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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
It is unwelcome news for many indebted households in South Korea that mortgage interest rates have been rising recently. The increase in the interest rates for home-backed loans extended by major banks has ranged from 0.23 percent to 0.68 percent over the past month.
The drumbeat is, by now, familiar. Senior United States officials use the Shangri-La Dialogue as a platform to rebuke Beijing for disturbing security in the South China Sea, Chinese officials reject the claims as "unfounded," while everyone expresses the hope that the yearly meetings should be more about cooperation than confrontation, in the full knowledge that this is unlikely to happen.
If you are a regular reader here, you know I occasionally ask my students to give me a hand. I might ask them, for example, to respond anonymously to an anecdotal survey on one topic or the other. I have found some of their words particularly interesting.
On Saturday, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan go to the polls to elect new local bodies, exercising their hard-earned democratic right of casting ballots for leaders of their choice.
"Individual ambition serves the common good," wrote Adam Smith, masterful eighteenth century analyst of emerging industrial capitalism. Freer trade reflects collective coordination of national ambition.
Amid modest economic growth worldwide, East Asia still leads the way. That' s according to the U.N.'s updated "World Economic Situation Prospects" where the global economic growth is expected to register 2.8 percent this year, a downward revision of 0.3 percent from an earlier forecast.
The death of Lee Kuan Yew captured headlines across Asia and drew foreign dignitaries and friends of the late leader ranging from former U.S. President Bill Clinton to the King and Queen of Bhutan. Local media reported that from Taiwan came Hau Pei-Tsun and his daughter; Lien Chan; Vincent Siew and his wife; and Su Tseng-Chang and his wife. From mainland China came Vice President Li Yuanchao.
With his dishevelled mop grazing stern eyebrows, the young activist detained in a Bangkok police station looked straight into the camera and broadcast his message to the world: "We didn't do anything against the law, the real law. What we did was against the law of criminals ... We will never leave any friend to be jailed here. We will all fight together."
In the aftermath of the quakes, one commendable aid effort has been the attempt to meet the needs of menstruating women and girls.
In mid-March the mayor or Paris temporarily imposed a partial driving ban in an attempt to cut toxic smog, after pollution levels briefly surpassed that of Shanghai.
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