BANGKOK (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday criticized China’s actions in Asia after meeting his Chinese counterpart for the first time this year amid political tension between the two countries. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a joint news conference with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai after a bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting in Bangkok, Thailand August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool Pompeo spoke out against Chinese “coercion” of Southeast Asian neighbors in disputes over the South China Sea and its dam-building on the Mekong River. His comments highlighted the U.S. divide with China at a meeting in Bangkok of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After meeting China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, Pompeo said both countries wanted to improve ties that have soured on issues ranging from trade, U.S. sanctions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Taiwan and the … [Read more...] about Pompeo criticizes China after meeting top diplomat in Bangkok
Refugee problem in south asia
A few days ago, the leader of a movement that wants its own state asked me how to get one. It was not of course an easy question to answer. But having been involved in various self-determination struggles around the world, I told him what I’ve learnt. Lessons about self-determination – becoming a state – are drawn not from academic studies, legal analysis or books... but from gritty experience. My organisation, Independent Diplomats, and I have advised two of the last three countries that have become independent, Kosovo and South Sudan (the third to become independent most recently is Montenegro). I’ve advised the governments and parties of some that so far have failed to win that goal: Palestine and Catalonia. I’ve worked for or talked with leaders and activists in West Papua, Kashmir, Western Sahara and Somaliland and even the South Tyrol. Indeed I’ve attended the UN Security Council with no less than five … [Read more...] about From conflict to compromise: Lessons in creating a state
THE CHINESE cemetery in Kutkai, a town in the north of Myanmar’s Shan state, is a popular spot to get high. Twitchy men with gaunt faces and wild eyes lurk near its entrance. The ornate tombs provide a good place to stash drugs and weapons away from home. The “Golden Triangle”, where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet, has a long history of drug production and use. For centuries farmers have grown poppies on the hillsides and used them to make opium. For the past 50 years or so, much of that opium has been refined into heroin. More recently the region around Kutkai has become one of the world’s largest production hubs for methamphetamine. Yaba (Thai for “crazy drug”), which is meth mixed with various adulterants, is a fifth of the price it was a few years ago. A single pill costs only 300 kyat ($0.2). Across Asia, demand for drugs is shifting from heroin to meth. In 2013 each drug had a market of about $15bn in East Asia and the Pacific, according to … [Read more...] about Methamphetamines from Myanmar are causing problems across Asia
One of cricket’s most charming attributes is its habit of being played in the strangest places: mountain tops, short-lived sandbanks, the bottom of lakes, the South Pole. But perhaps no venue has ever been as improbable as this. Across south-east Asia, cricket is played in slums and shanty towns all day every day but this was the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. And the players were not weaned with a makeshift bat in their hand. These were Syrian refugees – aged between seven and 15 – who had never played cricket, watched cricket or heard the word cricket until six months ago, in some cases six days. Yet now, exiled in equally uncrickety Lebanon, they were spending a week immersed in cricket. Shatila, set up as a temporary home for displaced Palestinians after the establishment of Israel 70 years ago, is hardly a camp any more. It is a teeming square-kilometre anthill of humanity with maybe 25,000 people – no one knows for sure. They live not in tents but in … [Read more...] about Delight is a cricket pitch in Beirut’s Shatila refugee camp
In the United States today, the rich lay claim to a higher share of our nation’s wealth than they have at any point since the Gilded Age — and foreign-born residents account for a higher share of our nation’s population than at just about any time since that same era. In his 2016 book, The Great Exception: The New Deal & The Limits of American Politics, the historian Jefferson Cowie suggests that these two developments are related. His case is simple: It is hard to implement egalitarian economic policies in the absence of working-class solidarity — and it is hard to achieve the latter in a context of mass, multi-ethnic immigration. According to this analysis, it wasn’t purely coincidence that American workers secured themselves a “New Deal” shortly after Congress passed (profoundly racist) restrictions on immigration, nor that the New Deal consensus unraveled shortly after those restrictions were lifted in 1965. Throughout the Gilded Age, … [Read more...] about Immigration Creates Problems for the Left. Tight Borders Can’t Be the Solution.