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East Asian winners, losers and scam artists — not to mention China

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is sworn in as president of the Philippines.  /Erik De Castro/Reuters

Special to By Donald Kirk, MANILA  One long-running story forever dominates the front pages here. That’s corruption, bribery and cheating on a mass scale — so massive as to bear comparisons with that in big bully China. The story now is that of a few senators sending special funds to an agency charged […]

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UN swamped by a ‘Perfect Storm’ of humanitarian disasters


John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Faced with the ongoing civil war in Syria, the natural disaster in the Philippines, and a spreading civil conflict in the Central African Republic, the UN humanitarian agencies are confronting a near perfect storm of political and natural disasters. Add the continuing needs from earlier trouble spots such as […]

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China’s mixed motives in its belated and underwhelming response to diaster

China's Peace Ark

Special to By Donald Kirk, TACLOBAN, Philippines — The great game for power and influence in Asia laps up on the storm-ravaged shores of this devastated city in the form of a Chinese vessel known as the Peace Ark, with 100 doctors and nurses on board and 300 beds for patients in need […]

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Foreigners to the rescue in the Philippines; but where are the Filipinos?

Tacloban Airport is covered by debris after powerful Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province on Nov. 9.

Special to By Donald Kirk, TACLOBAN, Philippines — The Korea Disaster Relief Team keeps a gruesome body count in the search for ever more victims of Typhoon Haiyan, aka Yolanda. “Every day we retrieve cadavers,” says Lee In-Sun, coordinator for the 42 Koreans sent here in the wake of the world’s worst storm. […]

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Philippine Typhoon; Global givers and grinches


John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The super Typhoon Haiyan which swept across the central Philippines left a brutal legacy of death, destruction and dislocation in its wake. The category five storm which slammed into Leyte and Cebu islands directly confronted the global community with yet another gripping disaster in which 13 million people were […]

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Asia joins world economy’s new normal as China loses its edge


John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — “Asia Pacific economic economies will see subdued growth in 2013 after last year’s sharp slowdown caused by external factors,” is the prognosis from a recent UN survey. “Economic growth in the developing countries of Asia and the Pacific slowed to 5.5 percent in 2012 as a result of the […]

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An overlooked but bloody war on another Asian front


Special to By Donald Kirk, MANILA — War planes strafe and bomb. Tanks shell enemy redoubts. The infantry move in under air and artillery support, spraying automatic weapons fire. Sound like a fantasy of the fighting that might break out across the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas? Could this be the latest […]

Posted in Exclusives,Malaysia,NE Asia,Newsletter,Philippines,Top Stories | Read More »

Japan finding unlikely allies in repelling Beijing’s campaign of ‘cartographical aggression’

The map printed in China's new passports shows several territories claimed by neighboring countries as parts of China.  /

Special to By Donald Kirk, MANILA — Japan is probing the possibilities of a most improbable alliance in a corner of Southeast Asia that once lay at the heart of the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.” The term “co-prosperity” was a euphemism for Imperial Japan’s policy of prospering off impoverished people from Burma […]

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When world leaders talk about ‘human rights’ and when they do not

Leaders at ASEAN summit on Nov. 20.  /Tan Chhin Sothy/AFP

Special to By Donald Kirk, The spectacle of the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh did more to lay bare the problems, conflicts and paradoxes of relations among the region’s wildly different and widely scattered nations than to resolve them. The fact that at least three of the leaders at this year’s ASEAN summit […]

Posted in Burma,Cambodia,China,Exclusives,Japan,Life,NE Asia,North Korea,Philippines,South Korea,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Politics,Vietnam | Read More »

Chinese media mounts all out propaganda offensive against the Philippines

Two Chinese surveillance ships near the Scarborough Shoal, a small group of rocky formations whose sovereignty is contested by the Philippines and China, in the South China Sea.  /Reuters/Philippines Army

Special to By Willy Lam, Judging by the rhetoric of the official Chinese media and military commentators, the Chinese Communist Party authorities seem to be readying a small-scale naval skirmish to “teach the Philippines a lesson.” Yet at the same time, Beijing is brandishing non-military solutions, such as joint development of oil and […]

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