of secret detention, one of their colleagues said Tuesday, the latest move by authorities to crack down on dissent.
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The Burmese government has sent a special investigative team consisting of legal and forensics experts to Thailand, where lawyers for two Burmese migrant workers convicted of a high-profile double murder last month are preparing to appeal.
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A court in Thailand has accepted charges against four Burmese migrants accused of killing a Thai student last year, as family members of the suspects this week traveled to Bangkok to allege police mistreatment of their sons while in custody in Ranong, the southern Thai city where the murder took place.
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Internet hackers have attacked around 300 Thai court and government websites bringing them offline in retaliation for the sentencing of two Burmese migrant workers to death by a Koh Samui court in December.
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