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Blog Masonry

UN climate talks: On track for Paris 2015?
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The recent climate talks in Bonn gave a renewed sense of hope for a global, legally binding agreement to be brokered by the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. This optimism is bolstered by recent indications by the United States and China of a willingness...

Shock after the lull: Southeast Asian terrorists in the Middle East
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Ahmad Tarmini Maliki, a 26-year-old Malaysian factory worker from Selangor, allegedly blew up 25 elite Iraqi soldiers at Iraq’s SWAT headquarters in al-Anbard on 26 May. He is believed to be Malaysia’s first suicide bomber and is linked to militants of the group called the...

Fighting haze: What consumers, firms can do
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Recent warnings of a potential three-month prolonged haze crisis comparable to the severe episodes in 1997 and last year are worrying. Earlier in the year, large numbers of hot spots were already noted in Sumatra. There is also a high possibility of the region entering into...

India: Time to relook the East
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The first India-China meeting since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in New Delhi last month has hogged headlines for its significance of thawing bilateral relations between the two Asian giants. Mr Modi’s top foreign policy objectives of using economic diplomacy to fulfill India’s national...

Indonesia-Australia: Who’s courting whom?
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Last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held their first face-to-face conversation since the controversy over asylum boats and phone-tapping scandal. This highly anticipated reunion between Indonesia and Australia might have taken place earlier in May when Mr Yudhoyono...

Thailand and Vietnam: Political crises and investor confidence
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The past few months have proven to be a turbulent time for key economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), especially Thailand and Vietnam. Is there any silver lining for investors, amid the current political and social turmoil? Thailand Since taking over, Thailand's interim military...

US extended economic sanctions – a blessing in disguise for Myanmar
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While the extension of the United States’ economic sanctions has brought some level of uncertainty to foreign investors, it has also given Myanmar another year to clean up and polish their act. In a letter to Congress explaining his decision to extend sanctions against Myanmar, US...

In The Eye of the Coup
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The recent coup d’état by General Prayuth Chai-Ocha following the imposition of martial law has largely been condemned and criticised by foreign powers. The United States, for one, has suspended military aid as a result, while international media outlets have accused the military of threatening...

Hong Kong: 17 years after handover
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Organisers of a massive rally in Hong Kong’s financial district have said that more than half a million people had turned up on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule on 1 July, demanding that Beijing grants them the right to choose their...