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Blog Masonry

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...

What’s to Come: Cooperation, or Militarisation?
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The Philippines, having taken China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in an attempt to resolve the South China Sea dispute, has put the global spotlight on an issue that has been churning the seas for many years. While China has refused to be subject to...

Muted hopes for Obama’s Asia visit
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FOR all the buzz about United States President Barack Obama's visit to Asia this week, the tour will likely be greeted in the region with muted expectations over what he can accomplish. While there is much symbolic value in the tour of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia...

Nuclear Power and Abenomics
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Japan's new Basic Energy Plan sends a clear signal that the country will not abandon nuclear power, spelling bad news for environmentalists and people concerned about nuclear safety. Opinion polls suggest the majority of Japanese citizens are still uncertain about nuclear power. But since taking office...

Obama in Malaysia: more than the TPP
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When US President Barack Obama touches down in Kuala Lumpur next week, it will be the first time since 1966 that a sitting US president has visited Malaysia. It replaces a planned visit from last October, which was cancelled because Mr Obama was obliged to...