Malaysia’s national bank warns of fraudsters using fake money lending licences

By Emir Zainul
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has warned that there are persons or companies conducting illegal money lending activities using fake money lending licences, purportedly issued by the central bank.
“These fraudsters aim to deceive the public to believe that they are licensed money lenders and to lure the public to make initial payments for various purposes related to the loan, such as administrative expenses, stamp duty and legal fees,” BNM said in a statement.
BNM…

What a vacancy at the US embassy in Singapore says about Trump’s Asia policy

No ambassador. No problem? As US officials play down the prolonged stalemate regarding the confirmation of K.T. McFarland – a former top aide to US President Donald Trump – as ambassador to Singapore, some observers say the development raises further doubts over the coherence of America’s Asia policy. The stalled appointment means a lower ranking charge d’affaires will, for the foreseeable future, lead the US embassy in Singapore, one of Washington’s closest…

‘He is someone, not something’: Indonesia’s selfie snapping monkey Naruto named ‘Person of the Year’ by rights group PETA

An Indonesian monkey who shot to fame after it snapped a grinning selfie – and sparked a landmark US copyright case – was named “Person of the Year” on Wednesday by the animal rights group that took on the simian’s cause.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it was honouring Naruto, a crested black macaque with a goofy looking grin, to recognise that “he is someone, not something”.
In 2011, the monkey pressed the shutter button while…

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen accuses exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy of ‘treasonous’ call to soldiers on Facebook

Cambodia’s exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy has committed treason by inciting soldiers to defy orders, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Wednesday, and he will face new legal action over the comments.
The threat of more legal action against Sam Rainsy, who has lived in France since 2015 to avoid a series of convictions, comes weeks after a court dissolved his opposition party, removing any significant challenge to Hun Sen extending his decades-long rule in a general election next year….

Philippine police return to front lines of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war after two-month hiatus

Philippine police will return to the front lines of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, his spokesman said Tuesday, less than two months after they were demoted in response to rising opposition to the crackdown.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the police were being brought back because drug crimes had risen in their absence, and there had been a “public clamour” for them to return.
He said Duterte signed an order on Tuesday directing the police to again join the…

Grilled rats lucrative career for villagers in Thai province

Hunting Bandicoot rats in the rice fields – and then grilling them for sale as a rural delicacy – has become a regular income-earner during the last two months of the year for villagers in Thung Sa Liam district in Thailand’s Sukhothai province. The villagers hunt the nu phook (Bandicoot rats) in adjacent Thoen district of Lampang province at night and then grill them before selling them in villages and fresh markets. The nocturnal hunt-and-barbeque activities generate…

‘It was inevitable’: Rahul Gandhi poised to take over from his mother as leader of India’s Congress party

Rahul Gandhi could be named head of India’s opposition Congress party within hours, a source said, shortly after he filed his candidacy for the role on Monday.
Speculation has been rife for months that the 47-year-old vice-president of the party would soon take over from his mother Sonia, who has led Congress for 19 years.
Elections for the post had been scheduled for December 16, but with hours to go before nominations close, no one else has yet come forward publicly as a candidate….