Brunei sultan defends system as sharia laws enter force

Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah says Brunei political system “preserves and guarantees the rights of all the people regardless of their race and faith” during a speech as strict new sharia punishments, including death by stoning for gay sex and adultery, were due to come into force on Wednesday.

Boycott of Brunei-owned hotels over death penalty

Le Plaza Athenee and Le Meurice in Paris are among the nine luxury hotels targeted for a boycott by American actor George Clooney and British pop star Elton John due to the fact that Brunei, which owns the hotel, is bringing in death penalty laws for gay sex and adultery.

Here’s why so many nations want to control the South China Sea — and what China wants to do

The South China Sea plays an outsized role in international commerce and politics. A litany of regional and global powers crave its natural resources as well as the benefits that come with controlling on of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

China has aggressively pursued control over the Spratley Islands — an archipelago of rocks, reefs and cays that sit in the middle of the sea. Malaysia, Brunei, The Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have staked their own claims to the area, but it’s really the United States Navy that stands in the way of China. The Seventh Fleet, however, cannot keep China from reclaiming land on the islands it controls.

Professor Dave Denoon, director of the NYU Center on US-China Relations explains how the situation arose and how it will likely play out in upcoming years.

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – May, 8 2014

The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: a Thai court charges the prime minister with abuse of power and forces her resignation, Uganda tries the first men charged under a new anti-gay law, protests are held calling for the Sultan of Brunei to sell the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, and Ukrainian Jews are reportedly emigrating to Israel at a much higher rate than before the crisis began.

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THAILAND
Prime Minister Shinawatra Forced to Step Down
The leader is charged with graft and swiftly replaced.

UGANDA
Gay Couple Could Get Life in Prison Under New Law
The two men are the first to be tried under the controversial bill.

U.S.A.
Protests Over Ownership of the Beverly Hills Hotel
Los Angeles authorities are urging the Sultan of Brunei to divest ownership after his country enacted Islamic law targeting gays and women.

UKRAINE
Jewish Migration Agency Reports Surge in Emigration to Israel
Almost three times as many Ukrainian Jews moved to Israel the first four months of this year than during the same period last year.

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