Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories
13 April 2017
Thailand bans contact with online activists
Thai authorities have declared that anyone who follows, contacts or shares the posts of three outspoken government critics will be prosecuted under the country’s Computer Crime Act.
The historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun and journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall are all wanted for flouting the government’s strict lèse majesté laws, which critics say are being abused to suppress any form of dissent. [Bangkok Post]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: How the military junta is stifling Thai artists
Duterte backs down on threat to raise Philippine flag in South China Sea
“Because of our friendship with China and because we value your friendship I will not go there to raise the Philippine flag,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced to a Filipino audience in Riyadh late last night.
As recently as last week, the pugnacious president, who has continually courted controversy since assuming office last June, said that he would raise the Philippine flag in the island of Thitu and fortify it with barracks. [US News & World Report]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: After the South China Sea ruling, what’s next?
Malaysia postpones hearing of Kim Jong-nam murder suspects
The hearing of the two women suspected of carrying out the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged brother of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International airport has been delayed to 30 May.
Should Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, be found guilty, they will likely receive the death penalty. It is widely believed than Pyongyang organized the assassination. [VNE Express International]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Why is Southeast Asia so nice to North Korea?
Laos continues to shutter Chinese-Owned banana plantations
Laos is pressing ahead with its plan to shut down Chinese-owned banana plantations in at least six provinces after it was revealed the farms had leaked hazardous chemicals into the soil.
“Authorities will not renew the investors’ contracts when those contracts expire, but will provide villagers with other occupations, because the banana plantations are damaging the environment and people’s lives,” one official said. [Radio Free Asia]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: The true cost of Laos’ banana plantations
Singapore to host three years of Disney-themed events
The Singapore Tourism Board announced today a three-year partnership with Walt Disney. The deal’s first event will be next month’s Star Wars-themed May the 4th Be With You Festival, from 4 – 6 May at Gardens by the Bay. The venue’s Supertrees, vertical gardens that stand as high as 50 meters, will be transformed into giant lightsabers.
The partnership will focus on the Marvel franchise in 2018 and Walt Disney’s most popular animated films in 2019. [Channel News Asia]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Pencil politics: comic artist Sonny Liew redraws Singapore’s narrative