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Despatch from Singapore
M Logan    Jack Nayar
         M. Logan                         Jack Nair

South Korea
World Toilet Association kicks off conference

The World Toilet Association kicked off its inaugural conference Thursday, hoping to spark a sanitation revolution that will save lives through better hygiene and break taboos about what happens behind closed bathroom doors. More

Serious battles over not so serious issue

The situation around the proposed deployment of a missile defense system in Europe and the threat of a Russian moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) can be traced to the ambitions and a reluctance of the sides to understand each other.  More

Nansha Port: China forging ahead

Forging Ahead ! Developments in the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze Delta continue at breakneck speeds. While the Nansha Development Zone, on the west bank of Pearl River,is in an extremely advantageous position of being the only gateway to the ocean for the Guanzhou- Foshan economic regions & major citie. More

Chiang Mai is hosting first MICE Table-top Sale
by Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai

The centrally located Imperial Mae Ping Hotel Chiang Mai is the venue for the blitz-event "MICE in Green" on September 7,  when some 80 corporate buyers from international companies in Bangkok, such as Nokia, Caterpillar, Ford, Colgate, Palmolive etc. descend on the Northern capital to get informed on the idea to hold incentive & convention meetings within the area of the 17 provinces of Northern Thailand. More

AIT and Siam City Bank launch VISA Platinum Card for student scholarships

The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has joined hands with Siam City Bank to issue a new credit card, namely the SCIB-AIT VISA Platinum Card, intended to benefit card-holders with financial services and raise funds for scholarships at the post-graduate institute,  at the same time. More

August 27, 2007
Modernisation of Bali: Divine or Demonic?   

By Mikhail Tsyganov, RIA Novosti correspondent in Jakarta
Dedicated to the memory of Wolf Hilbertz- a German architect and an inspiring pioneer of new technologies in architecture and marine habitat restoration who died of cancer on August 11 2007. He had become sick in Dubai, but recovered and went back to Bali in order to photograph the Biorock projects, when he was stricken again.  More

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August 15, 2007
India has changed the world
By RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev
On August 15, India will celebrate 60 years of independence. Today, we are looking at this event with different eyes. In retrospect, we can see that it has first changed Britain and then the rest of the world. This process is still going on. more

August 12, 2007
Mekong Tourism at the crossroads: A report on the Lao Eco-Tourism Forum
By Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai
Eco-Tourism is a modern buzzword. There is no clear internationally accepted definition of the term, but in Laos - as a small member country of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) - Eco-Tourism is a rapidly growing sector within the global and regional tourism industry. more

August 8, 2007
Oil-fuelled boom continues
Russia's lucky streak continues. The price of oil, the country's main export item and its chief source of budget revenues, has once again soared to record levels. More

Missile Upgrade
August 9, 2007
Cutting-edge Bulava missile to be mass produced
Russia has moved to a higher level in the design of strategic sea-based nuclear systems. More

August 9, 2007
The Navy Gets Ambitious
The Russian Navy will become the world's second largest in 20 years' time, said its commander-in-chief, Admiral Vladimir Masorin, speaking ahead of Navy Day. He said the navy's core would consist of the newest strategic nuclear-powered submarines and six squadrons of aircraft carriers. More

August 9, 2007

What kind of capitalism?
August is often an eventful month in Russia. In August of 1610, Moscow swore allegiance to Prince Wladyslaw, who was invited to be Russia's tsar, and the Poles seized the Kremlin. More

August 9, 2007

Will Russia host Apec Forum?
Having recently won its bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia is already aspiring to host another symbolic event. At the first Pacific Economic Congress, held in Vladivostok July 28-29, plans were unveiled to make the Pacific port the venue of the 2012 APEC forum. More

August 9, 2007
Sochi trips over its first Olympic
A month has passed since the Russian resort city of Sochi won the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics. But the preparations have already gathered so much pace that it is as if the Games were going to be held next year. More

Closing ASEAN’S Development Gap
An interview wih Kim Hak Su, United Nations Under-Secretary-General

August 9, 2007
China gives the stalemate a happy ending

North Korea and the Philippines have signed a cooperation agreement at the current ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on security in Manila. Should the world be rubbing its eyes in disbelief? More

July 22, 2007
Grand Indian Package
Of  Bollywood extravaganzas, Shakesperean tales, and the retro of  acharismatic actress. The largest movie-producing country in the world,India, is impressively represented at the forthcoming  Bangkok International Film Festival (19-29
July), which this year has a new focus on Asian Cinema. More

July 17, 2007
Dollar in the doldrums
As of late last week, the dollar was worth 25.5 rubles, the same as in October 1999. Moreover, analysts said there was no reason to think that the dollar had yet hit bottom - it may soon slip below 25 rubles. more

July 16, 2007
Russia Remains Far Behind the Developed World
President Putin has frequently complained that international reporting on Russia is biased and unfair, that the media focus on the bad news rather than on positive development. More

Rural Development
July 16, 2007
Tackling the Twin Problems
The break-up of the Soviet Union left Russian farms in a sorry state. Now the government is finally ready to tackle the twin problems of rural poverty and low agricultural output through a national program to develop the agro-industrial sector in 2008-2012. More

July 13, 2007
The Cost of the Strong Baht
The closure and strange reopening of the Thai Silp Southeast Asia Import Export company has been accompanied by the sound of pigeons coming home to roost. Company executives suddenly and without warning closed the factory gates on Wednesday, throwing five thousand workers out of their jobs and having a serious negative impact upon local businesses in the area. More

Cross-Border Crime
July 12, 2007
Global solution needed to eradicate human trafficking
Human Trafficking today is a multi-billion dollar industry and a major human rights concern that requires the collective effort of the global community to be successfully eradicated, according to a senior official of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. More  

July 11, 2007
National Governance Little Better
Countries around the world, including some of the poorest in Africa, have made “significant progress” in improving governance and fighting corruption over the decade, the new “Worldwide Governance Indicators”  (WGI) report by the World Bank Institute and World Bank Development Economics Vice-presidency shows.

OECD-FAO Joint Report
July 6, 2007
Agricultural Prices to Remain High for the Next Decade
Agricultural prices are expected to remain above historic equilibrium levels over the next decade, owing to a combination of short-term and long-term factors. In the short-term, low stocks and drought are keeping prices up; in the long-term, increasing use of biodiesel fuels is stimulatinggrowth and sale of relevant commodities. More

July 6, 2007
Top Vietnamese stars to travel to Bangkok Film Festival
The cast of the award winning Vietnamese film The Rebel are to attend the Bangkok International Film festival in July. More

July 6, 2007
Indonesia’s Foreign Investment Law
After much debate, the government of Indonesia finally published a new foreign investment law earlier this year, which some describe as ‘the most liberal in ASEAN.’ Provisions include long-term land leasing, incentives for
investment and reductions in bureaucracy. More

Hong Kong Handover
July 5, 2007
The End of the Hong Kong Anomaly
Let us imagine how leading world news agencies will cover the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, in ten years' time. We are sure to see the same things we have observed now in early July. Headlines and  opening paragraphs will again speak about the demands of Hong Kong opposition marches.  More

July 4, 2007

ASEAN Football
The 2007 Asian Cup is about to start with games spread across four ASEAN countries. The progress of their teams will go some way towards indicating what progress has been made in recent years. For Thailand, success in the group stage is the only thing that will help dim the misery of the failure to beat Singapore in the ASEAN 2007 Championship. More  

July 3, 2007
Millennium Development Goals: Progress in ASEAN in 2007
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a global commitment by the United Nations (UN) and the countries of the world to make progress towards significantly reducing disease and poverty and promoting agreed development
goals in the years leading up to 2015. More 

June 29, 2007
Occupational Safety and Health in ASEAN
Singapore and perhaps Kuala Lumpur apart, anyone who has spent time walking around the cities of ASEAN will be aware of the safety standards involved in most construction work. Workers perch on rickety bamboo cane towers, holding on by their legs as they struggle to reach difficult to access areas. More

June 28, 2007
Chinese Minorities and Their Reputation
There is not a country in ASEAN that does not have a significant community of ethnic Chinese. For centuries, maybe millennia,
Chinese have been emigrating to Southeast Asia in search of better opportunities for themselves and their families. More

June 27, 2007
Motorcycles in Vietnam

Although Vietnam imported thousands of mopeds during the American war period, it was not until the
mid-1990s that motor cycles first emerged as important sources of personal transportation in the country.
This was because of the lack of income for most of the population, making motorcycles entirely out of
reach for the great majority, as well as the very poor state of the roads. more

The Greater Mekong Sub-Region Tourism Strategy
The Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMSR) consists of five ASEAN members –Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia
and Burma – together with a portion of southern China, usually centring on Yunnan province. The region is united
by geography, history and, to some extent, politics. For thousands of years, migrants have been travelling along the
narrow river valleys that pass through the GMSR from north to south, searching for fertile land which they can call
their own. more

June 26, 2007
India’s Influence Increases
On June 25th, junta-appointed Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont was dispatched by his masters
to India to improve economic ties with Thailand. He is just one of an increasingly lengthy line of supplicants
seeking to do business with a country that, within living memory, was regarded in business terms as little more
than a perennial basket case. More

Growth and Change in ASEAN
Economies which grow do so by moving from being based on agriculture to reliance upon manufacturing, services and,
increasingly, the knowledge-based economy. No economy in the world that has achieved extensive economic growth
has not followed this route. More


RUSSIA & INDONESIA: Want Investments? Sure?
By Mikhail Tsyganov from Lombok (Indonesia)

Last year over 20 million Russians went abroad for both leisure and business trips. But only about half a million
(practically all of them tourists) reached Southeast Asia (mostly Thailand, but also Malaysia and Vietnam).
Why not Indonesia would become clearer later, but still the number is impressive (providing up to 20% of
guests at some of the best Bali hotels) and growing fast. "The number of Russian tourists skyrocketed by 400%
at the first quarter of this year, as against the initial months of 2006," Marc Denton, general manager of The
Oberoi (Lombok's only luxury hotel), told the author. more

Noodle Bowl: Regional trade Agreements in Asia
There are around 40 free trade agreements (FTAs) involving Asian countries and another 70 are under negotiation.
Normally, FTAs are expected to increase trade and to some extent investment between the signatories to the treaties.
Can this be the case in Asia, when the numerous agreements seem to overlap with each other like the noodles in a
bowl of soup which is ubiquitous across so much of the continent? More

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