On Jan. 1, all sorts of stuff collided in an odd exchange involving President Ma Ying-jeou and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the start of 2015. Am I the only one hoping this goof-up was not an omen of things to come? Am I the only one who even remembers the story?
The effort of North Korea to suppress Sony's satirical film “The Interview” has failed, but only after initial success. For months, Pyongyang has expressed outrage about the irreverent production.
The United Nations and others have expressed concern over the Lebanese government's recent decision to bar Syrian refugees crossing the border. The aim of the new regulation, approved on New Year's Eve, is to slow the influx of asylum seekers escaping the civil war in Syria.
The appalling attack on the offices of a satirical magazine in Paris, which killed 12, was a deliberately focused and targeted hit not only to stun and intimidate a free press but a free society as well. In recent months France has seen a spate of attacks not only on the media, but on Christmas markets and Jewish synagogues.
Wednesday's shocking terror attack on the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo should finally awaken the Western public to the threat posed by radical Islamists to free speech worldwide.
In some Asian cultures, time is traditionally cyclical, not linear. Time in Thailand, however, appears to be trapped in a vicious cycle without a beginning or end. This cycle usually starts with a military coup, followed by the installation of a military regime, a new charter, an elected government, a political crisis, then another military coup and another military regime.
The euro plunged to a nine-year low against the greenback on Monday, on the back of political instability in Greece, deflationary fears and the continued fall in oil prices. The currency hit US$1.1869 on Monday, before recovering to US$1.1913 late yesterday. Go back a year, and it was US$1.3724.
As a new year begins, China is painting a world in which it plays an enhanced role while the United States and the West in general, though still important, are relegated to a less dominant position. This shows China's confidence in itself and its realization that American power will be around for a long time to come.
2015/1/7, 1 Comment
The New Year parties are over, but Singapore's economy is still suffering a hangover from 2014.
Important diplomatic issues for Japan today include improving ties with China and South Korea and strengthening its alliance with the United States.