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Blog Masonry

Thailand: The Rocky Road Ahead
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Last week, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine cabinet ministers were removed from office by the National Constitutional Court. The third dismissal in less than a decade has further deepened the country's protracted political quagmire. The Pheu Thai Party maintains limited political power through Ms....

ASEAN must learn from the Fukushima disaster
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On the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the tragic events of March 11, 2011, continue to cast a shadow over Japan’s environment and politics. Despite efforts by the authorities in the past few years, reports of contamination from the crippled plant continue to...

Asean leaders ride out the South China Sea storms
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When leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered this week in Myanmar, the weather forecast was for high temperatures combined with a chance of storms. The political atmosphere proved similar, with lightning-rod issues converging on the regional group's first summit of the year. South...

Abe’s European tour: a success
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s week-long tour of Europe was a sales pitch for Japan, intended to boost his country’s economy and strengthen its security ties. The Japan-EU FTA and Implications for the TPP Last year, Japan and the European Union began talks on a Japan-EU free...

Improving China’s image in Africa
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Africa aims to reinforce his country's economic ties with the continent - but also to boost China’s image in the region and on the global stage. China is currently Africa's largest trade partner, but Chinese involvement in Africa has...

What ASEAN can learn from Fukushima
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Three years after 11 March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster continues to affect both the environment and Japan’s politics. In February, a new radioactive water leak was spotted at the site, just the latest report of contamination from the crippled plant. Last month, Tokyo also...

Obama’s tricky choices in Asia
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As US President Barack Obama’s visit to Asia wound down on Tuesday (29 April), China’s state-run newspaper China Daily ran an editorial that said it was becoming "increasingly obvious that Washington is taking Beijing as an opponent". Commitment to allies  Indeed Mr Obama’s visit was focused on...

Crusade to save Yangon’s heritage
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As Myanmar sprints to catch up with its more developed South-east Asian neighbours, one man is in a different kind of race: to safeguard hundreds of precious colonial buildings in Yangon from the wrecking ball. Historian and author Thant Myint-U, 48, is up against the tide...

$63m programme to boost Singapore’s nuclear expertise
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SINGAPORE is building up its expertise in nuclear safety, science and engineering, with a $63 million, five-year research and education programme. The move, say experts, will help the nation keep on top of developments in the field, and what to do if a disaster should strike. The...

Energy and the Ukrainian crisis: towards Russia’s pivot to Asia?
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As the Ukrainian crisis continues unabated, the US and Europe look set to impose further sanctions on Russia. As a result, Moscow has been making overtures towards a different part of the world, which have led some observers to speak of the “Russian pivot to...