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Peering into Thailand’s turbulent future (Apr 16)
Authors: Pasuk Phongpaichit, Chulalongkorn University, and Chris Baker, Bangkok The courts may shortly remove Thailand’s prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra. This would mean that in the past eight years, four prime ministers have been felled and four election results voided — surely a world record. Behind this turbulence is major social change. Over one generation, average [...]

Japan and Australia ‘beef up’ relations (Apr 15)
Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra The Economic Partnership Agreement that Japan recently signed with Australia (JAEPA) has everything to do with Japanese trade strategy and little if anything to do with agricultural reform. Some of the commentary on the agreement has argued that JAEPA was the product of Abe’s reform agenda, but it is [...]

Asia bucks military spending decline (Apr 15)
Factors including China's military modernization, India-Pakistan rivalry and America's "Pacific pivot" all combined to help Asia raise military spending in 2013. The US weapons industry appears to be the main beneficiary, and continuing tensions over North Korea's nuclear program and territorial disputes suggest the upward trajectory is unlikely to slow anytime soon. - John Feffer

Breaking bad in southern NATOstan (Apr 15)
Joie de vivre and fine wines won out as the Roving Eye and Roving Son spurned NATO's anti-Russian paranoia in Brussels in favor of breaking out to Provence. The road passed through towns strong in culture and artisan delights yet paved with malaise, revealing why - at a time China and Russia are forging ahead with mega-deals - locals in NATO's southern territory view its economic march with Van Goghian apprehension. - Pepe Escobar

US veterans promote 'right to heal' (Apr 15)
Recent shootings of soldiers at Fort Hood and other US military bases and rising suicide rates among American troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are inexorably linked to the wars. Now, veterans are holding the US government accountable for innocent victims on all sides of the fighting. - Phyllis Bennis

New China-India era no shoo-in under Modi (Apr 15)
Indian prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's investor-friendly image, nurtured while overseeing a boom in Gujarat state, likely appeals greatly to Chinese firms frustrated by India's opaque regulations and labor laws. However, while a victory for Modi could usher in a new bilateral era when the country's voting ends mid-May, there's a chance that nationalism could sabotage that opportunity. - Santosh Pai

Can Pakistan free itself from polio? (Apr 15)
Author: Sanchita Bhattacharya, Institute for Conflict Management In February this year, Pakistan’s ambassador Masood Khan told a UN panel that his country, under Nawaz Sharif, hopes to eradicate polio in 2014. How realistic is this goal? There are only three countries where the polio virus (officially, poliomyelitis) remains endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In comparison [...]

Lifting Asia out of poverty needs to be done equally (Apr 14)
Author: Juzhong Zhuang, Asian Development Bank Developing-Asia’s impressive growth continues but faces a new challenge — inequality is on the rise. Over the last few decades, the region has lifted people out of poverty at an unprecedented rate. But more recent experience contrasts with the ‘growth with equity’ story that characterised the newly industrialised economies’ [...]

Jokowi’s Party Takes Lead in Indonesia’s Elections, But Steep Road Ahead (Apr 10)
By Sandra HamidOut of Indonesia’s 186 million eligible voters, an estimated 139 million cast their ballots on Wednesday to elect 235,637 legislative candidates in competition for nearly 19,699 positions across the country. It will take up to a month for official results to be released, but early "quick counts" released by CSIS and Cyrus Network barely four hours after polling stations closed suggest a relatively high voter turnout of 75 percent. As has been the case since 1999 when Indonesians turned out for the first post-Suharto democratic election, Indonesians have once again shown their eagerness and determination to take part in deciding the course of their country, the third-largest democracy in the world.

India’s Youth in the World’s Biggest Election (Apr 10)
By Mandakini Devasher SurieElection fever is at an all-time high in India as polling for the 16th general elections began on Monday. In sheer numbers, the election is the largest in the world, with 814 million people registered to vote for 543 representatives of the lower house of parliament at nearly a million polling stations between April 7 and May 12.

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