Colonial Democracy

NEED TO KNOW Colonial Democracy NEW CALEDONIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/0b159188-f92e-4960-9cfd-19bcbc628d0f.png"] Four people, including a security officer, died recently in riots in the French territory of New Caledonia, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to declare a temporary state of emergency on the Pacific island. Since unrest broke out in New Caledonia last...

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The Misery of Zugzwang

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW The Misery of Zugzwang ARMENIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/291ba8a2-3105-41e3-a793-e28cc6a9282e.png"] Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has protected the former Soviet republic of Armenia from Azerbaijan, Turkey and other regional powers. Now, however, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pours more resources into the war in Ukraine, his...

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Stopping the Hopping

NEED TO KNOW Stopping the Hopping VANUATU [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/360359d3-41f6-4567-9b66-a35c60254187.png"] Voters in Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific, will decide on May 29 whether to approve two constitutional amendments that would compel their lawmakers to choose – and stick with – a single political party rather than switch in...

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Mixed Messages

NEED TO KNOW Mixed Messages SRI LANKA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/d469a690-58fa-4bcb-9cd4-16e56a24386f.png"] Sri Lanka has been grappling with political and economic instability since the end of its 26-year-long civil war 15 years ago. After the pandemic, miles-long lines began appearing for fuel. Power cuts were the daily norm. And even dal (lentils) and...

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Silencing the Music

NEED TO KNOW Silencing the Music HONG KONG [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/ed89ce6f-df7c-493b-809a-681d51fa4904.png"] The chairwoman of Hong Kong’s weightlifting and powerlifting association mistakenly referred to “13 countries” in her sport’s Asian conference recently. That conference includes Hong Kong, a former British colony where Chinese officials have been expanding their control, and Taiwan,...

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A Wan Smile

NEED TO KNOW A Wan Smile THAILAND [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/9aed0fb0-f5eb-4eda-ae64-69e423143eb5.png"] A single clinic on Thailand’s border receives 500 refugees fleeing neighboring Myanmar’s civil war every day as Myanmar’s military fights pro-democracy and local ethnic rebels, reported Sky News. Critics told Nikkei Asia that the Thai government was not prepared to handle...

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Plows to Swords

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Plows to Swords JAPAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/ab764327-df98-4918-badd-17c2c79d5685.png"] A recent survey found that more than 92 percent of Japanese respondents held unfavorable views of China, an increase of almost 5 percent compared with last year, reported the Japan Times. The findings hold lessons about geopolitics in Asia, specifically...

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My Enemy, Myself

NEED TO KNOW My Enemy, Myself RUSSIA/ TAJIKISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/b8f7d5f0-07a4-8321-beba-45c71027a713.png"] Life in Russia has become difficult for migrants from Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries since four Tajiks were among those arrested for allegedly killing 145 people in a terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow on...

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Kitchen-Table Politics

[announcement] NEED TO KNOW Kitchen-Table Politics INDIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/1ac703d1-8192-40be-95ea-427a8f7ed9ee.png"] The upcoming parliamentary election in India is expected to go well for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Surveys show that Indians are concerned about unemployment, inflation, and other kitchen-table issues, reported Reuters. But a majority of...

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The Cost of Allegiance

NEED TO KNOW The Cost of Allegiance SOLOMON ISLANDS [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/3c7e70b3-a24d-4f3a-95d2-795b0355ebe6.png"] Parliamentary and local elections in the Solomon Islands on April 17 are yet another example of how domestic politics in Pacific countries have become proxy battles between China and the US. In 2022, three years after he rescinded his...

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The Wedge Between Two Giants

NEED TO KNOW The Wedge Between Two Giants MALDIVES [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/e808e12a-9c97-7e3a-2d92-f3b344e1fae9.png"] In January, the president of the Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, suspended ex-Deputy Youth Minister Mariyam Shiuna for her disparaging remarks about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The move came as Muizzu was preparing to order Indian troops to leave...

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The Third Wheel

NEED TO KNOW The Third Wheel SOUTH KOREA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/96aac4ab-2540-4b79-8f3f-2a21e22e27fe.png"] Politicians from the ruling People Power Party and the opposition Democratic Party have traditionally held the top offices in South Korea. Currently, the two parties hold 270 out of 300 seats in the legislature, for example. However, only 24 percent of...

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Putin-ification

NEED TO KNOW Putin-ification KYRGYZSTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/766aa12d-4910-4bb3-a204-adba72f724f9.png"] Between 2005 and 2020, the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan had five presidential transitions of power. Three occurred due to widespread protests and civil unrest. Two occurred through peaceful and democratic means. Now current Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, who won 80 percent of...

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Blazing Furnace

NEED TO KNOW Blazing Furnace VIETNAM [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/3f17a3ec-f2fd-42ee-b8c2-dd23d117cb41.png"] Although the president of Vietnam, Vo Van Thuong, resigned on March 20 for undisclosed reasons, he allegedly ran afoul of corruption laws. He is Vietnam’s second president to leave office early in two years. Former President Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigned from...

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Echoes of a Boom

NEED TO KNOW Echoes of a Boom MARSHALL ISLANDS [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/9f508d01-33bf-4d23-9d94-4e9368a01a70.png"] March 1 is Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day in the South Pacific. In the Marshall Islands, however, it is Nuclear Survivors’ Day. It is a day of anger, a day of grief. On this day, islanders recall the 67...

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Friends With Benefits

NEED TO KNOW Friends With Benefits PHILIPPINES [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/76f74898-7b3b-4fc1-b7d7-88cadfea2fdf.png"] American Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo recently joined executives from GreenFire Energy, Google Asia Pacific, Visa, United Airlines and KKR to announce $1 billion in investments in the Philippines. It was the latest good news between friends. American and Philippine leaders...

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Old Wine, New Bottle

NEED TO KNOW Old Wine, New Bottle CAMBODIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/f7961b85-6c8d-4728-b55b-cbaa2e866255.png"] American diplomats recently registered their “serious concerns” about Chinese investments in the Ream Naval Base in southern Cambodia, the South China Morning Post reported. They fear the base could become part of China’s strategic network in the Indo-Pacific, according...

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A Place in the World

NEED TO KNOW A Place in the World NORTH KOREA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/081c0373-fb17-4e7d-af63-346faaef42b7.png"] North Korea’s tourism industry shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. Around 100 Russian tourists who recently visited the so-called Hermit Kingdom might help revive it, though. “When you look at North Korea you realize that your grandma and...

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Kua takoto te Mānuka

New Zealand Map

NEED TO KNOW Kua takoto te Mānuka NEW ZEALAND [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/35e498e9-3807-40bd-bf6c-8c9506c3b2cf.png"] Courses in the Māori language, te reo, are immensely popular in New Zealand, where people of all stripes want to learn how to speak the language of the indigenous people who occupied the islands before they became a...

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A Popular Resistance

NEED TO KNOW A Popular Resistance MYANMAR [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/9ef34308-9cd1-4a8e-a2b3-e7a7ab6846ed.png"] In Nam Hpat Kar in northern Myanmar, a towering golden Buddha statue stands above the wreckage of civil war. Much of the village is now rubble after the central government fired heavy artillery and launched air strikes against rebels in...

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