Koalas almost bring down an Australian state government

EVERYONE LIKES koalas. Lots of people worry about their dwindling numbers. When fires tore along Australia’s east coast last summer, some humans risked their lives to rescue them. Strange, then, that a dispute about their conservation almost blew up a harmonious coalition government in New South Wales.

Its two contingents, the Liberals and the Nationals, have governed in a conservative partnership for generations. This falling out was triggered by an obscure policy which makes it somewhat harder for lan

Can Asean balance growth and sustainability in post-Covid infrastructure development?

Historically, Asean has looked overseas for investments, mainly from China and Japan, to make up shortfalls in infrastructure capital. However, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, for example, has drawn criticism for funding emissions-heavy infrastructure in Southeast Asia.

While infrastructure development in Asean has been mainly driven by governments, Tay said there was a need for more private sector finance for infrastructure, which, before the pandemic, presented businesses with a US$210 billion investment opportunity annually.

Sustainability efforts have been focused on environmental but not social factors—the shorter leg of the tree.

Pang Yee Ean, CEO, Surbana Jurong Capital

Currently,

Fifteen Thai villages conferred first Thailand Rural Tourism Awards 2020

Bangkok, 28 September 2020 – Fifteen village communities nationwide have become the first recipients of the Thailand Rural Tourism Award 2020 launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to help the villages attract visitors and create jobs in the rural areas.

Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana presided over the royal awards ceremony on 27 September, World Tourism Day, at the Grand Hall, The Athenee Hotel, Bangkok, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said the inaugural awards were the result of very successful cooperation between more tha

A domestic worker takes on her Singaporean boss—and wins

THE CASE should have been thrown out. The police investigation was botched. The accuser’s testimony was riddled with inconsistencies. But on March 20th last year Parti Liyani, an Indonesian maid accused by her Singaporean employer of attempted theft, was convicted and sentenced to 26 months in jail. That is where she would be now, were it not for her successful appeal to the High Court—a rare feat for a foreign domestic worker. On September 4th she was acquitted by Justice Chan Seng Onn, whose ruling declared her employer’s motive for filing charges “improper” and reminded the lower-court judge “that an accused person is presu

Armenia and Azerbaijan inch closer to war as both sides declare martial law amid deadly clashes

Fatal clashes have broken out between Azerbaijan and Armenia, prompting the latter to declare martial law and order the complete mobilisation of its army in a move that Turkey warned will “throw the region into fire”.

Both sides claimed that the other had launched the first attack in the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with Armenia saying its troops had shot down two Azerbaijani helicopters and destroyed three tanks in response to an air and artillery attack on civilians.

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The young lawmaker who shatters Thailand’s deepest taboo

In a move never before attempted by any Thai politician, opposition MP Rangsiman Rome has proposed a “new deal” between the people and the monarchy to ensure that Thailand becomes a “real democratic constitutional monarchy”.

He said the deal could be reached through a new Constitution, written by an elected charter drafting assembly.

A former student activist, Rangsiman shattered a decades-old taboo by speaking openly in Parliament about the monarchy’s role and power, adding that the revered institution is being exploited by certain groups for their selfish benefit.

“What’s happening does not benefit ordinary people. They know these things would not happen if the monarchy was truly constitutional,” he said during a debate in Parliament last wee

KB Financial is the first Korean bank to stop funding coal-fired power projects

KB Financial Group has become the first bank in South Korea to publish a coal policy, marking a big week for decarbonisation in East Asia.

In an announcement yesterday, the US$11 billion finance group said that its environmental, social and governance (ESG) committee had decided to scrap investments in new coal power projects.

The bank, which is one of Korea’s “big four” finance groups, said that investments would be re-directed towards low-carbon and renewable energy initiatives to better align the company’s activities with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Armenia orders civilians to shelter after Azerbaijan bombs disputed region

Fatal clashes have broken out between Azerbaijan and Armenia, prompting the latter to declare martial law and order the complete mobilisation of its army in a move that Turkey warned will “throw the region into fire”.

Both sides claimed that the other had launched the first attack in the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with Armenia saying its troops had shot down two Azerbaijani helicopters and destroyed three tanks in response to an air and artillery attack on civilians.

Azerbai

As America draws down its troops, Afghans clear their throats

AFTER SIX months of intransigence and delay, the Taliban and Afghan government leaders at last sat down together on September 12th in Doha, the capital of Qatar, to seek an agreement on how to run their country. An accord in February between America and the Taliban mainly concerned the promised withdrawal of American troops by next May, as long as the Taliban guarantees not to harbour terrorists like al-Qaeda.

The Afghan government was not part of that deal. The talks that have just begun will focus on the shape of the country once the Americans have gone. Grievance and bloodshed have mounted over the

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