Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories
27 April 2017
Asean leaders begin regional summit in Philippines
The 30th Asean regional summit began on Wednesday in Manila and will wrap up on Saturday, with trade and economic issues taking up much of the agenda.
Though South China Sea disputes are expected to be raised by some countries, a joint statement prepared ahead of the event will make no mention of China’s military buildup in the waters, Reuters is reporting.
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Asean summit provides platform for Laos’ revamped foreign policy
China offers to help mediate between Myanmar and Bangladesh on Rohingyas
Beijing would like to see Bangladesh and Myanmar come together to resolve the refugee crisis caused by the flight of Rohingyas amid a crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, and is willing to help if needed, a Chinese envoy said on Wednesday.
During a four-day trip to Bangladesh, Sun Guoxiang offered to help during a meeting with Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque, according to an officials who declined to be named. They also said Dhaka proposed that the envoy travel to refugee camps on the border.
The government of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under increasing international pressure to address the military’s actions in the region, which many believe amounts to ethnic cleansing. [Reuters]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Forever lost: meet the Rohingya who sacrificed their identity for Myanmar citizenship
Erosion poses grave threat to Vietnam’s Mekong delta region
A video showing a row of 16 houses collapsing into the Vam Nao river in Vietnam’s Mekong delta offered a dramatic illustration of what environmentalists say is a massive threat to the region.
While steadily rising water levels and other symptoms of global warming are partly to blame for the problem – the lives of one million people in the region are expected to be impacted by erosion in the next three decades – experts say the problem is more complicated.
“The three- and four-storey houses that weigh tens of tonnes put huge pressure on the land. The hydropower plants prevent alluvial soil from getting downstream. Moreover, illegal sand exploitation in this area is worsening the situation,” said Dao Trong Tu from the Vietnam River Network. [Dantri International]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Make or break time for the Mekong
7-Eleven stores in Indonesia to be sold for about $75m
Due to flagging sales following increased competition and customers using the stores as convenient places to hang out and use free Wi-Fi rather than make quick purchases, the company that owns 7-Eleven in Indonesia is set to sell.
Retail operator Modern Sevel Indonesia (MSI) plans to sell the stores to Charoen Pokphand Restu Indonesia (CPRI), a business entity of Charoen Pokphand Indonesia (CPI), for $75.24m, according to information from the Indonesian Stock Exchange. [Jakarta Post]
Actress suspended for a year in Cambodia for being too sexy
Denny Kwan is officially too sexy for Cambodia’s government, a decision that has earned her a yearlong suspension from the entertainment business. In announcing its decision, the Culture Ministry noted that the actress had been warned, but did not tone down her sexy ways.
“We appeal to artist associations, TV [stations] and entertainment production owners to cooperate with the ministry to punish [her] by not giving her any work, like commercial spots and filming,” said Chamroeun Vantha, chief of the ministry’s disciplinary council.
Kwan promised to change her ways, or at least to make an attempt. “I will try not to be sexy as I usually am when I post on Facebook,” she said. [Phnom Penh Post]