Greenpeace slams Indonesian palm oil industry for stalling on promise to end deforestation

Greenpeace slammed Indonesia’s palm oil industry on Monday for failing to live up to a pledge to halt deforestation, as the lucrative sector faces possible restrictions in Europe over environmental concerns.
Palm oil is used in everything from soap to frozen pizza, but a consumer backlash has forced dozens of the world’s largest food and drink manufacturers to address its ecological impact.
Vast swathes of rainforest are destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, threatening…

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte tells Muslim rebels he will correct ‘historical injustice’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to correct “historical injustice” in a speech to Muslim rebels on Monday as his government seeks to reignite a stalled peace process in the nation’s troubled south.
He made the remarks at a mammoth gathering hosted by the country’s main Muslim guerilla group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but which has also brought together Christians, rival Muslim factions and tribal groups from the southern region of Mindanao….

Another pale imitation as Hollywood’s JJ Abrams plans remake of Japanese classic ‘Your Name’

Hollywood has a fairly dismal record of taking incredibly popular Japanese anime or manga tales and transforming them into live action movies, so there is justifiable concern among fans of Kimi No Na Wa that the planned remake is going to be a pale shadow of the original when it hits the big screen. Plans for the live action version of the film – better known to audiences outside Japan as Your Name – were announced in September, with the apparent majority of hard core fans of the…

This tattooed Indonesian fisheries minister will blow your mind (and maybe your boat)

Susi Pudjiastuti shows off a copy of an application for a permit submitted one year before she was named Indonesia’s fisheries minister in 2014. Made out to an Indonesian company with an address in Fuzhou, China, it sought permission to operate a vessel capable of hauling in 3,000 tons of fish per voyage. The vessel would have operated a purse seine, a type of circular net used in commercial fishing to target dense schools of fish. The nets are controversial because they are so efficient…

Pola cosmetics maker apologises for sign barring Chinese from shop in Japan

Japanese cosmetics company Pola apologised on Saturday after one of its sales outlets in Japan posted a sign prohibiting entry by Chinese shoppers.
The apology was posted on the company’s website after a picture of the shop with that sign was circulated on Friday on Chinese social media. In a statement, Pola said the company had identified the shop and removed the sign, which “caused unpleasant feelings and inconvenience to many people”.
The company “takes the situation…

Rohingya to stay in temporary houses on return to Myanmar, Bangladesh official says

Rohingya refugees who return to Myanmar following a Bangladesh-Myanmar repatriation agreement will initially have to live in temporary shelters or camps, Dhaka said on Saturday.
“Primarily they will be kept at temporary shelters or arrangements for a limited time,” Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali told reporters in the capital Dhaka.
The United Nations says 620,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August and now live in squalor in the world’s largest refugee…

Nepal heading for stability with national vote, but ‘musical chairs’ expected to continue

Nepal on Sunday votes in historic elections for new national and provincial assemblies that many hope will bring much-needed stability to the desperately poor country, which has cycled through 10 leaders in the last 11 years.
The elections are the first under a new post-war constitution that paved the way for a sweeping overhaul of the political system intended to devolve power away from a top-heavy central government to seven newly created provinces.
The constitution, adopted in 2015, is aimed…

Crackdown on opposition spreads fear, stifles debate in Cambodia

“We speak our mind,” says the website of a group of young Cambodians who have met at weekends for the past six years to discuss politics over cups of coffee.
But discussions by the Politikoffee group were postponed indefinitely by the organisers after the main opposition party was dissolved last week at the request of authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
For participants, the suspension of their meetings because of the difficult environment was just one more sign…

Budget 2017: Tax litigation and investigations

ANALYSIS: Although the UK Budget announced 18 new measures in relation to tax disputes and investigations, they were not all new. The most significant proposals include a new 12 year assessment time limit for offshore matters and measures to tackle VAT evasion by sellers on online marketplaces.