Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Tuesday, 12 February 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific


Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly from INDONESIA

  • Volcanic ash and lava spewing out from Mount Karangetang on the Siau island in North Sulawesi province have cut off the roads and bridges in the area.
  • Bad weather in the region has hampered the evacuation operations. Local authorities are trying to evacuate 508 villagers from the area.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Siau island and follow the directions of the local authorities.


  • A house in the Seberang Perai Tengah district of Penang province believed to be a drug factory was raided by the police yesterday. Two handguns, a grenade, and more than 300 live bullets were found in the raid.
  • Police said that the suspects are still at large and they believed that the ammunition belonged to a drug syndicate.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the heavily armed drug syndicates in Penang. The drug syndicate can potentially lead reprisal attacks after raids posing a threat to civilians and businesses in the region.

The Philippines

  • A senior police officer was shot dead by unidentified gunmen along the national highway in North Cotabato on the southern island of Mindanao late evening on Sunday.
  • After the shooting, gunmen were reportedly headed towards Maguindanao. Police said a hot pursuit is ongoing to catch the perpetrators.
  • Clients are advised to expect police raids and check posts in different parts of the city Maguindanao and the neighboring areas. Employ extreme caution while traveling in the southern region.


  • The Election Commission of Thailand disqualified Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya from her bid to become prime minister for the Thai Raksa Chart party. The Election Commission announced yesterday that the “monarchy must remain above politics.”
  • Earlier the King Vajiralongkorn had opposed the move by Princess Ubolratana to run for prime minister stating that it is inappropriate and unconstitutional for royal family members to enter politics.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the political developments before the general elections. The disqualification can potentially trigger protests by the supporters of the princess and Thai Raksa Chart party.


Main Issues in South Asia


  • Facebook has partnered with local organizations to curb the spread of fake news identified through an international fact-checking network. It is expected to reduce the spread of fake news by 80% before the elections in April this year.
  • The partnerships will expand its fact-checking capability, in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi languages. Pages and websites that repeatedly shared false news will be curtailed with their ability to advertise and monetize removed.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the fake news expected to be propagated on social media platforms before the elections.

Also in INDIA

  • The northeastern state of Nagaland came to a standstill yesterday during a complete shutdown by the Nagaland Gaon Burhas Federation to protest the Citizen Amendment Bill. Shops. Business establishments and educational institutions remained closed, and vehicular traffic in all eleven districts was suspended.
  • “There is no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state. The shutdown has brought life to a standstill,” a police official said. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has said that the state government, remains opposed to the Bill.
  • Clients are advised to expect more demonstrations and protests in the North Eastern states of India.


  • Yesterday two Indian nationals were arrested in Birgunj municipality of Parsa district along the southern border with India and one Nepali suspect was arrested in Lalbandi Municipality of Sarlahi district in two separate cases of cross border drug smuggling operation.
  • Police recovered nine kg of hash from the two Indian nationals and five kg from the Nepali. Cross border drug and arms smuggling along the India-Nepal border by organized criminal gangs is a major concern for law enforcement agencies of both the countries. The criminal gangs have targeted local businesses and civilians for extortion and kidnapping.
  • Clients are advised to be vigilant of drug smugglers and employ extreme caution in the areas near the border. Increased security checks at border-crossing checkpoints may cause delays in supply chain and travel.



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