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Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Friday, 18 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in South Asia

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in INDIA

  • The ruling Trinamool (tri-na-mool) Congress party in the eastern state of West Bengal will conduct a political rally tomorrow. The rally will be held at the Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (banner-jee) will be leading the rally. Prominent politicians of several regional political parties of southern and eastern states are expected to attend the rally.
  • The rally is part of the campaign for the general elections in April 2019 which coincides with the state elections in West Bengal. The congregation of politicians from regional parties is reportedly an attempt to form an alliance of regional parties to fight the ruling Bharatiya (ba-ra-ti-ya) Janata Party in the general elections.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Brigade Parade ground area tomorrow. Expect deployment of security personnel and police cordons in the area.

BANGLADESH

  • The Bangladesh Awami League party will be holding rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan ground in Dhaka tomorrow. The party is organizing the rally to celebrate their victory in the general elections held on December 31.
  • Prime Minister Sheik Hasina is expected to attend the rally. She was elected as the Prime Minister for the third consecutive term. The rally is likely to draw a large crowd of the party supporters.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Suhrawardy Udyan area in Dhaka tomorrow. Follow the directions of the police to avoid traffic congestion in the area.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in MALAYSIA

  • Five people were detained with drugs worth USD 49,000 near Jalan Tun Sambanthan in the Brickfields area of Kuala Lumpur this week. The suspects are alleged members of a secret society,
  • Over 4 kgs of drugs were found in their car along with a large amount of cash and Two vehicles belonging to the group were also seized. The police said that the groups started drug trafficking two months ago to finance their secret society group called Gang 08 and obtained all their drug supply at Bukit Tinggi in Pahang.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the threat posed by gangs involved in drug trafficking in Malaysia.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • The Papua New Guinea Defence Force is reportedly planning to increase active personnel to 10,000 this year from 4000. Commander Major General Gilbert Toropo said that it is one of the force’s main aims for the year to improve the security and also to establish more posts along the border with Indonesia.
  • He said that the armed forces will continue their deployment in Hela, Southern Highlands and Enga provinces due to the poor law and order situation.
  • Clients are advised to avoid nonessential travel to Hela, Southern Highlands, and Enga province. Employ extreme caution in the region.

The PHILIPPINES

  • Yesterday a rescued Indonesian hostage was turned over to representatives of the Indonesian government. The hostage was rescued by the military from the Abu Sayyaf terror group on Wednesday this week. The hostage was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf last September. The hostage was rescued in the Panamao town on Sulu island in the southern
  • A Dutch national, a Vietnamese, two Indonesians and four Filipinos are still held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf.
  • Clients are advised to be employ extreme caution in the southern islands of the Philippines and be aware of the threat of kidnapping by insurgent groups active in the region. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.

Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Friday, 18 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in MALAYSIA

  • Five people were detained with drugs worth USD 49,000 near Jalan Tun Sambanthan in the Brickfields area of Kuala Lumpur this week. The suspects are alleged members of a secret society,
  • Over 4 kgs of drugs were found in their car along with a large amount of cash and Two vehicles belonging to the group were also seized. The police said that the groups started drug trafficking two months ago to finance their secret society group called Gang 08 and obtained all their drug supply at Bukit Tinggi in Pahang.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the threat posed by gangs involved in drug trafficking in Malaysia.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • The Papua New Guinea Defence Force is reportedly planning to increase active personnel to 10,000 this year from 4000. Commander Major General Gilbert Toropo said that it is one of the force’s main aims for the year to improve the security and also to establish more posts along the border with Indonesia.
  • He said that the armed forces will continue their deployment in Hela, Southern Highlands and Enga provinces due to the poor law and order situation.
  • Clients are advised to avoid nonessential travel to Hela, Southern Highlands, and Enga province. Employ extreme caution in the region.

The PHILIPPINES

  • Yesterday a rescued Indonesian hostage was turned over to representatives of the Indonesian government. The hostage was rescued by the military from the Abu Sayyaf terror group on Wednesday this week. The hostage was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf last September. The hostage was rescued in the Panamao town on Sulu island in the southern
  • A Dutch national, a Vietnamese, two Indonesians and four Filipinos are still held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf.
  • Clients are advised to be employ extreme caution in the southern islands of the Philippines and be aware of the threat of kidnapping by insurgent groups active in the region. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in INDIA

  • The ruling Trinamool (tri-na-mool) Congress party in the eastern state of West Bengal will conduct a political rally tomorrow. The rally will be held at the Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (banner-jee) will be leading the rally. Prominent politicians of several regional political parties of southern and eastern states are expected to attend the rally.
  • The rally is part of the campaign for the general elections in April 2019 which coincides with the state elections in West Bengal. The congregation of politicians from regional parties is reportedly an attempt to form an alliance of regional parties to fight the ruling Bharatiya (ba-ra-ti-ya) Janata Party in the general elections.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Brigade Parade ground area tomorrow. Expect deployment of security personnel and police cordons in the area.

BANGLADESH

  • The Bangladesh Awami League party will be holding rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan ground in Dhaka tomorrow. The party is organizing the rally to celebrate their victory in the general elections held on December 31.
  • Prime Minister Sheik Hasina is expected to attend the rally. She was elected as the Prime Minister for the third consecutive term. The rally is likely to draw a large crowd of the party supporters.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Suhrawardy Udyan area in Dhaka tomorrow. Follow the directions of the police to avoid traffic congestion in the area.

Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Thursday, 17 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in the PHILIPPINES

  • Security has been tightened in Cotabato City in the southern island of Mindanao ahead of the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law scheduled on Monday, January 21. Cotabato City is under the control of the Commission on Elections for the plebiscite and Mindanao is under martial law. Military and police checkpoints have been set up on main streets, and entry and exit points of the city.
  • The Bangsamoro Organic Law is expected to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region governed by a parliament elected by the people in Bangsamoro Region. Frequent attacks by Islamist terror groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Moro Islamic Liberation Front have been reported in the region.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in the region. Avoid traveling outside the city limits of Cotabato without a security detail.

 

JAPAN

  • Mount Shindake volcano has erupted this morning within the vicinity of Yakushima town on the southern Kuchinoerabu Island. The volcano last erupted on December 18, 2018.
  • The volcanic eruption is likely to cause disruptions on the island and in the air traffic over the region.
  • Clients are advised to follow the directions of the local authorities and monitor the flight schedules for possible cancellations and delays.

 

THAILAND

  • The Election Commission is reportedly considering March 10 for the general elections to meet the 150-day deadline set by the constitution. The General Secretary of the Election Commission, Jarungvith said yesterday that to prevent possible charter violations, the commission plans to hold the election and announce the results within the 150-day time frame.
  • Jarungvith further said that the commission is authorized to set the election date while the government is responsible for announcing the election. The commission will need around 45 days to prepare for the election, it should announce the election date by January 25 if it wants the election to be held on March 10.
  • Clients are advised to avoid all political events before the elections. Political campaign demonstrations are expected before the elections across the country. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Wednesday, 16 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in South Asia

Main Issues in South Asia

First up in SRI LANKA

  • Yesterday Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Minister Harsha de Silva said that the government had prepaid the USD 1 billion borrowed by the previous regime in January 2014 through international sovereign bonds. Sri Lanka is in an economic crisis with a debt of USD 21 billion and a depleted foreign exchange reserve of USD 8 billion.
  • The finance minister and the governor of the Central Bank are visiting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washinton DC this week. They are expected to negotiate resumption of the economic assistance program which was suspended last year during the political crisis in the country. Prior to a deal, the IMF is expected to insist on major economic reforms to ensure a faster economic recovery and a more stable economy.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the economic situation and be aware of the possible tax reforms if the economic assistance resumes from the IMF. It could also lead to anti-austerity protests.

PAKISTAN

  • Yesterday Prime minister Imran Khan said that the chaos in the National Assembly sessions this week are due to the ongoing anti-corruption operations by the National Accountability Bureau.
  • The corruption cases against prominent politicians of the opposition parties have caused protests by their supporters across the country. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League party was convicted and several cases against his family are ongoing. Opposition parties have accused the government of using law enforcement agencies to further their own political interests.
  • Clients are advised to monitor political developments in Pakistan. Conviction of prominent politicians may cause protests and demonstrations in major cities. Monitor APAC Assistance alerts and advisories for further updates.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in THAILAND

  • The Army chief Gen Apirat has warned the pro-democracy activists not to cross the line when they hold a rally this Saturday, January 19. He has claimed that the rally will adversely affect business operators around the rally site and hurt tourism. He said it is necessary to deploy security forces to maintain peace and order during the rally.
  • A group of activists calling themselves “People Who Want Elections” has threatened to hold a rally at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok if a royal decree announcing the election is not published by Friday. They have demanded that a general election should be held by March 10 before the constitutional deadline of 150 days to conduct elections.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Democracy Monument on Saturday and to avoid all political events before the elections. Expect a large “show of force’ security presence in Bangkok on Saturday.

The Philippines

  • An earthquake of 5.9 magnitude was reported on the southern island of Mindanao this morning. The earthquake is an aftershock of a 7.2 strong quake that hit Mindanao_last month.
  • Moderately strong tremors were recorded in Davao City and Santa Josefa.
  • Clients should be aware that the Philippines is prone to frequent earthquakes and cyclonic storms. The Philippines gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. Monitor alert and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa has said that there is no proper data and statistics of crimes in the country reaching his office because of a lack of coordination. Dr Kwa pointed out the lack of coordination between the police and defense departments to provide detailed reports on how crimes happened.
  • Dr Kwa stated bluntly that Police Commissioner Gari Baki gets his crime reports weekly from the provinces but they do not come to his department. The lack of coordination and comprehensive crime data makes it challenging for law enforcement agencies to fight crime.
  • Violent crime remains a major concern in the country, clients should employ extreme caution while operating in or traveling to Papua New Guinea.

Also in PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • More than 30 police officers in the National Capital District have been arrested and charged by a task force for various offenses. The majority of the cases were about police brutality and police aiding prisoners to escape.
  • Authorities have claimed that the number of brutality cases hasdropped since the introduction of the task force.
  • Meanwhile, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy Sam Basil has condemned the forced suspension of work at the Wafi-Golpu mining project last week by a group claiming to be “landowner executives”.
  • He claimed that the threats and subsequent shutdown forced by the so-called Wafi-Golpu Landowners Association is illegal and uncalled for. Mining is an important industry for the country and such forcible closures are likely to have an adverse impact on other companies engaged in the mining sector or looking to invest in PNG.

Drug Trafficking

  • Yesterday an Indonesian task force comprising officers of the National Narcotics Agency and customs agency foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs into Indonesia through Lhoksukon in northern Aceh, the westernmost province of Indonesia.
  • The task force intercepted a boat carrying 70 packets of crystal methamphetamine and two packets of ecstasy pills that allegedly came from a drug syndicate based in Malaysia. Three members of the smuggling crew were arrested during the raid.
  • In Australia, two international airline staff are among eight people arrested over drug trafficking operations into Melbourne and Sydney.
  • A Malindo Air cabin crew employee and another airline staffer allegedly smuggled the drugs as part of their involvement in a Melbourne-based Vietnamese organized crime syndicate.
  • They were among eight people arrested in Melbourne over the past fortnight, as part of a police operation targeting the syndicate. The crime syndicate allegedly imported more than $20 million of illicit drugs into Australia from Malaysia.

Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Wednesday, 16 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in THAILAND

  • The Army chief Gen Apirat has warned the pro-democracy activists not to cross the line when they hold a rally this Saturday, January 19. He has claimed that the rally will adversely affect business operators around the rally site and hurt tourism. He said it is necessary to deploy security forces to maintain peace and order during the rally.
  • A group of activists calling themselves “People Who Want Elections” has threatened to hold a rally at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok if a royal decree announcing the election is not published by Friday. They have demanded that a general election should be held by March 10 before the constitutional deadline of 150 days to conduct elections.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Democracy Monument on Saturday and to avoid all political events before the elections. Expect a large “show of force’ security presence in Bangkok on Saturday.

The Philippines

  • An earthquake of 5.9 magnitude was reported on the southern island of Mindanao this morning. The earthquake is an aftershock of a 7.2 strong quake that hit Mindanao_last month.
  • Moderately strong tremors were recorded in Davao City and Santa Josefa.
  • Clients should be aware that the Philippines is prone to frequent earthquakes and cyclonic storms. The Philippines gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. Monitor alert and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa has said that there is no proper data and statistics of crimes in the country reaching his office because of a lack of coordination. Dr Kwa pointed out the lack of coordination between the police and defense departments to provide detailed reports on how crimes happened.
  • Dr Kwa stated bluntly that Police Commissioner Gari Baki gets his crime reports weekly from the provinces but they do not come to his department. The lack of coordination and comprehensive crime data makes it challenging for law enforcement agencies to fight crime.
  • Violent crime remains a major concern in the country, clients should employ extreme caution while operating in or traveling to Papua New Guinea.

Also in PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • More than 30 police officers in the National Capital District have been arrested and charged by a task force for various offenses. The majority of the cases were about police brutality and police aiding prisoners to escape.
  • Authorities have claimed that the number of brutality cases hasdropped since the introduction of the task force.
  • Meanwhile, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy Sam Basil has condemned the forced suspension of work at the Wafi-Golpu mining project last week by a group claiming to be “landowner executives”.
  • He claimed that the threats and subsequent shutdown forced by the so-called Wafi-Golpu Landowners Association is illegal and uncalled for. Mining is an important industry for the country and such forcible closures are likely to have an adverse impact on other companies engaged in the mining sector or looking to invest in PNG.

Drug Trafficking

  • Yesterday an Indonesian task force comprising officers of the National Narcotics Agency and customs agency foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs into Indonesia through Lhoksukon in northern Aceh, the westernmost province of Indonesia.
  • The task force intercepted a boat carrying 70 packets of crystal methamphetamine and two packets of ecstasy pills that allegedly came from a drug syndicate based in Malaysia. Three members of the smuggling crew were arrested during the raid.
  • In Australia, two international airline staff are among eight people arrested over drug trafficking operations into Melbourne and Sydney.
  • A Malindo Air cabin crew employee and another airline staffer allegedly smuggled the drugs as part of their involvement in a Melbourne-based Vietnamese organized crime syndicate.
  • They were among eight people arrested in Melbourne over the past fortnight, as part of a police operation targeting the syndicate. The crime syndicate allegedly imported more than $20 million of illicit drugs into Australia from Malaysia.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

First up in SRI LANKA

  • Yesterday Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Minister Harsha de Silva said that the government had prepaid the USD 1 billion borrowed by the previous regime in January 2014 through international sovereign bonds. Sri Lanka is in an economic crisis with a debt of USD 21 billion and a depleted foreign exchange reserve of USD 8 billion.
  • The finance minister and the governor of the Central Bank are visiting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washinton DC this week. They are expected to negotiate resumption of the economic assistance program which was suspended last year during the political crisis in the country. Prior to a deal, the IMF is expected to insist on major economic reforms to ensure a faster economic recovery and a more stable economy.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the economic situation and be aware of the possible tax reforms if the economic assistance resumes from the IMF. It could also lead to anti-austerity protests.

PAKISTAN

  • Yesterday Prime minister Imran Khan said that the chaos in the National Assembly sessions this week are due to the ongoing anti-corruption operations by the National Accountability Bureau.
  • The corruption cases against prominent politicians of the opposition parties have caused protests by their supporters across the country. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League party was convicted and several cases against his family are ongoing. Opposition parties have accused the government of using law enforcement agencies to further their own political interests.
  • Clients are advised to monitor political developments in Pakistan. Conviction of prominent politicians may cause protests and demonstrations in major cities. Monitor APAC Assistance alerts and advisories for further updates.

 

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