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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘southeast asia

[NEWS] Some Sunday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes India’s concern about the possible domination of BRICS institutions by China, and looks at controversies surrounding gender in the French education system.
  • BusinessWeek notes that some Chinese have taken to growing their own food in their apartments to avoid contaminated produce, and comments on the troubles of hookah bars in Russia.
  • CBC notes problems for Canadian pot tourists in the United States.
  • The Economist observes that relations between China and Vietnam are quite poor.
  • Foreign Policy comments on African skepticism about free trade agreements with rich countries and analyses the spectre of “Novorossiya” in Ukraine.
  • MacLean’s reports how seven different foriegn newspapers covered Canadian confederation in 1867.
  • National Geographic writes about the Panana Canal’s Lake Gatun.
  • The New Yorker argues that Iraq and Syria each have long histories.
  • Open Democracy comments on China’s speculative and opportunistic responses to the Crimean crisis and observes that Uzbekistan’s government prefers to stay out of regional trade agreements so to strengthen its government.
  • Transitions Online u>compares corruption in Bulgaria to that of Italy and notes the rebirth of the wine industry in Kazakhstan.
  • Wired examines the causes of the Ebola outbreak, looks at analyses of the networked structure of Jewish religious texts, and examines vintage space station designs.

[BLOG] Some politics-related links

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  • 3 Quarks Daily links to an essayist wondering why people talked about Gaza not the Yezidis as a way to dismiss Gaza.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly notes how Americans subsidize Walmart’s low wages by givibng its employees benefits.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Chinese plans to reforest Tibet could accelerate the dessication of its watershed since trees suck up water, observes the existence of a new Chinese ICBM and links to a report of a Chinese drone, notes that the ecologies of Europe are especially vulnerable to global warming owing to their physical fragmentation, and notes that Canadian-Mexican relations aren’t very friendly.
  • Eastern Approaches notes Russia’s reaction to the shootdown of the MH17 flight over eastern Ukraine and observes the issues with Poland’s coal industry.
  • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis calls for American military intervention to protect the Yezidis from genocide.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the plight of the Yezidi, examines the undermining of liberal Zionism, wonders how Russian relations with Southeast Asia will evolve, and after noting the sympathy of some Americans on the left for Russia analyses the consequences of a Russian-Ukrainian war.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if Russia’s food import ban is a sign of a shift to a cold war mentality, notes the collapse of the Ukrainian economy, wonders about the strategy of Hamas, and comments on the weakness of the economy of Ghana.
  • The New APPS Blog comments on the implications of the firing of American academic Steven Salaita for his blog posts.
  • The Pagan Prattle looks at allegations of extensive coverups of pedophilia in the United Kingdom.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the decreasing dynamism of the ageing Australia economy.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer doesn’t think there’s much of a crisis in Argentina following the debt default, notes ridiculous American efforts to undermine Cuba that just hurt Cubans, examines implications of energy reform and property rights in Mexico, has a good strategy shared with other for dealing with the Islamic State.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little contends with Tyler Cowen’s arguments about changing global inequality, and studies the use of mechanisms in international relations theory.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy touches upon Palestine’s case at the ICC against Israel, looks at Argentina’s debt default, and wonders if Internet domain names are property.
  • Window on Eurasia has a huge set of links, pointing to the rivalry of Russian Jewish organizations in newly-acquired Crimea, looking at Ukrainian ethnic issues in Russia, suggests that the Donbas war is alienating many Ukrainians in the east from Russia, notes Islamization in Central Asia, suggests that Russia under sanctions could become as isolated as the former SOviet Union, suggests Ukrainian refugees are being settled in non-Russian republics, wonders if Ukraine and Georgia and Moldova will join Turkey as being perennial EU candidates, suggests that Belarusians are divided and claims that Belarusian national identity is challenging Russian influence, looks at the spread of Ukrainian nationalism among Russophones, looks at the consequences of Kurdish independence for the South Caucasus, and notes that one-tenth of young Russians are from the North Caucasus or descend from the region.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • The Cranky Sociologists notes the dynamics and statistics of global aging.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the effect of tides on Mercury, Jupiter’s moon Io, and exoplanet Kepler 10c.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the deployment of Russian nuclear-armed missiles within range of China and questions the possibility of an astronomical event in the 9th century.
  • The Financial Times‘s The World notes that Germany and Italy are disputing the governance of the Eurozone.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the United Nations is now recognizing the legal same-sex marriages of its workers.
  • Language Log looks at the new Chinese tradition of water calligraphy.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the risk of cruise missile proliferation in Southeast Asia versus China.
  • Window on Eurasia notes concern among some Russians that China might want to take over parts of Siberia Crimea-style.

[ISL] “China Builds Artificial Islands in South China Sea”

I’m not sure that the artificial islands being built by China in the South China Sea actually count, at least insofar as they can change maritime boundaries. As noted by BusinessWeek‘s Joel Quinto, these by themselves are enough to serve as bases.

Sand, cement, wood, and steel are China’s weapons of choice as it asserts its claim over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei have sparred for decades over ownership of the 100 islands and reefs, which measure less than 1,300 acres in total but stretch across an area about the size of Iraq. In recent months, vessels belonging to the People’s Republic have been spotted ferrying construction materials to build new islands in the sea. Pasi Abdulpata, a Filipino fishing contractor who in October was plying the waters near Parola Island in the northern Spratlys, says he came across “this huge Chinese ship sucking sand and rocks from one end of the ocean and blasting it to the other using a tube.”

Artificial islands could help China anchor its claim to waters that host some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The South China Sea may hold as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China has considered the Spratlys—which it calls Nansha—part of its territory since the 1940s and on occasion has used its military might to enforce its claim. In 1988 a Chinese naval attack at Johnson South Reef, in the northern portion of the archipelago, killed 64 Vietnamese border guards.

At a briefing last month, Voltaire Gazmin, the Philippine defense minister, said land reclamation work at Johnson South Reef started in February. There have been reports of Chinese activity at two other reefs in the Spratlys. “They are creating artificial islands that never existed since the creation of the world,” says Eugenio Bito-onon, mayor of a sparsely populated stretch of the archipelago called Kalayaan. “The construction is massive and nonstop,” he says, and could pave the way for China’s “total control of the South China Sea.”

Such alarm has been stoked by Chinese news reports, such as one in February on the online portal Qianzhan. com that said Beijing had drawn up a plan to build a military base at Fiery Cross Reef, about 90 miles west of Johnson South. Establishing islands equipped with airstrips would allow China to set up an air defense zone similar to the one it created in November over a group of islands in the East China Sea where it’s contesting sovereignty with Japan.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 24, 2014 at 7:23 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Centauri Dreams features an essay by Andreas Hein arguing that interstellar travel will be quite easy after the singularity hits, when our minds can be copied onto physical substrates.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the dispute between Vietnam and China over their maritime boundaries runs the risk of intensifying.
  • Far Outliers chronicles the Australian creation of the Ferdinand radio network in the 1930s, a network of civilian radio broadcasters in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea charged with reporting on border security.
  • Joe. My. God. notes controversy in Israel over a harmless music video by trans pop star Dana International.
  • Language Hat notes one Russian writer’s suggestion on how Russian-language writers can avoid Russian state censorship: write in officially recognized variants of the Russian language (Ukrainian Russian, Latvian Russian, et cetera).
  • Language Log examines “patchwriting”, a subtle variant of plagiarism.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is just one blog noting the insanity of George F. Will’s claim that being a rape victim on a university campus is a coveted status.
  • The Map Room’s Jonathan Crowe links to OpenGeoFiction, an online collaborative map-creation fiction.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that, before Hitler, the Biblical pharoah was the figure used as the embodiment of evil.
  • The New APPS Blog takes issue with the claim that photographs sully our memories. Arguably they supplement it instead.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw notes, following Australia’s recent budget cuts, how young people lacking connections can find it very difficult to get ahead.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that ethnic minorities and secessionist groups in Moldova are being mobilized as that country moves towards the European Union, and observes the maritime sanctions placed against Crimean ports.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell is very skeptical of UKIP founder Alan Sked’s statements that the party was founded free of bigotry.

[LINK] “Vietnam Will Be the Loser in the Anti-China Riots”

Bruce Einhorn’s Bloomberg BusinessWeek article makes the point that recent riots in Vietnam targeting ethnic Chinese and their businesses will certainly not help the country’s economic prospects.

The latest round in the territorial dispute between China and Vietnam has had its first casualties. Anti-Chinese demonstrations have swept Vietnam since the two countries’ ships attacked one another in the South China Sea last week, and yesterday Vietnamese protesters targeted a steel mill in the central province of Ha Tinh, leaving at least one Chinese person dead and 90 injured. The mob went after the factory even though its owner, the Formosa Plastics Group (1301:TT), is not even from mainland China. It’s Taiwanese. But no matter: Hailing from a Chinese-speaking place and employing Chinese workers are crimes enough.

The Vietnamese government has only itself to blame for this disaster. After a Chinese state-owned company started drilling for oil in waters that Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, the leaders in Hanoi couldn’t figure out a way to respond, according to Jonathan London, a City University of Hong Kong professor and Vietnam expert. One easy option was to encourage a nationalistic fervor among Vietnamese. “The Vietnamese ‘street’ is extremely upset by these most recent developments,” he said Friday. “Vietnamese cyberspace is on fire.”

Sure enough, nationalist fervor quickly got out of hand. “The riots appear to be the result of carelessly planned small-scale protests initiated by state-run or state-invested foreign ventures which then quickly exploded,” London writes on his blog today. Making things worse, the leadership in Hanoi hasn’t been able to agree on a strategy. With the leadership paralyzed about what to do, “the absence of a clear, coherent voice from Hanoi is doing great harm,” he argues. “Instead of communicating with the world with the confidence it should, Hanoi is on the brink of a public-relations meltdown that would make even Malaysian aviation officials blush.”

China is trying to take the moral high ground, saying Vietnam’s government is at fault for the escalation of tensions. China has accused its neighbor of creating a media circus by arranging for reporters to cover the confrontation at sea between Vietnamese and Chinese ships. “This was all done for show in an attempt to present a false picture and deceive the public,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who called on the government in Hanoi “to immediately take effective steps to stop and punish these crimes, and to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and institutions in Vietnam.”

[. . .]

No matter which side wins control of the disputed area, Vietnam seems certain to be the economic loser from this fight. Even factories untouched by the protesters have closed temporarily. For instance, most of the Vietnamese suppliers to Li & Fung (494:HK), the huge Hong Kong company that is the world’s biggest supplier of clothes and toys, are closed. Its chief executive, Bruce Rockowitz, said today after a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong that the shutdown in production could last a week. Yue Yuen Industrial (551:HK), the Hong Kong supplier of athletic shoes to Nike (NKE) and Adidas (ADS:GR), has shut its factories in Vietnam, which last year accounted for one-third of Yue Yuen’s total production.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly makes the point that photography can help people understand their world that more thoroughly.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to an analysis of the atmosphere of superhot hot Jupiter WASP 12b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Greenland’s geography has survived millions of years of ice, and notes reports that Israel apparently spies quite actively on the United States.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog’s Stacy J. Williams looks at the ways in which professional cooking is gendered.
  • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis notes that Thailand’s eastern seaboard is quite rich.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that workers in North Dakota face the highest rate of workplace accidents in their country, a consequence of ill-regulated oil projects.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper taking a look at the abortive industrial revolution of Song China.
  • Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society Blog observes that the ESA’s Rosetta probe is set to rendezvous with Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko in just a few weeks.
  • Registan notes the preference for early marriages among Uzbeks.
  • Une heure de peine’s Denis Colombi reacts (in French) to the recent death of economist and sociologist Gary Becker.
  • Window on Eurasia wonders if Azerbaijan will face an Islamist political challenge.
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