Australia pledged US$55 million to fight human trafficking in Southeast Asia on Thursday, vowing to tackle "modern slavery" ensnaring vulnerable populations across the region, from low-paid workers to underage brides and Rohingya refugees. The funding is part of a 10-year scheme that includes training for police and judges to probe criminal networks, Australia's foreign affairs minister Marise Payne said at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Bangkok. "The initiative will also support joint international investigations to help rescue victims and ensure traffickers are charged," she said. Rising demand for cheap labour, especially in the fishing and construction industries, has spurred trafficking networks across Southeast Asia where porous borders allow for the easy movement of people. China's thirst for brides from the Mekong region has also fuelled an illicit trade of mostly young women, thanks to Beijing's decades-long one-child policy and preference for … [Read more...] about Australia pledges US$55 mn to fight human trafficking in SE Asia
Unicorns in southeast asia
KUALA LUMPUR: It was the largest migration of foreign fighters seen in history. Today, with the defeat of the Islamic State group, some experts believe that one of the biggest threats the world is facing is the return of the fighters. Of the 41,000 people believed to have travelled to join the self-declared caliphate, an estimated 1000 people were from southeast Asia, some of whom have already returned to plot attacks in their home countries. “If you see the fall of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and say that we’re going to enter a peacetime period, (you’d be) wrong,” warned Ahmad El-Muhammady, a counter-terrorism analyst at the International Islamic University, Malaysia. People often make the mistake of thinking that once a terrorist organisation has been crushed, “it’s dead”. But its members would spread globally and could remain “hidden from the government radar”. “We’re going to see another rise,” he … [Read more...] about Islamic State fighters heading home: Is southeast Asia ready?
Transnational crime syndicates are growing more powerful in Southeast Asia and raking in profit by exploiting rampant corruption, weak law enforcement and lax border controls, the United Nations says.Such groups generate profits of tens of billions of dollars each year from a rising trade in drugs, counterfeit goods and medicines, people-smuggling, and trafficking of wildlife and timber, it added. "In many parts of Southeast Asia, the systematic payment of bribes at borders is as regulated as the payment of fees in official bureaucratic systems," the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report. Many of the cartels, based in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Thailand, are "outpacing the ability of law enforcement to respond, while posing serious threats to public security and sustainable development," it warned. Rapidly expanding and poorly regulated casinos also offer crime syndicates an easy way to launder illicit earnings. Proceeds of crime are also laundered through … [Read more...] about Organised crime flourishes in SE Asia: UN
Malaysia is a Muslim majority country in Southeast Asia, with a population of over 30 million consisting of Malays (67.4 percent), Chinese (24.6 percent), Indian (7.3 percent) and other races (0.7 percent). Muslims make up slightly over 60 percent of the total population, followed by adherents of Buddhism (19.8 percent), Christianity (9.2 percent), and Hinduism (6.3 percent). In addition, indigenous religions such as Animism are practiced as well. It can be said that all religions and ethnicities coexist together harmoniously in Malaysia. The arrival of Islam in Malaysia can be traced back to the 13th century via Arab and Indian Muslim traders and its spread across the country took place between the 15th and 16th centuries. Since then, Islam has been at the center of daily life in every Muslim household. Peace, harmony, unity and tolerance are vital components in the hearts of Malaysian Muslims as well practitioners of other religions in Malaysia. Therefore, it is easy to see Islamic, … [Read more...] about A passage to Southeast Asia through Malaysia
Four individuals are in hospital with serious injuries following a bus accident in Southeast Iceland yesterday afternoon. Police will interview South Iceland Police Chief Sveinn Kristján Rúnarsson says weather conditions were dry and visibility good at the time of the accident. “It was dry, sunny weather,” Sveinn told RÚV. “But the road is very narrow there and no shoulders to speak of to give some leeway. But there was some wind and gusts of wind which were blowing onto the road.” Sveinn says the bus had just passed two trucks when the accident happened. “It’s as if [the driver] loses control after that and somehow swerves [off the road].” At 3.05pm yesterday afternoon, police received notice of a bus which had tipped over near Hof, Southeast Iceland. It took emergency crews around 30 minutes to free two passengers who had landed under the bus. The bus was transporting 32 passengers in total, all from China, plus a local driver. … [Read more...] about Four Seriously Injured in Southeast Iceland Bus Accident