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Asean Affairs  16  March 2011

Asean reaches out to Japan

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     16 March 2011

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Japan has the third-largest economy in the world but during this crisis time, Asean countries are sending their support to the stricken nation.

"Helping hands from Asean member states were extended the moment the earthquake and tsunami hit our friend, Japan. As a wise and well-managed government, even in time of extreme stress, Japan is ensuring a well-coordinated and productive support to her people," the Secretary-General of Asean, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, said.

Asean member states' assistance has been offered in cash, medical assistance, food, rescue efforts and more.

Cambodia has contributed US$100,000 for relief of the victims.

Indonesia's Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana is going to deploy 64 trained Quick Response Team, equipped with medical supplies. The team includes the Indonesian Armed Forces, search and rescue team), and a medical team.

Lao PDR has also provided US$100,000 in emergency relief and agreed to set up a national committee to raise more funds and to be ready to dispatch personnel.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the Philippines is ready to deploy a search and rescue contingent. The Philippines is set to send more, if required.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force Operation Lion Heart contingent has also been activated. The contingent consists of five search specialists and five search dogs and Singapore is sending $500,000 in financial aid.

Thailand, the world's largest rice exporter, it has approved 15,000 tonnes of rice and over US$6.5 million assistance.

Vietnam, meanwhile, has decided to provide Japan with US$200,000 and is ready to send a medical team upon request.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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