Hot Off The Press

These are the top stories making the front pages of major newspapers from across Southeast Asia today. 

Get up to speed with what’s happening in the fastest growing region in the world.  

Wuhan virus: Toll in China jumps to 25 dead, with 830 confirmed cases

China reported that deaths from a new coronavirus rose to 25, from 18, as it rushes to halt the SARS-like disease, even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) stopped short of calling the infection a global health emergency.

China's national health commission also said on Friday (24 Jan) that the number of confirmed cases has leapt to 830.

The body said the authorities were also examining 1,072 suspected cases of the virus. – The Straits Times

World court orders Myanmar to prevent acts of genocide

The International Court of Justice has unanimously ordered Myanmar to halt violence in Rakhine State and prevent all acts of genocide against the Muslim minority and to report back regularly to the court.

The highest United Nations (UN) court delivered its ruling in The Hague on Thursday following a case that began last month and saw State Counsellor and Nobel peace prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi defend her country against accusations of genocide. – Myanmar Times

Indonesia, once regional model, falls further behind Malaysia in democracy rankings

The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) recently released annual democracy index shows Indonesia's democracy has yet to climb out of its funk, even as neighboring Malaysia experiences a democratic resurgence.

The index, which is scored on a scale of zero to 10, is based on five indicators: electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties. – The Jakarta Post

Sources: Malaysia to buy more Indian sugar to resolve palm oil spat

Malaysia’s top sugar refiner said it will increase purchases of the commodity from India, which according to two sources is part of efforts to placate New Delhi amid an ongoing spat over palm oil imports.

MSM Malaysia Holdings Berhad will buy 130,000 tonnes of raw sugar from India worth RM200 million (US$49.2 million) in the first quarter, the company told Reuters. The company bought around 88,000 tonnes of raw sugar from India in 2019. – New Straits Times

Museums ‘put to sleep,’ churches closed amid volcano’s unrest

Multimillion-peso paintings of the artist Fernando Amorsolo and sets of precious jewelry have been “evacuated” to safety as Taal Volcano continued to threaten museums and cultural and religious sites with an explosive eruption that could wipe out entire towns in Batangas province.

Two museums - the Leon and Galicano Apacible and the Marcela and Felipe Agoncillo, both in the heritage town of Taal - were, as is the wintertime practice of most museums in Europe, “put to sleep,” the frames demounted and the pieces of antique furniture covered in fabric. – Philippine Daily Inquirer