South Asia and Beyond

SNG Daily: Chinese-Philippines CG Ships Collide In SCS; France Makes Abortion A Constitutional Right

Philippines Blames China For ‘Dangerous Maneuvers’ And Collision In South China Sea

The Philippines has accused China’s Coast Guard of resorting to dangerous blocking maneuvers against a Philippine Coast Guard vessel resulting in a minor collision and damage to the the hull of the latter. Manila also accused China of deploying water cannons, shattering the wind shield of the boat and causing injuries to 4 crew members.

Escalating Tensions: China Toughens Stance On Taiwan, Ups Defence Budget

As China upped its defence budget once again, it has also hardened its language on Taiwan. It has dropped the mention of ‘peaceful reunification’ and switched to ‘resolutely oppose separatist activities aimed at ‘Taiwan independence’ and external interference’, as per a government report delivered by Premier Li Qiang. China’s defence spending will increase by 7.2% this year, making it second only to the US.

Maldives-China Sign Military Agreement

Weeks after asking India to move out its military personnel, Maldives has signed two military agreements with China. The defence agreement offers free military assistance to the Maldives in an attempt to strengthen bilateral ties. China’s Ambassador to the Maldives said she expected ‘more exchanges in defence areas in the future’.

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The signing comes at a time when ties between India and the Maldives have been strained after President Muizzu came to power on an anti-India pitch.

Trial Begins In Vietnam’s $12 Billion Corruption Case

It’s being called the largest corruption case in South-East Asian history where a disgraced real estate tycoon faces the death penalty. Truong My Lan, chairperson of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, has been accused of siphoning $12.4 billion from Saigon Commercial Bank. There are nearly 90 accused in this case that’s expected to end by April.

‘My Body, My Choice’: Abortion A Constitutional Right In France

France is the first country to make abortion a constitutional right. The amendment needed the support of 3/5th of the lawmakers and cleared a special session with a majority of 780 to 72 votes. Abortion has been legal in France since 1972 but this new amendment is expected to further protect it. French lawmakers moved to make the change to the constitution after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade which now gives states the right to make decisions regarding abortion. As many in France celebrated the decision, it came despite opposition from the Church, with the Vatican declaring that “in the era of universal human rights, there can be no ‘right’ to take human life’.