Posts Tagged ‘MH17’

Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport says U.S. sanctions aim to push it from global market

April 6, 2018


MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Friday that new U.S. sanctions against it were designed to squeeze Russia out of the global arms market.

“This is unfair competition in its purest form,” a Rosoboronexport spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.

The United States imposed sanctions on Friday against Russian businessmen, companies and government officials, striking at associates of President Vladimir Putin in one of Washington’s most aggressive moves to punish Moscow for a range of activities, including alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn


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Rosoboronexport sells, among other things, an area missile defense system Called the Buk M3 Viking. Malaysian Airline flight 17 was believed to be shot down by a missile system like this one…


 Image result for Russian destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, in manila, photos

Rosoboronexport made some of the weapons supplied to the Philippines. Seen here: Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte holds a AK-47 assault rifle during a inspection of donated firearms and trucks onboard the Russian destroyer Admiral Panteleyev docked at the port in Metro Manila, Philippines October 25, 2017. Malacanang Presidential Photo/Handout


Russian Oligarch linked to Vladimir Putin makes £1bn on London Stock Exchange — Sparking MI6 Concern

February 7, 2018

The Telegraph

Oleg Deripaska

Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s wealthiest men, floated EN+ on the London Stock Exchange


MI6 has raised concerns after a Russian oligarch with links to military hardware production was able to use the London Stock Exchange to raise an estimated £1 billion.

Security sources have raised questions over how EN+, an energy company, came to be floated in London last November without the intelligence services being properly consulted.

EN+ is controlled by Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s wealthiest men who is closely linked to Vladimir Putin.

The company also owns half of Rusal, a giant Russian aluminium company which until recently said on its website that a fine metal powder it produced was used “in the production of military equipment”. Mr Deripaska is president of Rusal.

The Telegraph understands that the same type of powder was used in the production of a Russian-built Buk missile that Dutch investigators said downed Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 people.

Sir Mike Penning, a former defence minister, has raised concerns about the listing
Sir Mike Penning, a former defence minister, has raised concerns about the listing

A senior…

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MI6 ‘seriously concerned’ after a Russian oligarch with links to military hardware manufacturing was able to raise £1BILLION on the London Stock Exchange

  • Concerns raised over controversial Russian aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska
  • Deripaska, who is said to be an ally of Vladimir Putin, owns energy company EN+
  • MI6 questioned how EN+ was floated on London Stock Exchange, raising £1bn 

Oleg Deripaska reportedly raised an estimated £1bn through his energy firm EN+

Oleg Deripaska reportedly raised an estimated £1bn through his energy firm EN+

A controversial Russian aluminium magnate has come to the attention of MI6 after his company was floated on the London Stock Exchange.

Oleg Deripaska, who is said to be a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, reportedly raised an estimated £1 billion through his energy firm EN+.

But questions have now been raised about the Russian oligarch’s links to military hardware.

Considered one of Russia‘s wealthiest men, the 49-year-old father-of-two is worth a reported £5 billion.

Born in 1968 in the city of Dzerzhinsk, some 250 miles east of Moscow, Deripaska attended the School of Physics at Moscow State University before graduating from Moscow’s School of Economics at Plekhanov Academy of Economics.

He went on to establish himself in the domestic metals industry and in 2008, Forbes magazine listed Deripaska as the ninth-richest man in the world, worth about $28 billion.

But when the financial crisis hit he almost went bankrupt before bouncing back – with the help of the Kremlin, according to some reports.

In 2016, Forbes ranked Deripaska as Russia’s 41st wealthiest man.

He hit the headlines in 2017 when he was found to have ties with Paul Manfort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

Considered one of Russia 's wealthiest men, Deripaska (pictured in 2010), is worth a reported £5 billion

Considered one of Russia ‘s wealthiest men, Deripaska (pictured in 2010), is worth a reported £5 billion

A report claimed $26million was transferred from Oguster Management Ltd – a company owned by Deripaska – to Yiakora Ventures Ltd – entities linked to Manafort.

Manafort denied that any business he did with Deripaska a decade ago was related to helping the Russian government.

Last year David Cameron‘s former energy minister Greg Barker was appointed chairman of a Deripaska’s aluminium firm EN+.

But critics said the move was further worrying evidence of the ‘revolving door’ between Whitehall and the City.

The oligarch (pictured in 2017 with Herman Gref, CEO of Sberbank of Russia) hit the headlines in 2017 when he was found to have ties with Paul Manfort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman

The oligarch (pictured in 2017 with Herman Gref, CEO of Sberbank of Russia) hit the headlines in 2017 when he was found to have ties with Paul Manfort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman

Deripaska also owns the aluminium company Rusal, which produces a metal powder used ‘in the production of military equipment’.

The same type of powder was used to make the missile which investigators said was responsible for downing Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Lord Mandelson is also an intimate friend Deripaska, having in 2005 famously joined him in a ‘Banya’ — a traditional sauna in which they were thrashed with bunches of birch twigs by a 25-year-old man, before jumping into freezing water.

Deripaska also hosted Lord Mandelson on his super-yacht, where the pair holidayed alongside Nat Rothschild, then shadow chancellor George Osborne and Tory fund-raiser Andrew Feldman in Corfu in 2008.

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Ukraine wants Russia held to account over MH17 downing — “Russia has been getting away with murder.”

July 17, 2017


© AFP/File | International investigators have said the Boeing airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was blown out of the sky over conflict-wracked east Ukraine on July 17, 2014 by a Buk missile system brought in from Russia

KIEV (AFP) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday insisted Russia must be held to account over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, three years on from the tragedy that killed 298 people.

International investigators have said the Boeing airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was blown out of the sky over conflict-wracked east Ukraine on July 17, 2014 by a Buk missile system brought in from Russia and fired from territory held by Moscow-backed rebels.

The probe being led by The Netherlands — which suffered the majority of losses — is focusing on some 100 people suspected of having played an “active role” in the incident, but the investigators have not publicly named any suspects.

The West and Kiev are adamant that all the evidence points to the insurgents and Moscow.

Russia and the separatist authorities it supports, however, continue to deny any involvement and have sought repeatedly to deflect the blame onto Ukraine.

“It was a barefaced crime that could have been avoided if not for the Russian aggression, Russian system and Russian missile that came from Russian territory,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.

“Our responsibility before the dead and before future generations is to show to the aggressor terrorists that responsibility is unavoidable for all the crimes committed.”

Officials announced this month that the trials of any suspects arrested over the shooting down of MH17 will be held in the Netherlands.

The countries leading the joint investigation — Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, The Netherlands and Ukraine — agreed that any trials will be carried out within the Dutch legal system.

Poroshenko said that he was “convinced that the objectivity and impartiality of Dutch justice will complete this path.”

“It is our shared duty in the face of the memory of those whose beating hearts were stopped exactly three years ago by a Russian missile,” he wrote.

No official events are planned in Kiev to mark the third anniversary but local residents are expected to gather for a small religious ceremony at the crash site in rebel-held territory.

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a bitter feud since Moscow seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014 after the ouster of a Kremlin-backed leader by pro-Western protesters in Kiev.

Moscow was then accused of masterminding and fueling a separatist conflict in two other eastern regions that has cost the lives of some 10,000 people in over three years.

Russia insists it has not sent troops and weapons to fight in Ukraine despite overwhelming evidence that Moscow has essentially been involved in an undeclared war.

Airlines Call United Nations System “Useless” For Detecting Dangers to Aircraft Near War Zones

December 8, 2016

 A piece of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near the village of Grabove, in the region of Donetsk, on July 20, 2014. AFP photo


Airlines said on Thursday a U.N. warning mechanism designed to avoid a repeat of the 2014 downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine is “useless” and called for urgent new ways of detecting dangers to aircraft posed by war zones.

A new system should also contain information on other security threats and not just conflict zones, according to officials of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing some 265 airlines.

A conflict zones repository launched in April last year by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was meant for states to provide information on potential risks around the world so that airlines could avoid those regions.

However, it does not contain enough information and even that is not provided fast enough for airlines to use in real time, a security expert with IATA said on Thursday.

“The repository is inadequate, woefully inadequate,” Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for airport, passenger cargo and security, told journalists at a briefing in Geneva. “If it’s not timely and relevant, it’s useless.”

A spokesman for Montreal-based ICAO said it had nothing to add to changes announced in July, when it restricted the data to information provided by states where a conflict is occurring.

One of the problems regulators have faced is sensitivities of nations about including warnings given by their neighbors.

IATA’s Careen said airlines do have access to a lot of the security information they need for their daily operations but it is stored in various locations and complicated to access.

He said ICAO had heard IATA’s concerns and the two were now launching a survey to see where airlines were getting their information from. The aim is to present new recommendations by the middle of 2017 and enact them by the end of the year.

“It was implemented too quickly without giving it appropriate level of thought as to what was required by the industry,” Careen said of the database.

International investigators reported in September that a missile launcher used to shoot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in 2014 came from Russia and was returned there afterwards.

Russia maintained that the airliner, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was brought down by Ukraine’s military rather than the pro-Russian rebels. All 298 people on board, most of them Dutch, were killed.

(Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Writing by Victoria Bryan; editing by Mark Heinrich)


Debris from Russian plane in Sinai, 1 Nov 15

Egyptian and Russian crash experts examined debris in the Sinai

Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov looks at debris from a Russian airliner at its crash site in the Hassana area in el-Arish, Egypt, Nov. 1, 2015. REUTERS


Russian President Vladimir Putin (3rd L) with armed forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov (L), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (2nd L), Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov (3rd R), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2nd R) and Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Mikhail Fradkov (R) stand in a moment of silence before a meeting on Russian plane crash in Egypt at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin


Moscow dismisses ‘biased and politically motivated’ MH17 inquiry — Russia refuses to accept multi-national airline crash investigation findings

September 28, 2016

Reuters and AFP

© Bulent Kilic, AFP | A piece of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near the village of Grabove, in the region of Donetsk, on July 20, 2014


Latest update : 2016-09-28

Russia on Wednesday flatly dismissed a report from international prosecutors which concluded that Malaysian airliner MH17 had been downed by a Russian-made missile launched from a Ukrainian village held by pro-Russian rebels in 2014.

Russia on Wednesday flatly dismissed a report from international prosecutors which concluded that Malaysian airliner MH17 had been downed by a Russian-made missile launched from a Ukrainian village held by pro-Russian rebels in 2014.

In a strongly-worded statement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Dutch-led investigation’s findings were biased and politically-motivated.

“To arbitrarily designate a guilty party and dream up the desired results has become the norm for our Western colleagues,” said Zakharova.

“The investigation to this day continues to ignore incontestable evidence from the Russian side despite the fact that Russia is practically the only one sending reliable information to them.”


Russia has long denied any involvement in the episode.

Zakharova complained that the Russian government had been prevented from playing a full role in investigators’ work and alleged that the Ukrainian government had been able to influence the inquiry using fabricated evidence.

Zakharova said she hoped new radar data presented by the Russian military would prompt the prosecutors to revise their findings.


Includes video:


Did Russian Military Equipment Bring Down The Russian Metrojet Aircraft in Egypt?

November 1, 2015


The tail of the plane that crashed near Housna, Egypt

By Sydney Morning Herald
November 1, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in a bind, having fostered an impression Russia has been decisive in Syria while the West has dithered. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko

The question is obvious: has Islamic State truly managed to bring down a Russian commercial flight, killing 224, in a stunning act of revenge against Moscow’s military campaign in Syria?

How will Vladimir Putin, the man forced to defend Russia’s military meddling abroad only last year after a passenger jet was shot from the skies over Ukraine, choose to respond to this latest loss of civilian life?

The personal tragedy for the families and loved ones of this doomed flight has been very quickly subsumed into the wider regional and global tensions transfixing​ much of the world.

The Islamists’ bold – and as yet completely unproven – claim of responsibility for downing the Russian Metrojet​ in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula deserves to be treated sceptically.

Sophisticated weapons are required to shoot down a fast flying jet, or a lot of good fortune to evade modern security measures and plant a bomb.

But the gloating by Islamic State, no matter how empty, leaves Putin in a difficult bind.

Does he insist the crash be subjected to a full and transparent investigation, of the kind he obstructed in the case of  destroyed over Ukraine?

Or does he allow the sort of cockeyed conspiracy that plane crashes often attract to build around the claims by Islamic State, only to see his macho boasts to be leading a Russian resurgence suffer a blow?

The answer will be revealing. Russia’s​ transport minister Maksim​ Sokolov was very quick to dismiss the Islamic State claim and open a criminal investigation into the conduct of the airline – a standard practice in Russia given the country’s lousy recent history of air safety.

But the basic elements of a story that could very quickly turn on Putin are in place unless compelling evidence of technical fault in the Metrojet​ plane is found.

Putin has staked Russian prestige on muscling up to Islamic State in Syria, happy to foster an impression Russia has been decisive while the West has dithered.

The​ images of sleek Russian jet fighters bombing targets in Syria or Russian navy corvettes blasting off cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea have been a domestic propaganda triumph.

Yet Islamic State has proved immensely cunning at propaganda too, and expanding its tentacles into regions of sympathy.

The Sinai has long been troubled by extremism, with more than 100 people killed in bombings a decade ago.

Should enough Russians doubt the official explanations about what happened to the Metrojet​ flight, and question their leader’s judgment in his foreign forays, Putin might might be desperate for the kind of truth and resolution denied the victims – among them 38 Australian citizens and residents – in Ukraine.

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MH17 denial will hurt Russia sooner or later

October 15, 2015


Moscow claims Dutch report authors biased from start, despite accumulation of evidence

Russia has rejected demands from Western governments to set up an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July last year.

But the release of an exhaustive report into the crash, which killed 298 people, has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the airliner was brought down in the airspace over neighbouring Ukraine by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile. And, although that did not prevent Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov from dismissing the authors of the report as “biased from the start”, the accumulation of evidence about the destruction of MH17 is beginning to severely restrict Russia’s ability to shake off any legal responsibility for the disaster.

In the weeks immediately following the downing of the MH17 aircraft last year, sources within Russia have circulated a multitude of theories about who the culprits may be. Some of these were zany conspiracy plots, such as the allegation that the MH17 flight was, in fact, unmanned – that it took off from the Dutch airport of Amsterdam at midday on July 17, 2014, stuffed with dead bodies and that it was pre-programmed to destruct over the skies of Ukraine in order to discredit Russia.

However, other theories were designed to sound more plausible, and were initially promoted by Russian officials, as well as by Russia’s state-controlled media. These included allegations that MH17 was brought down by the Ukrainians themselves because the colours of its fuselage supposedly resembled those of the private jet of Russian President Vladimir Putin; that MH17 was shot down by Western military aircraft; or that the plane was torn apart by an onboard explosive device placed by a “terrorist network”.

Each one of these allegations was supposedly accompanied by documentary evidence which mysteriously never materialised.

The 300-page report compiled by the Dutch Safety Board and released on Tuesday has now comprehensively eliminated all such conspiracy theories.

Based on structural damage to the fuselage of the plane, the shape of the fragments of the projectile embedded in the wreckage as well as remains of a missile nozzle and cables belonging to the stabilising mechanism of the explosive which hit the plane, investigators established beyond any reasonable doubt that MH17 was destroyed by a BUK surface-to-air missile produced by Russia.

“The impact pattern could not have been caused by a meteor, an air-to-air missile or an internal explosion,” Dr Djibbe Joustra, who heads the Dutch Safety Board, said.

Anticipating such an outcome, Russian officials who deal with the case have tacitly discarded alternative explanations and have recently accepted that one of their BUK missiles was responsible for MH17’s destruction. But they have alleged that the version of the missile which hit the plane was from an older batch of missiles no longer used by the Russian armed forces, although it continues to be in the inventories of the Ukraine military.

Moscow also complained this week that Dutch investigators had failed to take into account evidence provided by the BUK missile manufacturers, which supposedly proves this point.

In theory, this technical dispute works in Moscow’s favour: The argument now is about the shape of the shrapnel fragments, with Dutch investigators claiming that these are of a “bow tie” variety produced by newer versions of the BUK missile, and Russians claiming that they resemble the shape of the pear, usually produced by older missile versions. That is the sort of technical detail the broader international public is unlikely to remember, and one which gives Russia at least plausible deniability.

Russia can also successfully continue to deny any legal liability. It recently vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sought by Malaysia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia, and Belgium, to establish a criminal tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the Malaysian airliner.

Yet, matters are unlikely to rest here, for a separate Dutch-led investigation into the criminal responsibility for the destruction of the Malaysian aircraft is scheduled to report early next year.

Dutch officials have not denied rumours that Western intelligence agencies, and particularly those of the United States, may declassify some of their satellite imagery of the tragedy. Either way, demands for the establishment of a tribunal will intensify.

And then, there are other pending legal cases against the Russian state and its officials.

Britain has launched a new inquest into the November 2006 murder of Mr Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian state security officer who had become a British citizen.

The European Parliament is calling for an independent international investigation of the murder of the Russian opposition political leader Boris Nemtsov. And Russia faces an international legal refusal to recognise its annexation of Crimea.

For the moment, Mr Putin seems content to ignore all these challenges. But, sooner or later, Russia’s diminished international reputation will end up inflicting real damage on the country and its government.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline ‘MH17 denial will hurt Russia sooner or later’.

MH17: ‘Russian missile parts’ at Ukraine crash site

August 11, 2015

BBC News

Pro-Russian rebel stands with debris from MH17 - July 2014 picture

Pro-Russian rebels control the area where the MH17 crashed

Fragments of a suspected Russian missile system have been found at the Flight MH17 crash site in Ukraine, investigators in the Netherlands say.

They say the parts, possibly from a Buk surface-to-air system, are “of particular interest” and could help show who was behind the crash.

But they say they have not proved their “causal connection” with the crash.

MH17 crashed on land held by Russian-backed rebels in July 2014, killing all 298 on board.

There were 283 passengers, including 80 children, and 15 crew members on the Malaysian Airlines airliner.

About two-thirds of those who died were Dutch nationals, with dozens of Malaysians and Australians among the rest.

Ukraine and many Western countries have accused pro-Russian rebels of shooting down the plane, saying they could have used a Buk missile system supplied by Russia.

Russia and the rebels deny any responsibility and say the Ukrainian military was to blame.


How a missile could have brought down MH17

Missile infographic

MH17: What we know

A tale of two sisters and flight MH17

Air disaster that touched a nation


The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said in a joint statement with the Dutch Safety Board that the parts had been “secured during a previous recovery mission in eastern Ukraine”.

“The parts are of particular interest to the criminal investigation as they can possibly provide more information about who was involved in the crash of MH17. For that reason the JIT further investigates the origin of these parts,” the statement said.

Fred Westerbeke, a spokesman for the Dutch Prosecutor’s Office, said that seven fragments had been found which were definitely not part of the aircraft, and further investigations had shown that they were probably from a missile system.

“We are going to need more investigation to really find out what exactly this is and if it is part of a possible system that took down MH17,” he added.

“If we can establish that, then we can say that it is a breakthrough.”

Analysis: By Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent

The Dutch safety board is characteristically cautious. For now it is insisting that no causal connection can be established between the discovered parts and the crash.

The aircraft is widely believed to have been downed by a surface-to-air missile. Indeed the investigators’ preliminary report – released last September – noted that the damage to the aircraft’s fuselage and cockpit indicated impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft; consistent with an engagement by a Buk-type missile.

The crucial question remains who fired the weapon – Russian-backed separatists or even the Russian military itself? The Ukrainians also operate a variant of the Buk system.

The missile parts could be a help here but satellite intelligence may provide more of the picture. Independent investigators have already established a video trail which appears to place a Buk launcher in the crash area on the day in question.


The investigators would now enlist the help of weapons experts and forensic specialists to examine the parts, the statement added.

The JIT comprises representatives of the Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium, Malaysia and Australia.

They are meeting in The Hague to discuss a draft report on the causes of the crash, the final version of which is expected to be published by the Dutch Safety Board in October.

The statement comes two weeks after Russia vetoed a draft resolution to set up an international tribunal into the disaster, triggering widespread outrage.

Moscow described the Malaysian initiative as “premature” and “counterproductive”.

The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was brought down on 17 July last year in Donetsk region.

Putin: Russia Will Oppose International Tribunal for MH17

July 29, 2015

The Associated Press

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that Moscow will veto a U.N. Security Council resolution to set up an international criminal court to prosecute those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine a year ago.

Putin said Wednesday in a phone chat with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte that Russia still opposes the idea that the Netherlands and Ukraine advocate.

Ukraine and the West suspect that the plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile fired by Russia-backed separatist rebels or Russian soldiers. Russia denies that. Nearly 200 of the 298 killed were Dutch.

The Kremlin quoted Putin as saying a tribunal would be “inexpedient” because Russia still has “a lot of questions” about the investigation to which it had little access.


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Bodies of the dead collected just after the disaster

Flowers and mementos lie on the wreckage at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines jet. Credit Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

Russian officer pushed the launch button: Ukraine

Experts believe a Russian built anti-air missile system downed the air liner

News For Sunday, July 12, 2015: Southeast Asia Roundup

July 12, 2015
Today Around Southeast Asia

PHUKETWAN recognises the importance of Asean with the Economic Community approaching and marks what’s happening around the region with a new column, Asean Today.

Thailand The European Union has joined the United States in condemning Thailand’s forced deportation of more than 100 ethnic Uighurs to China, where they could face harsh treatment and a lack of due process. An EU statement called the deportation a violation of core principles of international humanitarian law.

reuters Uighurs from China’s Xinjiang are being given Turkish identity papers in Southeast Asia by Turkish diplomats and then taken to Turkey where some are sold to fight for groups like Islamic State as ”cannon fodder,” a senior Chinese official said.


AP Malaysian authorities are investigating allegations that 2 million ringgit ($529,000) were deposited into the accounts of the wife of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak earlier this year. Rosmah Mansor’s lawyers say the news report is ”menacing and false” and denied she took money from 1MDB. A memorial service was held at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday to mark the first year anniversary of the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine on July 17 last year, killing all 298 passengers and crew – mostly Dutch, Malaysians and Australians.

Burma Burma, in particular, should be considered for downgrade to Tier 3, as its persecution of Rohingya is at the root of the recent boat crisis. It has not only failed to meet minimal standards, but has also actively exacerbated the problem of human trafficking and human rights abuses toward victims in the region through its policies toward Rohingya. Dengue fever outbreaks on the Thai Burma border have affected hundreds of students, with many having to be hospitalised. Heavy wet season rains that drench communities on both sides of the Thai Burma border, are an early warning sign that it is the time of year that dengue fever strikes.

Philippines Hundreds of people in at least six towns and a city in Surigao del Sur were hospitalised after being allegedly poisoned by durian candy.

Indonesia Two former pilots for Indonesian airlines were found to have been radicalised by Islamic State after they expressed sympathy for the jihadist group online, while still performing passenger flights, a leaked Australian police report said.

AP Ash spewing from a volcano on Indonesia’s main island of Java sparked chaos for holidaymakers as airports closed and international airlines cancelled flights to tourist hotspot Bali, stranding thousands. Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport reopened Saturday morning.


xinhua Cambodia has seen 57 landmine casualties in the first five months of 2015, down 36 percent compared with 89 casualties over the same period of last year, the latest report said.

Singapore The Singapore Government has contributed to Taiwan three pallets of medical supplies, which include artificial skin and other materials required for the treatment of the burn victims of a water park blast, said the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei.


VNS The top prosecution agencies of Viet Nam and Mongolia signed a two-year (2016-2017) co-operation agreement. The agreement was signed following talks between Procurator General Nguyen Hoa Binh and Mongolian General Prosecutor M. Enkh-Amgalan.

Laos It took a bit of time for Mark, a 65-year-old retiree from London, to understand why so many middle-aged white men were hanging out alone in the sad-looking bar of his hotel in Vientiane, Laos, when he visited in 2013. Then he saw all the local young women loitering nearby. And that’s when Mark realized that, unlike him, those dudes hadn’t come to Laos for its stunning 16th-century temples or spectacular waterfalls.

Brunei The Philippines has agreed to host the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games instead of Brunei, who pulled out last month because they claimed they would not be ready in time. The event is expected to feature nearly 4500 athletes from 11 countries competing in 36 sports.