October 2021
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Blog Masonry

Anwar’s re-conviction: Implications for Malaysia’s opposition
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Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the Malaysian opposition, has been re-convicted on charges of sodomy after his acquittal was overturned by Malaysia’s Appeal Court. His five-year jail sentence means that he is therefore unable to stand as the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PKR) candidate for the...

MH370: mixed prospects for regional cooperation
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More than five days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost contact with air traffic control, not a single trace of the missing plane has yet been found. The crash site of MH370 cannot even be ascertained, leading experts to describe the whole incident as a...

Crisis in Crimea: setting patterns of behaviour
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A meeting in Paris last night (5 March) between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov failed to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine, which reached its apex when Russia started moving in its troops into Crimea on 1 March. Further...

Cooperation is key to tackling haze issue
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SINGAPORE - To solve the haze problem, countries need to cooperate and not blame each other for pollution; they should also view the problem in terms of economic inter-dependence, said legal experts at a conference on transboundary pollution on Thursday. Singapore Institute of International Affairs chairman...

Tracking Global Deforestation Real-time
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Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring and alert system, was launched last week by Google, together with 40 other partners such as the World Resources Institute and United Nations Environment Programme. The software is a mapping tool to track deforestation on a real-time basis....

A bumpy G20 agenda: from austerity to growth
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For the past few years, G20 meetings have focused on austerity measures, given the backdrop of the financial and economic crises. Over the weekend (22-23 February) in Sydney, Australia, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to add US$2 trillion (S$2.5 trillion) to the...

Stagnating Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and the US ‘pivot’ to Asia
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On February 25, ministerial-level talks aimed at concluding a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement ended without a deal. The talks failed on several issues, such as removing protection for automobiles and agriculture. Japan, in particular, was unwilling to remove protection on foreign agricultural products and...

Kerry in Asia: Climate-change agenda trumps geopolitics
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Beginning last Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry met leaders in Seoul, Beijing and Jakarta. The US invoked its “pivot to Asia” again after being distracted by the Syrian conflict. It was an important visit, but one that left much to be desired. No...

To end the haze problem, both penalties and cooperation are needed
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The Singapore Government’s move this week to penalise companies that cause haze is timely, given that fires are currently burning in Riau and Kalimantan. But the proposed laws are more than a symbol or knee-jerk reaction. The draft Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill, if passed, will allow...

Government proposes law to allow action against firms causing haze
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SINGAPORE — In a move aimed at sending “a strong signal of deterrence” to errant companies, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources plans to introduce a law that will allow legal action to be taken against companies, both local and foreign, that cause transboundary...