29 June, 2005

big fish taken down in malaysia?

A few days ago, Malaysia’s dominant party within the ruling National Front suspended one of its deputy presidents, Mohd Isa Abdul Samad for bribery, or in UMNO-speak, “money politics”. Would there be any more big fishes? No more, apparently.Would UMNO hand over the file to the Anti Corruption Agency after Isa exhausted his 14-day appeal? Time will tell.

by @ 11:05 pm. Filed under Malaysia

root causes

Tom Vamvanij in Thailand takes a look at the root causes of terrorism in Southern Thailand.:

Terrorism in Thailand’s Deep South is rooted in economic neglect:

Two Muslim villagers were shot dead and two others wounded in separate attacks in Pattani and Narathiwat provinces yesterday.
All three of the victims worked as employees of the 23rd task force’s job creation project.

And cultural insensitivity:

In the same province, another Muslim resident was shot dead after returning from his nightly prayers at a mosque in Bacho district.

Which brings us to the third cause that editorial pages editor Anuraj Manibhandu so aptly demonstrated in the very same issue of the Bangkok Post…

by @ 6:10 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, Thailand, Terrorism

mapping 101

Yahoo! news reports from the AFP making note of Japanese school books being seized by Chinese authorities for depicting a map of China and Taiwan in different colors.

Customs officials in northeast China’s Dalian city have seized books sent to a Japanese school because they depicted Taiwan as a separate entity from the mainland, a Japanese embassy spokesman said.

"As far as we know from the concerned people, the issue was over maps which depicted China and Taiwan in different colours," Keiji Ide told AFP.

…The school, an elementary and middle school for children of Japanese businessmen, had to pay a small fine, he said.

by @ 12:43 pm. Filed under Japan, China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Censorship, North Korea, Gordon

japan gets another downgrade

Not by a ratings agency, but by the Christian Science Monitor, notes Japundit.

in the very first paragraph of the article (which has been reprinted in over 200 newspapers worldwide), Goodale refers to Japan as a “small island nation.”

While a grown man reading a comic book might seem unusual in other parts of the world, in this small island nation Mr. Nozawa is only one of millions of consumers of anime (as animation is known here). “I’ve been an anime fan since I was a child,” says Nozawa with a laugh as he navigates the busy midday traffic. “So is everyone I know.”

Since when is 125 million people a small island nation?
Japan is NOT a small island nation anymore! From the northern coast of Hokkaido to the southern islands of Okinawa, Japan can hardly be considered to be a Small Island Nation (SIN).

Well noted, again demonstrating Japundit’s excellent critical eye on news reports covering the tiny archipelago.

by @ 8:08 am. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

blogsome blocked

Via the still banned-in-China RConversation, China has blocked free Wordpress service blogsome:

Blogsome, the free Wordpress blog hosting service based in Ireland, is now blocked in China, according to Chinese blogger Maomy, writing on the Chinese group blog, CNBlog.
Maomy - who himself blogs on Blogsome - says the free open source service has become increasingly popular among Chinese bloggers, but that he hadn’t expected it would be blocked so quickly. Despite the wishful thinking of some, he doesn’t believe Blogsome’s inaccessibility is likely to be an innocent "technical problem."
Other Chinese bloggers I’ve been communicating with tend to believe this is all part of a tightening-up in the run-up to the June 30th deadline for website registration.

Also note Rebecca’s look at China’s use of internet filtering technology and US corporate complicity plus reporting on gamer reaction to Microsoft’s China policy.

by @ 7:52 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

renminbi revaluation

Brad Setser offers a neat dissection of an Asia Times item on the possible effects of a renminbi revaluation.:

This article struck me as confused, even for an article that tries to summarize a range of different views on the RMB.

I just don’t see how a RMB revaluation can both:
1. Have a limited impact on the US bilateral trade deficit with China….
2. Decimate Chinese exports….

by @ 7:41 am. Filed under China, Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

unocal and free trade

The Neo-Libertarian looks at complaints over the Cnooc bid for Unocal and notes a real threat… that of the further erosion of the United State’s free-trading credentials:

The argument about the Chinese trying to buy Unocal
provokes hesitance and opposition over the deal from many different
people. The argument from people otherwise disposed to free trade and
open markets is that oil is a strategic asset and China is
untrustworthy or hostile.
Last things first, China isn’t a good country, nor is it a particularly friendly country.  But it’s not a major threat….
Second, if oil is a strategic asset that we shouldn’t be
letting other countries control, then why do we buy over half of ours
from other countries? More to the point, why should those other
countries sell to us? If we try to hoard all the "strategic assets" to
ourselves then so will other countries. If we don’t trust the
international market that we’ve tried to spread around the world, then
why should other countries? We’re not perfect in free trade by any
means, but other countries have needed prodding to get as far as they

by @ 7:13 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

canada and the ‘china syndrome’

The Toronto Star has a reasonably balanced article on the emerging trade war between the U.S. and China, and Canada’s place in averting it.

Call it the new China Syndrome. Canadian Finance Minister Ralph Goodale has been wrestling with it. So has U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. And if something isn’t done about it, some policy makers fear the resulting impact could destabilize the global economy. Their
dilemma is this: Many of China’s trade partners — and especially the
United States — are saying cheap Chinese goods are flowing into North
America, flooding their markets and destroying jobs.

by @ 3:35 am. Filed under China, Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Current Affairs, Eli Alberts

nepalese maoists raid indian town

Late last week, Madhuban, a town on the Indian side (Bihar State) of the Indo-Nepal border was raided by Maoists from the Nepalese side. Local residents report of an attack with military like precision, the raid supposedly lasted only a few minutes. However, the bands of Maoists were successful in raiding banks, offices and even homes. The raid ended with a high number of casualties as a result of an encounter with the local police. Via the Indian Express:

The attack on Madhuban was the first of its kind—attacking multiple targets in broad daylight. Usually, Naxals attack one target, that too under the cover of darkness.‘‘Their planning had military precision, they started the offensive at 1.15 pm and ended it at 1.25 pm,’’ said Vinay Kumar. Bands of 20-25, many of them women, attacked each target while other groups cordoned off the town.
Eyewitnesses claimed many among the attackers seemed to be Nepalis and Intelligence officials are not ruling out the possibility of Madhuban being a joint operation of Indian and Nepalese Maoists. Though Nepal’s Maoists have denied their involvement in the attack, officials are not so sure. ‘‘They could be wary of the fallout, perhaps why they don’t want to admit to such an operation,’’ says an IB official.To officials, it’s clear that Left wing extremism has made the Nepal border its new turf and there are signs of increasing cooperation between Maoists on both sides.

The Indian state of Bihar, where the attack took place has been a hotbed of Naxalite/Maoist/Left Wing violence for years and a connection between the groups in the two countries has long been suspected. But, this daring raid is a very dangerous precedent of how the Nepalese civil war might spill across the border. Maoists or Left wing groups have long been active in India, having a stronghold across India stretching from the Northern state of Uttar Pradesh to the South till Andhra Pradesh. The unfortunate situation here being that this attack just adds on to the violence in the already troubled region of Bihar

by @ 2:14 am. Filed under India, Asia, South Asia, Nepal, Jatin Varma

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