Category: Asia

South Korean President Impeached After Court Decision

South Korean President Park Geun-hye had been impeached from office after a corruption scandal has formally ended amongst the millions of protesters against her on the streets. The country, divided by her corruption scandal, sees its first female president voted in 2012 fall with utter disgrace.

According to an eight-member panel of the South Korean Constitutional Court, Park Geun-hye is a criminal suspect. According to Park’s lawyer Seo Seok-gu, the decision by the panel was a “tragic decision” as it was populist motives that drove the Constitutional Court to become an “absurd court” where the criminal is judged despite facts presented.

This leaves the ousted South Korean President out of position as an interim president would hold a vote to choose the successor of the president. Majority of the country had voted to oust Park from her position according to surveys by local news outlets. However, many worried that the replacement of Park Geun-hye could further polarise and cause South Korean to completely destabilise.

South Korean police were ready for any sudden protests wearing complete riot gear. All military and police were on heightened alert after the court decision. Park’s supporters were angered and anguished over the ruling. Anti-Park protesters burned an effigy of Park Geun-hye dressed in prison clothes and tied up with a rope.

China Might Reset The Global Economy

According to CBC news’ Economic Analyst Don Pittis, China’s own internal crisis may spark a change in the Global Economy. He believes the results are not as positive as anyone would think.

Mr Pittis said that analysts see climbing stock markets have shown an “ominous feeling of escalating pressure” that may need a crisis to bring things back to balance. He stressed that if China would take one for the team, they can be the biggest catalyst.

Billionaire investor George Soros said that China might be getting itself into or is priming itself for a possible storm.

“I think there’s an eerie resemblance of what’s happening in China to what happened here leading up to the financial crisis, 2007-2008,” Soros said during an Asia Society event in New York earlier this year. “It’s similarly fuelled by credit growth and an eventually unsustainable expansion of credit.”

The International Monetary fund had expressed its own concern about China’s “unsustainably high growth targets” which endanger companies that may default on loans and create a “difficult landing” when the bubble bursts.

Chinese media had reacted negatively to Mr Soros and the IMF’s analysis with provocative editorials reading about the west declaring war on China’s currency.

The country is also convinced that the Sept 4 and 5 summits would tackle not its unscrupulous activities in the South China Sea but rather its economic travels that affect many markets the world over.

China’s market is seeing difficulty but it does not mean that its factions are not open to experimentation. However, Mr Pittis said the various methods used are still dependent on the personal power of individuals and it can yet allow the country to reach equilibrium.

UN To Condemn North Korean Missile Launches

According to the United States Ambassador Samantha Power, the United Nations is to condemn the latest North Korean missile launches towards Japanese soil.

US Ambassador Samantha Power said during an emergency meeting that across the board “strong condemnations” from 15 council members had encouraged her that the missile launches would be condemned.

A few hours ago, South Korean and Japanese officials noted a signature of medium-range ballistic missiles fired on Wednesday. The missiles flew about 620 miles and had landed near Japan’s territorial waters.

It was the first time a missile had landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), extending about 200 nautical miles from the shore.

US Strategic Command confirmed that a second missile exploded immediately after it launched.

Britain’s deputy UN ambassador Peter Wilson said as he headed into the emergency council meeting they were concerned that it was the first time a North Korean missile had landed in Japan’s EEZ.

“Our objective in this meeting is to draw attention to that fact, but also to come together to very, very clearly condemn it,” he said.

After the meeting, Japan’s UN Ambassador Koro Bessho was heartened by the “many messages of solidarity” after his appeal to the council to be united and send a strong message to the world and especially to North Korea that its actions are “totally unacceptable”.

Asia, Africa The Worst To Be Hit By Zika Virus Outbreak

The poorest, impoverished communities will contribute to the rapid spread of infections in Asia and African communities, leaving the countries vulnerable to the disease when it arrives.

Zika, a disease that is believed to cause microcephaly among unborns and newborns, is transmitted by mosquito bites. Lately it has been proven that blood transfusion and sexual intercourse could also spread the disease. A Texas patient contracted the disease through sexual transmission.

Thailand was the first Asian country to confirm a man who contracted the virus. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, a domestic case of the virus had been reported.

WHO Expert Anthony Costello said that the disease born in South America can leave the country and travel to other countries. According to him 25 countries have already reported Zika Cases.

Zika was first found in Uganda in 1947, causing mild flu-like symptoms and a rash. The WHO suspects the virus as responsible for the rapid rise of microcephaly many regions. The disease halts the brain development in unborns and newborns, causing their heads to shrink in size.

Meanwhile, previous pandemics, including MERS that killed 36 people and a few hundred more in the Middle east is declared officially ended.

Southeast Asian Aviation Industry Heads For Recovery From Latest Blow

A flight crash caused by a pilot error is the main culprit of the recent Air Asia A320-200, which immediately killed about 200 passengers. . Last Tuesday, a faulty component caused the pilots to restart the system, disengaging autopilot while in the middle of a storm, leading to the crash.

Air Asia Flight 8501 was found in the waters of Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore on December 2014.

Despite the FAA lowering Thailand’s aviation sector’s safety rating to category 2 from the top category 1 rating, Southeast Asia’s aviation industry continues to grow with increasing investor interest.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha vowed that aviation authorities will quickly address the FAA’s recommendations and warnings.

Thai Airways President Charamporn Jotikasthira said the US FAA decision will have minimal commercial or customer impact.

The FAA’s re-classification of Thailand-based airlines will not mean they are unsafe. However, it calls on aviation regulators to provide better insight in the industry, particularly safety regulations.

According to Pacific Asia Travel Association Bangkok CEO Mario Hardy:

“Even though there are currently no Thai carriers flying to the U.S., Thailand aviation authorities have to take this warning seriously and urgently develop a plan to improve its safety rating as soon as possible.

“The implications from the possibility of a similar review from Europe would be disastrous to Thai carriers and tourism in the country.”

Thailand Believes International Terrorism Is Unlikely Suspect In Bombing

After the Erawan Shrine and Sathorn Pier bombings, Thai authorities believe suspects only involved a minor group of individuals, suggesting only 10 people were involved in both incidents. The Thai government calls on Interpol and Australian police to aid its investigation.

Thailand said that international terror groups were unlikely suspects in the bombing. National Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung said the bombers were part of a network of 10 people. No arrests of suspects have been made.

The police had released a sketch of the suspect’s possible facial appearance. The warrant supplied for the suspect described him as an “unnamed foreigner”. However, the police have yet to say how they reached the conclusion.

Junta Spokespoerson Col Winthai Suvaree said:

“Security agencies have cooperated with agencies from allied countries and have come to the preliminary conclusion that the incident is unlikely to be linked to international terrorism,”

The Erawan Bombings had killed 20 people including Asian and Western foreigners and had injured more than a hundred people.

Airlines have asked passengers flying from Singapore to Sydney on Thursday to voluntarily hand some photos of the Erawan shrine to call the Australian police to aid them in their investigation.

Rohingya Refugees To Be Resettled To Gambia

According to Gambia of West Africa, it would take all Rohingya Refugees as part of its “sacred duty” to care for its Muslim brothers.

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sail to seek employment in Malaysia

Currently, refugees from Rohingya, Myanmar are drifting in the seas of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Gambia said that “as human beings and fellow Muslims,” it is their duty to help alleviate the sufferings and hardships of their brothers.

The country had also appealed to the international community to provide support in the form of tents, bedding, household materials and medicines to help their country develop lands and camps that would guarantee sanitary conditions.

The United States has announced its support for the resettlement of the Rohingya refugees.

According to State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harif, the United States would take a lead role in any multi-country effort.

Harif said the US is carefully looking at Malaysia and Indonesia’s request to re-settle the refugees.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had appealed for migrants to be rescued. The UN refugee agency said nearly 3,000 people were left to drown at sea after smugglers dropped them off as Thailand’s crackdown disrupted the smuggling routes.

Investor Should Look To East Asia More, According to Analysts

CNBC Asia Economic Analyst Michael Ivanovich makes it clear that investors should look to Asia if they intend to grow their money. In the previous year, major trade surplus countries had increased their foreign assets by about $497 billion. Now, the country’s foreign currency reserves had reached $6.7 trillion, about 70% of the world’s total.

Ivanovich believes that East Asia will continue to generate large trade surpluses making it an important net capital exporter. Now that East Asia had adopted modern methods and technology in implementing export plans and manufacturing, they have become a formidable opponent of Europe’s manufacturing capacities.

East Asia’s local products have become increasingly world-class, making entertainment and tourist hospitalities an exception among countries.

East Asia’s advanced financial centres support local retail and wholesale businesses. Investment services are widely open for entrepreneurs and businessmen as well.

Ivanovich pointed out that East Asia’s financial development also gives way to the development of the following industries:

  • Civil engineering
  • Cement
  • Steel
  • Water Supplies
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunications
  • Healthcare

Ivanovich said in closing that East Asia has “ample means” to finance development projects to help it skyrocket its growth potential for the future. New opportunities for investment are opening and have opened up in Asia and Western economies have a new economy to fear.

TransAsia Airways Crash Kills 31 People. Fifteen Survive.

Around 31 passengers had been killed when a TransAsia aircraft wobbled across Taiwan’s skies, hit a taxi and a bridge before it fell on the shallow waters of the Keelung River.

Onboard a dashcam, a motorist captures the flight’s final moments and as it hits the taxi and the bridge.

The TransAsia flight GE235 carried a total of 58 people. Twelve of the passengers were still missing while 15 of them have survived the ordreal

The taxi driver and his passenger were reported safe, only sustaining slight injuries after the attack.

Emergency first respond teams had crowded the plane and looked for passengers, many of which wore life vests and floated towards safety.

Cranes have lifted the wrecked airplane on to the bank. The death toll was expected to rise. Rescue teams have recovered the black box.

A few moments after its take-off, a GE235 pilot transmitted a mayday message:

“Mayday, Mayday, engine flameout”

According to Wu Jun-hong, a Taipei Fire Department Official who are part of the rescue mission, things were not looking too good.

The plane came from Taipei Songshan and was due to arrive to the Kinmen Islands.

Meanwhile TransAsia had issued its official apology and had contacted the 22 Taiwanese passengers’ relatives on board the plane. They had also attempted to reach the relatives of the Chinese nationals.


Saudi’s Lower Oil Prices Put Asia’s Prices On The Upscale

Saud Arabia’s massive oil price cuts for European buyers are a defensive move for its market share. It had also helped lower oil prices in the United States. However, Asia is feeling the drawback of this move.

Saudi’s Aramco, its state oil firm, has cut the official selling price of Arab Light crude to Northwest Europe. Trading is now by $1.50 a barrel on February. Brent oil is now about $4.65 per barrel.

Meanwhile, it raised prices for Arab Light Grade for customers in Asia by $0.60

“The moves are reinforcing that the Saudis just don’t intend to do anything to rebalance (price) levels,” said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

The Kingdom’s move to cut OSPs is a signal that it is abandoning efforts to bring up falling crude oil prices and focus on maintaining its share in key oil markets.

Cuts to Europe might also be an attempt by Saudi to price out West African barrels from Europe. The West African barrels travel to Asia with quantities decreasing from 1.9 million to 1.6 million barrels per day.