Southeast Asia

  • World News

    Taiwan to ease entry restrictions, cut quarantine to 10 days in March

    Taiwan plans to relax its strict COVID-19 quarantine policy beginning in March, in order to reopen to the world and gradually resume normal life, the government said on Tuesday. Since the start of the pandemic, Taiwan has enforced a blanket two-week quarantine on everyone arriving to the island, even while its neighbours in Asia began implementing reopening strategies last year,…

  • Events

    Makha Bucha Day 2022: All about the public holiday in Thailand

    For Thai Buddhists, Makha Bucha, also written Māgha Pūjā, is a day of abstinence, reflection and visits to the local temple, which culminate in picturesque candle-lit ceremonies in the evening. For those who don’t follow the Buddhist traditions, it’s a day of no alcohol sales. In fact, there is always a 24 hour alcohol ban imposed on the day, from…

  • World News

    Tourism officials in Vietnam push for a full reopening to foreign travellers on March 15

    Vietnam plans to reopen borders for foreign travellers on March 15, although the date is not yet official. According to the local media outlet VN Express, a draft proposal is in the works to fully allow inbound and outbound tourism starting in mid-March. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is now getting input from relevant agencies before submitting the…

  • World News

    Lombok expects to welcome 64,000 visitors at Indonesian Motorcycle Grand Prix

    At least 64,000 visitors are estimated to flock to Indonesia’s Lombok for the 2022 Indonesian Motorcycle Grand Prix next month, with locals on the island’s special economic zone Mandalika expecting a boost. One said it’s the first time their resort has been fully booked since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The five-day event will start on March 18 with…

  • World News

    Sharp rise in Southeast Asia flight bookings as countries ease border controls

    Online flight search engine Skyscanner has reported a sharp rise in flight bookings for Southeast Asia as several countries ease border restrictions. This will come as welcome news to the region’s airlines, after international travel in Asia-Pacific plummeted 93% last year, compared to pre-pandemic levels. According to a Reuters report, many carriers are relying heavily on the cargo market to…

  • World News

    Indonesia purchases six Rafale fighter jets from France

    The defence minister in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta says the country is buying six Rafale fighter jets, confirming that a deal was signed with France yesterday as part of an order of 42 warplanes. Jakarta is replacing its ageing fleet of warplanes, which are mostly American F-16 fighter jets and Russian Sukhoi fighter jets. Indonesia’s first order for French fighter jets…

  • World News

    Singapore’s Formula 1 Grand Prix takes steps to reduce carbon footprint this year

    Organisers of Singapore’s Formula 1 Grand Prix are taking steps to reduce the event’s carbon footprint. One step is using sustainable fuels to replace fossil fuels as part of their sustainability goals in the upcoming night race at Marina Bay Sands this September. The tournament is reportedly developing its own 100% “sustainable” fuel, including components derived from carbon capture, municipal…

  • World News

    Interpol turns down Myanmar military’s request to assist them counter “terrorism”

    In response to the Myanmar military’s appeal to assist them in countering “terrorism” threats in the post-coup nation, the international police organisation Interpol turned down the request and said it will not intervene in any nation’s domestic political affairs. An Interpol spokesperson told CNA that the organisation does not comment on specific cases or operations of member countries unless in…

  • World News

    Villager in Indonesia rescues crocodile trapped in motorbike tyre for five years

    A villager in Indonesia was about to free a crocodile of a motorbike tyre that had been stuck around its neck for more five years. Since 2016, conservationists have been trying to capture the crocodile to free him from the tyre, but had not been successful. But this week, a villager from Sulawesi island in the east of Borneo, along…

  • World News

    Singapore’s LGBT content ban slammed after gay kiss caught in news broadcast

    In a Singaporean news broadcast on the Winter Olympics, it wasn’t the coverage that got the attention of viewers, it was what was happening in the background at the Beijing bar. Behind the Channel News Asia correspondent were two men passionately kissing, a taboo for Singaporeans where broadcasting laws prohibit LGBT content and homosexual relationships between men are illegal. Although…

  • World News

    Election campaigns kick off in the Philippines, Marcos Jr. a favourite

    The campaign season in the Philippines leading up to the May presidential election kicked off this week. Channel News Asia says this season is candidates are running a “chaotic” and “colourful charm offensive” which is aimed at attracting the millions of voters who are “typically more interested in personality than policy.” Analysts have already foreseen the victory of Ferdinand “Bongbong”…

  • World News

    Malaysia considers full reopening in March to vaccinated travellers

    Following moves from other Southeast Asian countries, like Thailand, to gradually reopen borders, Malaysia is considering a full reopening of borders starting March 1, allowing vaccinated travellers to enter without mandatory quarantine requirements. The plan is to speed up the country’s economic recovery, according to its coronavirus recovery council today. The Southeast Asian country that shut down its borders in March…

  • World News

    Cambodian PM says false claims of Australian’s release in Myanmar was a “mistake”

    Cambodian PM Hun Sen says his claims that the Myanmar military junta had released an Australian economist as per his request was an “unintentional mistake.” After authorities in Myanmar said the economic adviser, Sean Turnell, is still the Hun Sen admitted that he had been given the wrong information and had made a mistake. On his official Facebook page, the…

  • World News

    Indonesia tightens restrictions as Covid-19 cases rise in the capital

    As the spread of the Omicron variant in Indonesia has led to a spike in cases in Jakarta, officials are tightening restrictions in the capital, Bali, Bandung in West Java, and Yogyakarta in Central Java. Reports initially said foreign tourists would be barred from entering Jakarta, but the transport minister released a statement today saying that tourists with the proper…

  • World News

    US President Biden vows to work with Cambodia to promote US-ASEAN relations

    In order to improve ASEAN-US relations, President Joe Biden stated that his administration is looking forward to working with Cambodia as the ASEAN chair in promoting the bloc’s “regional architecture” for bilateral agreements and institutions at the core of the Indo-Pacific. Biden wrote a letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 14 saying that he intends to invite…

  • World News

    Malaysia battles Omicron surge, daily new infections expected to hit 15,000

    Malaysia’s health minister has warned that daily Covid-19 infections may soon reach 15,000 as a result of the highly-contagious Omicron variant. According to a Bloomberg report, Malaysia’s daily case count topped 10,000 yesterday for the first time in 4 months as Omicron continues its rapid spread across the country. Meanwhile, according to health ministry data, nearly 80% of Malaysia’s population…

  • World News

    Vietnam plans for full reopening in March or April, PM pushes for preparations

    Following moves in other Southeast Asian countries to gradually reopen borders to foreign tourists, Vietnam is set to reopen to fully vaccinated tourists around March or April of this year. The country’s PM Pham Minh Chinh says the country needs to prepare to reopen safety, which will be either at the end of March or by the end of April,…

  • World News

    UPDATE: Indonesia welcomes fully vaxxed travellers with 5 day quarantine from today

    Fully vaxxed and dreaming of white beaches? Starting from today, Indonesia welcomes you with a reduced quarantine of 5 days. You might even be able to book a direct flight to Bali this month, if you’re traveling from select countries. For those with a single jab, the duration of quarantine is reduced from 10 to 7 days. Ministry of Coordinating…

  • World News

    Myanmar sees rapid uptick of narcotics production, trafficking since coup

    Illicit drug production and trafficking in Myanmar has rapidly increased since the February 2021 military coup, when Tatmadaw (Burmese army) seized power and overthrew the civilian, elected government. A senior official from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says, that over the past year, there has been a spike in narcotics production, particularly methamphetamine, in the country’s Shan State…

  • World News

    ASEAN called to reconsider its five-point consensus on solving the Myanmar crisis

    Political experts called on ASEAN to reconsider its dialogue with the Myanmar military junta and urged it to get more help from the international community today as some say the bloc’s five-point consensus on solving the Myanmar crisis is “not working.” During the webinar “Myanmar: Year Zero Plus One” by Asia News Network earlier this week, a retired Thai ambassador,…

  • World News

    US CDC issues Level 4: Very High Risk travel advisory for the Philippines

    Although the Philippines is set to reopen its doors to fully vaccinated international visitors this month, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the US is advising its citizens not to travel to the Southeast Asian country due to a “very high level” of Covid-19 infections. The CDC released a statement that those planning to go to the Philippines…

  • World News

    Rights group calls on Thai government not to deport Laos activist

    Rights groups have raised concerns over the deportation of a Laos human rights activist who is currently residing in Thailand as an UN-recognised refugee after he was arrested at Lak Si district police station in Bangkok on Saturday for allegedly overstaying his visa. Khoukham Keomanivong was found guilty of the charge and was transported to the immigration bureau after his…

  • World News

    Myanmar: One year after the military coup and bloody crackdown

    A year ago today, Myanmar’s military seized power of the government over what they say was a fraudulent election. The democratically elected State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted and detained, as well as other civilian leaders. The coup was met with backlash from the public, leading to a bloody crackdown by security forces that killed more than one…

  • World News

    Four people reportedly arrested during Laos’ second-largest illegal drugs bust last week

    Four people were arrested during the second-largest seizure of illegal drugs by Laos police in Huay Xai province north of Bokeo last week, with authorities reporting 36 million methamphetamine pills, a total weight of 590 kilograms, were found. The UN Office of Drugs and Crime regional representative, Jeremy Douglas, says… “Those four who were arrested were pretty low-level… there were…

  • World News

    Regional low-cost carriers expand routes in Southeast Asia as travel slowly resumes

    International flights in the Southeast Asia region continue to resume, with low-cost carriers expanding their routes as countries re-open. According to a TTR Weekly report, the Singapore Airlines subsidiary, Scoot, is resuming the Singapore – Ho Chi Minh route, with 4 round-trip flights a week. A twice-weekly service connecting Singapore and Hanoi is planned from February 22. Last week, Vietnam…

  • World News

    Laos workers to return Thailand as borders reopen for migrants from neighbouring countries

    For the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, Thailand will reopen its borders to migrant workers, especially from Laos, who are now granted permission to return to Thailand with the approval of their employers next week after a hiatus due to Covid-19. Reports say many people continue to cross the border illegally in search…

  • World News

    Spike in Covid clusters at Malaysia schools, many parents still concerned with vaccinating children

    Covid-19 is on the rise at a number of schools in Malaysia following their reopenings and fingers are pointing at teachers and staff for not following and enforcing disease prevention rules like wearing a mask. The country’s health minister even says teachers with coronavirus symptoms are still coming to class. The cluster outbreaks at schools come just as the government is…

  • World News

    Malaysia’s new airline SKS is now flying to northern tax-free island resort Pangkor

    Following the approval from the country’s civil aviation regulator last week, SKS Airways became the first airline to launch short-haul flights to Malaysia’s northern tax-free island resort of Pangkor yesterday, resuming domestic travel after months of closure due to the Covid-19 outbreak last year. The first flight of SKS Airways took off from the smaller Subang airport near Kuala Lumpur…

  • World News

    Cambodia PM invites Myanmar junta to the Summit if progress made on peace plan

    Despite objections from his counterparts, Cambodia’s leader and incumbent chair of the 10 member bloc, PM Hun Sen, confirmed he had invited Myanmar’s junta chief Min Aung Hlaing to the next ASEAN summit if he makes progress on a peace plan he agreed to last year. Hun Sen reportedly spoke to the military head, Min Aung Hlaing, today via video…

  • World News

    At least 19 killed Indonesia’s West Papua nightclub fire

    At least 19 people have been killed in clashes between two groups in the town of Sorong in Indonesia’s West Papua province, authorities reported today, with the majority of the victims dying after the nightclub caught fire. “After the clash, it was found 18 other bodies inside the building. So the total casualty is 19 people,” the police officer informed local…