For Assam’s protesters, the red and white gamosa has become their flag

At the epicentre of deadly protests in Assam, a red and white cloth has come to symbolise the struggle of the Indian state’s indigenous “sons of the soil” against a new citizenship law that they see as a dangerous threat to their unique culture.Traditionally worn by fishermen and peasants, millennials and others in the far-flung region have co-opted the gamosa, tieing it around their heads, their waists and emblazoning it with anti-government slogans.“This is like a flag for us,” said Jatin…

Philippines’ Davao rocked by deadly magnitude 6.8 earthquake

A powerful earthquake struck near the Philippine city of Davao on Sunday, officials said, the latest in a series of tremors to strike the southern part of the country in recent months.A six-year-old girl died after a wall collapsed on her as a result of the quake, Vincent Fernandez, the mayor of Matanao town, told local radio.The magnitude 6.8 quake was centred 61km southwest of Davao on the island of Mindanao, at a depth of 28.2km, the US Geological Survey said, revising down the magnitude…

Last Japanese soldier to survive World War II Battle of Peleliu’s final words of warning

When Keiji Nagai spoke of the horrors he had witnessed, a shadow fell over his eyes. His interviewer, Kentaro Saeki, said it was like the second world war veteran was seeing it all over again: the fighting, the bloodshed, the deaths of his friends.Nagai, who died in November at the age of 98, was the last of just 34 Japanese who survived the vicious Battle of Peleliu, which claimed more than 12,000 lives and whose scars can still be seen on the Pacific island – now part of the Republic of Palau…

Communist rebel attack killed two, wounded 15 in Philippines, military says

A police officer and a grandmother were killed and 15 people wounded in an attack by suspected communist rebels in the eastern Philippines, the military said on Saturday.The attack occurred on Friday along a highway in Borongan City in Eastern Samar province, 582 kilometres southeast of Manila, said Captain Reynaldo Aragones, a regional army spokesman.Ten of the wounded, including three children, were civilians, while five were police officers, he added.“The attack is believed to be part of the…

‘We are not a US colony’: South Korean protesters destroy portraits of US ambassador outside embassy

Protesters angry over American demands that South Korea pay more for defence destroyed portraits of the US ambassador stuck on blocks of tofu outside the US embassy on Friday after police warned them against staging a more aggressive demonstration.US Ambassador Harry Harris has become a political lightning rod for South Koreans angered by US President Donald Trump’s push to get South Korea to pay billions of dollars more toward maintaining the 28,500 American troops stationed there.“Harris out!…

US and ‘like-minded’ partners will maintain security in Asia in face of Chinese ‘competition’, American admiral says

A partnership between the United States and “like-minded nations” will keep Asian countries secure in the face of competition from a rising China, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet said on Friday.On a visit to Bangkok, Admiral John Aquilino, 56, criticised China’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea, a vital trade waterway with rich energy resources where Beijing has disputes with five nations.“We are in competition with the People’s Republic of China,” Aquilino told…

Repeal of water contracts in Philippines could complicate Chinese dam loan repayments: congressman

The Philippine water regulator’s decision to cancel the 15-year extension of concession deals with the country’s two largest utilities after pressure from President Rodrigo Duterte could affect payments on a China-funded loan for a vital dam project, according to a lawmaker.Manila Water Co Inc and Maynilad Water Services were looking to charge users a water security fee on their bill, money that would have been put towards the repayment of a US$211 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of…

Thousands cheer as Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn wraps up coronation with barge procession

Flanked by more than 2,000 oarsmen rowing to a steady drumbeat, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn travelled down Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river as part of a 52-barge flotilla on Thursday, marking the final event of his coronation.The flotilla comes seven months after the monarch was crowned in an elaborate three-day affair that involved sacred bathing rituals and a grand procession where he was carried on a palanquin around Bangkok’s historic old quarter to greet the public.Thousands of well…

India’s parliament approves citizenship law for non-Muslim minorities

India’s parliament on Wednesday approved a contentious bill that prevents illegal Muslim migrants from neighbouring countries from receiving citizenship after hours of heated debate among lawmakers and protests in some parts of the country.The bill, which offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal migrants from three neighbouring countries, was approved in the upper house of Parliament on Wednesday after it secured more votes in favour of the legislation. The bill was passed in India’s lower house on…

Aung San Suu Kyi says it’s ‘misleading’ to label Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims as genocide

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the case brought against her country at the World Court was “incomplete and misleading” as she denied genocidal intent in her defence to accusations of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority on Wednesday.Gambia, a small West African country, has launched a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, the United Nation’s highest court, alleging the Southeast Asian country has violated the 1948 Genocide Convention.Leading Myanmar’s…