02122016Fri
Last update: Fri, 12 Feb 2016 05pm

South East Asia

World - South East Asia

Grandson of Iran's Khomeini excluded from elections TEHRAN: The grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has been excluded from contesting elections next month, his son said Tuesday.Hassan Khomeini, a 43-year-old cleric with close ties to Iranian reformists, was not verified as having sufficient religious competence by the Guardian Council, his son Ahmad said on his Instagram account, despite "testimony from dozens of religious authorities".Khomeini had hoped to be a candidate for election to the Assembly of Experts, a powerful group of clerics which monitors the work of Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameni, and will be responsible for selecting his successor.Elections to the 88-member Assembly and for parliament's 290 lawmakers will take place on February 26. Khomeini, who would have been the first member of the family to run for public office, was among hundreds of hopefuls whose candidacy was not approved.A Guardian Council spokesman, quoted on state television's website, ...

World - South East Asia

Thailand approves $972mn programme to boost rural economy BANGKOK: Thailand's cabinet approved a 35 billion baht ($972.22 million) scheme to boost the rural economy, its deputy commerce minister said on Tuesday."This budget will be allocated to building and developing communities," Deputy Commerce Minister Suvit Maesincee told reporters.The rural economy has been hit hard by drought and low farm prices. The junta that took power following a 2014 coup has struggled to revive the rural economy and has withdrawn generous subsidies introduced by the ...

World - South East Asia

China's economic fundamentals remain sound: stats bureau chief BEIJING: China's economic fundamentals remain sound and the economy remains resilient, the chief of the National Bureau of Statistics, said on Tuesday.Wang Baoan made the comments at a briefing held one week after the bureau released economic growth data for the fourth quarter and 2015.He reiterated that China's GDP data was reliable.China's annual economic growth slowed to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the weakest since the financial crisis, adding pressure on a government that ...

World - South East Asia

Myanmar falls short of releasing all political prisoners YANGON: Myanmar freed 102 prisoners last week, including 52 political prisoners, bringing the number of political detainees released by President Thein Sein to more than 1,200 since his semi-civilian government took power in 2011, a watchdog group said on Monday.Still, rights groups say, the outgoing government has fallen short of releasing all political prisoners and continues to arrest and charge people on political grounds."Most of them (political prisoners) protested against the government, including the Letpadaung ...

World - South East Asia

Thai 2017 election to take place even if constitution does not pass referendum: PM BANGKOK: Thailand will hold a general election in 2017 even if a draft constitution does not pass a referendum this year, the prime minister said on Tuesday."No matter whether the draft constitution passes the referendum or not, the government will hold the election in 2017 according to our roadmap," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.A May 2014 coup ended months of political protests in Bangkok and the military tore up the previous constitution.The junta had ...

World - South East Asia

Taliban kill 10 Afghan police in insider attack KANDAHAR: A rogue policeman drugged and then shot dead 10 of his colleagues in southern Afghanistan early on Tuesday, officials said, the second insider attack on police in just over a week.The Taliban infiltrator then stole their weapons and fled the police outpost in the Chinarto district of volatile Uruzgan province, authorities said."Our investigation shows that this policeman collaborated with the Taliban, drugged his colleagues and killed them when they were unconscious," Dost Mohammad Nayab, ...

World - South East Asia

Saudi royals gave $681mn in Malaysia PM scandal: attorney general KUALA LUMPUR: The Saudi royal family provided a $681 million "donation" that has engulfed Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in scandal, his attorney general said on Tuesday in a statement clearing the premier of graft allegations.Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali said a review of evidence compiled by the country's anti-graft agency showed that the money was a "personal donation from the Saudi royal family", but gave no further details.Najib has for months fended off accusations ...