Singapore man sues woman for just wanting to be friends, not partners

Claimant seeks $3m in damages to cover financial losses as well as rehabilitation and therapy to overcome ‘trauma’

A man in Singapore is seeking more than S$3m (£1.87m) in damages from a woman who said she saw him only as a friend, claiming she caused him trauma and damaged his “stellar reputation”.

A defamation case being brought by K Kawshigan claims the damages are to cover loss in earnings and investments, as well as “rehabilitation and therapy programmes to overcome the sustained trauma,” according to court documents.

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US seals crucial military deal with the Philippines close to China ‘flashpoints’

Deal expands Washington’s access to military bases close to Taiwan and the South China Sea

The Philippines has granted the United States expanded access to its military bases, greatly enhancing Washington’s presence in the region at a time of growing concern about Chinese aggression.

Washington would be given access to four additional military bases in “strategic areas of the country”, without specifying the locations, the Philippines’ Department of National Defence said on Thursday in a statement.

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Bangkok air pollution prompts advice to work from home

Thai capital’s already bad air made worse by forest fires and burning on farms

People in Bangkok have been advised to work from home and wear face masks due to air pollution that has worsened to unhealthy levels.

Officials urged people to use public transport rather than private cars for commuting, and said the authorities would seek to reduce sources of pollution such as outdoor burning and construction activities. Face masks would be distributed to vulnerable people, Bangkok authorities said.

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Rohingya and Myanmar coup survivors launch legal complaint in Germany against junta

Survivors of alleged abuses at hands of military unite in universal jurisdiction case over atrocities they say amount to genocide

A criminal complaint against individuals linked to Myanmar’s military has been filed in Germany by survivors from ethnic groups across Myanmar, in what activists say is a show of unity that once seemed unthinkable.

Sixteen survivors and witnesses of military abuses joined NGO Fortify Rights to file a criminal complaint with the federal public prosecutor general of Germany under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows the prosecution of mass atrocities in one country, even if they happened elsewhere.

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Aung San Suu Kyi faces total of 26 years in prison after latest corruption sentencing

Court controlled by junta adds a further three years in jail to raft of other sentences handed to the former leader

A military-controlled court in Myanmar has sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a further three years in jail for corruption, according to reports, meaning she now faces a total of 26 years in prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a raft of legal cases after the military’s seizure of power in February 2021, from incitement and multiple corruption charges, to illegal possession of walkie-talkies and breaking Covid restrictions.

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‘The mountains protect us’: safeguards sought for Philippines’ Sierra Madre shield against typhoons

Kaliwa dam project in the Sierra Madre would be disastrous for main island’s storm defences as well as biodiversity, say conservationists

As Super Typhoon Noru made landfall in the Philippines last month and people across the main island of Luzon braced for impact, the country’s largest mountain range – the Sierra Madre – began to trend online.

One image shared widely on Twitter was taken from a weather report, showing Noru moving over the range.

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Myanmar model who criticised junta stuck in limbo after being denied entry to Thailand

Han Lay appealed for help on social media after being stopped at Bangkok airport, saying Myanmar police there want to speak to her

A Myanmar model who has spoken out against the military junta that seized power last year says she has sought help from the UN’s refugee agency after she was denied entry to Thailand.

Han Lay, who was stopped at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok this week, asked for help in a Facebook post on Thursday night, saying Myanmar police were at the airport and trying to speak with her.

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The 2021 Myanmar coup explained in 30 seconds

Country’s military has deployed brutal violence to crush dissent since taking power in a 2021 coup but resistance is growing

On 1 February 2021, Myanmar’s military took power in a coup, abruptly halting the country’s fragile transition towards democracy.

It justified the coup by alleging widespread fraud in the 2020 election – which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won by a landslide. Independent observers have rejected such claims.

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Ex-UK ambassador and her husband jailed for a year in Myanmar, reports say

Vicky Bowman and Htein Lin were arrested last week accused of violating immigration laws

Britain’s former ambassador to Myanmar and her husband, a prominent artist, have been sentenced to one year in prison by the country’s military-controlled courts, reports say.

Vicky Bowman, who was the ambassador in Myanmar from 2002 to 2006, and her husband, Htein Lin, a veteran democracy activist, were arrested last week in Yangon and accused of violating immigration laws.

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‘I thought I would die before this moment’: one man’s fight against Singapore’s gay sex law

Tan Eng Hong was arrested under the law banning gay male sex and went on to challenge its constitutionality, a landmark moment for gay rights

Tan Eng Hong’s voice wavers as he remembers his 12-year struggle against Section 377A, a law that criminalises sex between men in Singapore. When he heard the announcement this month that the law would finally be repealed, he felt relief. “I thought I would die before I could hear this,” he says. He thanks god, and the universe, that he is alive to witness such a landmark moment.

It was in 2010 that Tan Eng Hong experienced one of the most difficult episodes in his life. He was arrested by police for having oral sex with a consenting adult man in a locked toilet cubicle at a mall in downtown Singapore after staff at a nearby restaurant reportedly called police.

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Five years after the crackdown, Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya ‘living like animals’

While 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar after 25 August 2017, 600,000 remain, facing harsh restrictions on movement, persecution and poverty

Five years ago Muhammad*, his wife and two children sheltered at their home, terrified as they heard of violence tearing through nearby villages. The Myanmar military had launched so-called “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine state, forcing huge numbers of Rohingya people to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.

“If we remember those times, to be honest, it’s difficult to eat or sleep,” he says. “25 August was one of the black days for Rohingya.”

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Singapore to repeal law that criminalises sex between men

Scrapping of colonial-era section 377A law hailed as ‘a win for humanity’ by LGBTQ+ rights groups

Singapore will repeal a colonial-era law that criminalises sex between men, a landmark decision described by LGBTQ+ groups as “a win for humanity”.

In a national address on Sunday, the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said that scrapping section 377A of the penal code would bring the law into line with current social attitudes and “provide some relief to gay Singaporeans”.

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Thai instant noodle makers seek government approval for first price hike in 14 years

Plea to government, which controls prices on some essentials, to allow rise as war in Ukraine and extreme weather drive up costs

Five major producers of instant noodles have urged the Thai government to allow them to increase their prices within a week, warning of soaring production costs affecting one of the country’s most popular grocery items.

The war in Ukraine, as well as droughts and floods over the past year, have caused the cost of wheat, energy and transport costs to rise sharply, affecting noodle prices across Asia.

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Two films duel for last word on brutal Marcos Sr era in Philippines

Katips: The Movie tells story of those who fought for democracy while Maid in Malacañang offers view pushed by Marcos dynasty

The fight for who gets to tell the final version of the Philippines’ history has opened a new front, with two polarising films offering different versions of the past released in cinemas.

One tells the story of student activists living under the brutal regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. The other examines the dictator’s last days in power from his family’s perspective.

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Instagran: meet Thailand’s new generation of over-60s influencers

Government scheme links older people with university students who provide mentoring to develop online skills

Somsak Jiteurtragool stands in a sun speckled field, saplings lined in rows behind him. “Hello viewers, today I’m bringing you to Principal Uncle and Auntie’s Forest Garden plot,” he says. A tour begins, and the camera pans up and down various plants: from red wood to makha and mahogany.

He tells the camera that his 600 seedlings, which cost just 27 baht [0.73 USD] each when he planted them five years ago, could be worth up to 10,000 baht [271.19USD] per plant in 10 years’ time.

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