Asia Briefs: Myanmar presidential vote to start in March

Myanmar presidential vote to start in March

NAYPYITAW (Myanmar) • Myanmar will not discover who its new president will be until at least the middle of next month, an official has said, as speculation swirls over who will serve as proxy for democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The cut-off point for presidential candidate proposals will be March 17, Mr Win Khaing Than, speaker of Myanmar's combined houses of Parliament, told lawmakers on Monday.

Three presidential candidates will be nominated, one each by the lower and upper chambers and one by the army. The new president will then be chosen by a vote of the combined houses.


Philippine foreign minister to step down

MANILA • Philippine President Benigno Aquino has accepted the resignation of Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario, who helped spearhead the country's vigorous challenge to China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

"The President is kind enough to allow me to step down so I can fully address certain personal health issues," Mr Del Rosario said in a text message, responding to a request for comment. There was no announcement on who will replace him. He will step down on March 7.


'Dead' Indian soldier found alive under snow

SRINAGAR (India) • An Indian soldier declared dead has been found alive under 8m of snow, six days after he was buried by an avalanche that hit his military post in the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Rescue teams dug out Mr Naik Hanamanthappa in one of the world's most unforgiving environments, at an altitude of 6,000m on the Siachen Glacier. He was rushed to hospital and the army said he remains in critical condition.


Murder suspect returned to Thailand

PHNOM PENH • The prime suspect in the grisly murder and dismemberment of a Spanish national in Bangkok was returned to Thailand on Monday after his arrest in Cambodia, the police said.

Multiple body parts belonging to businessman David Bernat were found floating in Bangkok's Chao Praya River last month.

Police believe he was kidnapped and murdered for financial reasons.


China's coal demand to slow over next 5 years

SHANGHAI • Coal demand from China will slow over the next five years and the industry should focus on restructuring and upgrading, state news agency Xinhua reported yesterday, citing the China National Coal Association (CNCA).

CNCA vice-president Jiang Zhimin told Xinhua that the service sector was now the main driver of China's economic growth, adding that the government was increasingly replacing coal with cleaner, non-fossil fuels.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2016, with the headline 'Asia Briefs: Myanmar presidential vote to start in March'. Print Edition | Subscribe