A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘southeast asia

[LINK] “Thai bomb revenge for trafficking crackdown, police say”

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This Al Jazeera report bodes ill, I’d say.

The perpetrators of last month’s deadly Bangkok bombing were a network that trafficked Uighur Muslims and launched the attack in anger at Thailand’s crackdown on the trade, police said on Tuesday.

No group has claimed responsibility for the Aug. 17 bombing at the Erawan Shrine that killed 20 people, an attack police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang ruled out as revenge for Thailand’s forced repatriation in July of 109 Uighurs to China.

“It’s about a human trafficking network that has been destroyed,” Somyot told reporters. “Deporting those 109 people, the Thai government did in accordance with international law. We also sent them to Turkey, not just China.”

Police have dampened speculation the bombers were members of international armed groups and have until now denied links to the Uighurs, who are mostly Muslim and say they flee China’s western Xinjiang region due to persecution.

The Uighur issue is sensitive for the Thai government and any link between the bombing and their deportation at China’s behest could expose it to criticism that its foreign policy may have resulted in the blast.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 29, 2015 at 10:16 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO looks at Queen and Bay in the 1960s and examines the PATH in the 1970s.
  • Centauri Dreams suggests that beamed power might be detectable by SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at ancient salmon fishing in Alaska and notes the state of the Ukrainian war.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the extent to which crime can warp societies.
  • Far Outliers notes the heckling women protesters of Kyrgyzstan.
  • Language Log shares a bad translation of into English from Chinese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how Indonesian drilling triggered a mud volcano.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at cap and trade in China and wonders why deflation has returned to Japan.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog maps abortion in Europe.
  • Savage Minds shares a list that is also an ethnography.
  • Towleroad notes the appearance of PrEP on American television.
  • Window on Eurasia criticizes Putin’s diplomatic strategies, notes that there are three million Muslims in Moscow, looks at the controversy surrounding Syrian Circassian refugees, notes some Russian tourists are now saying they are Belarusian, and notes the challenges of Belarus.

[ISL] “China Still Reclaiming Land in South China Sea: CSIS”

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Bloomberg’s David Tweed notes China is still building islands in the South China Sea.

China is still reclaiming land in the South China Sea, a defense analyst said, a month after Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country’s island reclamation program was completed.

Satellite photos taken in early September show dredgers at work on Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, two of China’s eight outposts in the Spratly islands, according to Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The images were published by an initiative of CSIS.

Indications that China is still reclaiming land may complicate President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to the U.S. this month. The U.S. and China face a growing rivalry in the South China Sea, a $5 trillion a year shipping route that the U.S. has patrolled largely unchallenged since World War II. China has been building islands to assert its claim to more than four-fifths of the sea, ratcheting up tensions with the U.S. and causing friction with other claimants, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.

While China says the islands will be used primarily for civilian purposes, the U.S. is concerned that their militarization may hinder navigation. China contends that it is building on its sovereign territory and has also reserved the right to declare an air defense identification zone over the area.

Since Chinese land reclamation efforts began in December 2013, China has reclaimed more than 2,900 acres of land in the waters as of June this year, according to a Pentagon report. U.S officials have repeatedly requested China stop reclaiming land, end construction of new facilities and halt the militarization of the area.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 18, 2015 at 10:10 pm

[LINK] “Two Big Winners From China’s Big Slowdown”

Bloomberg View’s William Pesek notes that despite China’s slowdown, some other Asian economies are doing well. This is a consequence of more-informed investors.

How panicked were investors last week about China’s stock market plunge? Enough to treat the Korean peninsula, a place that was teetering on the brink of war, as a safe haven. Even as policy makers braced for renewed military confrontation between North and South Korea, the won staged a rally.

That’s made South Korean assets one of the few bright spots in a dark time for emerging markets. On Aug. 24 alone, investors yanked $2.7 trillion out of developing nations, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand especially hard hit. It matched the violent September 2008 selloff after Lehman Brothers collapsed.

[. . .]

It’s not hard to explain why many Asian economies are suffering from China’s slowdown. Exporters of commodities, who depended on a humming Chinese market, have especially suffered. But why are there such big outliers among battered emerging markets?

The answer is that investors are finally basing their decisions less on herd mentality than nuanced, case-by-case analyses. “Emerging market investors have become a lot savvier,” says economist Frederic Neumann of HSBC in Hong Kong. “Gone are the days where emerging markets were all lumped into one bucket. Today, countries with stronger fundamentals are able to resist the spread of contagion washing over global financial markets.” Along with South Korea and the Philippines, Neumann notes that even some frontier economies, like Vietnam, “have weathered global financial turmoil with apparent ease.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm

[ISL] Biman Prasad in the Fiji Times on Singapore versus Fiji

In the opinion piece “Singapore and us”, one Biman Prasad notes the ways in which Fiji has fallen behind a Singapore that was once its peers. While Fiji is not as lucky as a Singapore placed in the middle of global trade routes, its ethnic conflicts definitely did hurt the island’s potential.

Certain commentators in this country tend to selectively compare Fiji with Singapore. They highlight that Fiji, like Singapore, is a multi-ethnic country and they claim Fiji needs to adopt similar restrictive policies to maintain stability and achieve economic success.

On the surface, these comparisons and justifications might sound reasonable. Singapore, after all, is the third-richest country in the world, ranking behind only Qatar and Luxembourg, according to Forbes magazine 2014 top 10 richest countries in the world.

Singapore’s rise to the top has been both rapid and spectacular. In the 1960s, Singapore and Fiji had a similar GDP per capita. Today Singapore is well ahead, with a GDP per capita of nearly $US55,000 ($F117,975) with Fiji’s about $US4500 ($F9652). The country turned 50 just recently and it is justifiably proud of its achievements.

Some political opportunists and journalists tell us that to emulate Singapore’s success, we need, among other things, a restrictive media law. This a pie in the sky theory. While there are many things that Fiji can learn from Singapore, there are some things our country does not need to emulate or adopt. This becomes clear when we look at Singapore in greater detail.

[. . .]

It was able to transform itself from a slum with a per capita income of $US500 ($F1066) in 1965 to $US55,000 ($F117,975) today. This means that if one were to divide the total value of its output with the total population, every individual in Singapore today is worth $US55,000 ($F117,975). Singapore progressed faster than many other countries at a similar level of development in 1965. It has been able to improve living standards of its people through better health, better housing, better education and employment opportunities for all its people.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 25, 2015 at 10:22 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes that Toronto has been ranked as the most liveable city in the world by the Economist.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about the allure of learning something difficult.
  • Centauri Dreams describes circumbinary planet Kepler-453b.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to an attempt to date the Gliese 504 system, reports on a new definition for planets, and suggests that the abundances of biologically necessary material on planetary surfaces and atmospheres is quite variable.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the latest on the war in the Donbas.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas is trying to crowdfund the last four courses he needs for his doctoral degree.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that it has moved to www.joemygod.com.
  • Language Hat considers the third wave of Russian emigration to the United States.
  • Language Log displays a decorative Japanese dialogue written in romaji, Roman script.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes who Tea Partiers think should benefit from bankruptcy.
  • Marginal Revolution notes Singapore spends little on education as a proportion of its GDP, a consequence of its very low birth rate.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Uber does work better than traditional taxis in the outer boroughs of New York City.
  • Strange Maps considers fire maps of old.
  • Torontoist looks at the story of Toronto’s first parks commissioner, John Chambers.
  • Towleroad quotes George Takei’s explanation why Star Trek did not feature gay characters and looks at a Swiss Catholic bishop facing jail time for inciting anti-gay violence.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if the lessons of ancient Greek democracy are relevant for us post-moderns.
  • Window on Eurasia notes divisions on the Russian left over Crimea, suggests China is benefitting from Russia’s new dependence, notes that the United States did not recognize the Donbas in the Cold War, and quotes a Ukrainian writer who suggests that the Serb republics in the former Yugoslavia show the likely future of the Donbas states.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes chain Second Cup’s reboot of its Toronto cafes.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that the Rosetta probe’s comet is approaching perihelion.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper connecting stellar metallicity to a galactic habitable zone.
  • The Dragon’s Tales updates us on the Donbass war.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Swiss Catholic bishop’s approval of murderous homophobia.
  • Language Log notes that the Spanish of Jeb Bush is actually pretty decent.
  • Languages of the World looks at the complex grammar of the Mohawk language.
  • Towleroad notes the fight for same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
  • Window on Eurasia is critical of Russia’s claims to a unique position in Crimea.

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