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ANN: Asian economies suffer mixed results as trade war continues

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373450

ANN: Asian economies suffer mixed results as trade war continues

Jul 23. 2019
By Ishan Joshi and Cod Satrusayang/Asia News Network

86 Viewed

In the years before the current trade war, China and the developing countries in Asia enjoyed sparkling growth rates as a result of the region’s intertwined free trade and special economic zones and relatively cheap labour.

But as the United States, has increasingly under President Donald Trump, looked inward with protectionist and mercantilist policies, the region’s growth rates have come under threat.

A trade war between the United States and China have made the headlines but economic data from around the region points to struggling economies and a scramble to find alternative outlets for exports.

The China Factor

China has had to reinvent its economy and seek new trade partners as Trump continues to yo-yo between inflammatory rhetoric and rapprochement centered around his personal diplomacy.

While China’s Belt and Road Initiative has yet to fully take off, its diplomats have made overtures to both the European Union and the African Economic Community, respectively.

China has also courted the United Kingdom, lining itself to be the UK’s predominant trade partner in a post Brexit world.

The US’s decrease in trade with China has also seen other regions step in to fill the void.

According to statistics put out by the Chinese customs authority, ASEAN has replaced the United States as China’s second largest trade partner behind only the European Union.

Chinese exports fell in the first quarter of 2019 by over 8% while American exports to China dropped 31% compared to the same period from the previous year.

This has been made up, in-part, by China’s increasing trade with Southeast Asia.

Beijing has also tried to stimulate growth with packages and propaganda campaign designed to increase domestic consumption. By some measures, it appeared to be working with domestic retail sales up 9.8 percent in June of this year.

However, these moves do not fully fill the void that has been left vacant as a result of the trade war.

Economic growth slumped to a near three-decade low in Q2 of 2019, the weakest rate since at least 1992, when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) started to publish quarterly data.

Despite, Beijing’s media putting on a brave face, it is clear that the trade war has affected China’s economy and has brought it to the negotiating with the US.

ASEAN

While ASEAN countries have done its best to fill in the void left by the United States in the Chinese market, the trade war has undoubtedly left its mark on the more mature economies in the region.

Singapore’s economy, as the most developed country in the region, performed worse than expected in the second quarter of 2019, its lowest rate since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) pegged Singapore’s economic growth at 0.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year, well below analysts’ expectations of 1.1 per cent according to a Bloomberg forecast.

Indonesia’s annual economic growth eased to 5.07 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 from 5.18 percent in the previous three-month period and below market expectations of 5.18 per cent. This was the weakest growth rate in one year, as both private consumption and fixed investment rose at a lower pace.

The developing countries, however, continue their strong growth filling the manufacturing void left by China while seeking Chinese investments for infrastructure and development.

Vietnam’s economy continues to be one of the fastest-growing economies in ASEAN. Economic growth was maintained in the second quarter at 6.7% while manufacturing growth sored into the double digits.

The Philippines, Cambodia and Laos also maintained solid growth rates, fueled in part by Chinese investments and infrastructure projects.

Analysts say that these investments, while fueling enviable growth rates in the short term, may lead nations into debt traps to the mega Chinese projects like the Belt and Road Initiative and the AIIB.

North East Asia

South Korea, as the most economically developed country to be integrated with China in Asia, undoubtedly felt the pains of the trade war.

The South Korean economy expanded 1.7 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019. It was the weakest growth rate since the third quarter of 2009, amid a slowdown in manufacturing and a sharp contraction in construction.

South Korea’s major business groups, meanwhile, are shifting to emergency mode, setting detailed contingency plans for a variety of scenarios amid concerns that the restrictions on exports of key tech materials from Japan to Korea could stay in place for a long time.

Leaders of the country’s five biggest conglomerates — Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group, LG Group and Lotte Group — are tightening their reins on the groups’ operations, bracing for possible ripple effects on the economy and business environment as a result of Japan’s decision.

Japan meanwhile is doing better than expected despite low domestic demand. The Japanese economy expanded for the second consecutive period in the first quarter of 2019, defying market expectations.

GDP expanded 2.1% in seasonally-adjusted annualized terms (SAAR) in Q1, above the 1.6% (SAAR) expansion registered in Q4 and comfortably beating market analysts’ expectations of a 0.2% drop.

However, like China, Japan has come under sharp US criticism over its trade imbalance and Shinzo Abe’s government will likely have to navigate President Trump’s mercurial trade policies to continue Japan’s unexpected growth.

Asian economies suffer mixed results as trade war continues

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Govt takes active steps to penetrate Chinese market

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373442

Govt takes active steps to penetrate Chinese market

Jul 23. 2019
By Vientiane Times
Asia News Network

49 Viewed

The government has given the green light for Chinese companies to develop trade-facilitation related infrastructure and invest in agriculture with a view to bolstering exports to China.

The move is part of the government’s preparations to capitalise on the US$5.9-million Laos-China railway, which is slated for completion in 2021.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Lien Thikeo told Vientiane Times recently that Laos is currently building the nation’s biggest modern warehouse, located in Vientiane.

“The cost of this project amounts to hundreds of millions of US dollars. The first phase of construction will cost as much as US$140 million,” he said.

“We have met with the developers of the railway to discuss the possibility of building a 2-km rail track to connect to the warehouse.”

The government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese company to carry out a feasibility study regarding the construction of the warehouse during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Laos in 2017.

This company is in the process of sourcing funding to build the warehouse which would store goods made in Laos before export to China and Asean countries.

China has also agreed to help Laos build a rubber research centre in the Dongmakkhay area of Vientiane’s Xaythany district to certify the quality of rubber produced in Laos before export to China.

This would ensure that all the rubber tapped from the country’s 130,000 hectares of rubber trees was certified and granted a quota for export to China, Dr Lien said.

The government has also partnered with Chinese companies to build a plant and animal quarantine station in Luang Namtha province to ensure that crops grown in Laos can be certified and are acceptable to the Chinese market.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is working to define areas for rice production in Khammuan and Savannakhet provinces.

They are in the process of developing the necessary infrastructure for rice production and processing for export to China. Modern rice mills will be built in Vientiane and the provinces of Borikhamxay, Khammuan, Savannakhet and Champassak. This will ensure that good quality rice is produced before export to China.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has adjusted its policy on farming and has moved away from merely encouraging people to grow crops for domestic consumption. It is now urging crop diversification so that more crops are available for export.

“We will not just grow one particular crop but will grow several crops concurrently based on market demand,” Dr Lien said.

Chinese entrepreneurs are flocking to Laos to explore business opportunities, particularly in relation to the cultivation of crops for export to China.

This process will see investors providing funding, technical advice, markets or buyers for crops while villagers will provide the necessary labour and land.

The government is also carrying out surveys and identifying the needs of the Chinese market to identify which crops are required by Chinese consumers.

Duterte: ‘I will end my term fighting’

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373441

Duterte: ‘I will end my term fighting’

Jul 23. 2019
IT AIN’T OVER YET President Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation address before a joint session of Congress, revisiting old issues of illegal drugs and corruption, and vowing “not to coast along” or “while away his time” during his remaining three years in office. —JOAN BONDOC/Philippine Daily Inquirer 

IT AIN’T OVER YET President Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation address before a joint session of Congress, revisiting old issues of illegal drugs and corruption, and vowing “not to coast along” or “while away his time” during his remaining three years in office. —JOAN BONDOC/Philippine Daily Inquirer
By Philippine Daily Inquirer
Asia News Network

45 Viewed

MANILA, Philippines — Delivering his State of the Nation address on Monday, his fourth since taking office in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte stood his ground on the controversial issues hounding his presidency — his brutal war on drugs that has drawn international condemnation because of the thousands of lives lost and his embrace of China in the country’s territorial dispute with the Asian giant in the South China Sea.

But the toughest stand he made in his speech that lasted more than an hour and half was pursuit of his seemingly singlehanded fight against official corruption, stressing he had the will and the courage to do it.

“Few men imbued with the will and the courage to do what he believes is right and just and whatever be the opposition in terms of numbers and noise, make a majority. For it is not the eagle in the fight, but the fight in the eagle that matters,” the President said as he addressed the opening session of the 18th Congress.

“Believe me, I will end my term fighting,” he vowed.

On the road leading the House of Representatives in Quezon City, where the joint session was held, thousands of Mr. Duterte’s critics marched in the rain to blast his seemingly single-minded focus on drugs and corruption and defeatist stand on the South China Sea row.

Organizers claimed 40,000 people joined the protest, but the Quezon City police estimated the crowd at 5,500.

Thousands of policemen were deployed to the area to keep order. No untoward incidents were reported.

Mr. Duterte demanded more action against illegal drugs and corruption in the second half of his term.

‘Period of consequences’

At the same time, he vowed that the last three years of his presidency won’t see him sit back and fade away.

According to Mr. Duterte, the next few years will be the “period of consequences.”

“The consequences of what we did and did not do but should have done during the first half of my term,” he added.

He made a specific call for death for drug peddlers and plunderers to deal with the problems wrought by illegal drugs and corruption.

He also spoke at length of his disdain for corruption in government and ranted against selfishness, characterizing it as the main driving force behind the problem.

“To borrow the language of F. Sionil Jose, who said, we have not risen above and beyond the parochial interests. Our warped loyalty to family, friends and tribal kin continue to exact a heavy toll on our programs designed to uplift the poor and reassure our investors, our foreign investors, and the business sector in this country,” he said.

‘Corruption is pervasive’

The recent allegations of massive fraud that hounded the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. showed that “corruption is pervasive,” he said.

He noted that huge amounts of medical funds were disbursed to pay padded claims and imaginary treatments of fictitious patients.

“I am grossly disappointed. The government is conned of millions of pesos, which could be used to treat illnesses and possibly save the lives of many,” he said.

Mr. Duterte also said he would remove Bureau of Customs employees who are under investigation for corruption.

If he cannot fire them, he would ask them to report to Congress, he said. Anything to take them out of the premises of the customs bureau, he added.

The President said he wanted to see results.

‘We talk too much’

“We, in [the] government, talk too much, act too little, and too slow,” he said.

He said he had aired the same complaint when he was mayor of Davao City, and little had changed since.

“We are long on rhetoric but short on accomplishments. It’s either you, Congress, or even the executive department and maybe me. So I am here to rectify my own error,” Mr. Duterte said.

“That is why, I implore those who occupy positions of power and authority, to let your deeds and accomplishments do the talking. Lead by example. Words ring hollow when not followed by positive and prioritized action,” he added.

The people must do their part by not tolerating corrupt officials as well, the President said. “Be assertive,” he stressed.

File complaints

They could make a scene or file a complaint using the government hotline if an official asked them for a bribe. He himself has not held back on hitting people, he said.

“And I have done that. I will be prank with you. I am the only President who up to now mauls people inside Malacañang,” he said.

Mr. Duterte also told five government agencies—the Land Transportation Office, Social Security System, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Land Registration Authority, and Pag-Ibig Fund—to improve their services.

They, along with local governments, must make things easier for the the public, he said.

His directive was simple: simplify their processes.

“I’ve been asking that from you since three years ago. If you’re unable to do that now, I will really kill you,” he said.

Things not done

Mr. Duterte said he assumed full responsibility for the things that were not done in his first three years.

“Though we cannot change the past, we will not squander the future,” he said.

He would push harder for programs he had started, but he would do this within the parameters of the law.

His goal is a comfortable life for all Filipinos and a Philippines better than the one he grew up in, he added.

“I will not merely coast along or while away my time during the remaining years of my administration. It ain’t my style. But I will not stop until I reach the finish line. Then and only then shall I call it a day,” he said.

Revenue raisers

Mr. Duterte did not skimp on praises in his speech.

He commended Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chief Andrea Domingo for contributing P16 billion of the P61 billion collected from government-owned and -controlled corporations as of this month.

“Allow more gambling, Ma’am,” he added, drawing laughter from the crowd.

He also noted that the customs bureau was able to collect P585 billion despite being ridden with corruption. The figure would be higher if the agency were cleaner, he said.

Mr. Duterte likewise sang the praises of the team that headed the cleanup of Boracay Island, particularly Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Guiling Mamondiong.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones also got a special mention for her “exceptional leadership,” with Mr. Duterte noting that there are 27 million students, from kindergarten to senior high school.

Urgent legislation

The President called on Congress to pass important legislation, including the second package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, or the “Trabaho” bill, to spur job generation.

The bill would reduce the corporate income tax to 20 percent and make tax incentives timebound, targeted and performance-based.

Another bill that the President asked the lawmakers to immediately pass is a new version of the Salary Standardization Law that would raise the pay of government employees, including teachers and nurses.

The President stressed the inclusion of a raise for teachers in the proposal.

“It’s not that big, but it will tide you over during this hard time. A little bit bigger than before,” he said, addressing himself to public school teachers who have been demanding he keep his campaign promise to raise their pay.

Mr Duterte also asked Congress to pass a law that would create a Department of Water Resources and a Water Regulatory Commission to deal with water problems, such as the shortage that his Metro Manila in recent weeks. —With reports from Nestor Corrales and Gabriel Pabico Lucy

Court rejects 58 legislative election petitions

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373439

Court rejects 58 legislative election petitions

Jul 23. 2019
Security measures: Police personnel stand guard outside the Constitutional Court in Central Jakarta ahead of the court’s ruling announcement on the disputed presidential election result recently. (The Jakarta Post/Dhoni Setiawan )

Security measures: Police personnel stand guard outside the Constitutional Court in Central Jakarta ahead of the court’s ruling announcement on the disputed presidential election result recently. (The Jakarta Post/Dhoni Setiawan )
By The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network

47 Viewed

The Constitutional Court has rejected 58 of the 260 petitions filed against April’s legislative election results.

The rejections were submitted by all three panels of the court. Of the 58 rejected petitions, 14 were handled by panel one, 23 by panel two and 21 by panel three.

Additionally, the court chose not to dismiss 80 petitions but would not review them further in the preliminary hearing.

Justice Aswanto said the court would immediately hand down its rulings regarding such petitions in the final hearing in August.

“To those who filed petitions that were neither dismissed nor brought into the preliminary hearing, please await an official summons from the court to a final hearing,” Aswanto said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.

Meanwhile, the court has decided to continue reviewing the remaining 122 lawsuits. Of the 122 remaining lawsuits, 48 were handled by panel one, 33 by panel two and 41 by panel three.

Earlier this month, 260 cases, comprising 250 petitions filed by political parties and 10 filed by individual candidates, were registered by the court.

General Elections Commission (KPU) representative Hasyim Asy’ari said in a statement that the preliminary hearing would likely result in three possible outcomes.

The first outcome was to hold a recount of election votes. The second outcome is a final rejection, meaning that the petitioner’s case has not been proven in court. The third outcome is to accept the petitioner’s case, based on the evidence.

China passes US on Fortune Global 500 for first time

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373437

China passes US on Fortune Global 500 for first time

Jul 23. 2019
People in front of a Sinopec Group stand during a conference in Shanghai on April 1, 2019. (PHOTO / IC)

People in front of a Sinopec Group stand during a conference in Shanghai on April 1, 2019. (PHOTO / IC)
By China Daily Hong Kong
Asia News Network

128 Viewed

The number of Chinese companies which made it on the Fortune Global 500 reached 129, surpassing the US for the first time as the latter country had 121 companies on the list, the magazine reported on Monday.

China’s largest State-owned oil and gas company Sinopec Group climbed one spot on Fortune’s Global 500 list, reaching second place due to sharp gains in both revenue and profits last year.

Behind Walmart — whose revenue was US$514.41 billion — Sinopec Group saw a 26.8 percent growth in revenue to US$414.65 billion last year, and profits in 2018 reached US$5.85 billion, a year-on-year growth of 280.1 percent.

The strong results were driven largely by robust domestic demand for gas and chemical products, according to the report.

Another Chinese company, China National Petroleum, grabbed the fourth spot with revenue of US$392.98 billion in 2018, followed by State Grid with US$387.06 billion.

With revenue of US$69.85 billion, JD.com continues to lead Chinese internet companies, reaching the 139th spot on the list.

Alibaba Group Holding, whose revenue reached US$56.15 billion, was the company with the fastest growth rate, jumping 118 spots to 182.

A bird view of Beijing's central business district, which is home to the headquarters of a great number of companies on the Fortune Global 500. (PHOTO / VCG)

A bird view of Beijing’s central business district, which is home to the headquarters of a great number of companies on the Fortune Global 500. (PHOTO / VCG)

Gree Electric Appliances Inc and Xiaomi Corp were newcomers to this year’s list, and 9-year old Xiaomi was the youngest company among the Global 500.

Three Chinese companies were included in the top 10 of the Fortune Global 500, and are mainly involved in natural resources.

Pro-establishment lawmakers call for inquiry into violence

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373435

Pro-establishment lawmakers call for inquiry into violence

Jul 23. 2019
Pro-establishment lawmakers hold a joint press briefing condemning the attack on the liaison office and the beating up of suspected protesters in Yuen Long. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

Pro-establishment lawmakers hold a joint press briefing condemning the attack on the liaison office and the beating up of suspected protesters in Yuen Long. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
By China Daily Hong Kong
Asia News Network

55 Viewed

More than 20 pro-establishment lawmakers on Monday held a joint press briefing condemning the attack on the liaison office by radical protesters and the beating up of suspected protesters by a group of men in white shirts at Yuen Long MTR station.

The legislators urged police to launch a major investigation into both incidents on Sunday.

In a joint statement, the lawmakers stressed that the radical acts were in defiance of the nation’s sovereignty and an insult to all Chinese people. In besieging the liaison office and defacing the national emblem, the protesters had committed a grave violation of the constitution, the statement added.

The protesters had also defied the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle, undermining social order to the detriment of the people of Hong Kong, the statement added.

On Sunday, a group of radical protesters left a peaceful rally against the now-suspended extradition law amendment and marched to the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, one of the three central government institutions in the city.

In besieging the building by setting up makeshift barriers, the protesters spray-painted derogatory graffiti, threw eggs at the walls and smeared black paint on the national emblem.

The lawmakers urged an end to violence and criticized those who condone aggressive protests and provoke confrontations with the police.

The legislators said they are urging others to join their cause against violence.

Wong Kwok-kin, former chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said the defacing of the national emblem was “a serious political matter” as the perpetrators were advocating “Hong Kong independence”.

Wong called on the city to engage in rational and peaceful discussions to resolve differences and set a new direction for the future of Hong Kong.

According to the city’s laws, any person who desecrates the national flag or national emblem by publicly and willfully burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling on it commits an offense that is liable to a significant fine and imprisonment for up to three years.

Lo Wai-kwok, chairman of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, the city’s political party representing the business sector, said any violence that causes injuries to police, demonstrators, or any other residents should be rejected and condemned.

Chairwoman of the New People’s Party Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee expressed concern that the violence would continue to spread and become a new normal. She urged people from all social and economic sectors, regardless of their political views, to condemn and renounce violence.

Joining the condemnation was social dignitaries in the city. Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Tung Chee-hwa said he was saddened by the desecration of the national emblem, which is the symbol of a nation.

A small fraction of the community has taken advantage of an inclusive society and deliberately sabotaged Hong Kong’s economy and social order, undermining the relations between the central government and the SAR, Tung said.

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce also stressed in a statement its strong condemnation against the violence and called for a swift resolution to the current impasse that has polarized Hong Kong community.

HK officials condemn multiple violent incidents

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373429

HK officials condemn multiple violent incidents

Jul 23. 2019
The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, together with the Secretaries of Department and Directors of Bureau, and the Commissioner of Police, meet the media at the Chief Executive's Office, July 22, 2019. [Photo by Calvin Ng/chinadaily.com.cn]

The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, together with the Secretaries of Department and Directors of Bureau, and the Commissioner of Police, meet the media at the Chief Executive’s Office, July 22, 2019. [Photo by Calvin Ng/chinadaily.com.cn]
By China Daily
Asia News Network

93 Viewed

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor sternly denounced on Monday what she called the unprecedented violence in the city on Sunday, saying violence will never be a solution but will only breed more violence.

Lam was condemning the violence during the siege of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR in Sai Wan, Hong Kong Island-Beijing’s top representative authority in the city-and the attacks in Yuen Long in the New Territories on Sunday night.

Lam and all principal officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the commissioner of police met with the media on Monday afternoon.

She said such violent acts are vicious and have caused citywide indignation. She also promised punishment for anyone involved in such acts.

A peaceful protest against the now-suspended extradition amendment bill on Sunday afternoon turned ugly at night as radical protesters besieged the Liaison Office.

They defaced the national emblem mounted at the entrance of the office and painted offensive graffiti on the office’s exterior.

Lam said the vandalism is in blatant defiance of the nation’s sovereignty and an open challenge to the “one country, two systems” principle. It has caused great harm to the SAR, which is governed under the principle, and it hurt the sentiments of people in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland.

Lam also strongly denounced the “astonishing and outrageous” attacks in Yuen Long in the New Territories. Late on Sunday night, attackers in white shirts, some wearing masks, assaulted bystanders and commuters at the Yuen Long subway station with bamboo sticks and metal poles. They said they were targeting radical protesters who have disrupted local order.

The attackers completely disregarded law and order as they indiscriminately assaulted innocent people, she said, adding that what they did was appalling and totally unacceptable. She requested that the police chief conduct an extensive and in-depth investigation into the incidents and punish those who violated the law.

The SAR government has zero tolerance for any kind of violence at any time, anywhere and toward anyone.

Commissioner of Police Lo Wai-chung pledged that the police investigation will begin immediately, and the force will pursue offenders at all costs in order to bring them to justice.

He also dismissed allegations that the police force acted leniently when facing the violent attackers at the Yuen Long subway station. The police force is against any kind of violence, Lo stressed.

Wang Zhimin, director of the Liaison Office, made the “strongest condemnation” of the vandalizing of the office on Sunday night.

Saying that Hong Kong has seen a series of radical protests that exceeded the boundaries of peaceful demonstration, Wang said these acts have challenged the city’s rule of law and seriously undermined the fundamental interests of Hong Kong residents.

He said he believed the Hong Kong government and its law-enforcement bodies will punish those responsible according to the law.

Tung Chee-hwa, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said he was saddened by the desecration of the national emblem.

Tung said a small fraction of the community has taken advantage of an inclusive society and deliberately sabotaged Hong Kong’s economy and social order in an attempt to undermine relations between the central government and the SAR.

More than 20 pro-establishment lawmakers issued a joint condemnation on Monday of the Liaison Office attack and the Yuen Long violence.

Duterte may tackle drug war, sea policy

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373397

Duterte may tackle drug war, sea policy

Jul 22. 2019
Photo by: Philippines Daily Inquirer

Photo by: Philippines Daily Inquirer
By Philippines Daily Inquirer

Asia News Network

53 Viewed

MANILA, Philippines — Buoyed by his high ratings, President Rodrigo Duterte may continue to defend his controversial stand in the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea and his brutal war on drugs in his speech at the opening of the 18th Congress on Monday.

Thousands of protesters plan to march on the legislative complex in Quezon City to denounce the President’s policies while the Senate and the House of Representatives, sitting in a joint session, listen to the President detail his plans for the second half of his term.

The police and the military have gone on full alert, although no threat to public safety has been monitored.

The annual presidential address to Congress, a borrowing from an American tradition, is a gala affair in the Philippines, with legislators and their spouses coming in formal attire — the traditional barong tagalog for men and the terno for women.

School has been called off at all levels in Quezon City to ease vehicular congestion on the road to the legislative complex.

The joint session starts at 4 p.m.

Maria Ela Atienza, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, on Saturday said the President’s first three State of the Nation addresses were consistent attacks on his critics and his speech on Monday could be no different.

Atienza noted that the President enjoyed a “renewed mandate” as a result of his allies’ victory in May’s midterm elections and high popularity ratings in opinion polls.

In the latest Pulse Asia poll, the President scored approval and trust ratings of 85 percent.

In the most recent Social Weather Stations poll, his net satisfaction rating was +68 percent.

The President, Atienza said, can be expected to continue defending his war on drugs, especially with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s recent decision to investigate the thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings in his crackdown on narcotics.

He can also be expected to continue attacking Western countries for interfering in Philippine domestic affairs and imposing their own standards on the Philippines “without understanding actual conditions” in the country, she said.

And as in the past, the President may also “continue attacking [his] local critics, particularly institutions like the [Catholic] Church and opposition groups that claim human rights have been sacrificed in the war on drugs,” Atienza said.

Fishing deal with Xi

The President, she said, can also be expected to “lecture” on the constitutionality of his verbal agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping allowing Chinese to fish in Philippine waters in exchange for China’s allowing Filipinos to fish at Panatag Shoal, a traditional fishing ground for Filipinos that China seized in 2012.

He may also continue to defend his policy of greater cooperation with China amid widespread criticism of his handling of the June 9 sinking of a Philippine fishing boat in the South China Sea after being hit by a Chinese trawler, which then abandoned the boat’s crew in the open sea.

Press Secretary Martin Andanar, speaking in a radio interview on Sunday, said the President could mention the South China Sea territorial dispute in his speech, but whether he would lecture on the legality of his fishing deal with Xi depended on his mood.

Duterte may tackle drug war, sea policy

“It is highly possible that he will mention the West Philippine Sea and his stand,” Andanar said, using the local name for the waters within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

“If he will deliver a lecture, off the script, I don’t know. That will depend on the prerogative and mood of the President,” Andanar said.

He said the President cut his speech from 28 pages to 19 pages during a rehearsal at the Palace with film and television director Joyce Bernal.

The speech may run for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on  Duterte’s reading speed and on his veering off the script, as he is wont to do, Andanar said.

“I don’t know what else he is going to say,” he said.

Real state of the nation

Senators on Sunday urged Mr. Duterte to speak about the real state of the nation.

Senate President Vicente Sotto said he wanted to hear the President focus on bringing down the number of drug dependents through a “demand-reduction strategy.”

“I want the demand-reduction strategy to be given more efforts. We have a strong and good supply-reduction strategy, but we have to do better in reducing the demand [for narcotics] as part of prevention,” Sotto said on radio.

“The day we stop [people] from buying [illegal drugs] is the day they (drug dealers) stop selling,” he added.

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima said she hoped  Duterte would dispense with his usual “crude jokes” and just discuss the realities in the country.

She said  Duterte should explain to the public his defeatist stance in the country’s territorial dispute with China and the government’s failure to stem the proliferation of illegal drugs despite his bloody crackdown on narcotics.

“Duterte should admit to the Filipino people that his war on drugs achieved nothing but spill the blood of his countrymen,” De Lima said in a statement.

Gut issues

Sen. Nancy Binay said the President should “extensively tackle the gut issues,” including unemployment, rising prices of basic goods, and low pay for workers.

“The Senate will be listening. Even with a giant list of legislative priorities, we are ready to help craft necessary laws that will benefit the people,” Binay said.

Environmental groups last week said they hoped the President would talk about the destruction of the country’ patrimony in China’s aggressive encroachment on the West Philippine Sea.

According to the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the Duterte administration has sold at least P773 billion worth of sovereign resources since coming to office.

It said the figure was the estimated total value of marine resources destroyed by Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea since 2016 and the value of land and water resources promised as guarantees for the loans for the Kaliwa Dam and Chico River irrigation projects.

Plastic waste: The blame is on us, convenience-minded consumers

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373395

Plastic waste: The blame is on us, convenience-minded consumers

Jul 22. 2019
A 3-year-old boy is helping his parents sorting the waste. (JP/Sigit Pamungkas)

A 3-year-old boy is helping his parents sorting the waste. (JP/Sigit Pamungkas)
By The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network

53 Viewed

Indonesia’s problem of plastic waste pollution is not the result of the occasional rogue foreign shipment. It is caused mainly by each one of us, the hundreds of millions of convenience-minded consumers who have become so used to buying cosmetics, household detergents, water, eggs in boxes and packaged food in single-use packaging.

When buying such products we don’t give a thought to what will happen to the plastic after we discard it. Unless sorted and collected such packaging will end up in a landfill where it will degrade only after 450 years, experts say, or, worse, find its way to the sea.

Recently, a few Asian governments intercepted imported shipments of allegedly hazardous waste comprising household garbage, municipal waste, hospital waste and electronic scrap. Indonesia itself has shipped five containers of plastic wastes back from Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, East Java, to the exporters in the countries of origin, mostly Western industrialized nations.

Some of this waste had been misleadingly declared recyclable plastic scrap and there is a likely connection between the sudden increase of such shipments and the notification given by China to the World Trade Organization in July 2017 that it would no longer import various kinds of recyclable scrap. Since the early 1990’s China eagerly consumed 60 percent of the world’s recyclable scrap to fuel its manufacturing boom and this sudden decision left scrap exporters scrambling to look for new markets.

According to research by the United Kingdom-based Financial Times, the countries that immediately stepped in to fill the gap left by China were, in order of size, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Turkey and Indonesia.

Politicians have found it fashionable to describe Asia as having become the “dumping ground” for the waste of Western countries. However, every shipment of recyclable plastic involves a buyer and seller.

No reputable recycling company wants to import scrap that has been contaminated and no foreign government wants the embarrassment of being forced to take back its own garbage.

However, in international trade there will always be rogue elements all too ready to make a quick profit through fraudulent declarations. Until recently the export of plastic scrap was not even covered by the Basel Convention, so such exporters could not be prosecuted by their own governments.

The main reason that China gave to the WTO for its decision to stop importing scrap was because many shipments had been mixed with “dirty waste” that could not be used as raw material and contaminated the environment.

Fortunately this problem was recently addressed by the Basel Action Network and in May 2019 the Basel Convention was amended to include mixed and contaminated plastic scrap as “hazardous waste”. Indonesia also signed the amendment that will come into force in January 2021.

Unfortunately the isolated cases of waste imports have resulted in an unfair backlash against the import of plastic and other scrap needed as raw material for the legitimate local recycling industry. The call for a total ban on transboundary plastic scrap is a throwaway phrase that does not acknowledge this important local industry.

In Indonesia a well-established reputable recycling industry employs thousands of people. The Industry Ministry estimates Indonesia needs 600,000 tons of imported scrap a year and can potentially enjoy a healthy trade surplus by exporting back recycled plastic pellets, flakes, plastic chips and geotextiles for road construction.

Reputable foreign investors have entered this sector such as the recent bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in East Java. At least one of Indonesia’s largest producers of bottled water can now claim to use bottles made out of 100 percent recycled local plastic.

However, the local recycling industry presently has no choice but to continue to import plastic scrap because it is simply not able to utilize the plastic waste produced by Indonesian consumers, owing to the absence of efficient municipal waste collection, sorting and cleaning systems.

Unless there is a demand from the consumer for biodegradable containers, or for a reuse model in which all bottled liquids have to be sold together with refills, the amount of single use packaging will not decrease in the short-term. Indonesia should instead immediately implement less challenging strategies.

We cannot expect consumers to sort their household waste or desist from throwing it into the river for love of the environment. Even Singapore, a model of urban cleanliness, has yet to convince residents to sort their household waste. However, if householders are paid to sort their waste as in the commendable Indonesian bank sampah (app-based garbage collection bank) scheme, already comprising over 7,000 banks, then they will do so.

Similarly, we cannot expect municipalities to find the funds for recycling facilities. However, such funds would be readily available if there was a regulation on a national program of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in which the producer who delivers a product in a single-use container must take responsibility for its end of life, and make a small contribution to an ecofund for recycling infrastructure. Such a program could also be extended to the less visible but more serious problem of electric and electronic waste.

The EPR regulation could be part of a wider effort under Law No. 18/2008 on waste management to cut Indonesia’s waste output; it would oblige producers and retailers to redesign their product packaging to have a higher proportion of recyclable material. It will also require that they take greater responsibility for the waste management of their products.

S. Korea gears up for financial market contingency plan amid Japan factor

Published July 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/ann/30373394

S. Korea gears up for financial market contingency plan amid Japan factor

Jul 22. 2019
Photo by: The Korea Herald

Photo by: The Korea Herald
By The Korea Herald
Asia News Network

85 Viewed

In response to the escalating economic conflict between South Korea and Japan, financial authorities here are establishing a contingency plan in case Tokyo expands its trade restrictions to the financial sector, officials said Monday.

The preemptive gesture came out of concern about the apparent dependency of local financial companies on Japanese lenders, which have been offering a low interest rate for years.

The total amount of Japanese money circulating in Korea’s financial market was estimated at 52.9 trillion won ($44.9 billion) as of end-June, according to data compiled by Rep. Jeon Hae-cheol of the ruling Democratic Party.

This tentative total included 13 trillion won worth of stocks and 1.6 trillion worth of bonds held by Japanese investors as of end-June, as well as 24.7 trillion won worth of loan credit by Japanese banks operating in Korea as of end-May.

What has especially put Seoul’s market regulators on guard was the $17.56 billion that Korean banks and credit card operators borrowed from Japanese lenders.

Of the amount, banks accounted for 53 percent or $9.26 billion. While credit card operators accounted for less than half, they are seen as facing higher volatility due to their heavy dependence on low-interest Japanese loans.

The policy regulator Financial Services Commission and market watchdog Financial Supervisory Service, along with major banks, are currently operating a special task force to check on the credit maturity of Japanese loans and to draft a contingency plan, officials said.

As for the FSC, officials are carrying out an extensive stress test, including the possibility of a 100 percent withdrawal of Japanese money from the local market, in which case regulators may provide an emergency injection of liquidity into individual financial companies.

However, observers claimed that Seoul’s financial market will remain resilient, even if Japanese lenders choose to take extreme actions.

“Based on the experience of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis, we are fully ready to come up with an extensive (contingency) plan right away when necessary, but there is no need to distort reality and overreact,” said an FSC official.

“The possibility of Japan’s retaliation in the financial sector is relatively low, and also (Korea’s financial market) has sufficient capacities of contingency actions.”

Financial policymakers have already set up plans to provide liquidity to companies directly hurt by Japan’s export curbs.

The government earlier vowed to inject some 10 trillion won in policy financing during the latter half of the year. This amount, along with an additional 7.5 trillion won of trade financing funds, will be used to support local companies amid the bilateral trade tension, according to officials.

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