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         Rice Communications 

All eyes are on India in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit there, where he identified India as a key actor on the world stage. Obama said, “I don’t think India is emerging, I think it has emerged.” More

pSave Our Planet (IV) a huge success
SOP for Schools:
“Save The Planet For the Children”
By students of Garden International School, Bangkok
Friday, March 18, 2011,
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok

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Weekly NewsLetter
13  June  2011
    Vol.1 No.18

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The Editor's Corner


HIV outbreak in the Philippines
          As lawmakers and the Catholic Church continue to squabble over the Human Reproductive (HR) bill put forth by the Aquino administration, the Philippines is experiencing a spike in the number of HIV cases.

The situation in the Philippines is the proverbial, “fiddling while Rome burns.” The rate of new worldwide HIV infections has dropped 25 percent in the last decade.

However, in the Philippines, the number of people infected has risen - particularly among call-centre workers.

Since the first recorded HIV case in the Philippines in 1984, there has been an increase in the number of Filipinos infected with HIV.

Figures from the Health Department reveal that there are currently 6,498 HIV/AIDS cases in the country.

However, according to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 11,200 undocumented and unreported HIV and AIDS cases in the country.

HIV/AIDS victims in the Philippines are also getting younger.

According to the United Nations, more Filipino youth aged 20 to 24 are getting infected with HIV, and cases are soaring especially among young professionals working in the call-center industry.

In a study conducted by the state university's population institute, young Filipinos working in the call-center industry tend to engage in risky sexual behavior due to environment and peer pressure.

The Health Department now warns that HIV/AIDS cases in the country could likely increase by five-fold or at an alarming rate of 45,000 by 2015, if Filipinos continue unsafe sex practices.

Health officials point out that the influential Catholic Church's stance against the use of condoms is affecting their campaign against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

They are hoping that the Church softens its stand on the promotion of condom use to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. And to that we say, “Amen.”


Top News from Southeast Asia

June 12 , 2011


These were the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of June 4-June 10.

Yudhoyono proposes renegotiation with foreign companies
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's call to renegotiate contracts with foreign companies received mixed reaction on Friday, with some industry players calling it an empty threat.

Najib: Asian countries shouldn't choose 
Asia countries shouldn't have to choose between being allies of the US or China and must avoid another Cold War-style polarisation in the region, Malaysia's prime minister said on Friday.

Philippines scolds China 
The Philippines, along with Vietnam, criticized recent Chinese military activity in the South China Sea amid fears that small confrontations in disputed areas there could lead to armed conflict.

THAI Airways takes first privatization steps 
The Finance Ministry has agreed to reduce its shareholding in Thai Airways International and eventually privatise the national carrier, according to Areepong Bhoocha-oom, the ministry's permanent secretary.

Foreign trade deficits in Vietnam  
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has drawn attention to a sudden spurt in the trade deficit run up by foreign firms, and urged relevant agencies to investigate the reasons.

Foreign firms don't support Yudhoyono "renegotiations"  
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's push to renegotiate oil and gas contracts with foreign companies would set a bad precedent, industry players said.

Bangkok is top Asian tourist draw 
Despite last year's violence in the city and lingering political uncertainties, Bangkok is ranked first among Asian cities based on the estimated number of international arrivals by air and the level of visitor expenditure this year, according to the findings of a study conducted by a leading credit-card company.

Tata Motors backs Thai tax reform 
Tata Motors says it welcomes a restructuring of vehicle taxes in Thailand as long as the system is transparent and authorities can ensure that automakers do not try to exploit loopholes.

Indonesia's competitiveness rises 
Indonesia's global competitiveness has increased significantly since 2005 but work needs to be done to improve the country's public health, information technology, infrastructure and fight against corruption, a report revealed.

Asean customs heads meet in Myanmar Myanmar 
Union Minister of Finance and Revenue U Hla Tun has called for a role for customs departments to realize the Asean Community, stressing the need for encouraging commodity flow integration, earning revenue for the state and handling border trade in line with policy and law, an official media reported Wednesday.

Cambodian trade with China doubles  
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and China reached US$498 million in the first quarter, soaring 216 percent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Dawei financing moves forward 
Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) expects to conclude loan agreements with creditors to finance its Dawei megaproject in Myanmar within this year.

Cross-border economic moves accelerate  
Thailand's Siam Cement announced on Monday that it has spent US$100 million on expanding in Indonesia, buying a ceramic tile producer and a distributor. The action suggests that in Thailand at least, corporate thinking is shifting.

Vietnam-China sea tensions rise 
Vietnam protested to China Thursday after what it claimed was a "premeditated" attack on an exploration ship in its waters, but Beijing hit back, warning its neighbour against violating its sovereignty.

Thailand needs more skilled workers  
Thailand will face an oversupply crisis in the midlevel labour market if workers do not improve their skills to compete with their counterparts in Vietnam and the Philippines seminar on vocational study was told.

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