‘Some refugees are very sick’: Australian immigration camp on Papua New Guinea loses power

The 606 men refusing to leave an Australian immigration camp in Papua New Guinea were without power and many of their toilets on Wednesday as reports emerged saying one of them had resorted to harming himself while others needed urgent medical treatment.
The camp inside a Manus Island navy base was declared closed on Tuesday afternoon based on the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court’s ruling last year that Australia’s policy of detaining asylum seekers there was illegal and…

‘The military has got the whip hand’: Thailand’s junta emerges from one year of mourning stronger than ever

Thailand’s military government has emerged from the year of official mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej with a firm grip on power and in no apparent rush to hold elections it has repeatedly delayed during the four years since its coup.
The five days of solemn and choreographed spectacle for Bhumibol’s funeral last month was a mostly unblemished propaganda triumph for the junta that underlined its primacy and the sidelining of political parties.
After a reign of seven decades,…

North Korean nuclear test ‘left 200 dead after tunnel collapse’, according to Japanese reports

More than 200 people are feared to have died when a tunnel caved in at North Korea’s nuclear test site after its latest detonation, a Japanese news report said on Tuesday.
A tunnel collapsed at Punggye-ri in early September, days after North Korea conducted its sixth and largest underground nuclear test on September 3, TV Asahi said, quoting unnamed North Korean sources.
Some 100 workers were involved in an initial collapse. Another cave-in occurred during rescue operations, leaving at…

Is he poor or is he rich? Thai model probed for using welfare card

By Wichit Chantanusornsiri & Online reporters A male model suspected of pretending to be poor in order to receive a welfare card is being investigated by Thailand’s Comptroller-General’s Department. The department chief, Suttirat Rattanachot, said she has obtained the name of the model, who has been subjected to criticism on social media for obtaining a welfare card despite appearing to live a life of comfort. But the man shamed on social media has come forward to…

Sea current course change could mean worse weather for Japan

The powerful current that sweeps up Japan’s east coast has made a broad turn out into the Pacific for the first time in 12 years, according to scientists, meaning that the country can expect higher tides and elevated levels of snowfall this winter.
Experts also warn that changes in the Kuroshio Current have already begun to affect fish stocks in the usually plentiful waters off the eastern seaboard, with fishermen reporting that catches of bonito and sardine fry are already significantly…

Duterte’s successor? Philippines top cop known as ‘Bato’ hints at run for presidency

The Philippines’ top police chief who oversaw a bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands of Filipinos hinted on Monday at a possible run for the presidency.
Ronald Dela Rosa, a stocky, celebrity-like general nicknamed “Bato” (Rock), who retires in 2018, has flagged his political ambitions, saying he was open to running for the Senate.
But in a speech after a flag-raising ceremony at police headquarters, Dela Rosa for the first time publicly suggested he may have his…

Funeral for late Thai King Bhumibol draws to a close

A year of official mourning for Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej drew to an end on Sunday after a lavish five-day funeral embroidered with pageantry and religious ritual.
Bhumibol, a beloved king who died last October aged 88, was cremated on Thursday after a day charged with emotion that brought Thailand to a standstill.
At his death he was the world’s longest serving monarch, striding over seven decades of Thailand’s turbulent modern history, to depart as the kingdom…