Asia Pacific

  • Myanmar's military seem to be beneficiaries of the country's poppy crop.

    Myanmar's Bumper Poppy Crop

    For the past 10 years, drug production in Myanmar has been on the rise. The amount of land used to grow poppy — from which the opium sap used to make heroin is derived — has more than doubled since 2006. According to the UN, Myanmar now accounts for more than 25 percent of the global area under illegal poppy cultivation, making the country the second largest producer of illegal opium in the world after Afghanistan.

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  • Aussie 'double-dissolution' election will happen for the first time in 30 years.

    Aussie Voters Face a 'Double Dissolution' Election

    Australians will go to a federal election on 2 July 2016. At first glance the 19 seats in the House of Representatives that the Labor Party — the current Opposition — needs to win to take government seems a heroic undertaking. Yet, if the early polls are any indication, this may not be too far beyond its reach.

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  • India's GDP growth may be misleading.

    India's GDP Growth May Be Discrepancy-Based

    India’s real GDP growth increased by 0.7 percent from the last quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, rising from 7.2 percent to 7.9 percent. While both foreign and national media view this as a leap forward, the data and methods on India’s growth story should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    What is interesting in the latest data on India’s growth rate is how, instead of aggregate production, the amount of ‘discrepancies’ in India’s growth accounting has drastically increased.

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  • There is a battle for academic freedom going on Down Under.

    Fighting for Academic Freedom on Your Behalf

    The three-year dispute between the University of Queensland and academic Paul Frijters has finally been resolved, with the Fair Work Commission finding in Frijters' favour.

    But this is a case that should ring alarm bells not just for all academics undertaking controversial work - but for the general public, which has a right to expect that the institutions funded by its tax dollars will support and protect academic freedom, rather than work against it.

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  • The Vietnamese auto industry is booming as of late.

    Trading the Motorbike for a Car

    After many years of slow growth and stagnation, the last couple of years have seen a significant boom in car sales in Vietnam. The country most known for its staggering motorbike population now appears to be rapidly heading for the age of the automobile. What has caused this change of fortunes for the auto industry, and will this new trend create a strong domestic auto industry in Vietnam?

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  • North Korea is a risk, but Chinese private investment is steady.

    Chinese Investors Maintain Interest in North Korea

    China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and has consistently encouraged cross-border trade and non-official investments in North Korea since 2006. Yet, despite its low-cost raw materials, cheap labour and large market potential, North Korea remains as a high-risk investment destination for Chinese businesses.

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  • The new defense deal with Australia is a win for Singapore.

    Singapore Wins in Deal with Australia

    Let there be no doubt about who is the main winner from the Australia–Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) signed on 6 May. It is Singapore. This tiny country is a quarter the size of the Australian city of Melbourne by land mass and it lacks space more than anything else.

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  • Japan could look to immigration to help with the demographic crunch.

    Can Immigration Solve Japan's Population Problem?

    Japan is experiencing a serious demographic crunch. About 27 percent of the Japanese population is over the age of 65 and there are 1.4 million fewer people today than there were in 2007, when the total population peaked at 128 million. Prospects for the future do not look good either.

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  • The South China Sea continues to heat up to no ones advantage.

    Or Maybe the South China Sea could be Demilitarized?

    Recent months have seen a continuing increase in military activities in the South China Sea, particularly by the United States and China, but also by ‘bit players’ like India and Japan. These activities only serve to heighten tensions in the region at a time when the priority should be to demilitarise the area.

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