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SINGAPORE

A Singapore immigration official has been charged for allegedly receiving sexual favours from Chinese women in exchange for helping them extend their visas. Staff sergeant Chin Peng Sum, 51, was accused of violating the Official Secrets Act by telling the women in advance about impending raids so that they could evade arrest for "vice-related and/or immigration" offences, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said. "It is a serious offence for public officers to act in their own interests and use their position to solicit corrupt benefits," it said. Singapore takes a tough stand against corruption and has consistently ranked in surveys as among the least corrupt countries.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

Crazy Rich Asians star Michelle Yeoh has signed on to produce the coming film adaptation of the best-selling book Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, a fascinating book about the inner wheelings and dealings of Malaysian fugitive businessman Jho Low and the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Billion Dollar Whale is a shocking look behind the scenes of the massive 1MDB money-laundering scandal masterminded by Low, known as the "Asian Gatsby" for his lavish spending and social awkwardness. The 1MDB scandal is largely considered one of the main reasons for the ousting of the Malaysian national ruling coalition and then-prime minister Najib Razak in a shocking elections defeat last year.

MUMBAI, India

A passenger was kicked off an IndiGo flight after he tried to access the cockpit to charge his phone. The incident took place as the flight was preparing to take off from Mumbai for Kolkata. An airport official said the man was drunk. Police released him without charge. It was the second bizarre incident involving an Indian domestic flight in the space of a week after a first-time flyer tried to open an exit door mid-air, mistaking it for the toilet. The man was travelling with GoAir from New Delhi to Patna when he tried to open the aircraft's rear exit, the carrier said.

TOKYO, Japan

Health authorities in Japan hope a new instant noodle creation will help lift the residents of Aomori Prefecture off the bottom of the national list for life expectancy. Aomori's male population live to an average age of 78.67, slightly less than the national average of 79.59, while women generally reach 85.93, compared to 86.35 years. The prefecture's low life expectancy is has been blamed on peoples' salt heavy diets--found in high levels in soy sauce and "miso". "Residents of Aomori Prefecture often drink all the salty broth of instant noodles," Governor Shingo Mimura said. Japan's National Institute of Health and Nutrition has drawn up a plan to improve Aomori's health.

SEOUL, S. Korea

South Korea's largest Buddhist denomination elected a new leader in an uncontested vote that did little to dispel anger following years of scandals including senior monks breaking celibacy vows, amassing huge wealth and gambling. With more than 3,000 temples, 13,000 monks and seven million followers, the Jogye Order is followed by most of South Korea's Buddhists and is highly influential in a country where religion remains a powerful social force. But the sect has long been dogged by corruption allegations and factional feuds that often make the headlines. The rivals accused a powerful and scandal-tainted former president named Jaseung of unfairly pulling strings in favour of new president Wonhaeng. Jaseung's eight-year leadership of the sect, which ended in 2017, was marred by allegations of corruption, gambling and broken celibacy.

HANOI, Vietnam

Vietnam's version of the Bachelor last week may have taken the rose for best twist. During a rose ceremony, in which the eligible bachelor keeps or eliminates the female contestants vying for his affections, one of the women, Minh Thu, said she had fallen in love with a fellow female competitor Truc Nhu instead. Subtitled video of the ceremony, which quickly went viral online, showed Thu telling bachelor Nguyen Quoc Trung: "1 went into this competition to find love--and I've found that love for myself, but it isn't [with] you. It's [with] someone else." She then asked Nhu to "come home with me", after which the two women left the competition together. Vietnam is one of Asia's more progressive nations when it comes to gay rights and acceptance.

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Greenpeace activists last week scaled storage tanks at an Indonesian palm oil refinery with a popular rock band that played pro-environment songs, protesting against the industry. The group said 30 activists and Indonesian metal group Boomerang "occupied" the site on Sulawesi island to draw attention to the environmental destruction caused by clearing forest for plantations. Greenpeace accused Singapore-listed Wilmar of being linked to deforestation in Indonesia--the world's biggest palm oil exporter--despite committing five years ago to stop logging vast tracts of jungle. Wilmar said the protest was "a criminal act of trespassing and vandalism".

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Publication:South Asian Post
Geographic Code:9SING
Date:Oct 4, 2018
Words:821
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