Regional Outlook, Global Perspective
‘I FEAR FOR MY LIFE’: PHILIPPINE LAWYER BEHIND DUTERTE PROBE

Philippine lawyer Jude Sabio felt it was his duty to bring President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs to the attention of international war crimes prosecutors, but now that a probe into the killings is under way, he fears he too has become a target. Jude Sabio, who describes himself as penniless and on the run, claims he’s received death threats from the president’s supporters on social media after filing a petition with the International Criminal Court. Malacañang said there was no ill will against Sabio since the President does not give importance to the complaint in the first place. The palace said that if Sabio felt like there was a threat to his life, he should report it to the Philippine National Police.

INDONESIA INKS $1.1B DEAL WITH RUSSIA TO BUY 11 JETS

Indonesia has inked a billion-dollar deal to buy 11 Sukhoi Su-35 jets from Russia, an official said Saturday. The contract, signed by both countries’ representatives in Jakarta on Wednesday, is worth a total $1.14 billion, Indonesia defence ministry spokesman Totok Sugiharto said. The finalization of the deal, which has been talked about for years between the two longtime defense partners, would constitute a boost for Indonesia’s air force capabilities even amid the significant challenges that remain, writes Prashanth Parameswaran for The Diplomat. The arms deal between Russia and the largest nation in Southeast Asia comes amid enhanced cooperation between Russia and ASEAN member states.

US URGES MALAYSIA TO PROTECT MINORITY MUSLIMS WANTED BY CHINA

The US State Department said it had called on Malaysia to allow the UN refugee agency access to the Uygurs – among a group of 20 originally from China who escaped from Thailand last year – to determine their eligibility for international protection and eventual resettlement in a third country. The Malaysian Bar has urged the government not to repeat the incident of August 2011 when it returned to China 11 Uighurs who were residing in Malaysia, including some who were registered as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Kuala Lumpur said it will honor its agreement with Beijing to extradite the Uighurs after the conclusion of a police investigation, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said last week.

THAILAND DECORATES MYANMAR’S ARMY CHIEF AMID ROHINGYA CRISIS

Thailand awarded Myanmar’s army chief a royal decoration on Friday amid allegations of crimes by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya Muslims that have prompted international condemnation. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing occupies the highest office of Myanmar’s military, known locally as the Tatmadaw. The 61-year-old may not have the public profile of Aung San Suu Kyi, but the world is beginning to recognize that he calls the shots when it comes to the military’s crackdown on the Rohingya, writes Laignee Barron for Time. The United Nations investigator of human rights in Myanmar has accused Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of “complicity” in the slaughter of Rohingya Muslims, an event which has the “hallmarks of genocide”.

BORNEO ORANGUTAN POPULATION PLUMMETS BY HALF: REPORT

Borneo’s orangutan population has declined by more than half since 1999 due to palm oil production and logging, a study has found. Between 70,000 and 100,000 of the endangered primates remain in the wild on the island, Current Biology journal found. Indonesia is infamous for the appalling treatment of orangutans. The Indonesian police arrested four farmers last week for allegedly shooting a Bornean orangutan whose body was found riddled with 130 air gun pellets. The oil palm boom of the 1970s kicked deforestation into hyperdrive. It began in Malaysia and by the 1990s spilled over into neighboring Indonesia. Together the two countries account for 80 percent of the world’s palm oil.