Some Thursday ASEAN Links:
Bea Rose Santiago, a Filipina fashion model, was crowned Miss International at a ceremony in Tokyo yesterday. Santiago pledged her support for victims of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
“I’m going to use my crown and my title to help the victims,” she announced. “So this is actually for my province, and this is for the Philippines.”
Santiago expressed disappointment that she was unable to receive her crown from last year’s winner, Japanese model Ikumi Yoshimatsu, per pageant tradition.
Earlier this week, Yoshimatsu accused a high-level executive at Japan’s most powerful talent agency of stalking and harassment. She alleged that the executive made threatening phone calls to pageant organizers, who subsequently instructed her to feign illness and “stay away” from the event.
Meanwhile, in Singapore, Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean confirmed that 53 foreign workers would be deported for their involvement in a December 8 riot.
“We have taken strong and decisive action to charge and to repatriate those who took part in the riot, to send a strong signal that we will not tolerate actions by anyone which threaten law and order in Singapore,” he told BBC.
The men being deported include 52 Indian nationals and one Bangladeshi citizen. Another 28 individuals face criminal charges.
The riot was sparked by the death of an Indian man who was killed by a bus in the city-state’s Little India district. Singapore relies heavily on South Asian migrant workers for construction and low-wage positions.
Workfair Singapore, a fair labor NGO, said that the men should be granted the right to an appeal.
Over in Myanmar, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has announced a banner year for opium poppy growth. Cultivation of the plant, which is used to produce heroin, is up 13 percent over last year.
“The best estimate for 2013 opium production in Myanmar alone is some 870 tons,” said Yury Fedotov, the UNODC’s executive director. “Despite eradication efforts, opium poppy cultivation in the region continues to increase.”
UNODC added that cultivation of opium is up to 57,800 hectares this year. Comparatively, in Laos and Thailand, cultivation is only 6,800 and 265 hectares respectively.
In the 1990s, Myanmar was the world’s top supplier of opium – a title now held by Afghanistan.