China’s Railways Link Asia

Viewpoint by Kalinga Seneviratne

This article is the ninth in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

BANGKOK (IDN | Lotus News Features) – The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will gather in the Laotian capital Vientiane from September 6-8 for their first summit meeting since the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) came into being at the beginning of this year. However, one item which is crucial to such community building, the construction of new rail lines linking most of the 10 member nations may not be a major agenda item.

A report by the Lao News Agency (LNA) ahead of the meeting drew attention to this fact, when the ongoing Laos-China railway construction project was described as a game-changer in community-building in the region. The project, a 427 km railway built by China, will have 72 tunnels and 170 bridges and stretch from the Laos-China border in Phongsaly to the Lao capital Vientiane near the Thai border. Continue reading “China’s Railways Link Asia”

DPRK Nuke Test Calls For Dumping Cold War Responses

Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – Even before the ink dried up on a statement issued in the Laotian capital Vientiane by the East Asia Summit (EAS) on nuclear proliferation, North Korea announced the successful testing of a nuclear bomb that has focused attention in the region on increasing militarization.

Pyongyang’s latest weapons testing came less than a day after the EAS leaders adopted a statement urging it to give up its nuclear and missile programs. It was the first time that the 18-member regional body, which also includes the United States, China, Russia and Japan, adopted a single-issue statement other than the chairman’s statement. Continue reading “DPRK Nuke Test Calls For Dumping Cold War Responses”

Obama’s Final Asian Tour ‘Unpivots’ US War Crimes in Asia

Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

This article is the tenth in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

BANGKOK (IDN | Lotus News Features) – President Barack Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy that realigned U.S. relationship to Asia, is largely regarded favourably in this region. Yet, his farewell visit to Asia ‘unpivoted’ a darker side of America’s involvement in Asia – of horrendous war crimes committed by the U.S. in Laos in the 1960s and 1970s for which Washington is yet to be held accountable. Continue reading “Obama’s Final Asian Tour ‘Unpivots’ US War Crimes in Asia”

Buddhists Concerned About Mindfulness ‘Marketing’

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By Kalinga Seneviratne*

This article is the eighth in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

BANGKOK (IDN | Lotus News Features) – Mindfulness, the meditative practice, which has its roots in Buddhism as Vipassana Bhavana, encourages people to focus on the present, rather than on the anxieties of the past or future.

In the previous decade, however, it has become somewhat of a fad around the world. Particularly in the U.S., it is now everywhere: in schools, law firms, banks, governments, and even in the U.S. military. They are all offering mindfulness sessions to staff.

Continue reading “Buddhists Concerned About Mindfulness ‘Marketing’”

Singapore’s 1st Olympic Gold Props Opponents of Foreign Talent

[IDN-InDepthNews – 14 August 2016]

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SINGAPORE (IDN) – The stunning victory of 21-year-old Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling in the 100m butterfly at the Rio Olympics on August 12 has reignited debate about importing foreign sporting talent to raise the profile of local sports, especially in the international arena.

It was the tiny island nation’s first ever Olympic gold medal and Southeast Asia’s first Olympic Gold in swimming. Continue reading “Singapore’s 1st Olympic Gold Props Opponents of Foreign Talent”