Asia Briefs: Myanmar to select new president today

Myanmar to select new president today

NAYPYIDAW • Myanmar's Parliament confirmed it will pick the country's new president today after the three proposed candidates, including a close aide of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, passed a final administrative hurdle.

The vote comes as the formerly army-ruled nation transitions towards its first civilian government in decades.

The front runner is Mr Htin Kyaw, put forward by Ms Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy. The other two are ethnic Chin MP Henry Van Thio, a Suu Kyi ally put forward by the Upper House, and former army general Myint Swe.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


Over 54,000 give up Malaysian citizenships

KUALA LUMPUR • A total of 54,406 Malaysians have renounced their citizenships from 2010 to Jan 31 this year, said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, reported The Malay Mail Online.

In January this year alone, 1,102 renounced their citizenships, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid said in Parliament yesterday. Ministry statistics showed 7,843 and 8,076 renounced their citizenships in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The year 2011 recorded the highest number of cases, with 11,080 renouncing their citizenships, while the lowest number was in 2013, with 6,678 people giving up their citizenships.


Worst Sri Lankan power failure in 20 years

COLOMBO • Sri Lanka suffered its worst nationwide power cut in 20 years, which resulted in water shortages and transport and trade disruptions across the country, officials said.

Yesterday, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered stepped-up security a day after a power failure plunged the country into darkness for at least seven hours.

It caused water shortages as pumping stations could not operate without electricity. Most businesses were forced to close.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


8 die in chemical fire extinguisher accident

BANGKOK • Eight people died and seven were injured when they accidentally triggered a fire extinguisher system at the headquarters of a major Thai bank, releasing a suffocating cloud of chemicals, officials said yesterday.

Siam Commercial Bank said contractors had been working to improve the chemical fire extinguishers on Sunday night, but mistakenly set off the system, releasing chemicals that likely caused oxygen levels to plummet.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2016, with the headline 'AsiaBriefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe