Maldives lifts 45-day state of emergency
MALE • Maldives President Abdulla Yameen yesterday lifted a 45-day state of emergency which had outlawed protests amid political upheaval on the island chain.
Mr Yameen imposed the emergency on Feb 5 for 15 days after a Supreme Court ruling quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. He extended the state of emergency by another 30 days with Parliament approval.
Manila to build marine base near Taiwan
MANILA • The Philippines will start building a marine base next month on Mavulis, its northernmost uninhabited island near Taiwan, to boost defence arrangements and discourage poachers from its fishing grounds, a military spokesman said yesterday.
The two territories' coast guard ships have confronted each other in the rich fishing waters where their exclusive economic zones overlap.
30 hurt as Indonesian volcano emits gas
JAKARTA • An Indonesian volcano belched thick clouds of sulphuric gas on Wednesday, sending 30 people to hospital and prompting the closure of the tourist and mining site.
Nearly 200 people living on the slopes of Mount Ijen in East Java province were forced to evacuate. The public cannot go near the crater until further notice.
India allocates $2b for health programme
NEW DELHI • India has allocated 100 billion rupees (S$2 billion) for its ambitious health programme aimed at providing insurance cover for about half the population, said the health minister yesterday, labelling it the world's largest such scheme.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government announced last month that the "Modicare" programme would provide about 500 million poor people with health cover of 500,000 rupees per year.