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JAPAN: Harvesting Technology for Sustainability

AMANDA KRETSCH WRITES – In a technology-saturated world, it seems no lettuce leaf is left untouched.  Spread is a Kyoto-based Japanese company whose vision is to look for a sustainable way to bring fresh vegetables to the world, and they plan to open a robot-run farm in Kansai by 2017.  CEO, Shinji Inada, announced the new project, […]

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NORTH KOREA: MISSILE SUCCESS, DIPLOMATIC FAILURE

WRITES STEPHEN NOERPER OF THE KOREA SOCIETY — A month and a day after conducting its fourth nuclear test, North Korea launched a multi-stage rocket carrying a 440-pound satellite. The launch of the Taepodong missile defied a United Nations ban, once again placing North Korea in direct defiance of international norms. The UN decried the […]

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AUSTRALIA: Big Brewhaha Over Foster’s Beer

JAMES ROYCE WRITES — Cracking open a cold one is a beloved tradition down under, but one U.S. man is calling into question the Aussie integrity of Foster’s lager. Leif Nelson, a self-proclaimed New York City beer aficionado, has filed a lawsuit against Miller Brewing Co. in U.S. District Court. Nelson claims that the company’s […]

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QATAR: The Freedom to Censor

ALEXIS CRUZ WRITES – Usually it’s censors who block a controversial film from domestic distribution. Not so in Quatar, at least in the case of The Danish Girl. Following online outrage at the transgender tale, the country’s Ministry of Culture tweeted out this month: “We would like to inform you that we have contacted the […]

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CHINA: PLEASE DON’T SHORT US, SOROS!

TOM PLATE WRITES (in the South China Morning Post) — There are more than a few financial figures in PRC circles that no longer trust Western financial advice (or most advisers) any more than they have to. There is a rich, as it were, history, behind the mistrust. And in this, Mr George Soros, no […]

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: BBC COMEDY LEGEND DOES ANGELA MERKEL

WRITES ASIA MEDIA – Imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.  Like Tina Fey of ‘Saturday Night’ who pactically destroys Sarah Pallin with each satirical joust, BBC comic legend Tracey Ullman has now taken on Angela Merkel, the powerhouse German Chancellor. The result is pretty darn funny.   See a clip of Ullman’s […]

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SOUTHEAST ASIA: HOW THE ISIS SHADOW IS GROWING

ROHAN GUNARATNA WRITES FROM SINGAPORE (courtesy of the Pacific Forum CSIS)  –  The so-called Islamic State (IS) is likely to create IS branches in the Philippines and Indonesia in 2016. Although the Indonesian military pre-empted IS plans to declare a satellite state of the “caliphate” in eastern Indonesia, IS is determined to declare such an […]

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JAKARTA: THE FIRES NEXT TIME – THERE ARE MORE TO COME

SINGAPORE-BASED SOUTHEAST ASIA EXPERT DERWIN PEREIRA WRITES (courtesy of the Business Times of Singapore) — The terrorist attack in Jakarta last week achieved little but foretells much. It signifies the renewal of an implacable religious insurgency that could cost Indonesia and the rest of the region dearly. From the point of view of the Islamic […]

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SINGAPORE: BEST NEW BOOK ON THE ‘REAL’ UN!

ASIA MEDIA WRITES: Singapore has been marking the 50th anniversary of its independence in many distinctive ways. One is with the launch of a book on the United Nations – on the 70th anniversary of its founding — that needs to be added to the short list of truly great books about the UN. Titled […]

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INDIA: Is Free Internet Really Free?

ADRIAN NARAYAN WRITES–With more than 15 million users in 24 countries, Facebook’s Internet.org, has charmed the eyes of many Indians. The program aims to bring free Web access to the developing world, but because of controversy over the number of websites a user can visit, the project’s been renamed “Free Basics.” Even with the change, this project took […]

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China: Big Data, Big Goals, & Big Problems

BRADLEY CAVANAGH WRITES – Think of it as a credit score for your standing with the Communist Party. And if it works as intended, it will preserve in China all that is good and right and true. By 2020, the Chinese government hopes to make use of big data to implement a rating system to […]

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SOUTH KOREA: Annyeonghaseyo, Mr. Roboto

SABRINA VERDUZCO WRITES – The South Korean government has announced an investment of about $14.8 million in robot development.  This recent endeavor was instigated by the recent spike in technological innovation that took place in China.  This project seeks to demonstrate South Korea’s ability to compete with China’s cheap labor that has become more prevalent since […]

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HONG KONG: “Cloud” or Not, No Media Outlet is Safe

MIRANDA PAK WRITES – Today, it’s not uncommon for people to rely on cloud or file-sharing services, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, to store documents. A ‘cloud’ is basically a service where people make an account and upload documents and, once uploaded, they can be accessed anywhere on any device with Internet connection. While arguably convenient and reliable, […]

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CHINA AND TRUMP: HOW HE USES IT

TOM PLATE WRITES (IN THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST) – At times China and its ways are viewed from America as if little has changed. One of those times is now. This is our quadrennial U.S. presidential campaign season. Sometimes it is our silliest season. One spurious claim about China recently marinated into a campaign […]

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