ASEAN Perspectives

Singapore rolls out new budget boost for virus-hit businesses

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore on Tuesday unveiled a fresh multi-billion-dollar package to help pandemic-battered businesses and fund a vaccination drive, as part of the city-state’s annual budget. The coronavirus has plunged the financial hub into its worst-ever recession, with the crucial aviation and tourism sectors hit particularly hard as global travel ground to a halt. Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the new package totalling Sg$11 billion (US$8.3 billion) as he unveiled the budget in […]

Suu Kyi hit with second charge as Myanmar junta tightens grip

  YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi was hit with another charge on Tuesday, after the military imposed a second straight overnight internet shutdown in an attempt to grind down an anti-coup uprising. In the two weeks since the generals ousted Suu Kyi and put the civilian leader under house arrest in the administrative capital Naypyidaw, big cities and isolated village communities alike have been in open revolt. The military […]

Military rule will be different this time: Myanmar coup leader

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — Myanmar’s army chief on Monday insisted military rule would be different this time, as martial law was declared across swathes of the country after massive protests against the new junta. Orders covering parts of Yangon, Mandalay and other areas banned people from protesting or gathering in groups of more than five, and imposing an 8:00 pm to 4:00 am curfew. New junta chief General Min Aung Hlaing, wearing a green military […]

Pres. Duterte says EU move to restrict exports of AstraZeneca vaccines, not good for poor countries

Says EU trying to “hostage” AstraZeneca vaccines produced in European bloc   (Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte noted how the European Union (EU) had been pressuring Oxford-AstraZeneca on its vaccine supplies, as the European bloc threatened to block AstraZeneca vaccine exports outside EU. Duterte noted that this was just the way it is: rich countries will try to hog vaccines as supplies dwindle. Countries where the vaccines are manufactured will also naturally have the […]

Anger and confusion in Myanmar as coup sweeps away democratic hopes

  YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — There was panic-buying of food, military roadblocks in the capital Naypyidaw and a triumphant pro-army rally in Yangon in the hours after a coup in Myanmar. But there was also quiet anger simmering among those whose hopes for the country’s democratic future have been stolen. “It’s extremely upsetting — I don’t want the coup,” said a 64-year-old Burmese man in Hlaing township, standing with a crowd outside a grocery stall. […]

Myanmar coup: What we know so far

  YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — The Myanmar military’s seizure of power on Monday follows weeks of tensions with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government. Suu Kyi and other top civilian leaders were taken into custody by soldiers on the same day as the first new parliamentary session was due to be held since a national election last November. Here’s what we know so far: – How did the crisis begin? – Suu […]

Pres. Duterte explains why he reversed IATF resolution; says UK variant infecting even kids

  (Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte said that he was just taking precautionary measures when he decided to reverse the earlier resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on regarding the easing of restrictions for children aged 10 to 14 years in Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) areas. The 75-year old Philippine leader, who is also a doting grandfather, said that it is best to be extra careful especially with the […]

Asia welcomes Biden presidency with healthy gains

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets saw Joe Biden’s first day as US president with broad gains Thursday as investors look forward with optimism about his economic and Covid-19 recovery plans. Soon after being sworn in, Biden signed more than a dozen executive orders unwinding some of his predecessor’s policies, including rejoining the World Health Organization that observers say will help in the fight against the devastating disease. He also signed back up […]

Pres. Duterte says next PHL president should also be “forceful” in stopping corruption in gov’t

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants the next president of the country to be as firm as he is in stopping corruption in government. Duterte said this during Thursday’s (Jan. 14) inauguration of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project which he said would hopefully ease the “horrendous traffic congestion” in the Philippine capital. The 75-year old Philippine leader said that he wanted to leave a legacy of infrastructure projects that would […]

Most Filipinos still optimistic about 2021; optimism highest among youth, says PAHAYAG poll

  (Eagle News) – Majority of Filipinos are still “optimistic” about the coming year, with optimism ranking higher among those aged 18 to 49, according to the PAHAYAG End-Of-the-Year survey done by Publicus Asia, Inc., a relational business and political management firm based in the Philippines. In its poll done from Dec. 3 to 9, 2020 through nationwide purposive sampling comprising of 1,500 respondents, about 75 percent or three-fourths of those surveyed said that they […]

Singapore gets Asia’s first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses

  SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore received Asia’s first delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Monday, capping what the city-state’s premier said had been a “long and arduous” year spent fighting the pandemic. The trade and finance hub last week joined a handful of other countries around the world, including Britain and the United States, which have approved the jab. It plans to innoculate its 5.7 million people by the third quarter of 2021, with […]

What is the RCEP trade deal?

  HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Backed by China, the sprawling Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is seen as a coup for Beijing in extending its influence across the region and marks its dominance in Asian trade. After eight years of wrangling over the details, the trade pact — the world’s largest in terms of GDP, say analysts — was signed on Sunday. – What is RCEP? – Launched in 2012, RCEP is a trade pact […]