APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific.
Main Issues in East Asia Pacific
Firstly in the PHILIPPINES
- Unidentified assailants claiming to be members of the New People’s Army burnt down construction equipment’s of Sta. Clara International Corporation yesterday in Naujan town of the Oriental Mindoro province on the island of Mindoro.
- The attackers reportedly set fire to approximately twelve units of heavy equipment, warehouses and office buildings. Security forces of the Philippines have been fighting the communist New People’s Army for decades.
- Clients are advised to employ extreme caution on Mindoro Expect increased security measures by the government forces on the Island.
Also in the PHILIPPINES
- Suspected members of the “Baklas Bubong” gang were killed in an encounter with police in Agoncillo town in the central province of Batangas yesterday. The gang is responsible for dozens of robberies in the region.
- Police said they recovered guns, cutters, and grinders from the vehicle used by the suspects. Other members of the gang are being tracked in the Quezon and Batangas provinces.
- Clients are advised to be aware of criminal gangs notorious for robberies in the Philippines and employ extreme caution while traveling in Quezon and Batangas provinces.
- An accident occurred at the Tuas Checkpoint on the Second Link bridge connecting Singapore and Johor in Malaysia at about 4 a.m. today. One person was killed, and 16 others were injured in the accident. The accident has blocked the heavy vehicle lane towards Singapore.
- The Immigration and Checkpoint Authority said that the heavy vehicles from Malaysia were diverted and suggested to use Woodlands Checkpoint which connects Johor Bauru in Malaysia with Woodlands in Singapore. Traffic of cars and motorcycles has resumed. However, the heavy vehicle lane remains closed.
- Clients are advised to be aware of the choke point nature of border crossing on the Singapore Malaysia border and whenever possible take air routes.
- A natural gas reserve with proven reserves of more than 100 billion cubic meters was discovered in the Bohai Sea area. The newly discovered gas field is about 100 km from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The discovery was announced by China National Offshore Oil Corporation yesterday.
- It is the largest oil and gas discovery in the Bohai Bay Basin in the past 50 years. The natural gas from the Bohai Bay Basin can be directly transported to market through existing pipelines.
- The discovery will save the foreign currency reserve for China by decreasing its dependence on oil and gas imports.
- Yesterday the Election Commission said General Prayut Chan-o-cha can take part in policy debates as the Palang Pracharath prime ministerial candidate. However, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, insisted on the importance of maintaining neutrality by General Prayuth.
- The Election Commission will also decide whether General Prayut, as the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order is qualified to be a candidate for prime minister.
- The Secretary-General of the United Lawyers for Rights and Liberty has asked the Election Commission to disqualify General Prayut under Section 14 of the Constitution. The section states that a salaried state official is barred from being a candidate for elections.
- Traffic control measures will be implemented on the freeways from February 28 to March 3 during the four-day 228 Peace Memorial Day weekend. Tolls will be suspended between midnight and 5 am till March 2 and until 10 am on March 3.
- The 228 incident refers to an anti-government uprising in Taiwan that was violently suppressed by the Kuomintang-led Republic of China government, which killed thousands of civilians on 28 February 1947. The number of Taiwanese deaths from the incident was estimated to be between 5,000 and 28,000. The Transport Bureau has suggested travel south during off-peak hours from the afternoon of February 28 till March 1. It has advised travel north between 5 am and 10 am till March 3.
- Clients are advised to aware of heavy traffic on the freeways during the long holiday weekend and follow the direction of transport officials to avoid traffic congestion.
Main Issues in South Asia
Firstly in BANGLADESH
- Leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami have said they will not apologize for assisting Pakistani occupation forces during the 1971 Liberation War. Several leaders of Jamaat including Secretary General Abdur Razzaq have resigned while citing their failure to reform the party and apologize for its role during the Liberation War.
- Jaamat has already formed a five-member committee, headed by Secretary General Dr Shafiqur Rahman, to float a new party with the aim of regaining its registration with the Election Commission as Jamaat’s registration has been cancelled.
- It is very likely that Jamaat will end its coalition with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party as the party has been calling for Jamaat apology and admitting its role in 1971 war.
Also in BANGLADESH
- A suspected drug trader has been killed and two security officials were injured in an alleged gunfight with the officers of Rapid Action Battalion in Khetlal area of the northern Joypurhat district. Security officials seized a foreign pistol with dozens of bullets and phensidyl bottles from the spot.
- The deceased relatives claimed that Rapid Action Battalion personnel arrested him up from a local market on Sunday evening and several bullet injury marks were found on his body yesterday. There have been frequent armed encounters in the area between security f0rce and suspected drug peddlers.
- Clients are advised to be aware of the drug trafficking gangs in the border areas and smaller towns of Bangladesh. Employ extreme caution while travelling to smaller towns and villages.
- Islamabad High Court yesterday rejected a petition seeking release of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail on medical grounds in the Al-Azizia corruption case.
- Nawaz Sharif was convicted for being unable to explain how his family could set up the Al-Azizia steel mills in 2001 in Saudi Arabia.
- The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party leaders called the verdict disappointing and said they will find other legal ways to help Nawaz Sharif.
- Jet Airway’s operations are likely to be affected from March 1. Out of 1,600 pilots, over 1,100 pilots who are members of the National Aviator’s Guild will not fly over and above the agreed working hours.
- Pilots claim that their salary has been regularly delayed and it will affect the flights schedule. However, Jet Airways has claimed that no flights will be cancelled and information on this issue will be updated.
- Clients are advised to be aware of the possible disruptions in the Jet Airways flight operations and consider other airlines.
- Two Army officers attached to the Weerawila army camp in the Hambantota district of southern Sri Lanka have been arrested for extortion. They were allegedly extorting USD 2782 in an illegal sand mining operation.
- Police recovered forty-eight rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade from the accused. Suspects have been handed over to the Kuda Oya police by the Special Task Force.
- There has been an increase in the cases of corruption and extortion involving the security officials in Sri Lanka.