Asia Briefs: Beijing to have second space lab in orbit in Q3

A Pat Jasan photo taken on Jan 27 showing its members destroying a poppy plantation in the village of Lung Zar.
A Pat Jasan photo taken on Jan 27 showing its members destroying a poppy plantation in the village of Lung Zar.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Beijing to have second space lab in orbit in Q3

BEIJING • China will put a second space laboratory into orbit in the third quarter of this year, state news agency Xinhua said yesterday, part of the country's plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022.

Advancing China's space programme is a priority for Beijing, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power.

Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 2 is expected to be docked with a cargo ship, Tianzhou (Heavenly Vessel) 1, which is scheduled to be launched in the first half of next year, Xinhua said.

REUTERS


S'pore Foreign Minister in China for two-day visit

SINGAPORE • Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, will be making a two-day trip to China from today, said the ministry in a statement issued yesterday.

During the visit, Dr Balakrishnan will hold meetings with his Chinese counterpart, Mr Wang Yi, Vice-President Li Yuanchao, State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Communist Party of China International Department Minister Song Tao.

In addition, Dr Balakrishnan, in his capacity as Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Office, will meet Cyberspace Administration of China Minister Lu Wei.

Dr Balakrishnan will be accompanied by his wife, Mrs Joy Balakrishnan, as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Vigilantes ditch plans to destroy poppy fields

WAINGMAW (Myanmar) • A group of Christian hardline anti-drug vigilantes yesterday abandoned plans to destroy poppy fields in an area of northern Myanmar after clashes broke out between their members and armed attackers over the past week.

Pat Jasan, which is known for flogging drug users, said it was calling off the mission in mountainous Kachin state because local police and military said they could not provide protection.

On Thursday, the group said its members were attacked by a mob wielding explosives and stones after it set out from the town of Waingmaw to try and destroy nearby poppy fields against the wishes of local farmers.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


Film on homophobia stirs controversy in Indian city

NEW DELHI • Cinemas in the north Indian city of Aligarh were under mounting pressure yesterday to stop screening a movie set in the metropolis that tackles homophobia following protests from right-wing religious groups.

The movie Aligarh, which opened nationally last week, is based on a true story about a university professor suspended from his post after a television news crew filmed him having sex with a rickshaw puller.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 29, 2016, with the headline 'Asia Briefs: Beijing to have second space lab in orbit in Q3'. Print Edition | Subscribe