Vietnam and Indonesia vow to settle fishing violations

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, left, and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh during a press briefing where they announced the two Asian neighbors would work together to resolve fishing violations in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
Updated 17 April 2018
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Vietnam and Indonesia vow to settle fishing violations

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam and Indonesia have pledged to work together to resolve fishing violations in the South China Sea as the two countries seek to boost their bilateral trade.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, speaking to reporters Tuesday at a joint briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart, said the two countries would strengthen their partnership, cooperating particularly on fishing and other maritime issues.
“In maritime and fishing cooperation, we agreed on how to conclude the ongoing issues in this regard,” she said via a translator. “We have also agreed to try together to complete the demarcation of the exclusive economic zone, because the demarcation of the EEZ between our two countries can enhance the interests of our two peoples as well as ensure security between our two countries.”
Since 2014, Indonesia has destroyed several hundred fishing vessels, most of them from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, for violating its waters. The government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has taken a hardline stance against illegal fishing, partly driven by the need to show its neighbors that it is in control of its vast territory of 17,000 islands.
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the two sides agreed to establish a mechanism to handle fishing violations in line with both countries’ laws.
“On our part, Vietnam will continue to strengthen education and information so as to raise awareness of our fishermen not to violate other countries’ waters,” he said.
Marsudi said trade and investment between the two countries have seen positive developments, especially after the establishment of the strategic partnership in 2013.
Bilateral trade stood at $6.8 billion last year and the two countries are targeting to bring it up to $10 billion in the next few years, she said.


Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

Updated 25 April 2018
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Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Wednesday found a high-profile spiritual guru Asaram Bapu guilty of raping a teenage female devotee in 2013 and he faces a maximum of life in prison.
The verdict against 77-year-old Bapu was read out inside a prison in the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state because of fears that his followers may resort to violence.
The case is the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in India that have fueled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and treat the victims.
In August last year, another popular and flamboyant Indian spiritual guru, Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.
Judge Madhusudhan Sharma will announce the prison term for Bapu later after hearing arguments from the prosecution and Bapu’s attorneys.
Bapu has denied the rape and can appeal his conviction in a higher court.
The girl in her complaint to the police in 2013 accused Bapu of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.
Bapu has been in prison since his arrest in the case in 2013.
On Wednesday, security was tight around the prison complex and in states where the self-styled guru has a considerable following.
Religious sects also wield considerable political clout in India with several politicians as followers. Asaram is also on trial along with his son Narayan Sai in a separate rape case where two sisters have accused the two men of sexual assault.