A weekly snapshot of the latest development in Asia, brought to you by the TOC International Team.


Southeast Asia

01) Singapore Law Society revives issue of its role in Legal Reform
Law Society of Singapore president Michael Hwang said it is difficult to convince the international legal fraternity that “Singapore really has an independent Bar”.

02) Confrontation in ASEAN
Singapore’s military buildup suggests it could be an outpost in the security chain in the US is building around China.

03) Mahatir’s Big Comeback
The man who went after websites that attacked his administration suddenly discovered that the cyberspace worked both ways and attacked his successor.

04) KL to help in Iran arms probe
The Malaysian government has pledged to cooperate fully with the US to deal with growing concern that Malaysia is emerging as a popular transshipment centre for military equipment to Iran.

05) Junta Gas Profits Stashed in Singapore Banks
Earthrights International (ERI) alleges OCBC and DBS are acting as “offshore repositories” for junta revenues accruing from the Yadana gas project.

06) Kokang Crisis: Food Shortages Reported in Laogai
Tens of thousands of Kokang civilians are experiencing food shortages, partly because UN and NGO agencies have suspended aid projects after the clash between government troops and Kokang militias,

07) Junta selects 300 Proxy Candidate for Myanmar Election
Many of the candidates were selected from military personnel who are now attending the National Defense University in Naypyidaw, according to sources in Rangoon and Naypyidaw

08) Thai-Chinese Free Trade Agreement faces Ongoing Problems
Problems have occurred in areas ranging from logistics and transport to the imposition of non-tariff barriers by China, resulting in a growing imbalance in the volume of trade between the two countries.

09) Southern Thais want Government to prioritise Economic Problems
The R&D Office at Hat Yai University surveyed 14 provinces in the South. 67.5 per cent of the respondents wanted economic problem to be tackled first.

10) Cambodian Labour Activist urges US to cut tariff
A Cambodian labour activist called on the US Congress to provide Cambodian textile and footwear makers duty-free access to its markets on condition they met certain minimum labour laws and standards.

11) Report cites Cambodian Govt bias in Land Dispute cases
Mechanisms to resolve land disputes have been at best ineffective and at worst used as tools against those most vulnerable to rights abuses.

12) ILO Asked: Probe Rights at Export Zones
The high-level mission of the International Labour Organisation should investigate violations of the right to unionise at the export zones and industrial estates in Philippines

East Asia

01) The Trials of Ah-Bian
A drama that has transfixed Taiwan when former President Chen Shui-bian was sentenced to life in jail for embezzlement, money-laundering and bribe-taking.

02) World assured of China’s stimulus efforts
Premier Wen Jiabao said China will “enrich its stimulus package” to better link it to the creation of new engines of growth.

03) NDRC: Adjustment to Reduce Export Reliance
“With the highest export dependence among all big countries, China has yet to find a solid foundation for economic recovery,” said Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.

04) China in huge Venezuela Oil Deal
Venezuela has announced a $16bn investment deal with China for oil exploration in the Orinoco river.

05) HK Economy contracts by 2.2%
The GDP of Hong Kong decreased 2.2% year-by-year in the Q2, says Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department. The Chinese Mainland continues to be the largest source of Hong Kong’s external factor income inflow at 40.3%.

06) Japan Concerned over Weakening of US Nuclear Umbrella
Japan expressed its reluctance to accept a proposal that urges the United States to limit the role of nuclear weapons to deterring only nuclear attacks and that seeks a no first-strike commitment.

07) New Prime Minister cements Japan power shift
Yukio Hatoyama promises economic revival and strong US ties, after being sworn in as Japan’s new prime minister.

South Asia

01) Rajnath questions Govt’s-silence on Chinese incursions
BJP chief Rajnath Singh has expressed concern over recent reports of Chinese intrusion into Indian territory and accused Congress leadership of keeping mum on the issue.

02) Why do we fear the Chinese Dragon?
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yiu “advised” India not to “allow (Indian) media reports affect the bilateral relationship”. It’s an open secret that China’s communist bosses have always regarded India’s democracy with contempt.

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