The last weeks in politics have been quite turbulent and the future of Thailand is not likely to be stable. Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is not easing the struggle as he is allegedly still trying to come back to Thailand.
Who is acually steering the country: Yingluck or Thaksin?
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Thaksin’s sister and according to himself his “representative”) and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul have re-issued an ordinary Thai passport for Thaksin which outraged The Democrat Party. Their reaction was a petition to seek their removal from office, which was signed by 145 MPs of the required 125 signatures. The issue is sensitive as Thaksin was sentenced to a jail term by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in the Ratchadapisek land case. In this case he was found guilty of having personal profits due to his political function. Moreover, Thaksin is wanted on terrorism charges under a warrant issued by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) which prohibits him from travelling out of the country.
Mr Chaiwut of the democrat party has sent a letter to the prime minister, asking that she revokes the reissuing of the passport, but no action has been taken so far.
While this dispute has barely cooled down the next is on the doorstep. The government is clear on the fact that they will not push for an amnesty, they will however enact a national reconciliation law which will cover Thaksin. This law is implemented to ensure fair treatment for all sides, but is expected to serve for the exact same purpose as an amnesty.
Another worrying development is concerning the threat of another coup. The People’s Alliance for Democracy has very recently (openly) called for the military to topple the Pheu Thai Party government. The main reaction from the government officials is hovering between “not to raise the question about a coup with me or any other military leaders again” and “No one wants to do it anyway”. These reactions seem unfit for a country that has experienced 18 coups or attempted coups in its short democratic being with the last coup only 6 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Most people are quite concerned about the economy these days because Europe and America seem to be failing. It is very common human behavior to have the perception that “back in the days” everything was better. An economic crisis is not a new phenomenon, although they started to follow each other up in shorter intervals than they used to. The most famous and disastrous crisis in history was of course the great depression in which the American gross domestic product (what a country produces) fell with 46%. Other recessions may help us to understand the present economic situation. Most economics compare the present economic crisis to the balance sheet recession, which Japan was troubled with a decade ago.
The average recession is different than what Europe and America are facing, but show remarkable resembles to the crisis Japan faced 15 years ago. Both recessions started with a Read the rest of this entry »
The American trade deficit for 2011 has come to a total of 558.2 billion dollars. What basically means that more money goes out of this country than comes in. One of the negative effects is that tax revenues are reduced as all of this money goes overseas. The federal government, state governments and local governments borrow money to make up the difference, but this borrowing makes the debt problems worse. There is no sign that the economy will recover and the borrowing has to come to an end. But America continues to consume more wealth than they produce. Read the rest of this entry »
Three decades after the controversial one-child policy, millions of men of marrying age cannot find spouses as China is facing a bride shortage. The Child policy continues to be enforced for many years to come and the inequality is expected to only increase. The average ratio is 105 boys born for every 100 girls. And the gender ratio is even getting worse. Chinese government figures show that by 2020 there will be close to 40 million more men who are 19-years and younger than women. Already there are practices like human trafficking arising as a result of a desperate families which see no other options.
During the period 2000 till 2010 Bali saw its highest growth rate in the last 50 years, with the resort island’s population growing by 2.15 percent from 3.15 million to 3.89 million. Over these 50 years the population grew with 118.5 percent from 1.78 to 3.89 million. In terms of population growth, Bali ranked second in the country as the province with the highest growth rate. With the island’s total area of 6.000 square kilometer population density in Bali reached 673 people per square kilometer, while the national average is 124 people per square kilometer. The governor spoke out on the need for better resources to live up to the needs of the growing population.
In the Philippines Greater Manila the population is 20 million, rising by another quarter of a million every year. Furthermore, there are 10.000 newborns every hour in the Philippines while the country is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and more than a third of the people in the Philippines live in poverty. In India, the most densely populated nation in the world, almost half of the children are malnourished. Read the rest of this entry »
Most people agree that the Arab Spring started with a salesman setting himself on fire as a protest against corruption. Though this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. There had already been social unrest due to poverty, unemployment and social injustice. These days there are groups that suggest that the increased food were the main contributor to the social unrest. The protests do not only reflect the long-standing political failings of government, but also the sudden desperate straits of a vulnerable population. If food prices remain to be blown out of proportion, it is likely to cause future social disruption.
It is always easy to point fingers in times of a crisis and the “Rich West” does get quite some critic on causing poverty. Some of the factors that increased the food prices were the increased demand of emerging markets, stagnation in the production or the use of biofuel. Biofuel is more sustainable but there are down sides to using food as fuel instead of serving as food, logically the rich countries have more purchasing power and the food prices go up. Though they cannot explain that the food prices increased by 71% during only 15 months between the end of 2006 and March 2008. So what caused the increased food prices? Read the rest of this entry »
The last American troops just left Iraq, with mixed feelings from the Iraqi’s. On the one hand they did not consider themselves as being a liberated nation but more an occupied nation, on the other hand, there is not much trust in the government as they are seen as “a group of thieves“ and are believed to lead the country into sedition and civil war. This is an opportunity to exam whether Iraq is better off after the invasion, disregarding that the intentions of America to invade were doubtful.
That the Iraqi’s have more freedom than under the previous dictatorial regime of Saddam and they have gained their democracy. However, these alone do not improve the standard of living of the average citizen nor does it provide food, jobs or services.
Iraq has known some good times under Saddam during the 1980’s but bad government decisions such as starting a war with Iran and the invasion of Kuwait had put pressure on the economy. In particular the economic sanctions instated by the U.S. following the Kuwait invasion. By the time the U.S. invaded Iraq was in a miserable state. The looting that took place immediately after the overthrow of Saddam along with a slow reconstruction effort appeared to make things worse.
Two Iraqi women carry furniture away from a burning government building in downtown Baghdad.
After the Gulf war, the Gross National Product per Capita had declined after which it rose to USD 770 just before the invasion. The invasion brought it further down to USD 570, but slowly started to increase to approximately USD 3,100 in 2008. Until recently inflation was a major cause for the decline in living standards in Iraq. Fuel and energy expenses grew 590 percent from 2002 to 2005. They continued to go up 129 percent from 2005 to 2006. Were the average Iraqi family used to spent 11 percent Read the rest of this entry »
People line up for visiting hours at Kerobokan Prison where the Bali Nine and other Australians are held in Bali, Indonesia.
For study experience and a broader view on foreign policies the International Protocol And Diplomatic studies (IPAD) went to visit the Kerobokan Prison located near Kuta Bali Indonesia. Quite a thing visiting a prison, most of us had even never set foot in a western prison. Brave, but uncertain what to expect, we left our safe hotel towards the prison. Waiting in front of a very unwelcoming door one begins to observe. These people are wives with young children, girlfriends, mothers waiting to see their husband, father, boyfriends, and sons. Why did we go here again? Then there is doubt, a feeling that to some extent you’re guilty of some sort of doom tourism.
There were some arrangements with a guard, who however, was nowhere to be found upon our arrival. After living in Indonesia you learn never to give up, and so we didn’t. While a long conversation ensued the situation started to look more and more uncertain while the minutes passed by, the taxi driver jumped in to help out. As it turned out someone he knows is serving time for drug possession. Suddenly the whole situation swiftly turned around and after giving the guards an ID card, we were issued with special visitor ID tags. Other visitors had to settle with a stamp, the visitor ID tags gave us more freedom to walk around and the visiting hours were not applicable. Read the rest of this entry »
Although the editors of the Asia Now blog have left the floods in Thailand behind for some time , we are still on top of the event! There was already a blog article posted on the subject but there are now rumors of moving the capital of Thailand to safer grounds. This might sound unfeasible, but is it really?
In fact it would not be the first time Thailand moves its capital, the reason back then was that it’s former capital was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of their kingdom and a shift from in capital from the city of Ayutthaya to Bangkok. This being way back in 1782, one might think that it is not feasible in modern time. Wrong, Myanmar moved its administrative capital only a few years ago, back in 2005.
As the floods in Bangkok shows little sign of getting better, and its impact on Thailand’s economy and the global supply chain of many computer and automotive components are expected to be severe. Several other non-economic issues start to rise as well, such as people getting stranded throughout Bangkok. Not to mention the government’s messages which remain confusing and hard to understand, this being a result of the division in the Thai political society, in times in which unity in the political system is a necessity. In addition, water borne diseases are starting to become a serious issue in Bangkok and the outlying suburbs. Read the rest of this entry »
U.S. President Barack Obama has begun a nine-day tour through Asia at a time when his economy is struggling to emerge from a deep recession. Maybe he will put a higher focus on the Asian markets as Europe is most likely or already is in a new born recession as a result of the weakening Euro. Or even worse, they have been tea leave reading and Italy is on the merge of a bankruptcy.