Top Asian News 5:11 p.m. GMT

Top Asian News 5:11 p.m. GMT

BANGKOK (AP) — The president of one of the world's biggest seafood exporters expressed frustration & promised alter Tuesday after saying an Associated Press investigation that linked slave-peeled shrimp to his company should be a "wake-up call" to the industry. Thiraphong Chansiri said Thai Union will spend millions of dollars to end reliance on poorly regulated contractors that have been responsible for much of the abuse. He added that under the current system, it's almost impossible to ensure that supply chains are clean. Like other exporters in Thailand, his company has for years relied heavily on poor migrants working in factories in the port town of Samut Sakhon to peel, gut & devein shrimp.

SAMUT SAKHON, Thailand (AP) — Every morning at 2 a.m., they heard a kick on the door & a threat: Get up or obtain beaten. For the next 16 hours, No. 31 & his wife stood in the factory that owned them with their aching hands in ice water. They ripped the guts, heads, tails & shells off shrimp bound for overseas markets, including grocery stores & all-you-can-eat buffets across the United States. After being sold to the Gig Peeling Factory, they were at the mercy of their Thai bosses, trapped with nearly 100 other Burmese migrants. Children worked alongside them, including a girl so tiny she had to stand on a stool to reach the peeling table. Some had been there for months, even years, getting little or no pay. Always, someone was watching.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Supporters of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan are attempting to establish a regional base in the eastern city of Jalalabad, the commander of U.S. & NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, said on Tuesday. In an interview with The Associated Press, Campbell said that "foreign fighters" from Syria & Iraq had joined Afghans who had declared loyalty to the group in the eastern province of Nangarhar, bordering Pakistan. He said there were moreover "indications" that the IS supporters in Nangarhar were trying to consolidate links with the group's leadership in Syria & Iraq. The Islamic State group controls approximately a third of Iraq & Syria.

p>BEIJING (AP) — The tough guys wore smiley face stickers, yet they weren't there to spread satisfactory cheer. Scenes of pushing, shouting & shoving outside a Beijing courthouse this week were orchestrated by plainclothes security officers identified by a sticker familiar around the world — the yellow decal identified since the 1970s with the slogan "Have a Nice Day." Their attempts to intimidate journalists, foreign diplomats & a small cohort of human rights advocates outside the trial of a well-known activist lawyer are all-too familiar to China's beleaguered dissident community. "The plainclothes police are the ones the Communist Party uses when they know what they're doing has no basis in law," said independent environmental activist Wu Lihong, who lives under a form of house arrest that becomes especially strict during sensitive political occasions.

TOKYO (AP) — The man leading the daunting task of dealing with the Fukushima nuclear plant that sank into meltdowns in northeastern Japan warns with surprising candor: Nothing can be promised. How long will it take to decommission the three breached reactors, & how will it be accomplished, when not even robots have been able to enter the main fuel-debris areas so far? How much will it ultimately cost? Naohiro Masuda, tapped last year as chief of decontamination & decommissioning for plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co., acknowledges he is a long way from answering those questions definitively. "This is something that has never been experienced.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's junta is stepping up its offensive against critics, with a military court on Tuesday sentencing a single mother to seven years in jail for posting material on the Internet said to be insulting to the monarchy, just a day after another person was accused of disparaging the king's dog. Thanakorn Siripaiboon was charged with lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy, for posting an apparently inappropriate photo of royal dog Tongdaeng & for clicking 'Like' on a Facebook page with a derogatory photo of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Lese majeste in punishable by three to 15 years in prison per incident.

BANGKOK (AP) — As 2015 comes to a close, here is a glimpse of some of the Asia-Pacific's most significant events of the year, through the eyes of Associated Press's photojournalists. It was a year of meteorological extremes. In March, hundreds of Kashmiris in India & Pakistan moved to higher ground as rain-swollen rivers swamped parts of the disputed Himalayan region. In April, a strong earthquake & multiple aftershocks shook Nepal's capital & the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, causing extensive damage with toppled walls & collapsed buildings & killing 8,900 people. In the summer months typhoons drenched parts of the region, while a hazardous haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia blanketed the country & its neighbors. And a gray soupy haze subsumed Beijing landmarks as the city invoked its first-ever red alert for smog, closing many factories & barring half the city's vehicles from the roads.

NEW YORK (AP) — China, Egypt & Iran top the list of the world's leading jailers of journalists in a new annual report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Eritrea, Ethiopia & Turkey moreover figured prominently on the list. The report released early Tuesday says a quarter of the 199 journalists worldwide who were in prison as of Dec. 1 because of their work were in China. The Communist Party-run country under President Xi Jinping had 49 journalists behind bars, the highest number for China since the CPJ began its annual survey in 1990. The report moreover singled out three jailed Chinese who were not included on its annual list: the three brothers of a U.S.-based journalist with Radio Free Asia who covers China's treatment of his ethnic group, the Muslim Uighurs.

NEW DELHI (AP) — As the world celebrates reaching an unprecedented global climate treaty, India is praising nations' willingness to compromise for the satisfactory of the planet. But many in the country — which had been among the most strident during the negotiations — worry they had to compromise the most. In the hours after the treaty was finalized in Paris, India's environment minister gave a speech that verged toward complaint, saying that the "actions of developed countries are far below their historical responsibilities & fair share." "While give-and-take is normal in negotiations, we are of the opinion that the agreement could have been more ambitious," Prakash Javadekar said.

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (AP) — It was clear right away it was a tuna swimming past because of the distinctive bumps along its back that lead to its angular tail. And what a whopper. It was approximately the size of a small person, & seemed unbothered by me bobbing just a few feet away. It was my second dive, with a colleague, in the remote Marshall Islands, located midway between Hawaii & Australia. There's little tourism here, yet plenty to see below the surface. During our first dive, in the Majuro lagoon, we'd explored a sunken plane, helicopter & ship in water that was warm & crystal clear.

Source: “Associated Press”