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Asean Affairs  27  February 2011


By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     27 February 2011

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These were the most significant stories reported by Asean Affairs during the week of February 19-25.

New Indo levy on foreign films
Importation of foreign films into Indonesia has been halted and will only resume if the government revokes a new levy on imported films, the spokesman of 21 Cineplex has warned.

Thai research and development lags
Experts say Thailand has been slow to expand its research and development (R&D) capability, placing it in danger of losing out to global competition in its quest for economic growth via the production of higher value-added goods.

Philippines credit conditions normalizing
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it has taken steps toward normalizing the country’s credit condition, brushing aside suggestions it was behind the curve with respect to fighting inflation. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. told reporters that the central bank has withdrawn part of the stimulus package, such as the higher rediscounting facility, which was drawn up to prevent credit from freezing in the domestic financial market.

Twelve ethnic groups in Myanmar unite
Twelve ethnic armed groups in Burma have agreed to operate together as the Union Nationalities Federal Council (Union of Burma) during four days of meetings on the Thai-Burma border. The military regime has repeatedly ignored the grievances and aspirations of ethnic communities for political, social, and economic equality and sought to maintain its control of ethnic states through unilateral, non-inclusive processes and armed conflict. This unprecedented alliance is a direct response to these decades-long policies.

AirAsia Indonesia looks at fourth-quarter IPO
AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s biggest budget carrier, will soon appoint bankers to manage its Indonesian unit’s initial public offering as it tries to secure funds for expansion.

UN reveals paradigm shift for green economy
The United Nations on Monday unveiled a strategy to ensure a sustainable future for the planet by investing 2 percent of wealth generated by the global economy, or some $1.3 trillion annually, in 10 key sectors.

Lotte to build petrochemical project in Indonesia
South Korea’s Lotte Group is planning to invest up to $5 billion in a petrochemical project in Banten province, Indonesia, with construction expected to start next year.

Asean 40 ETF fund targets Asean
Global X Funds, a New York-based provider of exchange traded funds, has launched the Global X FTSE Asean 40 ETF, the first fund listed in the United States to target Asean.

Asean brokers border conflict deal
Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to accept Indonesian military and civilian observers to monitor disputed border areas that were the scene of bloody clashes earlier this month, following a meeting of Asean foreign ministers in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Yudhoyono Gives 2020 deadline to solve traffic issues
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the governor of Jakarta to free the capital of traffic gridlock by 2020, and added that significant improvement must be felt by 2014.

Singapore inflation hits 2-year high
In January Singapore's inflation reached a 2-year high, its highest level in 25 months.

Japanese to invest in Egco
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) will invest 21 billion yen (US$254 million) for a stake in Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed Electricity Generating Plc (Egco) as the Japanese firm seeks to expand outside Japan.

Vietnamese PM outlines inflation measures
The Vietnamese government announced a package of measures approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday aimed at controlling inflation, maintaining economic stability and ensuring social welfare, including cuts to State spending and tighter credit policies.

US in Myanmar aid talks
The U.S. has started talks with Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi about US aid programs in the country, says the top US diplomat in Myanmar

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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