Fears the Year of the Rabbit could bring about a wave of abandoned pets

Animal welfare groups in Malaysia and Singapore have urged consumers to not buy rabbits on an ‘impulse’ and to look into what it takes to care for them

Pet welfare groups in Malaysia and Singapore have warned consumers not to buy rabbits to mark lunar new year, fearing a plethora of abandoned animals could follow.

High demand for the small mammals is expected as 22 January marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Mohideen Abdul Kader, president of the Consumers’ Association of Penang in Malaysia, said it was inevitable considering “the belief that it will bring good luck”.

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Singapore lifts gay sex ban but blocks path toward marriage equality

LGBTQ+ advocates welcome repeal of British colonial-era law while expressing dismay as parliament backs existing definition of marriage

Singapore’s parliament has decriminalised sex between men, but has amended the constitution to effectively block full marriage equality.

The British colonial-era law penalised sex between men with up to two years in jail, although the statute was not actively enforced.

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Richard Branson refuses Singapore invitation to debate death penalty

UK entrepreneur turns down live TV debate and says government should instead engage with local activists

The British entrepreneur Richard Branson has rejected an invitation from Singapore’s home affairs minister to debate the death penalty, urging him to instead engage with local activists who oppose the “inhumane, brutal practice”.

Branson had been invited by the ministry of home affairs to debate capital punishment live on TV, after he described it as “a serious stain on Singapore’s reputation”, and condemned the execution earlier this year of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam.

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‘A leader of the world’: south-east Asian countries open to Putin pivot

Only Singapore has imposed sanctions, while others have been receptive to Moscow’s offers of friendship

The head of Myanmar’s military junta beamed with joy as he shook hands with Vladimir Putin this week. “We would call you not just the leader of Russia but a leader of the world because you control and organise stability around the whole world,” Min Aung Hlaing said.

His remarks came as Putin claimed in a defiant speech that European efforts to isolate Russia would fail: instead, he would pivot to Asia.

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Suez Canal briefly blocked again after another ship, Affinity V, becomes stuck

Tanker blocked canal for hours, close to where Ever Given container ship became stuck, disrupting supply chains for a week

A tanker getting stuck used to be more the domain of niche business news, but that was before the Ever Given, so all eyes were soon on the Affinity V tanker’s plight in the Suez Canal.

On Wednesday, the 250-metre long Affinity V tanker was bound for Saudi Arabia when it ran aground close to the same spot in the narrow southern section of the canal in Egypt where the Ever Given container ship caused a week-long halt to traffic in March 2021, dominating global headlines and paralysing supply chains.

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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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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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The Guardian view on the death penalty: a long way to go | Editorial

Though capital punishment is in global decline, there are horrifying exceptions to the general trend

Next month, Oklahoma will embark on a grim schedule: an execution nearly every month until the end of 2024. In September, it is due to execute Richard Glossip, whom many believe to be the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice. A five-year moratorium has come to an end with the failure of a lawsuit arguing that the use of lethal injections was unconstitutional.

Oklahoma is not the only place that is enthusiastically resuming state-sanctioned killing after a pause. Myanmar’s rulers announced on Monday that they had executed four prisoners, including Phyo Zeya Thaw, a rapper and former MP, drawing international condemnation. This was the first time the death penalty had been used there for more than 30 years, said the UN. And on Tuesday it emerged that Tomohiro Kato has been executed in Japan for stabbing seven people to death in 2008.

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Sri Lanka on a knife-edge as Rajapaksa lands in Singapore

Country in state of emergency amid protests against president, who is reported to be heading for Saudi Arabia

The Sri Lankan president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has arrived in Singapore, with his final destination reported to be Saudi Arabia, as the beleaguered leader continues his pursuit of a safe haven.

Sri Lanka has been gripped by mass protests over its economic meltdown, and tensions remained on a knife-edge on Thursday, with a curfew imposed in the commercial capital of Colombo and military tanks deployed on the roads.

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Singapore craft beer uses recycled sewage to highlight water scarcity

Collaboration between national water agency and craft brewer described as ‘highly quaffable’

It is a beer made with only the finest ingredients: premium German barley malts, aromatic Citra and Calypso hops, farmhouse yeast from Norway – and reclaimed sewage.

NewBrew, a collaboration between Singapore’s national water agency and the local craft brewery Brewerkz, has already proved popular and has sold out on tap at the brewery’s restaurants, according to reports.

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Love of the Irish: why are Gaelic games so popular in Asia?

Hurling, camogie and other sports have pushed into places like Thailand and Vietnam, where players find them inclusive

In a floodlit field, 20 women run the length of a pitch kicking, bouncing and passing the ball in a game of Gaelic football. Sweating it out, players with more experience “buddy up” with new members to show them the basic skills before they take to the pitch.

It’s a weekday training session much like any other, except that it’s taking place in the humidity of Bangkok, where Gaelic games – including hurling, handball, rounders, and camogie – are surging in popularity.

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US warns of ‘stark’ stakes in Taiwan Strait if status quo unilaterally altered

Defence secretary says US does not support Taiwan independence, which China says would prompt it to take island back

The US has warned of “especially stark” stakes in the Taiwan Strait if the status quo is unilaterally altered, as China reiterated its resolve to take the island back if it declares independence.

Speaking at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore on Saturday, US defence secretary Lloyd Austin said Washington does not support Taiwanese independence, and the Joe Biden administration “categorically” opposes any change of the status quo.

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‘Like McDonald’s with no burgers’: Singapore faces chicken shortage as Malaysia bans export

Move to ease inflation threatens city-state’s de-facto national dish of poached chicken and rice

Supplies of Singapore’s beloved de-facto national dish, chicken and rice, are under threat after neighbouring Malaysia banned exports of the meat in an attempt to ease domestic price increases.

The Malaysian prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, announced last week that the country would block exports of 3.6 million chickens a month from 1 June to stabilise supply at home. The ban is expected to lead to price increases and shortages in Singapore, which relies upon Malaysia for a third of its poultry imports.

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Outcry as Singapore executes man with learning difficulties over drugs offence

Campaigners decry ‘broken system’ in Singapore that disproportionately punishes drug mules rather than those who coerce them into work

A man with learning difficulties has been executed in Singapore for attempting to smuggle a small amount of heroin, despite repeated pleas for his life to be spared, in a case campaigners have described as a “tragic miscarriage of justice”.

Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a Malaysian national, was arrested in 2009, aged 21, for attempting to carry 43g of heroin – about three tablespoons – into Singapore. He was sentenced to death the following year, and then spent more than a decade on death row.

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Singapore editor jailed for defamation over corruption claims

Terry Xu was convicted last year after publishing a letter alleging ‘corruption at the highest echelons’

The editor of a now-closed Singaporean news outlet has been jailed for three weeks for defamation over a letter published on the site that alleged corruption among government ministers.

Terry Xu, the former editor of the Online Citizen, was convicted last year for the publication of a letter that said there was “corruption at the highest echelons”.

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