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Commentaries

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...

Tuning into a world of protests
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Touring protest sites in Bangkok some weeks back, I listened to music, picked up some souvenirs and had a milky, iced Thai tea. The mood was carnival but shrill whistles and placards with slogans like "Thaksin Get Out" make clear the political point. I felt safe...

Singapore’s role in building a global nuclear security culture
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The global nuclear fraternity meets biennially at the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), taking place this year at The Hague. A brainchild of United States President Barack Obama, the NSS kicked off in 2010 and is a global platform aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the...

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...

Yingluck’s position gets shakier by day
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Anti-government protests in Bangkok have lasted for more than three months and, yet, continue to confuse. Much of the international media asserts the sanctity of the vote above all else. Most over-rely on distinctions that the Reds represent the poor and the Yellows are the elite...

A promising start to Myanmar’s ASEAN challenge
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Myanmar’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has begun with promise and even aplomb. The first meeting of foreign ministers held in Bagan this month was a closed-door retreat, expected to be informal and low-key. Yet, a short but significant statement was issued...

Asia copes with transitions
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In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, two key buzzwords that conveyed the essence of the recovery strategy were “unconventional monetary policy” and “the new normal”. The developed world would pump up credit and lower interest rates to try to resuscitate failing companies and...

A year in the world
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I probably travelled too much this year. I went to New York, Europe, and as far away as South America, and to most of the capitals of Asia. There are limits to what telephone and video calls can do. Information is plentiful today but insight requires...

Counting the political costs after Haiyan
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More than a month after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, human casualties are still being counted and 3.88 million people are without permanent homes. Government efforts, earlier criticised for being too slow, are underway and multinational assistance has been ramped up. The economic and political consequences...