Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

Asean Summit, Malaysia  on Nov 21, 1015
Asean Establishes Landmark Economic and Security Bloc
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - Text version)

“….. Here is the prediction: China will turn North Korea loose soon. The alliance will dissolve, or become stale. There will be political upheaval in China. Not a coup and not a revolution. Within the inner circles of that which you call Chinese politics, there will be a re-evaluation of goals and monetary policy. Eventually, you will see a break with North Korea, allowing still another dictator to fall and unification to occur with the south. ….”

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk
North Korean defector and activist Hyeonseo Lee, who lives in South Korea, poses as she presents her book 'The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story' in Beijing on March 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)

US under fire in global press freedom report

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Children Day

Children Day

Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

China unveils $25B in ASEAN aid, credit, April 12, 2009 at 10:36 AM

BEIJING, April 12 (UPI) -- China will extend $25 billion in aid and credit to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, officials revealed Sunday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, meeting with envoys from the 10 ASEAN countries in Beijing, said China will establish a $10 billion China-ASEAN investment cooperation fund to be used for infrastructure construction, energy production, information technology and communications, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Yang also revealed China planned to offer $15 billion in credit to ASEAN countries during the next three to five years, as well as $39.7 million in special aid to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to meet what Chinese officials called urgent needs in those countries.

Yang made the announcements after returning from Thailand, where the scheduled ASEAN summit was postponed due to domestic unrest.

"The overall thought for China-ASEAN cooperation is that the two sides should rise to difficulties in face of the grim global financial crisis, and make efforts to convert unprecedented challenge into opportunity for closer pragmatic cooperation and common development," Yang told reporters.

Singapore economy plummets 20 percent in first quarter

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Singapore | Tue, 04/14/2009 1:18 PM

Singapore's economy plummeted nearly 20 percent in the first quarter, its biggest contraction ever, flagging a miserable start to the year for other export-dependent Asian nations grappling with the worst global slump in decades.

Gross domestic product in this wealthy Southeast Asian city-state plunged an annualized, seasonally adjusted 19.7 percent in the first quarter from the previous quarter and fell 11.5 percent from a year earlier, both record drops, the Trade and Industry Ministry said Tuesday.

The government now expects the economy to shrink between 6 percent and 9 percent this year from a previous forecast of a drop between 2 percent and 5 percent, the ministry said in a statement. The 2009 growth forecast has now been cut three times.

Singapore announced in January a $14 billion stimulus package, and the government may boost spending again in June to help bolster the economy, said Tai Hui, head of Southeast Asia research for Standard Chartered in Singapore.

"We believe we are facing a Great Recession, but we are not going into a Great Depression," Hui said. "We still expect to see some signs of stabilization at the end of 2009, although admittedly mild."

The island's economy has already contracted quarter-on-quarter over four consecutive quarters.

Singapore was the first country in Asia to report GDP figures for the January-March period, and its dismal showing suggests the region's most export-dependent economies - such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong - may face deeper and longer recessions than previously estimated.

China announces preliminary first quarter GDP results on Thursday.

The city-state's central bank, known as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said it lowered the center of its currency trading band, which was effectively a small, one-time devaluation of the Singapore dollar. But it said there was no reason for "any undue weakening" of the Singapore dollar.

Standard Chartered's Hui estimated the devaluation at 1.5 percent.

The central bank's inflation forecast for prices to fall as much as 1 percent this year was unchanged.

Non-oil exports, which accounted for about 60 percent of GDP last year, fell 26 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.

The ministry said it expected sales abroad to contract between 10 percent and 13 percent this year from a previous forecast of a drop of between 9 percent and 11 percent.

One bright spot was exports rose a seasonally adjusted 11 percent in March from the previous month, the ministry's trade promotion agency, International Enterprise Singapore, said in a statement. March exports fell 17 percent from a year earlier.

Manufacturing fell 29 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier while services fell 5.9 percent. Construction rose 26 percent.

"Manufacturing was dragged down by the biggest, most synchronized collapse in world trade since the 1930s, which in turn has had some knock on consequences for services," said Robert Prior-Wandesforde, senior Asia economist for HSBC in Singapore.

Imports fell 28 percent last month from a year earlier and dropped a seasonally adjusted 4.7 percent from the previous month, the ministry said.

Singapore's first quarter GDP results are preliminary and based largely on economic activity in January and February. The government forecast economic growth of as much as 2 percent for this year in an initial forecast in November.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Indonesia, Jordan step up cooperation on manpower

Amman (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Jordan are discussing efforts to step up manpower cooperation, particularly on the protection of Indonesian workers in Jordan, the momerandum of understanding of which is expected to be signed next month, the Indonesian ambassador to Jordan, Zainul Bahar Noor said here on Friday.

Ambasador Noor said he had held talks with the Jordanian Labour Minister, Gaza Shbaikat, to discuss the matter on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the Jordanian minister was accompanied by Jordanian Director for Labour Inspection & Occupational Safety an Health Affairs, Amin al-Wreidat.

He said that both sides agreed to set up a joint working group and to draft a memorandum of understanding on the protection of Indonesian workers in Jordan.

The ambassador said that the meeting also agreed to allow Indonesian workers to arrange their arrival visas at the Jordanian embassy in Jakarta.

Indonesian foreign affairs officials and the Jordanian labor attache would be placed at the Jodanian embassy in Jakarta to help the Indonesian workers arrange their arrival visas for their visit to work in Jordan.

In the meantime, the Indonesian manpower ministry would also attach its special technical staffers at the Indonesian embassy in Amman. Besides, special Indonesian and Jordanian immigration desks will also be opened at Amman airport.

Before the signing of the MoU in the middle of next month, the ministry of manpower would stop the sending of Indonesian workers to Jordan for the time being.

There is no fixed number of Indonesian workers in Jordan because figures in various relevant departments differ from one to another.

Jordanian Labor Department recorded that there were 21 thousand Indonesian workers in that country while the Immigration Department mentioned there were 15 thousands while the foreign affairs ministry noted a number of 38,000 workers while those registered with the Indonesian embassy in Amman totalled 4,000, of which 305 were problematic female workers.

2,000 Thai protesters disrupt Asia Summit

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Pattaya, Thailand | Sat, 04/11/2009 11:21 AM

More than 2,000 protesters have converged on the site of a summit of Asian leaders, forcing the cancellation of one meeting and the postponement of another.

The protesters blocked leaders from leaving their nearby hotels on Saturday morning. They then marched to the meeting venue and clashed wit rival demonstrators. The two sides threw rocks and smoke bombs at each other about three miles (five kilometers) from the venue.

Thai Government Spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says two or three people were injured in the clashes. Authorities were investigating reports of shots fired and an explosion.

Panitan said the delays so far were "isolated" but he says other meetings could be postponed.

Related Articles:

Asia summit cancelled, state of emergency declared in resort city

Thailand evacuates Asian leaders by helicopter

Thailand declares emergency, cancels Asian summit

ASEAN summit cancelled; Thai protesters storm venue

Thai protests disrupt Asia summit

Friday, April 10, 2009

UAE advises Indonesia to sign FTA with GCC

Abu Dhabi (ANTARA News) - The United Arrab Emirates (UAE) has proposed to Indonesia to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE M Wahid Supriyadi said.

"Singapore already has an FTA with the six-nation GCC and Malaysia is in the process of establishing the link with GCC," Supriyadi told Indonensian journalists in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

He said the UAE had made the proposal through its foreign trade minister, Sheikh Lubna Al Qarini, at a meeting with Indonesian Trade Minister Mari E Pangestu in Dubai early this week.

The UAE had made the same proposal to ASEAN member countries when their finance ministers, including Indonesia`s Sri Mulyani, held a roadshow in the Middle East recently, he said.

The GCC groups six Gulf countries, namely UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. The six countries have a combined population of 40 million.

"Since the onset of the global financial crisis, Gulf countries have become interested in doing business with and investing capital in Asia. Indonesia should use this opportunity," said Supriyadi who has been in UAE post for 11 months.

Speaking about the prospects of widening the market of Inonesian goods in the Middle East in general, the envoy said an "Indonesian Festival" was held in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries in cooperation with Lulu Hypermarket, the largest hypermarket chain in the UAE which also had 74 branches in the Middle Eastern region.

Supriyadi said the GCC had also concluded an FTA with India and was negotiating another FTA with Europe.

He said during her one-day visit to Dubai earlier this week, Indonesian Trade Minister Mari E Pangestu met with her Somalian counterpart, Abdi Rashid Mohamed Abdi, to discuss efforts to step up trade relations between their two countries.

Tribal vote

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 04/09/2009 6:05 PM

Tribal vote: Papua tribal man casts his ballot into a traditional bag made of woven tree bark called "Noken" in Jayawijaya, Papua province, Thursday, April 9, 2009. Indonesians flooded polling stations across the sprawling island nation Thursday, celebrating a decade of democracy in a parliamentary election that will gauge the reform-minded president's chances of re-election. AP/ANTARA, Prasetyo Utomo

Related Articles:

SBY's 'integrity' behind Democratic Party's win: Juwono

Christians in Papua celebrate Good Friday after attack

Successful election marks a decade of democracy

Peaceful Election in Aceh

Yogyakarta to organize another voting for Papuans after attack

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Backgrounder: 14th ASEAN Summit and related summits , Fang Yang, 2009-04-09 19:24:15

PATTAYA, Thailand, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The 14th ASEAN Summit and its related summits will be held here from April 10-12. The related summits are an important and integral part of the 14th ASEAN Summit held on Feb. 28-March 1, 2009 in Hua Hin, Thailand.

The Summits' theme "Acting Together to Cope with Global Challenges" captures the spirit and commitment of ASEAN, as a people-centered organization, in working for the benefit of the ASEAN peoples, together with its Dialogue Partners and the United Nations.

The summit begins in the evening of April 10, 2009 with an informal working dinner of the ASEAN leaders. ASEAN Plus One Summits with China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, respectively, are scheduled for April 11, to be followed by the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and ASEAN Summit Plus One with India in the afternoon.

On April 12, the East Asia Summit (EAS), or the so-called ASEAN Plus Six Summit, will be held amongst the leaders from the ASEAN member countries and the leaders of six ASEAN dialogue partners, namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, the 3rd ASEAN-UN Summit is scheduled to be convened on April 12, 2009. This summit will be an opportunity for ASEAN leaders and Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest including development, food and energy security, climate change, disaster management, and issues of the global financial crisis.

12th ASEAN-China Summit

The leaders of ASEAN member Countries and China will review the development of ASEAN-China relations in the past years and discuss how to further deepen relations between the two sides. Among others, a speedy implementation of ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement will be emphasized. In addition, they will also exchange views on regional and international issues affecting the region.

12th ASEAN-Japan Summit

The leaders of ASEAN member states and Japan will meet and review the developments in ASEAN-Japan relations during the past years and discuss how to further deepen relations between the two sides. At the meeting, the leaders will be presented with a report of the ASEAN-Japan Eminent Persons Group (EPGs) which will recommend measures to deepen and broaden ASEAN-Japan strategic partnership in the coming years.

12th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit

The leaders of ASEAN member states and ROK will review the developments in ASEAN-ROK relations during the past years and how to further enhance relations between the two sides. The President of ROK is also expected to announce the holding of the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit on June 1-2, 2009. The situation in the Korean Peninsula will also be discussed.

12th ASEAN Plus Three Summit

The leaders of ASEAN member countries, China, Japan, and Republic of Korea will meet and review ASEAN Plus Three cooperation with emphasis on regional cooperation in response to food and energy security, and natural disaster that affect the region. The summit will also endorse the establishment of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund with an initial fund of three million U.S. dollars to support the implementation of the 2nd Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation and the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan. In response to the on-going food and energy prices volatility, the leaders of ASEAN Plus Three will adopt the Chiang Mai Statement on ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation on Food Security and Bio-Energy Development.

4th East Asia Summit (EAS)

The leaders of ASEAN member countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and Republic of Korea will meet to discuss on strategic issues of common interest and concern that affect the region. The summit this year will focus on the issues such as food and energy security, global financial situation, and disaster relief cooperation and management. The Leaders also expect to adopt the Chiang Mai Statement on EAS Disaster Management which will tap expertise in the region on disaster response and relief.

3rd ASEAN-UN Summit

The 3rd ASEAN-UN Summit is scheduled to be convened on April 12, 2009 in Pattaya, Thailand. The leaders of ten ASEAN member states will meet with the secretary-general of the UN and heads of agencies and programs in the UN system. The summit aims at promoting and strengthening ties and cooperation between ASEAN and the UN in various aspects beneficial to the peoples in the region.

These topics may include: impacts of the current global financial crisis and measures such as social protection to help cushion the impacts affecting the peoples; cooperation to achieve internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); cooperation in disaster management to explore ways to enhance capacity in the region including Post-Nargis recovery efforts; cooperation to strengthen food security in the region through, for example, resource management, especially, water resources.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Indonesia Tops Graft List in Asia, Says Survey

The Jakarta Globe, April 8, 2009

Singapore. Indonesia is perceived as Asia’s most corrupt economy, an annual survey of foreign business executives showed on Wednesday.

According to the survey by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, or PERC, Singapore and Hong Kong remained the region’s least corrupt economies.

Despite the negative perception of Indonesia though, PERC noted “real headway in fighting the problem” under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was seeking reelection in July.

“To be sure, the absolute scores show corruption in the public and private sectors is still very high,” PERC told AFP.

“But our latest survey shows that residents in Indonesia are more favorably impressed with the determined way the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] has been fighting corruption than any of the other countries graded poorly for corruption.”

The major question in Indonesia was whether the anticorruption efforts could be sustained.

The March results are based on more than 1,700 responses from 14 Asian economies plus Australia and the United States, which were included for comparison purposes, PERC said.

In a grading system with zero as the best possible score and 10 the worst, Indonesia got 8.32. A score greater than 7.0 indicates “serious” corruption problems.

Last year’s cellar-dweller, the Philippines, made a marked improvement, ranking sixth worst with a score of 7.0.

Thailand was seen as the second most corrupt country with a grade of 7.63, but PERC said foreign investors were more concerned about political stability.

“Very few expatriate executives find that corruption makes the country a less attractive place to live and do business,” it said.

Agence France-Presse

Thousands of kids trapped in sex industry

Indah Setiawati and Alit Kertaraharja, THE JAKARTA POST, DENPASAR | Thu, 03/19/2009 10:08 AM

An estimated 60,000 children in Southeast Asia are being exploited to work in a multimillion dollar of commercial sexual businesses, a reality that also occurs in many other countries, a seminar was told Wednesday.

“The number of falling victims of the sexual abuse is on increase. It is affecting every country, not only in the Southeast Asia,” said Frans van Dijk, the regional director of Terre des Hommes Netherlands, a Dutch aid body focusing on children.

He was giving a welcoming speech in the three-day Southeast Asia Conference on Child Sex Tourism held in Sanur Paradise Hotel.

Van Dijk encouraged the governments to take the issue more seriously because he considered that the current law enforcement toward such a case as very weak.

However, he underlined that the law enforcement was not the only solution against cases of abusing the minors because it did not address the causes.

He said that because the core problem laid on poverty and lack of education, all elements in the society should put sufficient efforts to raise the awareness in the communities, empower people to protect the minors and establish a safety network for children.

Another speaker, Irwanto, the president of the National Coalition for the Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, said the law enforcement in the country was weak because the officers were often hesitant to arrest a perpetrator because it would make a family lost their basic income.

He said Indonesia needed to immediately ratify the United Nations Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflicts and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Indonesia has signed both protocols in 2001.

Marco Scarpati, the president of Italy chapter of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), said the rapid growth of information and telecommunication technology, especially the internet, played a major role in exacerbating the phenomenon of the child sex tourism.

Greek Ambassador to ASEAN Presents Letter of Appointment

ASEAN Secretariat, 7 April 2009

Today at the ASEAN Secretariat, H.E. Dimitri Tsikouris, who has been appointed the Greek Ambassador to ASEAN, presented his letter of appointment to Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN. Greece became the 8th Member State of the European Union (EU) to appoint its Ambassador to ASEAN.

Dr Surin said, “We welcome the appointment of Ambassador Tsikouris and look foward to working with him to expand ASEAN-Greece and ASEAN-EU relations.”

According to the ASEAN Charter, non-ASEAN countries may appoint and accredit Ambassadors to ASEAN. As one of ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, the European Union (EU) has announced that all 27 member states will appoint Ambassadors to ASEAN.

Greece's appointment of an ambassador to ASEAN was preceded by Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The European Commission has also appointed its Ambassador to ASEAN.

Ambassador Tsikouris is concurrently the Ambassador of Greece to the Republic of Indonesia.

41 illegal ports in Batam make way for illegal entry: Authorities

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 04/08/2009 7:21 PM

Illegal ports have provided means for illegal immigrants to enter Indonesia, immigration director general Basyir Ahmad Barmawi said on Wednesday, as quoted by

According to reports there are 41 illegal ports in Batam. These have been used not only by smugglers but also human traffickers, particularly from abroad.

"We will deal with illegal immigrants with the help of various other institutions," Batam administration officer I Wayan Subawa said.

Illegal immigrants come under the authority of the Foreign Ministry. (amr)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It’s difficult to separate Malaysia and Indonesia: PM Najib Razak

Primastuti Handayani, THE JAKARTA POST, Kuala Lumpur | Wed, 04/08/2009 9:39 AM

One of Indonesia’s closest neighbors, Malaysia, has just witnessed the inauguration of Najib Razak as the country’s sixth prime minister. Speaking in an interview with Indonesian journalists, including The Jakarta Post’s Primastuti Handayani, at his office in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Razak highlighted the importance of improving the love-hate ties between the two countries. The following are excerpts from the interview.

Question: How do you see the economic relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia, especially during a global economic crisis like this?

Answer: We are currently focusing on the investment and integration of the two countries’ economies. We will advance bilateral ties both ways. We welcome Indonesian investment in Malaysia, such as in the hotel industry like the Sheraton Imperial and Westin Langkawi, while Indonesia has also welcomed Malaysian investment, especially in oil palm plantations.

We also have a strategic investment, especially in power plants. For example, the Bakun [hydroelectric] power plant [on the Balui River, Sarawak, Malaysia]: The power plant is expected to supply power to the Malaysia peninsula and also to Kalimantan. It will have a large impact [on the economy]...

There has been a feasibility study on building a bridge connecting Sumatra and Malacca by the private sector.

The global economic crisis has also hit both Malaysia and Indonesia. The Malaysian government plans to inject a financial stimulus [worth US$16.2 billion] to stimulate domestic demand.

How bad is the impact of the crisis on Indonesian migrant workers?

Malaysia is willing to discuss migrant workers with Indonesia because it’s an important issue for both countries. Many Malaysian employers are no longer able to afford Indonesian workers. Many in the private sector have expressed hope that they will not have to lay the workers off. We hope the incentives given by the government will help the private sector not to lay off the Indonesian workers. I talked to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono two nights ago about the condition and he understood [the issue] well.

We will not tolerate Malaysian employers who abuse their Indonesian maids. We must respect workers’ rights.

How about the security cooperation between Malaysia and its neighbors?

On the external front, we don’t really have threats. Internally, there are some militant groups, but we have managed to curb them. If there is a militant leader from Indonesia, we can also monitor him well. The last case was Abu Bakar Baashir, who recruited Malaysians like Noordin Moh. Top and Azahari. But that’s not a good example.

There should also be a better arrangement among countries in the Malacca Strait to deal with rampant piracy in the area.

The transition of power from Abdullah Badawi to yourself went smoothly, although you face tough challenges such as internal ethnic conflicts and an economic recession. How do you deal with it?

My priority is to implement “One Malaysia, people first, performance now”.

“One Malaysia” emphasizes mutual respect and trust. The feeling of trust with one another should be built consciously, to create national unity. There should be no group that feels left behind in the process. It doesn’t mean we will erase the affirmative action overnight.

“People first” means we are not an elitist government. The government should not be pro big corporations. There should be less formality and no red carpet.

“Performance now” means the people want to see our immediate actions.

Has democratization in Indonesia been a major influence on Malaysia?

Both countries have different political systems. In the long run, there should be a political discourse, a dialogue to see development in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Democracy in Indonesia has leaped far from the previously controlled system to a free, or too free, system and there has been a move to bring it back under control.

Democracy in Malaysia is shown by freedom with responsibility… [or else] it can become anarchy.

For example, the move to supervise the ISA [Internal Security Act] to create civil liberty … I have released 13 detainees charged with the ISA, to show the government has put forward civil liberty.

How would you deal with the relationship of our two countries, a relationship that is like that of siblings often embroiled in dispute?

We must improve the level of comfort between Indonesia and Malaysia.

It doesn’t apply only on the top level between the two countries’ leaders, between Pak SBY and me, or back then between Pak JK [Vice President Jusuf Kalla] and me, but also with other groups, including the media, to support me as a Malaysian leader.

I hope the message can be accepted by different groups in Indonesia. Sometimes the media have been provocative in covering issues between the two countries.

We should not be in negative competition. We must see the glory of Malaysia means Indonesia’s glory too, and vice versa. By assisting each other, both countries will get positive aspects from the relationship.

Malaysian leaders have good ties with Indonesian leaders like SBY, JK and former president Megawati Soekarnoputri. What would the relationship be like if Indonesia had a new leader?

There should be a continuation in the relationship between both countries.

We must understand that Indonesia plays a very important role for Malaysia, and it is not just because of strategic considerations. Indonesia and Malaysia have similarities in culture, religion and emotions.

It’s difficult to separate the two countries.

Asean to consider sustainable growth

The Bangkok Post, WICHIT CHANTANUSORNSIRI, 8/04/2009 at 12:00 AM

How best to co-ordinate fiscal stimulus programmes and set the foundations for sustainable economic growth will be high on the agenda for Asean finance ministers meeting this week in the seaside resort of Pattaya.

Over six months after the crisis began with the near-failure of the US financial system, some promising signs have emerged that the massive monetary and fiscal stimulus programmes enacted worldwide are beginning to bear fruit.

But Somchai Sujjapongse, the director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said the key was to ensure that stimulus funds have a lasting, beneficial impact on jobs, productivity and future growth.

"The leaders fortunately have moved in the right direction, and are looking at how not only to build up employment, but how to ensure sustainable growth once the current crisis passes," he said.

The global financial crisis has taken centre stage at the Asean meetings this year. While regional economies have escaped the bank collapses that have plagued the US and Europe, growth across Asia has plummeted with the sharp decline in export demand.

The meetings started yesterday with the arrival of finance and central bank deputies from Asean, Korea, Japan and China, with the 13th Asean Finance Ministers' meeting on Thursday. Country leaders will meet in Pattaya through the weekend, with the programme to close on Sunday with the Asean Global Dialogue conference, featuring the leaders of international organisations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Officials hope to further progress on plans to upgrade the Chiang Mai Initiative bilateral swap programme into a larger, multilateral pool to serve as a financial lifesaver against future crises. They want to increase it by 50% to $120 billion.

China, Japan and Korea will provide 80% of the funds for the pool, with the remainder financed by Asean. The five largest Asean economies - Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand - will contribute $4.5 billion each, with Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and Brunei the rest.

Discussions will include details of pool operations, with officials tentatively agreeing that countries could borrow for terms of 90 to 360 days at interest rates set at LIBOR plus 150 basis points.

Dr Somchai said Thailand, which holds the Asean chair this year, will push for an Asean infrastructure fund to channel the region's savings into infrastructure investments across the region.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij proposed each country contribute to the fund based on their readiness, with financing from direct budget allocations, foreign reserve holdings or even private sector investments.

Countries could tap the fund to finance domestic infrastructure programmes, with the Asian Development Bank serving as a guarantor for bond issues.

Ministers will also discuss ways of facilitating trade and investment across the region to create an Asean Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

"Investment and market liberalisation will be the highlight of the meetings," Dr Somchai said.

Capital market integration will also be on the agenda, with ministers hoping to endorse an implementation plan ultimately aimed at building up the region's markets by facilitating cross-border securities listings and investment.

Asean finance ministers will also discuss policies and issues raised at the G20 meetings held earlier this month in London, a conference attended by China, Japan, Korea and Indonesia as members and Thailand as Asean representative.

Dr Somchai said Asean ministers will also discuss co-operation in the region's life and non-life insurance sectors, including regulatory standards, customs procedures and work towards the creation of an Asean "Single Window" to facilitate customs clearance as well as initiatives to guard against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Financial sector liberalisation will also be discussed. This will be the fifth round of negotiations towards sector liberalisation under the AEC framework, and the Asian Development Bank has agreed to perform a "financial landscape assessment" to help assess the readiness of different markets for liberalisation.

Capital account liberalisation is on the agenda, aiming to reduce barriers to portfolio investment and foreign direct investment, either through outright capital controls, taxes or other barriers.

OECD takes last four states off tax haven list

Paris (ANTARA News) - The OECD on Tuesday removed Costa Rica, Malaysia, the Philippines and Uruguay from its list of hard-line uncooperative tax havens after they bowed to pressure and vowed to open up their books.

"These four jurisdictions have now made a full commitment to exchange information according to the OECD standard," OECD General Secretary Angel Gurria was quoted by AFP as telling a press conference in Paris.

They were the only remaining countries on the first of three lists published after world leaders agreed last week at a G20 summit in London to crack down on tax havens.

One list named the four states the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said had not pledged to accept international tax reporting standards.

A second "grey list" named 38 territories that had committed to such standards but had not yet fully implemented them, and a third list identified 40 countries that had substantially implemented them.

"I am happy that there is no longer any one of the 84 jurisdictions normally monitored by the OECD ... that is in the category of not adopting and having not committed to adopt the standards," said Gurria.

"This is very important progress," said the head of the Paris-based organisation that seeks to coordinate the economic policies of its 30 industrialised members.

Costa Rica, the Philippines, Malaysia and Uruguay are now on the "grey list."

"They have officially informed the OECD that they commit to cooperate in the fight against tax abuse, that this year they will propose legislation to remove the impediments to the implementation of the standard," the OECD said.

Tax havens have come under increasing scrutiny as the global financial crisis bites ever deeper, sparking calls for radical action to curb abuses blamed for the debacle, among them tax evasion and bank secrecy.

After US and European governments bailed out a number of banks, politicians began questioning how and why some of those same financial institutions were able to continue to operate in countries that encourage tax evasion.

Transparency International France last year estimated about 10 trillion dollars -- four times France's gross domestic product -- were stashed in secret offshore accounts away from the prying eyes of regulators or tax inspectors.

In the run-up to the G20 London summit, countries with long-held banking secrecy laws including Liechtenstein and Switzerland agreed to comply with regulation forcing states to share tax information.

Several countries protested after the publication of the latest lists, with some disputing their designation and others vowing to clear their names.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said Tuesday that the OECD list had been based on political criteria.

"They don't have qualitative criteria to draw up these lists," she told reporters in Berne.

"My interpretation is that they had to have something concrete at the end of this G20 (summit)," she added. "But in reality, these criteria are political.

The only positive outcome of the G20 summit had been the commitment to set up a mechanism to monitor progress in this area, she added.

Switzerland has already protested at finding itself on the OECD's "grey list".

The OECD's "grey list" also included Belgium, Brunei, Chile, the Dutch Antilles, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Singapore and Caribbean nations such as the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

A third list of countries that have largely implemented internationally agreed tax standards includes Britain, China apart from its special administrative regions, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Singapore PM says good China-ASEAN ties helpful in tackling global crisis, Zhang Yongxing, Gao Chuan, 2009-04-08 14:52:03

SINGAPORE, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The good ties and mutual understanding between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will not only help both sides to work together to tackle the global crisis, but also help them to maintain peace and stability in the Asia Pacific, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Lee voiced his satisfaction over the all-round development of China-ASEAN relationship over the past years, saying that both sides have built up good rapport and understanding.

"China is one of ASEAN's most important partners. China's trade with ASEAN makes up over one-tenth of ASEAN's total trade, "he said, adding that "leaders and senior officials from China and ASEAN countries meet several times each year. Our businesses and peoples also interact intensively."

As for the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), a vast market with a population of 1.8 billion and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP)of 2 trillion U.S. dollars will be established in 2010, he said that the FTA has further enhanced bilateral ties between ASEAN and China.

"We have progressively built up the FTA, starting with the Trade-in-Goods Agreement in 2004, the Services Agreement in 2007, and finally the Investment Agreement this year. Now that the whole FTA has been completed, our companies should make full use of it. We should also regularly review the FTA to improve its terms and keep it up-to-date," he noted.

Lee praised China for what the largest developing country has done to improve its ties with the 10-member ASEAN, saying that both China and ASEAN are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Asia Pacific, and this is a pre-condition for economic progress.

"China has acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and committed itself to promoting peace, friendship and cooperation in the region. China and ASEAN have also signed the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea which commits us to exercise self-restraint, and to the peaceful resolution of disputes," he pointed out.

Lee said that ASEAN's approach is to build an open and inclusive East Asian community by gradually involving more countries in an enlarging circle.

The ASEAN plus China (10+1) mechanisms provide a sound base for larger regional schemes such as the ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea 10+3) process the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), he added.

Seeing the effort to link up the East Asian economies through Free Trade Agreements (FTA) as "a good example", he said that the ASEAN members, which have had a free trade area since 1992, have in recent years extended the network by negotiating ASEAN plus China FTAs with its Dialogue Partners, and are close to conclude FTAs with all six partners in the East Asia Summit.

At the forthcoming meeting in Pattaya, Thailand this weekend, Lee said, ASEAN economic ministers will sign the China-ASEAN Investment Agreement, and they have also started work on the next steps: an ASEAN plus three FTA and an East Asian Summit FTA.

Talking about the role Singapore can play in the regional bloc, Lee said that as a small country, Singapore tries to be an honest broker.

"We work with our ASEAN counterparts to engage major powers in the region. We contribute ideas, and help to foster consensus among the countries," he said.

Lee stressed that the excellent relationship between China and Singapore can serve as "a bridge" to promote better understanding and cooperation between China and ASEAN.

Hailing the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as "the premier forum" for promoting peace and security in the region, he said that such forum covers both traditional (such as counter-terrorism) as well as non-traditional (such as disaster relief, maritime security and non-proliferation) security cooperation.

As active participants in the ARF, China and Singapore are cooperating on several initiatives in nuclear safety, non-proliferation and disaster relief, Lee said, adding that the two countries are also co-organizing an ARF seminar on laws and regulations in disaster relief in Beijing later this month.

Lee said that they applaud China's commitment to the ARF, and working together, they can jointly enhance the ARF's role in promoting peace and security in the Asia Pacific.

Lee urged Asia to maintain open in trade and investment, saying that such regime is vital to the region.

"All countries depend on trade to develop and grow their economies. Amidst the global economic difficulties, we must signal to the world that East Asia continues to be open for business, to give investors confidence to make long term investments in the region," he said.

In regard to how to deal with the current global crisis, Lee said that the first priority must be to resolve the current global crisis as quickly as possible.

He detailed that this requires countries to work together to address the falling global demand. They must break the debilitating cycle of poor consumer sentiment, weakening economic activity and tightening credit, he added.

The decision of the recent G-20 meeting in London to commit 1 trillion U.S. dollars to mend the world economy through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other institutions will contribute to this, he said.

In the developed countries, he continued, the most urgent task is to repair the financial systems. This includes recapitalizing banks and removing toxic assets from their books.

Countries must also continue to reject all forms of financial protectionism, and government measures that push banks to lend more domestically at the expense of their foreign lending will especially hurt emerging economies, he stressed.

Lee also advised that in the medium term, they have to strengthen and improve the regulation of financial institutions and markets. But they must not swing to the other extreme of excessive government regulation which will hamper the flow of credit.

"We will need to improve macro-prudential analysis of the global financial system, draw attention to vulnerabilities in both developing and developed countries, and work out effective responses to these vulnerabilities. This will be extremely challenging," he said.

Lee believes that the emerging economies, which are still much smaller than the developed ones, are a growing factor in global prosperity and financial stability.

The emerging economies, which should play a larger role in the international financial system, should also take on more responsibility for upholding the system and solving problems which affect all countries, he added.

With regards to the planned Patty meeting, Lee said that the deepening economic and financial crisis will be high on the agenda, and East Asian countries must understand what the others are doing, and discuss how they can collectively tackle the crisis.

One important objective, he said, should be to issue a strong statement to support free trade and avoid protectionist measures.

"Governments are under strong pressure to protect domestic producers and discriminate against imports. We need to constantly remind ourselves and our peoples that restricting the free flow of goods and services will make all countries worse off and prolong the downturn, " he said.

On the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), which needs to be operationalized expeditiously, he said that Asian economies are generally sound, but they should take preventive steps to mitigate against confidence crises and capital flight.

"The CMIM will complement the IMF and World Bank facilities as well as bilateral swap arrangements. All these will help Asian economies to cope with any financial turbulence," he said.

For the longer term, they must continue to bring the East Asian community closer together, he said, adding that regional economic integration will help them to weather such economic storms and also deal with other cross-border issues, such as terrorism, pandemics, and food and energy security.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

World Bank Slashes East Asia Growth Forecasts

By MICHAEL S. ARNOLD, The Wall Street Journal

TOKYO -- The World Bank Tuesday slashed its 2009 economic growth forecast for developing East Asia to 5.3% from 6.7% and warned of a "painful surge" of unemployment as the global recession hits home.

In its semiannual update on East Asia and the Pacific region, the bank reiterated its projection that China's economy will expand 6.5% this year and called the prospect that China's economy will bottom out midyear, as its massive stimulus package kicks in, a "ray of hope" for the region.

But a sustainable recovery will depend on developments in the advanced economies that take most of Asia's exports, and recovery there isn't expected until 2010, the report said.

The projected 5.3% growth for developing East Asia this year marks a sharp slowdown from an estimated 8% expansion in 2008 and amounts to less than half the 11.4% growth rate in 2007, but still leaves the region as the fastest growing part of the world economy.

Excluding China, however, the rest of the region is expected to grow just 1.2% this year, a "lackluster performance" that places it behind the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, the bank said.

Developing East Asia includes China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and the island economies of the Pacific.

Asia's increased integration into the global economy is proving to be a double-edged sword, as "the impact of the crisis in the advanced economies was transmitted to the economies of the region with unusual speed," the report said.

Chastened by the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, some middle-income countries -- Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines -- were better prepared for the recent upheaval in global financial markets, having improved banking supervision, strengthened their external balances and increased foreign exchange reserves.

But the economic slowdown has hit emerging Asia hard, especially the poorest countries. As worldwide demand declines, exports and industrial production across the region are falling, leading to factory closures, rising unemployment and lower real wages, the report found.

Unemployment in the region is reported to have increased to 24 million in January, up 1 million from a year earlier, the World Bank said. But it said the official numbers capture "only a small part of the deteriorating employment situation" and warned of "the beginning of a painful surge in unemployment throughout the region."

The bank praised Asian governments for reacting swiftly, cutting interest rates and taking other steps to ensure adequate liquidity in their financial markets, despite the increased burden it means for some countries already struggling under heavy debt loads.

Governments in developing East Asia have announced stimulus packages equivalent to 3.6% of their combined domestic product, and are expanding social programs to aid the most vulnerable.

The report said "the size of the fiscal stimulus may be increased in some countries with available fiscal space," such as China and Thailand.

Still, in a news conference in Tokyo, Vikram Nehru, the bank's regional chief economist for East Asia, said some countries with the ability to support more stimulus may be holding a bit in reserve in case additional measures are needed in the future.

The bank urged countries to focus on outlays to remove infrastructure or social bottlenecks and improve human capital, among other areas. "The countries that are able to tackle short-term challenges while staying focused on longer-term priorities will likely emerge better-placed after the crisis to resume stronger growth," the report said.

The World Bank said Asia's rapid growth of recent years may be a thing of the past. Even when global demand picks up, the report noted, "the region's outward-oriented economies are unlikely to enjoy the same success in the medium term as they did in the previous decade" as the developed world tries to save more and consume less.

The weaker growth also means some 10 million fewer people in the region will escape from poverty in 2009 than previously expected, the World Bank said. In Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and East Timor, poverty rates are expected to rise.

Looking ahead, the bank recommends that developing Asia boost domestic demand and seek to grow through innovation, rather than imitation.

"Over the medium term, the countries of developing East Asia can achieve high rates of economic expansion in a slowly growing world economy to the extent they are able to extract more growth from domestic demand, boost competitiveness, penetrate new markets, and further improve the attractiveness of the region as a key destination for foreign investment," the report said.

Write to Michael S. Arnold at

Indonesia very important country to Malaysia: PM Najib

Kuala Lumpur (ANTARA News) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Indonesia was a very important country to Malaysia and therefore the two neighboring nations of Malay stock should continue to maintain and increase their relations.

Malaysia`s new prime minister made the remarks in a special interview with representatives of nine Indonesian media, namely ANTARA News Agency, Kompas, Media Indonesia, Republika, the Jakarta Post, Sinar Harapan, Gatra magazine, RCTI, and Malaysian news agency Bernama at his Putrjaya office on Tuesday.

"In a conversation with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, we agreed to have a direct contact through the phone if a problem is emerging. Besides building formal ties, we also need to develop personal relations among the countries` leaders," said the Malaysian prime minister who is of Buginese descent.

President Yudhoyono had called Najib to congratulate the latter on his rise to the Malaysian premiership. Najib succeeded Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"It is important to build good relations with Indonesia because it is diffult to separate them in strategic, cultural, religious and emotional terms," said Najib in his first media interview since taking over from Badawi last Friday.

He said that in order to step up bilateral relations between the two countries he would encourage a number of cooperative efforts in the economic field. He would boost mutual investment among businessmen between the two nations.

Najib said that investment in oil palm plantations in Indonesia by Malaysian businesses, for example, should be done in partnerships with Indonesian counterparts so that enterprises would not be controlled 100 percent by Malaysians.

He also saw the possibility of strategic investment in the energy sector. "We are studying the possibility of channeling power supplies from Bakun in Central Sarawak to the Malaysian peninsula or to be exported to Kalimantan." On the other hand, he said, there was also the possibility of Indonesia exporting electricity from Sumatra to the Malaysian peninsula.

"These are several potentials for cooperation between the two countries," he said.

Japanese FM: Denuclearized DPRK has the right to run space program, Fang Yang, 2009-04-07 21:16:31

TOKYO, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said Tuesday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will be entitled to run a space program on condition that it has been denuclearized.

At a press conference for foreign correspondents in Tokyo, Nakasone said that if the DPRK comprehensively settles the nuclear, missile and abduction issues, Japan is willing to normalized relations with Pyongyang.

Concerning the DPRK's rocket launch on Sunday, he reiterated that it violated UN. Security Council resolutions 1695 and 1718, which prohibit the DPRK from engaging in any ballistic missile activities.

Nakasone urged the United Nations Security Council to adopt a fresh resolution to make the DPRK realize the "consequences of such a provocative act."

The DPRK says that it has the right to send up a satellite as part of its peaceful space program but countries such as Japan and the United States believe that the rocket launch constitutes a clear violation of UN. resolutions.

US provides over $1b for RI airline upgrades

Ika Krismantari, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Tue, 04/07/2009 11:01 AM

The United States Export-Import Bank approved more than US$1 billion in financing for Indonesian airlines to improve passenger fleets, generate business and create jobs in Indonesia and throughout the region.

In a press statement in Jakarta on Monday, the US Embassy said the financing was made possible after the ratification and implementation of the Cape Town Treaty, which allows Indonesian airlines to save millions of dollars in financing costs.

“This financing allows Indonesian-registered companies to gain very competitive rates and favorable credit similar to the most advanced countries in the world,” said US Ambassador Cameron R. Hume.

“This action by the US is a vote of confidence for the improvement of aviation regulation and the general business environment in Indonesia,” said Henry Bakti, the Indonesian Transportation Ministry’s director general for air transportation.

The financing will allow Lion Air to access $238 million to purchase new Boeing 737-900ER planes and provide preliminary authorization for another $841 million, for a total of 30 new passenger jets.

Last month, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia announced the bank’s authorized joint financing of $346 million for increasing its’ fleet.

“We are delighted to offer Lion Air the reduced exposure fee available under this treaty, which reduces the legal risks associated with cross-border, asset-backed aircraft financing and leases,” said Robert Morin, Export-Import Bank vice president of transportation.

The loan facility is expected to boost not only aviation safety but also the country’s image, which has been marred by several air transportation accidents.

Since 2007, the European Commission has banned all Indonesian airliners from flying to EC territory in response to the country’s poor safety record. The government has since tried to improve the airline regulatory system and safety in the hope the EC will revoke the ban. EC representatives have promised to lift the ban, acknowledging the progress Indonesia has made. However, Indonesia will still need to comply with the remaining 10 of 60 flight safety requirements set out by the EC before the ban can be lifted.

At least six incidents of aircrafts skidding off the runaway occurred during the first quarter of this year.

While there were no fatalities, these accidents could signal the government’s sluggish effort to revise safety standards despite EC inspections to ensure the ban could be lifted.