Ex-colonel known as ‘Little Baldy’ convicted in Vietnam corruption crackdown

A Vietnamese military court in Hanoi on Tuesday sentenced the a military official to 12 years in jail in what was the communist-ruled country’s first trial in its crackdown against corruption.
Dinh Ngoc He, a former colonel known by his nickname “Little Baldy”, was convicted of “abusing power in performance of official duties” and “using fake documents”, the news website of state radio Voice Of Vietnam reported.
“The court said the [nature of the…

Indonesia earthquake: more than 500 hikers evacuated from Lombok’s Mount Rinjani volcano after quake

More than 500 hikers and their guides have been successfully evacuated from an Indonesian volcano after a deadly earthquake triggered landslides that trapped them on the mountain, officials said Tuesday.
Tonnes of rock and mud were dislodged on Mount Rinjani in the 6.4-magnitude quake, which struck early Sunday and was followed by scores of aftershocks, blocking the hiking routes that criss-cross the mountain.
Some 560 trekkers were originally thought to have been stranded, including citizens…

Philippines raises concern over Chinese radio warnings to stay away from South China Sea islands

The Philippines has expressed concern to China over an increasing number of Chinese radio messages warning Philippine aircraft and ships to stay away from newly fortified islands and other territories in the South China Sea claimed by both countries, officials said Monday.
A Philippine government report showed that in the second half of last year alone, Philippine military aircraft received such Chinese radio warnings at least 46 times while patrolling near artificial islands built by China in…

Cambodia rejects US criticism of ‘flawed’ election as strongman Hun Sen retains power

Cambodia woke to another chapter of rule by strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, a day after his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) declared victory in a general election that rights groups said was neither free nor fair.
The White House said it would consider steps, including an expansion of visa restrictions placed on some Cambodian government members, in response to “flawed elections” in which there was no significant challenger to Hun Sen.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said…

Indonesia earthquake: more than 500 hikers stranded on Lombok’s Mount Rinjani after 6.4 magnitude quake

Efforts were underway Monday to rescue hundreds of climbers stranded on Mount Rinjani on Indonesia’s Lombok Island, a day after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist destination.
Helicopters and rescue teams on foot have been deployed to scour the slopes of Mount Rinjani, which is criss-crossed with hiking routes popular with tourists.
“The latest information from the team in the field is that today all the families stuck on Mount Rinjani will be evacuated…

Bank of Japan, caught between Trump and a hard place, must also confront ghosts of its past

The Bank of Japan won’t shock global markets this week, no matter what rabid speculation you read in the financial pages. To understand why, let’s play a game of back to the future. Our first stop is 1994, when Yasuo Matsushita became the 27th BOJ governor. Matsushita, who died July 20 at 92, was at ground zero of the same “deflationary mindset” that the incumbent governor Haruhiko Kuroda is still struggling to defeat. Matsushita arrived four years after the 1980s…

Can Vietnam take Singapore’s stock market crown?

Just three years ago, Vietnam was still a cipher in the global financial system. The Southeast Asian nation had only ten US$1 billion listed companies, while daily trading volume on the stock market came in at around US$100 million.
That picture, however, is vastly different today. It is not quite Wall Street, but the country’s financial centre, Ho Chi Minh, is fast heating up.
Last year, the country’s benchmark Vietnam Index soared to a 10-year high with a 47 per cent gain –…

China: the real reason Australia’s pumping cash into the Pacific?

When the leaders of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands this month signed off on a deal to link the three countries via an undersea internet cable, Canberra positioned itself as a thoughtful neighbour, eager to help developing nations in its own backyard. “We spend billions of dollars a year on foreign aid and this is a very practical way of investing in the future economic growth of our neighbours in the Pacific,” said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,…