Video captures Thai airport security guard hitting Chinese tourist, prompting government to apologise

A video clip of a Chinese tourist being hit by an airport guard in Thailand has prompted a flurry of apologies and vows to take action, as the government went into damage control over the incident.
China is Thailand’s biggest source of tourists, making up about a quarter of its 35 million annual visitors.
But a boating disaster on the popular island of Phuket in July that killed dozens of Chinese holidaymakers has caused a drop-off in visits and put Thailand on alert for problems that…

Crumpled hotel in Palu becomes focus of rescue effort after Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

Squads of orange-clad rescuers clambered over the tangled remains of an Indonesian hotel Sunday, hoping to dig out 50 to 60 guests still feared trapped by an earthquake-tsunami disaster.
Authorities believe the 80-room Hotel Roa-Roa in the city of Palu on Sulawesi island was near capacity when the district was ravaged by a 7.5 magnitude quake and a tsunami wave Friday.
“It is assumed there are still 50 to 60 people trapped under the rubble,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo…

Powerful Typhoon Trami batters Okinawa, threatens rest of Japan

A powerful typhoon pummelled Japan’s southern island of Okinawa on Saturday, injuring at least 17 people, as weather officials warned the storm would rip through the country over the weekend.
Typhoon Trami, packing maximum gusts of 216km/h (134mph) near its centre, was forecast to hit the mainland early on Sunday and cause extreme weather across the country into Monday. Television footage showed branches ripped from trees by strong winds blocking a main street in Naha, with massive waves…

Jurong, Singapore’s 2nd CBD, hits a high-speed rail buffer: it’s called Mahathir

In the western part of Singapore, there is a place where people seeking to escape the tropical heat can take things to the extreme. Where there is real snow, sub-zero temperatures and – for the really adventurous – skiing and snowboarding lessons on a purpose-built slope.
Snow City, which markets itself as a fun day out for everyone from winter-sports enthusiasts to families to corporate team builders, seemed a great idea when it first opened its doors in June 2000.
But since then,…

Slovak paedophile’s conviction a watershed for Vietnam

In a landmark case this week, Roman Zmajkovic became the first person to be prosecuted under a new Vietnamese law on paedophilia.
Zmajkovic, 33, was charged in Hanoi People’s Court for “having sexual intercourse with children” and given three years in prison followed by deportation to Slovakia. The maximum possible sentence was 15 years. Zmajkovic’s prosecution is the first to occur under a new Vietnamese law that recognises non-heterosexual sex with children as a sex…

Unlucky week for Vietnam’s bachelor – and its elephants

‘I came here to find love, but it’s not with you, Bachelor … sorry’
Television franchise The Bachelor has had its fair share of dramatic moments the world over but Vietnam’s version this week may have taken the rose for best twist. During a rose ceremony, in which the eligible bachelor keeps or eliminates the female contestants vying for his affections, one of the women, Minh Thu, said she had fallen in love with a fellow competitor Truc Nhu instead. Subtitled…

Singapore immigration officer charged in sex bribery case involving Chinese women

A Singapore immigration official was on Thursday charged for allegedly receiving sexual favours from Chinese women in exchange for helping them extend their visas, a rare case of corruption in a city state known for its clean image.
Chin Peng Sum was also accused of tipping off the two women about impending raids and obstruction of justice for deleting incriminating text messages he exchanged with them.
Singapore diplomat Tommy Koh calls for end to gay sex ban
The 51-year-old, a staff sergeant…