‘My people can’t compete’: as China’s influence grows in Pacific, so does local resentment and international worry

In the gritty, steamy streets of Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby, signs of China’s push into the Pacific island nation are inescapable.
A Chinese worker stencils a logo for China Railway Group outside the new national courthouse it’s building; China Harbor Engineering Group labourers tar roads under the searing midday sun.
Little by little they are taking slices of our businesses. My people feel we can’t compete
Martyn Namorong, anti-China campaigner in Papua New…

Cambodian prince’s wife dies in head-on car crash

A Cambodian prince and former prime minister was injured and his wife killed in a head-on collision on a highway in the country’s southwest on Sunday, officials said.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh and his wife Ouk Phalla were rushed to hospital after a taxi travelling in the other direction slammed into their motorcade in Preah Sihanouk province.
Phalla died in a nearby facility while Ranariddh, the head of the royalist Funcinpec party, was flown to a hospital in Phnom Penh. The death of…

Canadian man accused of advising black market website Silk Road creator extradited to US from Thailand

A Canadian man accused by US authorities of acting as a senior adviser to the jailed creator of the underground Silk Road website was extradited to the United States from Thailand on Friday, federal prosecutors said.
In a newly unsealed indictment, prosecutors charged Roger Thomas Clark with crimes including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Clark was arrested in Thailand in 2015 at the request of US authorities.
Prosecutors have said Clark was…

A woman in Indonesia went to check her corn and was swallowed by a python

For the second time in barely more than a year, an Indonesian villager has been swallowed whole by a python.
Wa Tiba, 54, left her home on Muna island to visit her cornfield on Thursday night, according to The Jakarta Post.
The field was about a half mile from her house, surrounded by cliffs, caves and a certain number of reticulated pythons, the longest snakes in the world. The snakes normally feed on smaller mammals. Attacks on humans are supposed to be as rare as winning the lottery and…

Japan’s concerns aside, North Korean media says abductions issue is ‘already settled’

North Korea’s official Pyongyang Broadcasting Station said on Friday that the issue of the North’s past abductions of Japanese nationals has “already been settled”, according to the Tokyo-based Radio Press news agency.
It is the first time that North Korean media has reiterated the government’s official line since the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier this week in Singapore. It also comes as Japanese Prime…

Millions of speed pills and 300kg crystal meth seized in Northern Thailand

About 9 million methamphetamine pills and 300 kilogrammes of crystal meth have been seized and a key drug suspect arrested in Thailand’s Chiang Dao district.
Suspected dealer Panatkit Soponphumipanya was arrested in the border area of Ban Pa Bong Ngam in tambon Mueang Na on Monday. 
The drugs were in his possession.
Seventeen-year-old caught in Thailand with drugs worth US$3.12m
His arrest was announced on Friday at a news conference by Sirinya Sitdhichai, secretary-general of…

Trump’s nominee for US ambassador to South Korea supports ‘a pause’ in joint military exercises

US President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to South Korea expressed his support Thursday for Trump’s pledge to stop military exercises in the area, a concession some US lawmakers worried could weaken Washington’s alliance with Seoul against Pyongyang.
Harry Harris, a retired admiral and former commander of US Forces in the Pacific, said during his Senate confirmation hearing that the US should halt major military drills with South Korea in exchange for concrete steps…