Asia

Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar

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Extreme Buddhist nationalist positions including hate speech and violence are on the rise in Myanmar. Rather than ineffective bans on broad-based groups like the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion (MaBaTha), the government should address underlying causes and reframe the debate on Buddhism’s place in society and politics. ICG Executive Summary The August 2017 attacks by al-Yaqin or Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which the Myanmar government has designated a terrorist organisation, have pushed Rakhine state into renewed ... Read More »

Turkey Can Forget About EU Membership

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Turkey will never become a member of the European Union, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally said so in public. Michael J. Totten World Affairs Journal “The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,” she said in an election debate with her opponent, Martin Shulz. “I’ll speak to my colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks.” The only thing surprising here ... Read More »

Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

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The centuries-old texts were erased, and then written over, by monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt Brigit Katz Smithsonian Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there – some of which contain hidden treasures. Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that ... Read More »

US-China clash of civilisations is being played out in the South China Sea

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Mark Valencia says the hard and soft power confrontation between the two has all the makings of an existential contest because both see it as their right and destiny to dominate and shape the international order. A clash may be inevitable. Mark J. Valencia South China Morning Post The struggle between the US and China for control of the South China Sea is symptomatic of a much deeper “clash of civilisations”. According to Samuel Huntington, the originator of this theory, ... Read More »

North Korea Nuke Tests Show Need for New Policy Response

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North Korea’s sixth nuclear test heightens regional anxieties and is dangerous for populations living nearby. But in itself it does not fundamentally alter the situation nor should it raise the risk of military conflict. Instead, it should spur the U.S., South Korea and China to forge a stronger, more effective and more united diplomatic approach. ICG In a season of repeated North Korean provocative steps, the 3 September underground nuclear test ranks as the most serious to date. Not only will ... Read More »

Siege: Envoy insists Qatar will not bow down

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The daily lives of Qataris and residents have not been affected although the blockade was a surprise and in violation of international humanitarian law and all the customs of the region and of humanity as a whole, said a Qatari… The Peninsula Qatar has been able to recover swiftly by seeking alternative markets to import goods and avoid shortages because of the siege imposed by Saudi-led bloc, said Sultan Al Mahmoud (pictured), Qatar’s ambassador to… In an interview with the ... Read More »

How America Can Keep From Losing in the South China Sea

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Washington is losing ground in the South China Sea, and risks making the situation lasting unless America imposes “real” strategic costs to China. Tuan N. Pham The Diplomat Part one of this two-part series provided strategic perspectives and context to the recent uptick in tensions in the South China Sea (SCS) following a year of relative calm since the International Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague handed down its historic and sweeping award on maritime entitlements ... Read More »

Love, Marriage, and China’s Demographic Crisis

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Parents everywhere want the best for their children. The best schools, the best jobs, and — ultimately — the best mates. Choosing a partner may be the single most important decision we make in life, since for most people, marriage and family are the foundation of happiness. Salvatore Babones IPP Review But finding a compatible match becomes ever more difficult as societies become more developed and more complex. In traditional societies, children (both male and female, but especially female) had ... Read More »

The Copenhagen breakthrough in the Timor Sea

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There has been an agreed breakthrough in the long running dispute between Australia and Timor Leste in relation to maritime boundary demarcation and control of the resources in the disputed area in the Timor Sea. Frank Brennan Eureka Street The breakthrough came on 30 August, the 18th anniversary of the bloody referendum at which the Timorese voted for their independence from Indonesia. The terms of the deal remain confidential. But the Permanent Court of Arbitration which is overseeing the Conciliation ... Read More »

Turkey eyes deal for Russian air defense system, irking West

US forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, drive their armoured vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey on April 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN

Experts skeptical Ankara will end up inking purchase of S-400 batteries, but say the message of dissatisfaction with NATO is what’s important Stuart Williams The Times of Israel ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey and Russia are inching toward an accord for the first major Turkish weapons purchase from Moscow, troubling Ankara’s allies in NATO even though the deal may not ultimately materialize. According to Turkish and Russian officials, all preparations have been made for the purchase of a sophisticated S-400 ... Read More »

Xi, Putin agree to enhance strategic coordination, appropriately deal with DPRK nuclear test

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XIAMEN, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday, calling for enhancing mutual support and strategic coordination. Source: Xinhua Editor: Mu Xuequan The two leaders also agreed to appropriately deal with the latest nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Putin is in the southeastern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian Province, to attend the ninth BRICS summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries ... Read More »

Russia vs US Economic War: Who’s Going to be the Ultimate Loser?

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Full scale economic war in between America and Russia is underway. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said so, and the US administration and the American congress voted it in with new sanctions. Phil Batler NEO The only question that remains is ”œwho will win?” Here’s a look at the future of US-Russia relations and the ultimate loser in this new type of Cold War. A fact most people are not aware of is that the United States is at risk ... Read More »

Three Dangerous Delusions about Korea

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They say that most of the world’s real dangers arise not because of what people don’t know but because of what they do «know» that just ain’t so. JAMES GEORGE JATRAS Strategic Culture As a case in point, consider three things about Korea that the bipartisan Washington establishment seems quite sure of but are far removed from reality:Delusion 1: All options, including U.S. military force, are «on the table.» – Everyone knows there are no military «options» the U.S. could ... Read More »

Nawaz Sharif’s Exit and the Pakistan-China-India Triangle: Why Islamabad needs a serious re-think

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All eyes in the next few months, into the elections of 2018, will be on how Nawaz Sharif, who  resigned last month, as Prime Minister of Pakistan after being disqualified from Parliament by the Supreme Court, will play his cards vis-à-vis the Pakistan army. TRIDIVESH SINGH MAINI IPP Review Will Sharif, who was also forced to resign as president of his party, PML-N, adopt an aggressive posture with the Pakistan army, or play it smartly? In his first two tenures as Prime Minister, his ... Read More »

Turkish Airlines pilot refuses to fly failed Kent asylum seeker

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A failed asylum seeker remains in the UK after the pilot of a plane on which he was to be deported to Afghanistan via Istanbul refused to fly him. ABC Samim Bigzad, 22, had been living in Ramsgate, Kent, after entering the UK illegally two years ago in order to join his father who was granted asylum. The Turkish Airlines pilot refused to fly Mr Bigzad when he became hysterical as he was put on the plane at Heathrow. He ... Read More »

Myanmar refuses visas to UN team investigating abuse of Rohingya Muslims

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Government led by Aung San Suu Kyi says it will deny entry to mission after UN report said treatment of minority group could amount to ethnic cleansing Reuters The Guardian Myanmar will refuse entry to members of a United Nations investigation focusing on allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims, an official has said. The government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, had already said it would not cooperate with a mission set ... Read More »