With almost 90 percent of Myanmar’s population being devoted Buddhists, the religion has been at the heart of the nation’s very identity for centuries.
But while the pillars of Buddhist teachings are love, compassion and peace, there is a very different variation to the philosophy being taught at the Ma Ba Tha monastery in Yangon’s Insein township.
The monks there are connected to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, the systematic persecution and genocide of the Rohingya in Rakhine state.
Al Jazeera’s unprecedented access to the Ma Ba Tha monastery and its leaders offers a glimpse into how their ultra-nationalist agenda is becoming the blueprint for the political structure of the country. Is the joining of forces between monks and generals threatening Myanmar’s young and fragile democracy?
An Unholy Alliance: Monks and the Military in Myanmar | Featured Documentary
On 23 June 2022, the import of 100 megawatts (MW) of hydropower from Laos to Singapore through Thailand and Malaysia was hailed as a historic milestone. Part of a pilot project known as the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP), this event represented Singapore’s first ever import of renewable energy, and also the first instance of cross-border electricity trade involving four countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
However, this development takes place amid rising concerns for the ecological future of the transboundary Mekong River and the millions of people who depend on it. A 2018 study by the Mekong River Commission concluded that further hydropower development on the river would negatively affect ecosystems, and would reduce soil fertility, rice production, fish yields and food security, while increasing poverty in the river basin.
A dam being built in Laos near the border with Cambodia imperils downstream communities and the Mekong ecosystem as a whole, experts and affected community members say.
The Sekong A dam will close off the Sekong River by the end of this year, restricting its water flow, blocking vital sediment from reaching the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, and cutting off migration routes for a range of fish species.
Experts say the energy to be generated by the dam — 86 megawatts — doesn’t justify the negative impacts, calling it “an absolutely unnecessary project.”
This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network where Gerald Flynn is a fellow.
Controversial changes fuelled protests when they were first proposed in 2019 and could still be challenged in court.
Published On 6 Dec 20226 Dec 2022
Indonesia has passed a controversial new Criminal Code that includes outlawing sex outside marriage and cohabitation, in changes that critics contend could undermine freedoms in the Southeast Asian nation.
The new laws apply to Indonesians and foreigners and also restore a ban on insulting the president, state institutions or Indonesia’s national ideology known as Pancasila.
In Southeast Asia, a region dominated for decades by “strongman” political leaders and where nostalgia for the Soviet Union persists in some quarters, Russian President Vladimir Putin has a strong following among social media users who are sympathetic to his invasion of Ukraine and find his macho self-image appealing.
PHNOM PENH, 13 November 2022 – The Leaders of ASEAN and China welcomed the official launch of negotiations for the upgrade of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA). The upgrade negotiations are meant to ensure that ACFTA contributes to the further deepening and broadening of ASEAN-China economic relations and to both region’s post-pandemic economic recovery. The announcement on the upgrade of the ACFTA was made at the 25th ASEAN-China Summit.
The ACFTA is ASEAN’s oldest FTA among its Dialogue Partners. Upgrading the ACFTA sends a signal to the private sector and all stakeholders that both ASEAN and China are committed to make the ACFTA more relevant to businesses, future-ready, and responsive to global challenges.
SINGAPORE — Thailand and Vietnam have become the top crypto trading hubs among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, beating even financial center Singapore, which has been grappling with new legislation to control the nascent sector.
The two ASEAN members recorded over $100 billion each in crypto buying and selling values from July 2021 to June 2022, according to numbers published on Wednesday by blockchain data platform Chainalysis.
While countries in Asia Pacific have made great strides in controlling bribery for public services, an average score of 45 out of 100 on the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows much more needs to be done to solve the region’s corruption problems.
Some higher-scoring countries are even experiencing a decline as governments fail to address grand corruption, uphold rights and consult citizens.
The top performers in Asia Pacific are New Zealand (CPI score: 88), Singapore (85) and Hong Kong (76). However, most countries sit firmly below the global average of 43. This includes three countries with some of the lowest scores in the world: Cambodia (23), Afghanistan (16) and North Korea (16).
Among those with weak scores are some of the world’s most populous countries, such as China (45) and India (40), and other large economies such as Indonesia (38), Pakistan (28) and Bangladesh (26). A concerning trend across some of these nations is a weakening of anti-corruption institutions or, in some cases, absence of an agency to coordinate action against corruption.
TTCT – Án tuyên giữ nguyên với ông Najib Razak không chỉ là việc bắt một cựu thủ tướng phải đối mặt với những hậu quả do hành động của ông, mà còn là lời khẳng định về sự bình đẳng trước pháp luật của tất cả mọi người.
Ảnh: Foreign Policy
Trong khoản tiền ước tính 4,5 tỉ USD thất thoát từ quỹ 1MDB khiến cựu thủ tướng Malaysia Najib Razak vừa bị tuyên án 12 năm tù, có cả phần tiền được để làm bộ phim Hollywood The Wolf of Wall Street (với sự góp mặt của tài tử Leonardo DiCaprio) về… lừa đảo trong thế giới tài chính.
Phần lớn khoản tiền đó, vốn nhiều hơn toàn bộ ngân quỹ hằng năm của một nửa các chính quyền trên thế giới, được giới lãnh đạo quỹ này, cá nhân và gia đình ông Najib, vung vào du thuyền, bài bạc, và cả một chiếc vòng đeo cổ kim cương giá 23 triệu USD.