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News 18 May 2009

• Incumbent president tops favourite list in Indonesian polls
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is a clear favorite to win a second term in office in a July election, helped by the resilient performance of Southeast Asia's largest economy during the global crisis, Reuters reported.

Asean yet to make commitments to FTA with EU
The European Commission (EC) said it has not been getting commitments from the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in the negotiations for a free-trade agreement (FTA) but welcomed member countries of Asean to push for bilateral deals with the regional bloc, reported Philippines newspaper Business Mirror on its website.

Global tourism could lose $2 trillion if flu goes pandemic
If the H1N1 flu outbreak turns into a full-blown global pandemic, consequences for the travel industry could be devastating, AFP quoted a respected economist as telling a world travel conference in Brazil Friday.

Five littoral countries sign initiative to save Coral Triangle
Leaders of six nations - Timor Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands - agreed on Friday to work jointly to save Southeast Asia’s massive Coral Triangle, considered the world’s richest underwater wilderness, AFP reported.

Philippine utility firm to spend $692m on expansion
Aboitiz Power Corp, the Philippines’ third-largest utility by market value, will triple spending this year to buy generators from the government and build new capacity to meet rising electricity demand, Bloomberg news reported.

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