05/26/2015ASIA Southeast Asia: billions of dollars in weapons to counter the threat from China Over the past 15 years, defence spending by ASEAN nations has gone up more than three folds. By 2020, it should reach US$ 52 billion, especially in naval procurement. As tensions in the South China Sea rise, Southeast Asian nations buy submarines, amphibious craft and corvettes. Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Southeast Asian nations are getting into an arms race, with spending centred on their navies and coastguards, this according to IHS Janes Defence Weekly.
Defence spending by members of the Association...
05/22/2015INDIA For Catholic Church, “mining threatens India’s tribal peoples” by Shafique Khokhar In Odisha, the Office for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops' Conference looked at the effects of heavy mining on indigenous communities. For an Adivasi leader, “tribal cultures die when their peoples are forced to leave their lands."
05/22/2015CHINA – ASIA Beijing and Delhi to lead Asian ‘super bank’ A consensus has emerged from a meeting of the lender’s founding members. To avoid undue European influence, Asian members have accepted that China’s share of the bank’s capitalisation will be between 25 and 30 per cent with India as second largest shareholder. Germany will be represented on the bank’s board of directors.
05/22/2015CHINA Beijing returns to Soviet planning to save the Party by Willy Lam The Chinese economic strategy emphasizes the role of state-controlled companies. President Xi: "The Chinese Communist Party should control the economy if it wants to rule the country forever." Big profits for private companies close to the Party elite. The initiative strengthens control over interior regions and contains the centrifugal forces. Beijing can absorb the nation’s excess production. The theory of the "three non-changes". The marginalization of the Premier Li Keqiang who wanted to liberalize the market.
05/21/2015INDONESIA Jakarta cracks down on illegal fishing by sinking 41 foreign vessels Ships from China, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines are now at the bottom of the sea. With Indonesian President Widodo taking a hard-line position, tensions in the South China Sea could worsen. Now, a deal on disputed maritime borders seems unlikely.
05/20/2015NEPAL For survivors, psychological problems more damaging than the earthquake by Christopher Sharma Almost a month after the earthquake, people are discouraged and fearful. Two million Nepalese suffer from post-traumatic syndrome whilst thousands are still waiting for help. For apostolic vicar, counselling and spiritual assistance are a priority.
05/20/2015CHINA Beijing to focus on new technologies to revamp economy The State Council unveiled an ambitious ten-year plan to upgrade manufacturing, including ocean engineering and aerospace technology, to pull the country out of its current impasse. With rising labour costs and environmental degradation, China has no choice; however, some analysts believe the private capital and foreign knowhow are needed.
05/20/2015CHINA Guizhou: woman can complete pregnancy despite order to abort Both she and her new husband had a child from their previous marriage. She had been told she would lose her job if she did not have an abortion. China’s one-child policy is enforced unequally across the country. Despite promises of easing it, violence still surrounds its enforcement.
05/20/2015CARITAS - INDIA Caritas India: Organic farming to counter rising famer suicides In 2014 at least 1,109 farmers took their lives: 986 in Maharashtra alone. Workers go into debt to buy fertilizers and pesticides, but the crops fail and they cannot repay the bills. The Executive Director Fr. Frederick D'Souza speaks to AsiaNews about the Catholic Charity’s response to the emergency.
05/20/2015CARITAS - THAILAND Caritas Thailand, a home for 120 thousand Burmese refugees Reception centers for the ethnic Karen refugees in nine refugee camps on the western border of the country. Caritas activities include medical care in villages, and aid to small landowners. An aid worker: "We do not just give material aid. We have to meet people's lives. "
05/19/2015VATICAN – ASIA For Card Vegliò, the migrant crisis can be solved by investing in poor countries The president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants spoke to AsiaNews about humanitarian emergencies in Europe and Southeast Asia. For him, the latter are primarily a political problem, and governments should show “a little more good will”. Shelling boats will not help countries from where people flee.
05/19/2015RUSSIA – CHINA Moscow Patriarchate: China authorises the ordination of Chinese Orthodox priests on its territory by Marta Allevato Metropolitan Hilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘foreign minister’, made the announcement after a visit to China where he met the leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The first priest should serve in Harbin. Two more ordinations are expected. With a new Cold War as the background, the Moscow-Beijing strategic alliance also has a Church connection with the People's Republic recognising the latter’s 'political' role in Russia.