A strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake rattled eastern Indonesia yesterday triggering a tsunami warning, soon retracted, sending panicked residents fleeing to higher ground.
The quake struck off the east coast of Sulawesi island near where a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami around the city of Palu killed more than 4,300 people in September last year.
Indonesia’s disaster agency issued a tsunami warning for coastal communities in the island’s Morowali district, east Sulawesi, where residents were advised to move to elevated grounds. The warning was later lifted.
The tremor off the eastern coast of Sulawesi is on the other side of the island from last year’s disaster-hit Palu, where residents still felt the quake despite being hundreds of kilometres away.
The force of last year’s quake saw entire neighbourhoods levelled by liquefaction, a process where the ground starts behaving like a liquid and swallows up the earth like quicksand.
The sprawling Indonesian archipelago is dotted with more than 100 volcanoes, including one in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands that erupted in late 2018 and unleashed a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.
SOURCE: The Nation | AFP
Thai baht lowest since January
The Thai baht has been Asia’s best-performing currency during Q1, 2019. But things appear to be losing momentum as the baht falls to its lowest since January.
The Thai baht weakened to as low as 32.035 per dollar, the lowest level since January 10th and falling through the psychological support of 32 baht in the US dollar.
Sentiment for the Thai currency has deteriorated as concerns linger over political stability after Thailand held its first general election on March 24 since the 2014 coup.
The Office of the Ombudsman issued a statement this week saying that it has accepted a petition seeking a review by a court on whether the election should be annulled.
Roong Sanguanruang, a market analyst at Bank of Ayudhya Pcl in Bangkok says, “As for domestic factors, we have hiccups in the political landscape and also have some of the impact from the dividend season” that contributed to the weaker baht.
Sri Lankan death toll revised down
The Sri Lankan Health Ministry has revised down the death toll from last Sunday’s deadly terror attacks on churches and upscale hotels.
The latest official toll is now 253, down from the previous death toll, which stood at 359. In a statement, the health ministry claimed the previous death toll released by the ministry was 290, and not 359 as reported by the media.
On Tuesday a Colombo police spokesman reported that the death toll had risen to 359. But the Sri Lankan Health Ministry said in a statement…
“Some of the bodies get severely damaged in these kinds of explosions and it’s possible for some bodies to get completely destroyed, making the identification of full bodies difficult.”
A massive international criminal investigation into the attacks is ongoing, with six foreign police agencies and Interpol assisting local police, including Scotland Yard from the UK and the FBI from the US.
Bangkok-based Filipino visa service provider arrested over alleged fraud
PHOTO: (left to right) Emily Fontanilla Fabe, Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio & Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza
The administrator of a Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand (has more than 30,000 Filipino members), Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza (aka. Rhey Keen Ayala), was arrested yesterday (Tuesday) in Bangkok after the court issued an arrest warrant.
Basilio, commonly known as Rhey Keen Ayala, another SWD Kapamilya Facebook admin Emily Fontanilla and Best Care Provider owner Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio (aka Nokie and Caroline Maxim) have also been charged with fraud under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act.
At least nine Filipino have already been accused and arrested for posting allegedly fraudulent information to obtain funds by deception.
Many more victims are expected to file additional cases this week. The case started when Nokie of Best Care failed to provide visas and work permits to the Filipino victims. Each of them paid 33,000-38,000 baht to Best Care Provider.
16 Filipino victims have so far come out and sought help to get their money back. There were at least 30 victims who paid the same amount but never received the paperwork promised to them by Best Care.
Atregenio, aka. Nokie and Caroline Maxime are the owners of Best Care, while Salarza popularly known in social media as Rhey Keen Ayala is one of the company founders.
Meanwhile, Emily or ‘Em Fabe’ is the promoter of the company using her Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand. Rhey Keen is also the administrator of Pinoy ADOBO Facebook group which is also being used to promote Best Care Provider.
A string of criminal cases under the Thai Computer Crime Act are also expected to be filed against Em Fabe and Rhey Keen for alleged libellous comments and personal attacks on Facebook against other Filipinos.
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