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           Coordinator The Wetlands Alliance
     AIT Asian Institute of technology

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The Mekong River has risen on the international agenda recently. More

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SOP for Schools:
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By students of Garden International School, Bangkok
Friday, March 18, 2011,
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok

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Weekly NewsLetter
4  July  2011
    Vol.1 No.21

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The Editor's Corner


Political compromise in short supply worldwide
          Tomorrow, July 3, Thai voters in the evolving democracy of Thailand go to the polls to elect a new government and prime minister.

Whatever the outcome, the key element will be how well the politicians and parties can work with each other to heal the country 13 months after a prolonged protest ended in 91 needless deaths and an arson counterattack that cost millions of dollars in scorched public and private buildings.

However, if one looks around the globe, rational thinking and constructive political positions appear to be rarer than rare earth.

For example, the state government of Minnesota is shutting town as the Republican legislature and the Democrat governor cannot agree on a state budget. All but essential services have been shut down during this busy Fourth of July high-volume tourist period.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said on Friday the shutdown would have no immediate impact on Minnesota's triple-A bond rating, noting that a court order that expires on July 31 continued funding for debt service payments.

Moving on up the governmental tree, the same scenario is playing out in Washington DC between the Republican House of Representatives and Democratic President Barack Obama. The budget dispute has received so much press attention that frankly, this write, is getting a bit budget-dispute weary.

The only bright spot seems to be the EU, where another bailout for profligate Greece is under way. One can only hope that Greece, which has a shoddy economic history, can learn to live within its means.

With global resources becoming increasingly stretch due to finite supplies of hydrocarbons and the global population continually increasing there should be an increase in the global supply of rational thinking to deal with these issues.

Looking at the current world scene, however, there appears to be a dearth of rationality as raw emotions prevent politicians from working together.


Top News from Southeast Asia

July 3 , 2011


These are the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of June 25-July 1.

Rare earth plant must comply with findings
The Lynas rare earth plant in Pahang will be allowed to operate only if the company complies with all recommendations made by the independent review panel appointed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Indonesia prisons are havens for radicals 
Prisons threaten to undermine the progress made against terrorism in Indonesia since 2002, when nightclub bombings killed 202 people on the tourist island of Bali, many of them Australians and Americans.

World Bank predicts Lao growth at 8.6 percent 
Laos' economic growth will remain robust this year with natural resources and the manufacturing sector set to be the main driving forces of growth, according to the World Bank's (WB) latest projection.

Genting moves into overseas markets 
Genting Malaysia Bhd is plowing funds into its global expansion program.

Vietnamese inflation hits three-year high 
Vietnam’s inflation rate topped 20 percent in June, its fastest annual pace since November 2008, but the rise in consumer prices slowed on a monthly basis, the government said on Friday.

US-China discuss sea conflict 
The United States on Saturday called for China to lower tensions in the South China Sea through dialogue as the Pacific powers held first-of-a-kind talks on friction in Southeast Asia.

Najib warns on Malaysia’s July 9 rally  
The organizers of the July 9 rally in Kuala Lumpur will be held responsible if the march should result in chaos, warned Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

SBY’s popularity is down 
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s approval rating has taken a major hit, a recent public opinion survey shows, mainly due to the string of scandals plaguing his Democratic Party.

TPP trade pact moves forward 
The seventh round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement has achieved important results and is expected to attain several goals in key areas by year-end, according to Vietnamese trade officials.

Indonesia could beat economic forecasts  
Indonesia could exceed growth forecasts if the government gets serious about speeding infrastructure development, accelerating budget spending and expanding the nation's manufacturing, a number of leading global banks have said.

Indonesia to create jobs at home 
The Indonesian government plans to spend Rp 1.4 trillion (US$162.5 million) to create more jobs at home, anticipating a rise in unemployment after a moratorium on sending migrant workers to Saudi Arabia goes into effect.

Laos moves ahead with Mekong dam 
Laos is forging ahead with construction of a controversial $3.5 billion hydropower dam in breach of an agreement to suspend the project pending approval by ministers of neighboring countries, an environmental group recently said.

Thailand's economic outlook expected to hold 
No matter the outcome of Sunday's election, the results should not have a significant impact on the Thai economy. The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) says the Thai economy should grow by at least 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent this year.

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