KOH LIPE, Thailand/LANGSA, Indonesia (Reuters) – A boat crammed with migrants was towed out to sea by the Thai navy and then held up by Malaysian vessels on Saturday, the latest round of “maritime ping-pong” by Asian states determined not to let asylum seekers come ashore.
The United Nations has called on countries around the Andaman Sea not to push back the thousands of desperate Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar now stranded in wooden boats, and to rescue them instead.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – Nearly 600 migrants thought to be Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis were rescued from at least two wooden boats stranded off the coast of Indonesia’s northern Aceh province, authorities said on Sunday.
The overcrowded boats, which were carrying nearly 100 women and dozens of children among the refugees, were towed to shore by fishermen after running out of fuel.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – An Indonesian regency has passed legislation requiring schools to teach boys and girls separately and hopes to follow that up with a ban prohibiting the two sexes from riding motorcycles together.
Aceh, the only province that abides by Islamic sharia law in the Muslim-dominated nation, has over the years passed a series of strict faith-based regulations that has put it at odds with the rest of the country.
Sudan has summoned the U.S. and South Sudanese ambassadors over the new detention of a Christian convert who was trying to fly to the United States with her family after being released from death row, the state’s top security service said on Wednesday.
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim was freed on Monday after an appeals court canceled the death sentence imposed for having converted from Islam to marry her Christian husband, after the government came under what it called unprecedented international pressure.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – A powerful 8.6 magnitude earthquake and a series of strong aftershocks struck off Indonesia on Wednesday, sending people scurrying from buildings as far away as southern India, but there seemed little risk of a disastrous tsunami as in 2004.
Indonesia said it was checking for damage and casualties but remarkably, no such reports had been received for several hours after the quakes, including in Aceh, the closest province and the area decimated by the disaster eight years ago.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – An 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia on Wednesday, sending residents around the region scurrying from buildings and raising fears of a huge tsunami as in 2004, but authorities said there were no reports suggesting a major threat.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Aceh, the Indonesian province closest to the earthquake.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – Two former separatist rebels vied for governorship of Indonesia’s Aceh region on Monday after an election campaign plagued by violence in a gas-rich province recovering from a devastating tsunami eight years ago.
An exit poll by the Indonesia Circle Institute polling agency showed rebel former foreign minister Zaini Abdullah from Partai Aceh with more than 54.4 percent. Abdullah was foreign minister for former rebel group, the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
Islamic religious police in Indonesia’s Aceh province are stumped about how to handle a case of two women who married at the urging of neighbors concerned that one of the roomates was a man and therefore a couple living in sin. Aceh is the only province in the country that applies sharia, or Islamic law.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – Hasan di Tiro, the founder of the rebel Free Aceh Movement which waged a decades-long war against the Indonesian government, died on Thursday at the age of 84.
A businessman descended from the Acehnese royal family, di Tiro declared independence for the westernmost province of Aceh in 1976.
In a bid to implement Islamic law to the letter, Indonesia’s West Aceh district on Thursday started giving away long, loose skirts to cover up Acehnese women caught wearing tight jeans. The westernmost province of Aceh on Sumatra is the sole upholder of sharia law in the predominantly Muslim, but secular Indonesia. The previous local parliament passed a controversial law in September allowing adulterers to be stoned to death.