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INSIGHTS

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Why is Japan holding its general election early?
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Japan will go to the polls on Sunday, 14 December, following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call for a snap general election – two years ahead of schedule. Officially, Mr. Abe is seeking a fresh mandate from the public, and has characterised the vote as a...

climatechangebear
Can Lima pave the way for a real climate deal in Paris?
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While all signs seem to point in the right direction, the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNCCC) negotiations in Lima next month will give us a better indication of whether we can truly expect a global climate agreement in 2015. The Durban...

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ISIS’ continued broad appeal worrying for Southeast Asia
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News of ISIS successfully targeting Southeast Asian professionals and women have worrying implications for the region. Earlier this month, Malaysia announced the arrest of 14 individuals suspected of links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including a senior assistant director at Malaysia’s...

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Hong Kong protests could affect city’s global competitiveness
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Hong Kong is now into its third week of mass protests, with no clear end in sight. But how is the rest of the world reacting to the situation in Hong Kong? Given Hong Kong's status as a former British colony, parliamentarians and ministers from the...

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The Abu Sayyaf group – ISIS terrorists or bandits?
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At the end of September, the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines announced they were holding a German man and woman hostage. The group also threatened to kill one of their captives by October 17 unless their demands were met - including Germany’s withdrawal from...

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Where the impact of the Scottish referendum lies
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After Scottish voters delivered a relatively clear decision in the referendum on independence for Scotland, the bargaining for further powers to be devolved to the Scottish government has already begun. This was promised by the leaders of the three main Westminster parties in the lead...

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Violence gone viral: Stopping Support for IS in ASEAN
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The sale of Islamic State (IS) flags in Singapore may simply be an isolated incident. But it is a reminder that the conflict in Iraq and Syria has real implications for our region. There are IS supporters in Southeast Asia with the long-term goal of...

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Myanmar’s cancelled by-elections
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The decision to scrap Myanmar’s by-elections at the end of this year came as a surprise to the country’s political parties, who had been gearing up to contest the 35 empty seats in Parliament. However, there is nothing political behind the election commission’s decision to cancel...

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Asia a bad backup for Russia’s gas exports
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The crisis in Ukraine has raised the possibility of Russia cutting off its natural gas supply to the European Union (EU) to retaliate against Western sanctions. But will Russia really do that at the expense of its gas income?  If it does, will it be...

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ASEAN risks becoming overwhelmed by Chinese railway diplomacy
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It may not be full speed ahead for the “Chinese high-speed railway diplomacy” aimed at improving China’s links with Southeast Asia. Dubbed as Beijing’s thinly-veiled plans to assert its power and influence over the region, Chinese involvement also promises to help ASEAN achieve its connectivity...