China is making rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested territory in the South China Sea, according to new satellite images.

The facility, on reclaimed land around a reef, would be big enough for fighter jets and surveillance aircraft. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly said images from Airbus Defence and Space, taken on 23 March, showed the runway on Fiery Cross reef in the disputed Spratly archipelago already stretched to 500m and had room to grow to six times that length. Paved sections of apron were also visible.

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For the 400,000 inhabitants of Brunei, life is a throwback to the age when monarchs wielded absolute power and their word went unquestioned.

With a swing of his powerful arm, a prison guard landed a wicked-looking cane on the back of a dummy dressed in the white uniform of convicts in Brunei.
“It doesn’t hurt as much as you think,” he said. 

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Brunei is to introduce a raft of tough sharia punishments including death by stoning for adulterers and amputation

The Sultan of Brunei on Tuesday announced the phased introduction of tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, in the monarchy’s latest step towards conservatism.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – one of the world’s wealthiest men – said in a speech that a new Sharia Penal Code which has been in the works for years had been gazetted on Tuesday and would “come into force six months hereafter and in phases”. 

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