While Taipei and Manila continue their very public dispute over the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by members of the Philippine coast guard, lurking in the background is China, whose presence is very much felt by both parties.
For the past five years, the Philippines has dodged the recession plaguing the developed world mainly because of the billions of dollars sent home by some 10 million Filipinos living or working abroad. But the picture is no longer that rosy. Last week, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP or central bank) reported that in March, remittances from overseas Filipinos grew at the slowest pace in nearly four years.
An official visit to the United States by Myanmar President Thein Sein this week should not be regarded as a celebration of the success of reforms in Myanmar. The job is far from finished, with many tough challenges still to be tackled, with no guarantee of success or achievement.
In an ideal world, how would the recent shooting by the Philippine Coast Guard of a Taiwanese fishing boat, which resulted in the killing of one of the fishermen, have been handled?
On May 3, South Korea delivered US$13 million in cash to North Korea and withdrew the last batch of seven South Koreans from the industrial complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. The money was for back pay and severance pay to 53,000 North Koreans that had been withdrawn from the South Korean factories in the industrial complex at the height of inter-Korean tensions the previous month.
Toru Hashimoto, ultranationalist mayor of Osaka, was right when he said last week Japan was not alone in using what are euphemistically called comfort women as sex slaves for soldiers. He said soldiers living with the daily threat of death needed some way to let off steam, which was provided by the comfort women system.
- Joe Hung
A fairly detailed article in a local English newspaper this week on the subject of teenagers seeking cosmetic surgery lies behind my words today. The article had to have caught the attention of many, and for more than one reason.
Pakistan's National Assembly elections on May 11 provided a significant victory to Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-N. Despite violence, turnout was approximately 60 percent. A peaceful power transition to this opposition party means progress from the nation's history of military coups.
Decrying a rising death toll and an escalation of violence, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly called yet again for progress towards a political transition to defuse Syria's civil war, now in its third year. Though the resolution strongly condemns the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad for its increased use of heavy weapons, it equally condemns “widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” on all sides.
During the four years I spent in the Philippines in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I developed a healthy distaste for the ruling elite, exemplified by the inept leadership of President Corazon Aquino, who dragged her feet on key reforms and left us without power for 10 hours a day.
2013/5/18, 1 Comment