Kitchen-Table Politics

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 In 2022, three years after he rescinded his...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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Warm and Fuzzy Politics

NEED TO KNOW Warm and Fuzzy Politics INDONESIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/ec0c6f24-24ad-434b-bf1d-56e472da6e67.png"] Gen. Prabowo Subianto, 72, who is Indonesia’s defense minister, has pioneered the use of generative AI in his presidential campaign. The “doe-eyed cartoon” avatar of himself that he has disseminated on TikTok and other social media platforms has been...

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Skidding Off the Rails

NEED TO KNOW Skidding Off the Rails PAKISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/eaf17bc7-6468-493e-bfe1-86954ffb120a.png"] Late last month, courts in Pakistan in different rulings convicted ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of revealing state secrets and corruption, sentencing him to 14- and 12-year terms in prison around a week before Pakistani voters went to...

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Target Practice

NEED TO KNOW Target Practice BALUCHISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/eb272fcf-6499-280e-ed70-9060750b87d2.png"] Iran and Pakistan fired missiles and drones at each other this month ostensibly to kill separatists in Baluchistan, a region that straddles the two countries as well as Afghanistan. Iran aimed at bases used by Jaish al Adl, a Baluchi militant...

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All That Glitters …

NEED TO KNOW All That Glitters … BRUNEI [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/664da16e-6086-451b-b6d0-2da3d75c7e07.png"] Prince Abdul Mateen of the small Southeast Asian nation of Brunei was described in Time magazine as “swoon-worthy,” “hot,” and “sexy.” Long considered one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, the 32-year-old helicopter pilot in his country’s air...

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Gross National Gloom

NEED TO KNOW Gross National Gloom BHUTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/95cb74f9-3e10-4c29-ab01-000d0e49a2f4.png"] In Bhutan’s recent elections – the fourth since 2008, when the Himalayan nation replaced its traditional monarchy with a parliamentary form of government – the opposition People’s Democratic Party received a mandate to solve the economic crisis that has been...

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The Loss of Patience

NEED TO KNOW The Loss of Patience TAIWAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/dab1143a-8514-4f63-8098-bd36050d9680.png"] Taiwan’s general election on Jan. 13 will have major implications for the small country that China claims as its own. As the Guardian reported, voters will cast ballots for the presidency and lawmakers who oversee an island the size...

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My Rival, My Friend

NEED TO KNOW My Rival, My Friend AUSTRALIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/81d62805-bef8-41fd-9c0c-ed93ea461226.png"] The AUKUS deal signed in 2021 by Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States arguably marked a nadir in relations between Australia and China. The deal gave Australia new technology for nuclear-powered submarines, weapons that were obviously meant...

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The Fix Is In

NEED TO KNOW The Fix Is In BANGLADESH [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/46a3120a-34a1-40f2-8221-240a899a0fd0.png"] The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, recently launched her ruling Awami League party’s campaign for the South Asian country’s general election on Jan. 7. Speaking at a massive rally in the eastern city of Sylhet, reported the Associated Press,...

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