asia pacific news

theguardian.com
Suspect in North Korea killing 'thought she was taking part in TV prank'
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, duped and ‘not aware it was assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents’, says head of police
By Oliver Holmes

An Indonesian woman arrested for suspected involvement in the killing of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in Malaysia was duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank, Indonesia’s national police chief has said, citing information received from Malaysian authorities.

Tito Karnavian told reporters in Indonesia’s Aceh province that Siti Aisyah, 25, was paid to be involved in pranks .

He said she and another woman performed stunts which involved convincing men to close their eyes and then spraying them with water.

“Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer,” Karnavian said. “She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents .”

Siti’s family has said they were shocked to hear of her involvement in the case, describing her as a struggling mother who had travelled to Malaysia for work. Her 26-year-old Malaysian boyfriend was also arrested by police late on Thursday. Police are hunting for other accomplices.

Authorities are investigating whether Siti and another female suspect killed the 46-year-old North Korean exile in a shopping concourse at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on Monday.

[…]

North Korean media have made no mention of Kim Jong-nam’s death.

theguardian.com
China unveils 'straddling bus' design to beat traffic jams
The concept vehicle is designed to float above the clogged-up streets of some of the country’s biggest cities
By Tom Phillips

Is this road-straddling bus the future of urban transport in China? The world? Will the idea even work?!

theguardian.com
South Korea accused of rewriting history over schoolbook policy
Revisionism row intensifies as ministers push ahead with plans for state-issued texts to correct ‘pro-North Korean’ bias

This is story that the government of South Korea has given the go ahead to produce a State sanctioned history text book for schools. This text book presents the background to the Korean War in a biased light, in addition to the period of autocratic rule under Park Chung-Hee, Father as it happens to the current President, Park Guen-Hye.

As I write this the largest protests in 10 years in Seoul, South Korea have gathered demanding a change of plans regarding the issuing of the State sanction text book. Among these are opposition groups, including academics and historians who it must be said are being sprayed with a chemical spray making the protestors cough unpleasently to attempt to drive them away.

This story really shows the power of history and the presentation of it as a tool or weapon for the present and future. Those of us with the power to influence its presentation must be always aware of how we do this and the results it can produce.

theguardian.com
Malaysia resorts to cloud-seeding in hope of clearing smoke over region
Annual illegal burning leads to dangerous drop in air quality, with Indonesia declaring state of emergency, Malaysia shutting schools and thousands falling ill. Cloud-seeding aircraft were meanwhile being deployed in the hope of triggering rain to help clear the smoke, Malaysian authorities said.

Geo-Engineering, a former scifi trope, becomes a reality.

[via Anab Jain])

theguardian.com
Japanese vagina kayak artist found guilty of obscenity
Megumi Igarashi fined after distributing data that would allow 3D printing of her genitals in order to raise funds for boat
By Justin McCurry

A Japanese artist who made a kayak modelled on her vagina has been found guilty of breaking the country’s obscenity laws, in a case that has invited widespread ridicule of attitudes towards images of female genitalia.

Megumi Igarashi, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – or good-for-nothing girl – was arrested in July 2014 after she distributed data that enabled recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina.

The 44-year-old was fined 400,000 yen (£2,575), half the penalty demanded by prosecutors, at the Tokyo district court on Monday after she was convicted of distributing “obscene” images. She was cleared of another charge of displaying similar material.

Igarashi distributed the data to help raise funds to create a kayak inspired by her genitalia she called “pussy boat”.